Blogs are some of the most popular and the most numerous forms of web sites on the Internet today. Blogs range in topics from what the blogger at yesterday to who they think should be elected president of the United States in November. What is a blog, and what is it that makes a blog different from any other sort of web page?
* Historically, blogs evolved from “Weblogs.” These weblogs were chronologically-based diaries that noted changes to a web site. People began using weblogs to write their own personal thoughts, however, and thus blogs were born. Today, blogs still usually have that chronological setup, with the most recent posts at the top of the page and other posts listed in descending order.
* Blogs have a low barrier-to-entry. Blog software is user-friendly, so even the least technologically inclined person can have a blog. There are many web sites that host blogs for free and make blogging as simple as it can be. For these reasons, anyone who has access to the Internet can have a blog.
* Blogs are interactive. With rare exceptions, you can comment on a blog. The comments section of a blog allows the blogger to interact with her readers, and to interact with other bloggers via technologies such as trackback. Blogs foster community, and have even given rise to their own community name: The Blogosphere.
* Blogs may be personal, but don’t have to be. Many blogs exist simply to focus on a company’s new products. Other blogs act as news sources. Some blogs are very personal, and are used almost like a diary. Most of the time, even if a blog isn’t a personal blog, the blog will be written with a conversational tone.
* Blogs can make money. Professional bloggers like Darren Rowse and Brian Clark make a living by blogging. Not every blog makes money, and it takes years of dedication as well as some inate talent to make a living blogging. Still, it is possible.
* Blogs are fluid, not static. This is perhaps what most differentiates blogs from other web sites. Blogs are updated on a regular basis, where traditional web sites are not.
Certainly there are other common characteristics that define blogs, but these basic ideas cover the most unique aspects of a blog.