Yesterday I laid some background work on what a blog is. Today, I’ll go into more in-depth analysis, using pictures where necessary.
Some of the common features which most blogs have include permalinks, two-way communication and syndication.
As the content of a blog’s home page is pretty dynamic, visitors to a blog need access to previous posts. The links to these posts are called permalinks — or permanent links — because theoretically they do not change.
The two-way comment system is basically a post and feedback system. When you make a post on your blog, visitors who’re interested in your topic usually leave comments on the site through a form or might link to a topic on your blog when making posts.
If you’re active in the blogosphere — as I am — you visit a lot of blogs everyday to check for new content and make comments. As the number of blogs you visit becomes larger, it becomes quite tedious. Most blogs syndicate, or offer an alternate format of their content called a feed. The two most common formats for syndication are Atom and RSS.
It’s a format which contains post titles and either excerpts or complete posts from a blog. As posts are made, the ‘feed’ gets updated. Using compatible software like Google Reader, Newsgator, Microsoft Outlook, or RSSBandit you can be kept updated on posts as they’re made and decide which ones to visit and comment on. People do not have to physically visit a blog to find out what content it has — usually, by looking at the titles in the feed, you can tell.
(Hint: if you’re using Internet Explorer 7 or any other browser, take a look at the address bar. You should see an icon like this if the blog has at least one feed).
The structure of most blogs is pretty much the same — a header, a sidebar and a content section with an optional footer. Typically, the header contains the blog title and description, the content section the posts, the sidebar contains links to other blogs (called a blogroll), and links to previous posts called archives. The footer contains copyright information. Click on the thumbnail to view a labelled profile of a blog, using mine as an example.
This is pretty rudimentary stuff for now. You may be wondering why you should blog. In my next post we’ll look at the advantages of blogging.
Don't worry, o ye advanced bloggers (Vera take note!). When we get to Part 4 we'll discuss techniques and I'll be there to explain some stuff using Blogger and WordPress with lots of screenshots. We'll talk about pinging and XML-RPC, and some other mundane things. Never fear all ye ladies -- I won't 'geek-talk.' ]]>