Jul 31 2007
As you know I started “blogging” this year, and I never really took the time out to explain what a blog really is.
It must get a bit confusing, because every time you click on the bookmark that I saved for you, the “letter” that you read last time isn’t there, and you’re not sure where it’s gone or where to find it.
So I’m writing this letter to let you know a little more about what it is that I’m doing here at blogpond.com.au. Chances are you’ve probably worked it out for yourself, but just in case….
A blog is really like any website you visit, except it can be a little more difficult to navigate around. I know you think I’m very clever by creating my own website, but it really isn’t all that complicated to do (and I’ll explain that another time). Really, you could have your own inside an hour!
Essentially, the word “blog” is short for “web log”. Entries (also called “posts”) are displayed in reverse chronological order, with the most recent entry being displayed first (at the top of the page).
A blog will often revolve around a central theme, and if you have a look at some of the entries on the blog, you’ll get a feel for what that person (or group) generally likes to write about.
Blogs usually have a few certain elements in common, and knowing about them can help you find your way around. These are usually to the side of the main entry you are reading, but some elements can be located at the top or bottom of the page.
“Archives” – these detail the entries that the blogger has written, and are usually grouped into time periods, like month and year. So if you click on a particular month you’ll get a list of all the entries that were made in that month. Sometimes these are listed as summaries, or excerpts, and if you click on the title you will find the full entry. Other times the whole entry is displayed.
“Categories” – bloggers usually sort their entries into broad categories (which can also help you work out what the focus of the site is about). If you click on a category (or tag, as they are sometimes called), you’ll find all the entries that relate to that category. Again, sometimes these are summaries, and sometimes they are the full entry.
“Blogroll” – this usually displays links to other blogs that the blogger likes, or blogs that are related to his or her content. They are often a great way to explore.
“Recent Posts” – most blogs will have a section called “recent posts” which outline the most recent entries a blogger has made. There could be up to 10 listed.
“Recent Comments” – some blogs will have links to recent comments that have been made on the entries. Clicking on the name of the commenter will (sometimes) take you to the commenter’s own site, and clicking on the name of the entry will take you to the entry on the site you are currently visiting.
“Search Box” – there is usually a search box that will enable you to search for a particular topic or word on a blog. This can be very useful. Sometimes it will take you to a Google page, but this is because it is using a Google search on that particular site. If you see something that is relevant there, click on it and it will take you to what you are looking for.
“Pages” – sometimes these will be listed at the side, other times at the top of the blog. The most common page is the “about” page, which will contain a little bit more about the author (blogger).
Comments – a vast majority of blogs will accept comments. Don’t be shy, you can make a comment even if you don’t have your own blog (just leave the space that says “website” or “URL” vacant). Blog owners, as a rule, welcome comments – just remember to be respectful. If you disagree with the blogger, it’s okay to say so, but mention your reasons why. Probably your comment won’t appear straight away. Most blog owners like to look at comments before they are displayed on the blog to ensure that nothing too offensive is said, or that no links to “nasty” sites are displayed. Don’t forget to return afterwards to see the reply and join in the conversation!
There are blogs about practically every topic you could imagine! Many of them are written by people who are particularly knowledgeable and / or passionate about their topics.
Some blogs focus on providing information or instruction, whilst others blogs are written for entertainment. Sometimes you get a great combination of both.
One thing is pretty universal with blogs, however, and that is the blogger’s opinion. Rarely will you come across a blog that doesn’t air an opinion.
Next time I’ll tell you a little bit more about how you can keep track of blogs you like (it’s called RSS feeds), but that’s probably enough information for one letter!