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An Introduction to Blogging

Blogger and WordPressThe American Life Project and The Guardian (UK), recently did studies on whether or not the popularity of blogs was growing in these two countries.  Most members of the blogosphere might be surprised by  the results. 

The American Life Project concluded that while the popularity of blogs in today’s readers in the United States was literally exploding, the amount of new blogs being developed were comparatively small.  During the last six months of 2004, while the readers grew from 17% of the population to a whopping 37%, the number of writers only increase by 2% (from 5% to 7%).  Most of these were young, wealthy males.  The increase at that time appeared to be largely attributable to the Presidential race.  Both Presidential candidates used blogging to get the word out and attract new donors to their campaigns. 

The Guardian’s study was more recent. They found similar results in the United Kingdom. They also found,  that readerships had dramatically increased, but did not find the same slow growth in the number of bloggers. They did conclude however, that an astonishing 30% of frequent Internet users had never even heard of a blog. 

So what is the current trend for blogs? … Profusion or obscurity? 

At the present time, blogs provide the best link between websites and forums, and is stands to reason that they will only increase in popularity, but they will likewise continue to improve in quality and functionality, as they have since they were introduced in the mid-1990’s.  That being said, I have decided to create a series of articles here that will assist the blogging newbie, while also providing valuable tools and advice for the intermediate and seasoned bloggers. 

First and foremost, it is important to understand blogging  vocabulary.  To understand blogs, you need to comprehend terms such as blog, platform, domain, and web host.  Once you grasp these basics, you can intelligently discuss blogging.  If you understand what a blog is, you will have a solid foundation to build upon.

Blog is short for weblog.  A weblog could be defined as a  series of online posts presented in reverse chronological order.  That’s it!  While most blogs are text, there are also photo blogs and video blogs. 

Now that we have that out of the way, we will discuss the technical side of things.  If you are setting up a blog, you will need to choose a platform, a web host, and a domain.  A blogging platform is a computer software program that allows you to write posts and to update your blog.  Your platform is also what you use to design the appearance of your blog, from color scheme to font (text) size and style.  It is recommended that you choose a style that is easy to read, as opposed to fancy. The size should be large enough to be easily read, without being so big that it is intrusive.   For beginners, Google has an excellent free blogging platform called “Blogger.”

The web host is sort of like the virtual file cabinet where your blog content is stored.  Your computer communicates with the host when you upload or edit a post. The domain is your blog’s online address, and most frequently ends in “. com”, pronounced ‘dot com’.  You are now thoroughly educated in what a blog is, what a platform is, and what domains and hosts are, congratulate yourself!

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