These days, the dividing line between a “blog” and a “website” is blurred, so answering the question, “What is a blog?” isn’t straightforward. The term “blog” is short for “weblog,” and was first coined in 1997 by Jarn Barger.
Basically, blogs are internet journals where authors can write and publish their thoughts in an easily-updated format. Blogs generally have an informal tone, as if the writer is having a friendly conversation with his or her readers. Here are eight features of blogs.
8 Features of Blogs
- An easy to update content management system (CMS). Fundamentally, blogs are software publishing platforms that allow anyone to set up a blog without knowing HTML. Bloggers simply log into an administrative section, fill out a form, hit submit, and their post shows up on their website.
- Newest items first. Although bloggers are experimenting with different designs, most blogs list the newest posts first on the main page of their website.
- A conversational tone. Your website is basically your portfolio. It demonstrates who your firm is, what it does, and why prospects should take notice. To do so, it presents your company in the best possible light. A blog, on the other hand, is a collection of your insights and musings, without regard to what your firm’s lawyers, managers and PR want you to say. You write as if you’re talking to your readers, so your content sounds more personal.
- Posts ranging from quick paragraphs or links to longer essays. When you write for your website, each page is crafted to sell your company and its products and services. Your blog offers you a way to compile your thoughts in as concise or as detailed a fashion as you’d like to be.
- RSS feed – An RSS feed is an XML file that lists your more recent posts in a format that allows other programs to read it. Your readers can subscribe to your feed and they will be notified whenever you post something new.
- Comments – Many blogs allow readers to post comments at the bottom of your post. Comments make it easy for people to communicate with you without going through the levels of bureaucracy your company may have in place.
- Trackbacks – Trackbacks notify you that someone has commented about your post on their blog and invite your readers to visit their websites to read more on the topic.
- Pings – Whenever you post to your blog, you can ping a number of websites to let them know that you’ve updated your blog. Many blogging software platforms have this option built in.
Isn’t a Blog Just a Website?
The short answer is “yes.” However, your business website was most likely designed with the intention of selling your services. Your website content tells about your products and services with the purpose of generating leads or making product sales. Because of this, you might not update it frequently.
Blogs, on the other hand, are designed to be frequently updated similar to a journal or newsletter. They often are written in a more personal style than your website copy, and provide ways that readers can leave immediate feedback by commenting or emailing the blog post author.
Blogs should be conversational in nature and avoid selling most of the time. They work better as prospecting or “keep-in-touch” tools than blatant self-promotion.
So, yes, blogs are websites, but the difference between your blog and your business website lies in purpose. Your website sells. Your blog informs, builds relationships and keeps in touch with prospects and clients