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What is a Blog?

Posted By Darren Rowse 5th of February 2005 Start a Blog 0 Comments

Note: check out our more recent article on how to start a blog.

So what is a Blog anyway?

I am asked every week via emails, conversation and Instant Messaging chats to define: ‘what is a blog’.

If you’re reading this you may well be asking the same question.

There are a number of ways I could answer this question ranging from the broad to the highly technical.

Before I define the ‘what is a blog’ question – here are a few definitions from other much wiser people to get us started:

‘A weblog is a hierarchy of text, images, media objects and data, arranged chronologically, that can be viewed in an HTML browser.’ Source

‘A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links.’ Source

‘From “Web log.” A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.”‘ Source

‘A weblog is kind of a continual tour, with a human guide who you get to know. There are many guides to choose from, each develops an audience, and there’s also comraderie and politics between the people who run weblogs, they point to each other, in all kinds of structures, graphs, loops, etc.’ Source

‘A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.” Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in cronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominantly.’ Source

‘A blog is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts” or “entries”. A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”. A blog comprises text, hypertext, images, and links (to other web pages and to video, audio and other files). Blogs use a conversational style of documentation. Often blogs focus on a particular “area of interest”, such as Washington, D.C.’s political goings-on. Some blogs discuss personal experiences.’ Source.

What is a Blog???

Confused yet? Don’t be – its really quite simple. To put it as simply as possible – a blog is a type of website that is usually arranged in chronological order from the most recent ‘post’ (or entry) at the top of the main page to the older entries towards the bottom.

Have a look at the main page of my blog at here for an example. for a different example you might like to look at this one (another of mine).

Ok – now you are a seasoned blog reader – you’ve seen two already at least.

Blogs are usually (but not always) written by one person and are updated pretty regularly. Blogs are often (but not always) written on a particular topic – there are blogs on virtually any topic you can think of. From photography, to spirituality, to recipes, to personal diaries to hobbies – blogging has as many applications and varieties as you can imagine. Whole blog communities have sprung up around some of these topics putting people into contact with each other in relationships where they can learn, share ideas, make friends with and even do business with people with similar interests from around the world.

Blogs usually have a few features that are useful to know about if you want to get the most out of them as a reader. Lets examine a couple briefly.

Archives – You might look at the front page of a blog and think that there is not much to them. A few recent entries, some links to other sites and not much else. However its worth knowing that there is a lot more going on under the surface that might initially meet the eye. For example in addition to the main page of this blog – at the time of writing this post there are over 520 other pages or posts below the surface that I’ve written over the past few months.

When I write a post like this one it goes to the top of the front page. As it gets older and as I add more current posts it begins its journey down the page until it disappears from it. This is not the end of its life however, because it goes into the ‘Archives’ of my blog. It sounds like a dusty dark place but its really just like a filing cabinet that is easily accessible in a couple of ways. You can read my ‘archives’ simply by looking on the ‘sidebar’ (over on the left of this blog) at the ‘archives’ or ‘categories’ section. There you will see links to all my old posts which you can access either by category. You’ll see a category for ‘Advertising’ – click that link and you’ll see all my old posts on the topic of Advertising with the most recent at the top and the oldest at the bottom.

Comments – Not all blogs use comments – but most do. This blog is not a monologue but a conversation. You can give me feedback on almost everything I write simply by clicking the ‘comments’ link at the bottom of each one of my posts. This will take you to a little form where you leave your name, email and a link to your own blog if you have one as well as your feedback, comment, critique, question, essay on why you love my blog, promise of money…. etc). Try it now. Scroll to the bottom of this page, click ‘comments’ and fill in the blanks with a little introduction to yourself.

A great way to learn about blogs is to read a few. Leave some comments, ask questions and bookmark your favourites. An even better way to learn about blogs is to start your own blog. Ok – you might be laughing at me now – you think you are not web savy enough to have your own site? You wouldn’t know where to start? You don’t know how?

My Secret

Let me share a secret with you – three years ago I knew nothing about blogs, I had never used the internet for anything more than email, surfing and chatting to friends and I could only barely do any of that! But one day I discovered a blog and after surfing from one to another (blogs tend to link up to other blogs a lot) for a few hours I was hooked and wanted to start my own.

I found that there are tools that enable almost anyone could set up in a matter of minutes. Really it is that simple.

Note: check out my guide on how to start a blog.

Literally millions of people blog from around the world. Its not just something for young people, or geeks, or cool folk, or Westerners, or even for people with their own computers – instead its something virtually anyone with access to a computer and the internet once or twice a week can start up.

Are you still confused? Would you like more information? Below are a few helpful articles on the topic – there are many more on the web – just do a search on your favourite search engine. Otherwise shoot me an email using my ‘contact’ button with your question and I’ll do my best to get back to you.

Update: If you’d like to start a blog I’ve written a book – ProBlogger the Book – which is specifically written for new bloggers. I hope you find it helpful. Also check out my How to Start a Blog tutorial and my How to Make Money Blogging guide.

If you are new to blogging and want some hints on how to get started – keep an eye on my Blogging for Beginners Page for more ways to explore blogging.

So now you know WHAT a blog is – learn how to start one and use it to build an online income with ProBlogger the Book.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Blogs are probably one of the best formats for personal websties. Depending on which blog software you use, there isn’t much in way of HTML knowledge required and you can be up and running within minutes. I would have given anything for WordPress back in my early days when I kept a site about X-Files the series. :)

  • Wow. Three years ago I knew more about the Internet than the great Darren Rowse? Interesting. Yeah, blogs are pretty simple to set up. Sometimes I wish they were a bit more technical though. It makes it easier to set up splogs.

  • It’s marketing and perhaps a free way for all ‘culture’ : in french “à condtion de se retrouver dehors”..

  • Bjorn

    Thanks for all the info, I’m still a little confused on what blogs are all about. I’ll keepa looking.

  • Hello. Your “blogs” have been so informative! You seemed so personable that I am even doing as you ask, and leaving a “comment”. :)

    I have been studying websites for the past month, am thinking about going with SBI web host, and am planning to do a site and a blog per month for a total of 10.

    I am 68 and have to work fast, considering that I only have 20 years left! Anyway, thank you so much for your site (linked from Lynn Terry’s site); I have learned so much reading your blogs.

    No need to answer me – I know you are so busy – but enjoy the read. Char

  • thanks for the comment Char – nice to have you here :-)

  • Ivy

    Hi, i just found this page, and i find it very interesting, i’ll take a look often! I read from Italy, and I’m interested in the “bloggin” world, because i think it’s the real new way of informing people… Thanks for all tips! Bye

  • Hi Darren, It’s only today that I discovered your blog with plenty of information to read. For some time I have been thinking of making my website, weblog just like so many people do. But how to get started and what to put in, which host to use, how to create a good one?? All questions… How wonderful of you to share all the information, which I am going to read on in order to understand more of how to make an interesting blog. Thank you, lots of love Gloria.

  • I need ur help

  • R.Tony McGhee

    I read your information and it was very informative. I would like some help in setting up a blog.

  • I followed a link to your website from an email I received from SANS.ORG. My field is information security and I’d heard that you were the recent victim of a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS). I was curious to find out why a blogger would be a victim of such an attack. I was expecting to find a site with a lot of political ranting and vitriol for content and I’m delighted to discover instead an excellent primer on blogging. Apparently your success has earned the wrath of some envious fools. Best of luck and I hope they catch the bastards.

  • Blogs are the new phenomenon which has changed the way we look for information

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  • Thanks for the great blogs. Keep it up.

  • madhu

    hey thanks that was lot of useful information there

  • I have been blogging since 1/1/06 after receiveing an email from John Reilly at Internet Crusade asking me to do so. Saul Klein, John Reilly and Mike Barnett are the internet gurus of the real estate industry and were starting up a blog product.

    Everything I know about the internet, I know from their listserv, Real Talk, which I have participated in since 1998. So I immediately agreed.

    As you say, blogs lead to blogs lead to…and within 10 days or so I received an email from Dustin of asking me to be a “Frequent Contributor” of their site.

    The Real Town Internet Crusade blog has a funny url even I can’t remember I have a website that searches the mls called so I purchased and pointed it to the Internet Crusade blog.

    I don’t know much about blog technology, though I do Ping. My blog is Ask Ardell About Kirkland Real Estate, and I do know about real estate, so that seems to have compensated for what I don’t know about blogging.

    I made money from blogging within a very short time, and so am continuing. I have also learned a lot about how consumers view real estate and the technological advances. I toy with the idea of starting my own real estate utopia based on the comments on

    I thought stating my short “progression” in the world of blogging, might help someone. I think a GrowABrain type blog might be able to be done through a 3rd part blog company, but the blogs I like best reveal the person behind the blog, like mine and yours. But some of the top blogs do not do that, and it doesn’t seem to have hurt them.

    One tip I would give is that people, including me, have a tendency to want to erase it all and start over once they start getting on a roll. But blogs show your journey into blogging and so the meager beginnings are just as important as the progression. When I go to a blog and see they erased everything that was there, I feel a loss. So I would say, fight the urge to erase and let it all hang out.

  • I have a web site that is not quite ready for viewing.
    The site–— was started by two women.
    One had breast cancer and they both have alopecia, and know what scratchy wigs and hats feel like..
    We will be providing stylish, soft hats and caps for cancer patients or anyone who is going bald, although people with hair have enjoyed wearing our hats.
    If I start a blog, can I keep any foul language out if someone tries to send it?
    Are there filters for specific words?
    I don’t mind people expressing their opinions and sharing stories, but would like to prevent someone who thinks it is fun to send trash from ruining what should be a clean site.


  • Doug, you may not be able to keep it out, but you can certainly delete it.

  • Abel

    Hi Darren,

    great work and thank you for this excellent blogging resource! This will be a favourite hangout on the web.

  • Just looking around at various options at generating extra earnings online, perhaps even through our own website. These extra earnings will help fund future Food4Music shows and projects.

    Please ensure our email isn’t given to 3rd parties. We already get way too much spam.

    BTW, you guys have a spelling error on your homepage. “…every week via emails, CONVENVERATION and Instant Messaging…” Beleive it should read, “conversation” ;)


    Colin T. Gale (one size fits all)
    Food4Music Events
    Founder / Events Coordinator
    Email: [email protected]

  • The more I look at your blog the more informations reveals before my eyes.

    You really have some valuable information here.

    I recently became a blogger and like you, I am hooked.

    I just love the way people can connect using this tool.

    Thank you.


  • blogging is like drugs. Once u r hooked, it is tough to get rid of the habbit.

  • Hi Darren

    Thank you for all your great information.


  • Cool information. It is good for those who just getting started with blogging :)

  • This article it great, start a newbie off in the right foot!

  • Amy

    Okay, I started a blog, on blogit. Now what? I see people talking about websites, advertisements, linking to other people’s blogs… I’m in over my head, I’m afraid. My blog is more or less just a journal, of my thoughts, opinions, not much of nothing really. Can you give me some sense of direction? Please? Oh, and one more thing… you say that there are sites where I can start a blog for free? So why am I paying $12.95 per month for blogit, and if you use a free site. How would you get paid for writing?

  • start with this series of posts Amy – Blogging for Beginners

  • tashi

    i didn’t understand anything

  • Thank you Darren! I am a personal coach and I am excited about the opportunity to reach so many people who could benefit from my experience. I am just getting started with blogs and your information is very helpful.

  • zorro

    Very good guidance…. Thanks anyway… But i’m still confused how actually the bloggers can make a very big money?

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you – for helping me understand what a blog is. This is a great vehicle for my project chronicling my midlife reinvention and those of other midlife women.

  • Hi, Darren!

    Just getting started, and finding the technical aspects pretty daunting. Until a month ago, I had not heard of SEO, RSS or any of the rest of the jargon, but will work at slowly incorporating some of your tips as I am able. In an attempt to avoid actual employment, I am doing some freelance writing, pitching articles to local publications, and have gotten bitten by the blogging bug.

    I refer to your articles so many times a day that I must be adding to your six-figure income!

    Thanks for the great info!

    Marti at Thought Provocateur

  • Jan

    I just discovered this site. I can’t wait to learn more!


  • Leslee

    Well, I will be 55 tomorrow and I can’t believe that I am now going to learn about blogging so I can share my knowledge and receive some in exchange. I guess you can teach a middle age dog new tricks!

  • Hey Darren, this is great! I’m excited about the prospect of starting my own blog, maybe several. I have some passions in life and see blogging as a way of “living out loud”.

    I am also developing an eCommerce site to market health related products and I think this web blogging thing may be a great help. Appreciate your efforts . . . and I will be back.

    michael mitchem

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  • This is the first time to your website. I’m reading to find out how to make money through blogging. I like your ideas and i hope after reading, I’ll be able to very soon start my own blog.

  • Al

    Making money through blogs (and adsense) is rather difficult way from my point of view. It requires much time and effort. So, for those who are willing for easy bread I want to say: it’s not that easy bread.

    Running a good blog can be compared to running a local newspaper. You are a journalist, reporter, editor in cheaf, marketing and seo professional while promoting your blog. Think twice before spending years for blogging.

    This is of course if you want to make money form blogging. It it’s just your personal public diary online or you do not expect any revenew from what you are writing, that it’s ok, that’s very interesting occupation :)

    Good luck to you, who are willing to earn for life through blogging. Luck is very important!

  • Diane

    I’m learning about blogging. Thanks!

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  • Sorry, i can’t remember your name. Anyway, my name is Kirk. I have seen and read a few blogs but for the life of me, I don’t understand where you find the time to do this. You must have a lot, for sure. It would take me forever just to read enough to communicate back with someone, let alone the writing back. I happen to “stumble upon” your blog, and started reading. By the way, when I mention, “Stumble upon” , do you have any idea of what I might be talking about?

    Today, when I saw your blog, I thought it may answer some basic questions I have. I’m sure if I keep reading, I will find out how to find blogs on certain subjects or ideas, most likely, using a search engine, some how? Or maybe I was thinking of writing my own blog, that is. But then there is that time thing, and are there spell checkers for bloggers? I need a spell checker for sure. I am a partial quadrepalegic and was hoping to find some blogs written by others in my situation. It could be like getting therapy for free or something, I just don’t know until I check it out. Maybe I could write a blog about being a gimp. Do you think anybody would be interested in how a gimp like me goes through daily life, or does that turn people off?

    Well, I will go back and read some more of your blog. I seem to have a lot of time on hand after all.

  • Penella

    Kirk, there is a huge opportunity for people in your situation. As an “expert” on handicap issues and barrier-free design (or lack of it), target design community (Architectural designers, technologists, city planners). There is growing awareness of Universal Accessibility and able-bodied people have no way of understanding that topic unless someone who lives it talks about it.

    Blog on bro!

  • M.H

    Your site is full of informations .I have learned about Blogging .

  • Pieter Kark

    Thanks for the information on this site. I want to start a blog to discuss ways to improve health care (well beyond how we pay for it — if we just solve that problem, we’ll have a mediocre to bad system we can afford but don’t like) and also to discuss a course on self-improvement and technology to help anyone on their spiritual path, whatever that path happens to be.
    You’ve already given me good ideas and I hope to get a lot more as I read further.

    Thanks, Pieter Kark

  • Joey Nice

    Hi, I find this all very interesting but somehow seems way over my head. I’m s-o-o-o computer illiterate I don’t know if I could do a blog and even if I could , I don’t exactly understand how or what about. I’ve
    read all the “stuff” above where I am writing now. I really want to do this, but the only thing I have in my favour (Canadian spelling) is I just love writing emails, and I can babble on for ever. I work in a greenhouse, in fact the 3rd largest wholesaler in North America, and
    I am a retired Early Childhood Educator, or as I like to put it,” a Human Developer”. I also tend to write run-on sentences. Well, I just reread
    this and I hope it makes sense to you. Thanks for all the info so far. I would like some more Please. Bye for now. Talk to me -Joey-

  • Hi Darren

    How come you keep writing such wonderful posts. I have found your posts to be simple and full of information. It has something for everyone especially this post would help expereinced bloggers as well. Are you a full time blogger?

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  • kathy

    I am enjoying reading all about blogging.

  • FiveStar

    On the subject of Archives, I click the link and found the old posts on the topic of Advertising. However I didn’t find a month to click. But this site is interesting and I might just start my own blogs.

  • thanks