Let’s start with some definitions and background – blog is a shortened form of weblog. The word weblog was introduced by Jorn Barger, one of the first American bloggers, in 1997 as a description of logging the web when he was surfing. It was shortened to ‘blog’ by Peter Merholz, who broke the word into the phrase ‘we blog’ in 1999.
Following on from there, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used the word blog as both a noun and verb and created the term blogger in connection with Pyra Labs’ Blogger website. These terms have been in popular use ever since. For a more detailed history have a look at Wikipedia.
The original blogs were online diaries and journals, and from 1999 their use grew rapidly as technology developed and became more readily available to the general public. Specialised blogging tools were also created making it even easier for anyone to write a blog.
A blog can be written about anything and is generally a series of posts about a particular subject. For example, there are many travel blogs where individuals post their experiences and give advice to prospective travellers. There are blogs about beauty, book reviews, politics, recipes and practically any subject you can think of!
A section is normally available on each post where people can make comments or ask questions. Posts are added at regular intervals depending on the subject of the blog. Blogs can attract many followers if the subject is interesting and the blog is well written.
There are several well-known platforms used for blogging including WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr. These are open source, free to use websites, although you can also choose to pay for various extra functions. WordPress, for example, has lots of free themes but if you choose to pay a fee to upgrade, many more themes are available or you can create your own.
Blogging for business can be thought of in two different ways:
- Businesses using blogs as part of their advertising strategy by linking to their websites.
- Individuals making money out of blogging by using an advertising network through a third party, for example Google Adsense, or getting companies to advertise directly on the blog once it is well established and gets plenty of traffic.
Instead of continually updating their websites, many organisations now embed blogs within the company website. The blogs are used for many purposes, including keeping clients up-to-date with products and services. Settings in the blog enable the blog posts to be visible in search engines and bring visitors to the website.
The blog should be set up so that each post can be shared on other social media and there are buttons for this purpose. This means that the company’s goods or services can be brought to the attention of many people. There is also an opportunity to like the posts and make comments.
Comments can provide very useful feedback and need to be monitored. Many organisations now have dedicated social media teams that monitor all the sites.