Introduction to Blogging

 

What is a "blog"?

"Blog" is an abbreviated version of "weblog," which is a term used to describe websites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information. A blog features diary-type commentary and links to articles on other websites, usually presented as a list of entries in reverse chronological order. Blogs range from the personal to the political, and can focus on the articles on other websites. S on one narrow subject or a whole range of subject s.

Many blogs focus on a specific topic, such a s Web design, home staging, sports, or mobile technology. Some are more eclectic, presenting links to all types of other sites. And other s are more like personal journals, presenting the author's daily life and thoughts.

General speaking (although there are exceptions), blogs tend to have a few things in common:

diagram
  • A main content area with articles listed chronologically, newest on top. Often, the articles are organized into categories.
  • An archive of older articles.
  • A way for people to leave comments about the articles.
  • A list of links to other related sites, sometimes called a "blogroll".
  • One or more "feeds" like RSS, Atom or RDF files.

Some blogs may have additional features beyond these. Watch this short video for a simple explanation for what a blog is.

Here are some professional bloggers'points of view on what is a blog.

What is a "blogger"?

A blogger is a person who owns or runs a blog or a person who maintains the blog. That is, posting articles or new posts, information, sharing the most up-to-date news, opinions and case studies to name but a few. Such entries are known as blog posts.

The Blog Content

Content is the raison d'tre for any website. Retail sites feature a catalog of products. University sites contain information about their campuses, curriculum, and faculty. News sites show the latest news stories. For a personal blog, you may have a bunch of observations, or reviews. Without sort of content, there is little reason for update. To visit a website more than once.

On a blog, the content includes articles (also called "posts" or "entries") that author (s) writes. Yes, some blog s have multiple author s, each writing his/her own articles. Typically, blog author s compose their articles in a web-based interface, build into the blogging system itself. Some blogging system s also support the ability To use stand-alone "weblog client" software, which allows authors to write articles of fline and upload them at a later time.

Comments

Want an interactive website? Wouldn't it be nice if the readers of a website could leave comments, tips or impressions about the site or a specific article? With blogs, they can! Posting comments is one of the most exciting features of blogs.

Most blogs have a method to allow visitors to leave comments. There are also nifty ways for authors of other blogs to leave comments without even visiting the blog!Called "pingbacks" or "trackbacks", they can inform other bloggers when they never cite an article from an other site in their own articles. Be maintained painlessly among various site users and websites.

The Difference Between a Blog and CMS?

Software that provides a method of managing your website is commonly called a CMS or "Content Management System". Many blogging software programs are considered a specific type of CMS. They provide the features required to create and maintain a blog, and can make publishing on the Internet as simple as writing an article, giving it a title, and o. When some CMS programs offer vast and sophisticated features, a basic blogging tool provides an interface where you can work in an easy and, to some degree, intuitive ways while it handles the logistics involved in making your composition presentable and publicly available. Focus on what you want to write, and the blogging tool takes care of the rest of the site management.

Through its Administration Screen, you can set options for the behavior and presentation of your weblog. Via these Administration Screen, you can easily compose a blog post, push a button, and be published on the Internet, instantly! S To see your blog posts look good, the text look s beautiful, and the HTML code it generates conforms to web standards.

If you're just starting out, read Getting Started with WordPress, which contains information on how to get WordPress set up quickly and effectively, as well as information on performing basic tasks within WordPress, like creating new posts or editing existing ones.

Things Bloggers Need to Know

In addition to understanding how your specific blogging software works, such as WordPress, there are some terms and concepts you need to know.

Archives

A blog is also a good way to keep track of articles on a site. A lot of blogs feature an archive based on dates (like a monthly or yearly archive). The front page of a blog may feature a calendar of linked dates to daily archives. Archives can also be based on categories featuring all the articles related to a specific category.

It does not stop there; you can also archive your posts by author or alphabetically. The possibilities are endless. This ability to organize and present articles in a composed fashion is much of what makes blogging a popular personal publishing tool.

Feeds

A Feed is a function of special software that allows "Feedreaders" to access a site automatically looking for new content and then post updates about that new content to another site. This provides a way for users to keep up with the latest and hottest information posted on different blogging sites. Some Feeds include RSS (alternately defined as Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, Atom or RDF files. Dave Shea, author of the web design weblog Mezzoblue has written a comprehensive summary of feeds.

Syndication

A feed is a machine readable (usual XML) content publication that is updated regularly. Many weblogs publish a feed (usual RSS, but also possibly Atom and RDF and so on, as described above). There are tools out there that call "feedreaders". What do they keep checking specified blogs to see if they have been updated, and when N The blogs are updated, they display the new post, and a link to it, with a n excerpt (or the whole contents) of the post. Each feed contains items that are published over time. When checking a feed, the feeder is actually looking for new items. New items are automatically discovered and downloaded for you to read, so you don't have to visit a. Ll the blogs you are interested in. All you have to do with these feeders is to add the link to the RSS feed of all the blogs you are interested in. The feedreader will then inform you when any of the blogs have new posts in them. Most blogs have these "Syndication" feeds available for the readers to use.

Managing Comments

One of the most exciting features of blogging tools are the comments. This highly interactive feature allows users to comment on article posts, link to your posts, and comment on and recommend them. These are known as Trackbacks and pingbacks. We'll also discuss how to moderate and manage comments and how to deal with the annoying trend in "co." Mment spam ", when unwanted comments are posted to your blog.

  • Trackbacks
  • Pingbacks
  • Use Pingbacks and Trackbacks
  • Comment Moderation
  • Comment Spam

Trackbacks

Trackbacks were originally developed by SixApart, creators of the MovableType blog package. SixApart has a good introduction to trackbacks:

In a nutshell, TrackBack was designed to provide a method of notification between websites: it is a method of person A saying to person B, "This is something you may be interested in." To do that, person A sends a TrackBack Ping to person B.

A better explanation is this:

  • Person A writes something on their blog.
  • Person B wants to comment on Person A's blog, but wants her own readers to see what she had to say, and be able to comment on her own blog
  • Person B posts on her own blog and send a trackback to Person A's blog
  • Person A's blog receives the trackback, and displays it a s a comment to the original post. This comment contains a link to Person B's post

The idea here is that more people are introduced to the conversation (both Person A's and Person B's readers can follow links to the other's post), and that is a level of authenticity to the trackback comments because they originated from another weblog. Unfortunately, there is no verification performed on the incoming trackback, and Even they can even be faked.

Most Trackbacks send to Person A only a small portion (called an "excerpt") of what Person B has to say. This is meant to act a s a "teaser". Letting Person A (and his readers) see some of what Person B has to say, and encouraging them all to click over to Person B's site to read the rest (and sibly comment).

Person B's trackback t o Person A's blog generally gets posted along with all the comments. This means that Person A can edit the contents of the trackback on his own server, which means that the whole idea of "authenticity" is not really solved. (Note: Person A can only edit the contents of the trackback on his site. He cannot edit the post o o o his site. N Person B's site that sent the trackback.

Six Apart has published an official trackback specification.

Pingbacks

Pingbacks were designed to solve some of the problems that people saw with trackbacks. That is why the official Pingback documentation sounds so much like the description of a trackback:

For example, Yvonne writes an interesting article on her Web log. Kathleen reads Yvonne's article s and comments about it, linking back to Yvonne's original post. Using pingback, Kathleen's software can automatically notify Yvonne that her post has been linked to, and Yvonne's software can then include this information on her site.

The best way to think about pingbacks is as remote comments:

  • Person A Posts something on his blog.
  • Person B post s on her own blog, linking to Person A's post. This automatic send a ping back to Person A when both have Ping back enabled blog s.
  • Person A's blog receives the pingback, then automatically goes to Person B's post to confirm that the Pingback did, in fact, originate there.

The Pingback is generally displayed on Person A's blog a s simple a link to Person B's post. It is commonly believed that Pingback s do not send any content, a s Trackbacks do. This is not correct. If you get a pingback, you will see an excerpt from that blog in the Edit Comments section of your hboard. The issue is that very few themes display. Ese excerpts from pingbacks. The default WordPress themes, for example, do not display Pingback excerpts.

In fact, there is only one significant difference between pingbacks and trackbacks: Pingbacks and Trackbacks use drastically different communication technologies (XML-RPC and HTTP POST, respectively). But that difference is important because Trackbacks have become the target of so much spam. Authenticity, making it harder to fake a ping back.

Some feel that Trackbacks are superior because readers of Person A's blog can at least see some of what Person B has to say, and then decide if they want to read more (and therefore click over to Person B's blog). Others feel that pingbacks are superior because they create a verifiable connection between posts.

Use Pingbacks and Trackbacks

Comments on blog s are often criticized as lacking authority, since any can post anything using any name they like: there's no verification process to ensure that the person is who they claim to be. Trackbacks and Pingbacks both aim to provide some verification to blog commenting.

To enable Trackbacks and pingbacks, in the Discussion Settings of your Administration Screen, select these items under'Default article settings':

{acontent5}2

Allow link notifications from other blogs (ping backs and trackbacks) on new articles.

Selecting one option and not the other would not be very neighborly & #160;;)

Once enabled, Trackbacks and pingbacks from other sites will appear in your Administration Screen just like other comments, but on your post pages, they will appear according to your theme's design.

Once enabled, pingbacks are sent automatically when you publish your post, you don't have to do anything. To {acontent5}3, you will need to find the trackback URL somewhere on the post page you are linking to. If you can't find one, try to determine if the site supports pingbacks. If it does, you should not have {acontent5}3 as. Copy/paste the trackback U. RL into the {acontent5}3 field on your {acontent5}4 screen. If you don't see the field, go to the screen options and select the {acontent5}3 option. Note that selecting this does not {acontent5}3, it only displays the field called {acontent5}3. When you publish your post, Trackbacks will be sent to the URLs you pasted the field. This field will also show the st you pasted the field. Atus of Trackbacks and Ping backs on your Edit Post screen.

If there is someone who wants to s end a trackback to your WordPress blog because of their blogging software does not support pingbacks, your trackback URL should insert into their post edit screen is your blog post's permalink with "trackback/" appended to the end. If their software support pingbacks, they do not need to do anything, the proce SS is automatic.

Comment Moderation

Comment Moderation is a feature which allows the website owner and author to monitor and control the comments on the different article posts, and can help in tackling comment spam. It lets you model rate comments, & amp; you can delete unwanted comments, approve cool comments and make other decisions about the comments.

Comment Spam

Comment Spam refers to useless comments (or trackbacks, or Ping backs) to posts on a blog. These are often irrelevant to the context value of the post. They can contain one or more links to other websites or domains. Spammers use Comment Spam as a medium to get higher page rank for their domains in Google sell, so that they can be domains at a h Igher price sometime in future or to obtain a high ranking in search results for an existing website.

Spammers are relentless; because there can be substantial money involved, they work hard at their "job." They even build automated tools (robots) to quickly submit their spam to the same or multiple weblogs. Many webloggers, especially beginners, feel overwhelmed by Comment Spam.

There are solutions, though, to avoid Comment Spam. WordPress includes many tools for combating Comment Spam. With a little up front effort, Comment Spam can be manageable, and certainly no reason to give up weblogging.

Pretty Permalinks

Permalinks are the permanent URLs to your individual weblog posts, as well as categories and other lists of Weblog postings. A permalink is what an other weblogger will use to refer to your article (or section), or how you might send a link to your story in an e-mail message. Because others to your individual postings, the URL to that art Icle shouldn't change. Permalinks are intended to be permanent (valid for a long time).

"Pretty" Permalinks is the idea that URLs are frequently visible to the people who click them, and should therefore be crafted in such a way that they make sense, and not filled with incomprehensible parameters. The best Permalinks are "hackable," meaning a user may modify the text in their browser to another section or listi For example, how the default Permalink to a story may look in a default WordPress installation:

{acontent5}7

How is a user to know what "p" represents? Where did the number 423 come from?

In contrast, here is a well-structured, "Pretty" Permalink which can link to the same article, once the installation is configured to modify permalinks:

{acontent5}8

One can easily guess that the Permalink includes the date of the posting, and the title, just by looking at the URL. One may also guess that hacking the URL to be {acontent5}9 would get a list of all the postings from May of 2003 (pretty cool). For more information on possible Permalink patterns in WordPress, see Using Permalinks.

Blog by email

Some blogging tools offer the ability to email your posts directly to your blog, all without direct interaction through the blogging tool interface. WordPress offers this cool feature. Using email, you can now send in your post content to a pre-determined email address & amp; voila!

Post Slugs

If you're using Pretty Permalinks, the Post Slug is the title of your article post within the link. The blogging tool software may simplify or truncate your title into a more appropriate form for using as a link. A title such as "I'll Make A Wish" may be truncated to "ill-make-a-wish". In WordPress, you can change the Slug to something else. Lse, like "make-a-wish", which sounds better than a wish made when sick.

Excerpt

Excerpts are condensed summaries of your blog posts, with blogging tools being able to handle these in various ways. In WordPress, Excerpts can be specifically written to summarize the post, or generated automatically by using the first few paragraphs of a post or using the post up to a specific point, assigned by you.

Plugins

Plugins are cool bits of programming scripts that add additional functionality to your blog. These are often features which either enhance available features or add them to your site.

WordPress offers simple and easy ways of adding Plugins to your blog. From the Administration Screen, there is a Plugins Screen. You can easily search, install and activate Plugins from this Screen.

Basics - A Few Blogging Tips

Starting a new blog is difficult and this can put many people off. Some may get off to a good start only to become quick discouraged because of the lack of comments or visits. You want to stand out from the crowd of millions of bloggers, you want to be one of the few thousand blogs that are actually visited. Here are some simple tips to be visited. Help you on your way to blogging master y:

  1. Post regularly, but don't post if you have nothing worth posting about.
  2. Stick with only a few specific genres to talk about.
  3. Don't put'subscribe'and'vote me' links all over the front page until you have people like your blog enough to ignore them (they're usually just in the way).
  4. Use a clean and simple theme if at all possible.
  5. Enjoy, blog for fun, comment on other peoples'blogs (as they normally visit back).
  6. Have fun blogging and remember, there are no rules to what you post on your blog!
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