What is a Blog and How Does it Work?

What is a Blog and How Does it Work

Updated from a post originally published in 2016.

Do you find some of the online lingo spotted on this and other websites confusing? Well, you’re not alone. In this post, what is a blog and how does it work, my goal is to make a few of those murky terms a bit clearer.

As I create content for my website, I routinely find myself using words and phrases that I was unfamiliar with at the beginning of this online venture.

That’s not terribly surprising, is it?

After all, the explosion of the World Wide Web has unquestionably expanded our vocabulary.  We, as retirees, may not have kept pace with that expansion.

From the volume of comments in my inbox, I knew that I should share some background information I’ve learned with my readers. So, here goes!

What is the Definition of a Blog?

Here is the Wikipedia definition.  A blog is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).

The word itself is a shortened version of the term web log.  We’ve come a long way since the term “blog” was first coined in 1999.

Popularity of Blogs

The first blogs began to appear on the scene in the late 1990s. The popularity of blogs has exponentially grown over time because tools have evolved. These phenomenal tools allow blog creation with virtually no technical skill required. There are also many avenues for creating free blogs such as blogger.com.

As a result of these technology advances, well over 200 million blogs exist today. Blog topics run the full gamut including personal online journals, news, political commentary, and any imaginable niche-related topic. The NY Times provides a categorized list of well-known blogs that may give you some sense of the diversity out there.

Go ahead and explore the list a bit. Or, bookmark a few for later because no matter what your interests are, you’re bound to find some excellent reads!

Blog vs. Website

All blogs are websites in that they have a unique address on the web. But it’s not true that all websites are blogs. Unlike blogs which are continuously updated with new and fresh articles, some websites contain only static pages of content. These pages are often referred to as evergreen content.

Brick and mortar businesses often have websites of a static nature that provide information on available products or services that the business offers. In many respects, these sites are similar to a product catalog or a brochure.

Distinctions Between Blogs and Other Websites Have Become Blurred

Today, many sites combine evergreen web pages with blog posts. The development of powerful Content Management System (CMS) software like WordPress has made this easy to accomplish. Niche websites, such as my own, often use this approach and many small businesses now see value in adding a blog.

The primary purpose of any site is to provide useful information to a target audience, and this is accomplished very effectively with a blog. Bloggers use keyword research and participate in online forums to stay abreast of the buzz and respond to reader concerns in a more timely manner.

Webmasters use web pages to communicate very basic but essential information that is relevant to core visitors and is not expected to change significantly. Some examples on my site are Getting Started Online, Build A Website and Monetize Your Site.  These are “evergreen” because they represent fundamental topics for anyone interested in making money online.

The blogging component of my site then allows me to consistently supplement these pages with additional information through new articles. As a result, I stay in touch and interact more frequently with my readers.

I write blog posts to

  • answer specific questions from readers (like this one ),
  • provide helpful tips to new bloggers,
  • review useful tools,
  • and share related and pertinent topics with my visitors.

One website page, frequently the homepage, functions as a blogroll. This page lists the title of each post published on the site individually along with a snippet of information. Just click the Read More button to explore the entire article. The blogroll is often a treasure trove of intriguing topics. Therefore, this is always my first stop when I discover a new website.

How Does a Blog Work?

Blogs function as a dynamic communication tool. You present relevant, fresh information to a target audience on a regular basis. The ability to use text, images, video, and links to related articles makes this medium a powerful one.

The multimedia aspect makes it easy to understand the almost universal appeal, doesn’t it? Another fabulous aspect of a blog is that it encourages and enhances reader engagement by soliciting comments and feedback. Popular bloggers write in an informal, conversational style. Thus, they invite dialog.

Quality blog posts offer numerous benefits including improved search engine rankings and increased traffic. Google loves to see the addition of information-rich blog posts and will crawl the website more frequently. The use of appealing keywords draws viewers to your site and may trigger return visits.

Please enjoy the video below. We’re all visual creatures, right? So, here is an easy to understand visual depiction of what a blog is and how it works. I know this will help pull these concepts together because it’s short, colorful and engaging.


Related Terms and Usage

Let’s throw out a few more facts just to add to the fun, shall we?

We use the word blog as both a noun and a verb.  So, I can say that I blog about particular topics and the written content is my blog. A blogger is the individual writing the content.  Blogging describes the activity itself. Finally, posting a blog contributes content to the blogosphere.

Final Thoughts and Requests

I sincerely hope this article, What is a Blog and How Does it Work, was helpful in clarifying potentially unfamiliar terms. If so, please share the article with others who may have similar questions.

Have you created your website and blog yet?  If not, I urge you to join me and thousands of others because we’re actively pursuing our dream of working online. A blog is a superb vehicle for supplementing income in a variety of ways such as affiliate marketing. You can get your start today at Wealthy Affiliate, the best online platform on the Internet.

Do you still have questions? Would you like additional terms addressed in future blogs? Then, please leave a comment below. I’ll be in touch quickly!

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10 thoughts on “What is a Blog and How Does it Work?”

  1. Very good post on what a blog is and how it works. I have to say that I love doing it on my website as I love the niche that I’m in. That’s what makes blogging enjoyable, being in a niche that you love so that way it doesn’t seem like a chore to you. Excellent stuff!

    • Hi Brian,

      Thanks very much for your comments. I couldn’t agree with you more. Blogging is great when you have the opportunity to research and then write about interesting topics that you enjoy.

  2. It’s great that you are providing information for retirees about terms that are used quite freely on the Internet. Even the word blog can feel like it is part of a quite alien language if you are new to the Internet.
    I am from a generation that had just pencil and paper at school so I know how it feels. That said however, setting up a website, or starting a blog has become incredibly easy, it would be a shame therefore if someone who is retired didn’t take advantage of this. Your site will help people overcome their insecurities about the Internet.

    • Hi Ray,

      I really appreciate your great comments. It sounds like you and I may be from a similar pencil and paper generation 🙂 . You’re absolutely right that the tools available today make creating a website very easy and it’s a super opportunity for retirees to supplement their income. My goal is to help retirees get comfortable with this possibility. I really do believe that more familiarity with some of the terms bandied about will help a lot!

  3. For the Internet user who does not know what blogging is the article here definitely is a big help in explaining how it is used and to help going about getting one set up and using it to convey your interest thoughts and ideas. People also have to remember it is about commitment and time to get your blog going and recognized

    Thanks for the information


    • Hi Angela,

      I’m glad you found my post to be helpful. I certainly agree about the commitment. It definitely does take time for your blog to become known and to build traffic. I hope you’ll visit my site again as I continue to add to the content.

      Thanks for your comments!

  4. Hi there, thanks for your clear explanation. I understand better the difference now. I think the combination of static pages and blog posts are very interesting because otherwise high authority websites would need huge menus, which is not good for SEO. I have also notices many companies have their own blogs, which is good for getting their websites ranked in the serps.

    • Hi Stefan,

      I’m glad to hear my explanation clarified things for you. I have to agree that a combination of static, evergreen pages and blog posts makes sense in most situations. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  5. Blogging is absolutely fantastic if you have a passion for it. I started blogging 4 years ago but I picked a niche that I wasn’t really into and I had no passion for it, so I dropped it for a long time. Now, I’ve rediscovered blogging again and I picked a niche that I love personally and now I’m much more passionate about what I write and how I write. I think the most important thing about blogging, is picking a niche that you enjoy talking about all the time!

    • Hi Rich,

      I couldn’t agree with you more. Blogging is a long-term commitment and continued success requires developing and adding content for years to come. You need an engaging topic that inspires you to maintain your enthusiasm. The great thing is that potential niche topics are endless encompassing everything under the sun.

      I’m glad to hear you’ve found the passion that drives you as have I. I wish you every success with your blog and I appreciate your insightful comments!


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