About a year ago, I tried to give an alternate way to think about “what is a blog“.
Since then, I’ve also become a big fan of Pajama Market. Great minds think
alike; on the same day, Brian came out with his “what
is a blog” post, I was trying to explain them in a private florist
forum. Here is my attempt:
This single post isn’t a deifnitive answer, but a discussion
A blog is a web-based application. Some people confuse them
with a traditional website, and some use blogs instead of websites, but blogs
are actually different. If you think about a traditional website, the
navigation is very structured, and content is arranged usually hierarchically.
The design of a webpage can get very complex, and may contain a considerable
amount of content. It often takes a lot of work to create and maintain a
traditional website, sometimes involving special software tools and technical
knowledge. When a visitor returns to a traditional website, the new content is
not readily apparent.
On the other hand, blogs are designed to be very
simple. Content is shown in order of date added, with the most recent posts at
the top of the page. After a certain time period or number of posts, older
content rolls off the bottom. The blog application automatically creates the
navigation. Posts are arranged by date, and into categories (a.k.a. tags).
Clicking on a tag brings up all posts in that category, arranged from most
recent to oldest. There is typically only one or two levels of navigation in a
blog. The page layout of a blog is very simple.
Adding a new post is
easy. You simply log in, click the “new post” button, and use a rich text
editor, same as posting here. Very, very similar. No software necessary other
than your browser.
Different blog applications differ in their
capabilities. The software we use at FloristBlogs.com has some very advanced
features, but is easy to use.
…On many traditional websites, there was often a
“what’s new” or “announcements” page, that was cumbersome to work with, and
just as difficult to update as the rest of the site. A blog is a far superior
way to replace a “what’s new” page.
One of the limitations of a website
is knowing who is linking to to you. Blog applications are designed to talk to
one another. When I post a link on my blog to someone else’s blog, my software
sends a message called a “trackback” to the other person’s blog. They know
immediately that I linked to them, and can follow the trackback to the post
which has the link. Trackbaks were originally shown along with post comments,
but trackbacks have become heavily abused by spammers, so the trackbacks are
now rarely displayed, if the functionality is even enabled at all.
obvious follow-up is whether to have a blog, or a website, or both. This
depends on your business, but in our case, I’d recommend both if possible.
They serve different purposes. A website should be considered an additional
shop, while a blog is a marketing channel.
I missed a few points in my definition, which Brian covers in his post at http://www.pajamamarket.com/pajama_market_small_busin/2007/01/what_is_a_blog.html.
Worth a read.