Everybody is talking about blogs. They are everywhere: on the TV, in the newspapers, and all over the internet. With the number of blogs doubling every five months, there is no stopping the power of blogs.
But what the heck is a blog? For the elegant simplicity and beauty that blogs create, they certainly have an ugly, ungainly name. Blawg sounds like some kind of gurgling sound your cat makes before coughing up a hairball.
A blog, short for weblog, is often described as an online diary. The most recent entries (called posts) - appear on the homepage of the blog with links to archives of older posts. Archives are organized by date and often categorized by topic. Often, each post will have a form for readers to add their own comments and to give their opinion or reaction to the post’s content.
But that's just what a blog looks like - it doesn’t really tell you why a blog is different from a conventional website. The real genius in blogs appears in the process of how they are written.
You can update your blog instantly from any internet connection on any computer anywhere in the world - even from your summer home in Tahiti (as you sip an ice-cold island cocktail). Blogs are designed for people who don't want to learn (or don’t have the time to learn) HTML or web design. You use a special type of blogging software (called a blog tool) to create and update your weblog. You type your latest post into a simple online form. You click “Publish” and it is instantly available online for the whole world to see. It's super-easy. If you can send an email, you can publish a weblog. So my updated description of a weblog is:
A blog is an easy, instantly and frequently updated website, focused around a topic, industry or personality.
One big reason businesses (especially small businesses and entrepeneurs) flock to blogs is because they reduce dependency on a web design team to get ideas and announcements online. Developing a website for your business can take weeks, sometimes months, from shopping for a designer and doing project negotiation phase to getting the final site launched. Developing a website can be not only costly, but time consuming.
Many of my clients have found blogs a great way to start out online while they are building their business with the eventual goal to move towards a more robust web design solution. Others have moved all of their web sites into a blog format and have vowed to never look back.
You can create a blog and have a website in less than fifteen minutes, for less than $10, with hosting and software included - and, all without having to know anything about web design. With a blog there's ten thousand less decisions to make.
Blogging is the fastest, cheapest, easiest way to build a website in the time it takes to watch a sitcom.
Andy Wibbels is a blogging evangelist and creator of the Easy Bake Weblogs seminar that has helped hundreds of small businesses all over the world leverage blogs and RSS news feeds to increase profits and save time. You can download his free special report on business and blogs at http://easybakeweblogs.com/