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Blogs Demystified

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Blogging

Interested in Blogs?
If you are reading this then you are probably curious about what this blog phenomena sweeping the Internet is about. Perhaps you want to create a centralized place for you and your friends to share stories or memories. Perhaps your company seeks to connect with other professionals and customers who share similar interests, concerns, and needs. Still others seek an organized outlet for expressing their points of view and passions.

A Blog History and Primer
To many, blogs conjure notions of super techno-geeks somehow spinning cyber-yarns unrelated to normal everyday life or teenage girls yapping about their boyfriends. The social roots of blogging indeed lay in early BBS (bulletin board) systems of the late 80’s and early 90’s. In those days access to the Internet was often most easily accomplished by subscribing to a dedicated dialup BBS which also provided a gateway to the Internet.

Some of these early IPS’s offered also hosted indigenous content for customers including downloadable software for browsers of the day like Netscape, file transfer utilities like Fetch, chat programs (IRC), mail programs (like Eudora or Pine) and rudimentary technologies for communities to interact. Usually software and other content were not posted on the actual Internet, instead available via command line prompt from the ISP’s own servers.

Other BBS’s offered niche specific content. I first found my way onto the Internet through a famous early Minnesota musician BBS Internet gateway ISP called Digital Bitstream Underground. I could interact with other musicians, download cool MIDI files, meet girls, and get on to the Internet using a very early version of Netscape. It was this generation of ISP’s that spawned Prodigy and AOL which evolved conceptually from these WAN dialup networks initially not laid over the Internet. Many characteristics of early BBS’s are evident in today’s blog software.

What is a Modern Blog?
Most simply stated, blogs are browser-based SEO friendly, and inexpensive (or free) content management systems (CMS) designed to streamline daily publishing of articles, commentary, rants, pictures, audio, video, and other content. Blog software packages provide a simple platform to compose, edit, and publish segmented (if not voluminous) content in an organized system while archiving previous blog “posts” in a system of optimized permanent links called “permalinks.” Usually a blog’s homepage lists today’s posts first with pervious submissions indexed in descending chronological order. The current month’s posts accumulate on the homepage. When each month ends, posts are automatically archived. Current and archived posts are indexed by different sorting functions like category, recent posts, or most popular. You can often search blogs by keyword or phrase.

Nearly all blog software offers free blog graphic templates (to customize page appearance) and most blog software is free for download. One notable exception is Movable Type, for which a fee is charged. Movable type is a somewhat older publishing technology but is well respected, robust, and popular amongst corporate bloggers.

Personal Blogging
There are a number of easy methods to get started and blog for free. WordPress and Blogger are two popular free applications. After a quick account setup your blog is immediately accessible on the internet by means of an address such as www.wordpress.com/yourNewBlog.

Corporate Blogs
If you have more serious ambitions for your blog or you are setting up to blog regarding your business’s niche, it is important to create your blog in your own domain, like www.myBlogDomain.com. Another option is to publish your blog “behind” your existing domain, like www.myExisitingDomain.com/blog.

We help clients determine the most appropriate technical configuration for their blog based on their objective. In advanced installations we install social media tools, RSS feeds, and other apparatus designed to help distribute the blogs content to different and evolving Internet channels. While some blog software is free, clients usually incur some expense in customizing the software and for blog hosting.

Blog On
Whether you’re creating an online marketing blog or simply want to stay in touch with your daughter’s soccer team, this modern day publishing platform is the great equalizer. Blogs are designed with writers, users, and search engines in mind. It’s easy to create articles and to set permissions for others to comment on and link to your posts. Because the technical structure of blogs is so competent and SEO friendly, the search engines can easily spider and index your content.

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