What is a Blog?

Author:
Publish date:

Q: While I've read several sites referred to as "blogs," I'm not really sure what a blog is. What is a blog? —Christopher B.

A: From writers at award-winning newspapers, to magazine editors to your neighbor's teenage son, almost everyone seems to have a blog these days. But ask three people what a blog is, and they'll all give a different answer because blogs have taken on many different shapes and sizes.

According to MerriamWebster.com, a blog (short for "Web log") is "a website that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks provided by the writer." In other words, blogs are easy-to-update sites where the writer is in complete control and posts all of the content.

Blogs are updated frequently, from once a week to several times a day. Entries are typically short (ranging from 50 to 1,000 words) and posted in reverse chronological order. Topics range from politics to sports to dog lovers, but the most successful blogs have very specific, focused niches. For example, Whitney Matheson's Pop Candy blog on the USA Today website focuses on links to pop culture stories she finds on the Web. Cincinnati Enquirer sports reporter John Fay blogs daily on Cincinnati Reds baseball news. And besides this Questions & Quandaries blog, I also have a blog dedicated to the trials and tribulations of being a new father.

Blogging is a very cheap and efficient way to offer your writing up to the masses—even if your masses consist solely of your mother, grandmother and your grandmother's bunko friend. As a writer, it's not only a good way to practice your craft but also a way promote yourself and your work without having to know technical code like HTML, JAVA or any other acronym-sounding computer language.

(Note: For excellent advice on creating a successful blog, check out Maria Schneider's 20 Tips for Good Blogging.)

Brian A. Klems is the online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine.

Have a question for me? Feel free to post it in the comments section below or e-mail me at WritersDig@fwpubs.com with “Q&Q” in the subject line. Come back each Tuesday as I try to give you more insight into the writing life.

Cleland_1:17

Jane K. Cleland: On Writing the Successful Long-Running Series

Award-winning mystery author Jane K. Cleland describes what it's like to write a long-running book series and offers expert advice for the genre writer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: #StartWrite, Virtual Conference, and New Courses

This week, we’re excited to announce free resources to start your writing year off well, our Novel Writing Virtual Conference, and more!

20_most_popular_writing_posts_of_2020_robert_lee_brewer

20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.

Malden_1:16

Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.

writing_mistakes_writers_make_talking_about_the_work_in_progress_robert_lee_brewer

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.

Kelly_1:15

Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.

capital_vs_capitol_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Dulan_1:14

On Writing to Give Grief Meaning and Write Out of Challenging Situations

Author Lily Dulan explains why writers have to be willing to go to difficult places inside themselves for their writing to make a positive impact on ourselves, others, and the world.