What is a Blog? What is a Blogger? What is Blogging?

[This is part of the Blogging Foundations Starter Kit Series.]

Do you remember the first time you heard the word “blog”? What was your original thought? How did you respond?

Well, as familiar as you might be to what a “blog” is, there are people who hear it for the first time every single day and have no idea what it really is. They are having that first encounter like you did right now!

Neat, right? In any case, I thought it would be profitable to start from square one and revisit some blogging basics that many take for granted.

So, let’s start from the very beginning and answer that very basic question:

What is a “blog”?

You can find about 2.6 million answers (and counting) to that specific question via Google but I wanted to present the answer in a few different ways so that you, as the new guy or gal, can get it, or if you know someone who wants to know then you can pass them this post.

Let’s start simply, shall we?

Simple Definitions:


Here are a few very simple definitions that can get you started. If you find these to be good enough for you then you’re done reading this post!

  • A blog originally came from the word “weblog” or a “web log”.
  • You can think of it as an online journal or diary, although blogs are used for much more now, like online journalism.
  • A blogger is someone who blogs, or writes content for a blog.
  • Blogging is the act of writing a post for a blog.

Got it? That was easy, and that’s all you might need to know to get started.

Intermediate Definitions:


Want a little more “meat” on your blogging-knowledge bones? Try these definitions on for size:

  • A blog is a type of website which has posts (or entries) appearing in reverse chronological order.
  • Blog posts typically appear with the most recent blog post (or entry, post) first, just like a diary or journal.
  • A blog is typically updated frequently and regularly, although there are some who are considered “slow bloggers”.
  • Blogs typically have an area for people to comment or respond to the blog post.
  • Blogs may also have other areas of content and links to other websites.
  • Blogs can have individual authors or be a collection of authors.
  • Blogs have a history or an archive of previous blog posts.

Not too bad, right? We’re beginning to describe some of the features of a typically blog.

Advanced Definitions:



If you’d like to complete your education of what a blog is then you can read some of the following “advanced” definitions:

  • A blog is a collection of content that is organized repetitively. This content can take the form of basic words (copy) as well as rich media (audio, video, and embeddable objects).
  • A blog typically focuses on a particular subject matter for clarity, focus, and
  • A blog can be built by hand, manually through writing the post, uploading to a website via FTP, and then publishing.
  • A blog can also be managed by software, sometimes called a CMS (Content Management System), where a lot of the features are automatically created and populated.
  • A blog typically can be read in a number of different formats including the homepage, single post page, categories, tags, and also via RSS and other such syndication technologies.
  • Readers and visitors can subscribe to the blog so that they can consume the content in a variety of different means, tools, devices, and applications.
  • A blog today could take the form of microblogging (like Twitter, Posterous, Tumblr), vblogging (video blogging), and more which can focus on a particular type of content or technology.

Whew. Done yet?

Super Geek Definitions:



Finally, if you’re just bored, have too much time, or are exceptionally curious, here are a few super geeky definitions that I came up with:

  • A blog can be whatever you want it to be; it’s not about the what but the why.
  • A blog is a collection of strategically-placed 1′s and 0′s typically called software.
  • Everything is a blog and nothing is a blog, at the same time.
  • Blogging is what you do, what you do not do, and what you wish you had done when you did it.

Finally, one person in particular puts it this way when asked to define a blog:

I don’t care.

There is no need to define ‘blog.’ I doubt there ever was such a call to define ‘newspaper’ or ‘television’ or ‘radio’ or ‘book’ — or, for that matter, ‘telephone’ or ‘instant messenger.’

A blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to share your shopping list. People will use it however they wish. And it is way too soon in the invention of uses for this tool to limit it with a set definition.

That’s why I resist even calling it a medium; it is a means of sharing information and also of interacting: It’s more about conversation than content … so far. I think it is equally tiresome and useless to argue about whether blogs are journalism, for journalism is not limited by the tool or medium or person used in the act.

Blogs are whatever they want to be. Blogs are whatever we make them. Defining ‘blog’ is a fool’s errand.

Ah, got it!

And if that wasn’t enough for you, check out this video, from Common Craft:

[tentblogger-vimeo 15314924]

And even another great one here too!

[tentblogger-youtube WwcW5AKcfl4]

I hope this extensive overview was helpful!

Do you know why you should blog? Check out this post on “20 Reasons Why You Should Blog.”

[This is part of the Blogging Foundations Starter Kit Series.]

  • http://www.dewittrobinson.com Dewitt Robinson

    Yeah John, I think this sums it ALL up. Thanks for the extensive overview. Great clip too! I wonder which blogs were the first created in ’03?

    • John Saddington

      there’s a good history here.

      • http://www.dewittrobinson.com Dewitt Robinson

        Wow! I guess blogging has been around a lot longer than I thought.

  • http://twitter.com/bnotess Brian Notess

    I love the Common Craft “In Plain English” videos.

    Simple production – effective communication.

    Oh, and also good post.

    • John Saddington

      :) thanks brian! yeah, common craft makes it easy.

  • Trevor Taylor

    That video makes me want to break out some glue sticks.

    • John Saddington

      i thought i read “glow” sticks… and I was like… wah?

  • monacojay

    That was great! I am new to bogging and already savvy because of this little gem:) Thanks bra!


    • John Saddington

      sure thing!

  • monacojay

    That was great! I am new to bogging and already savvy because of this little gem:) Thanks bra!


  • http://joshsube.com Josh Sube

    Question: How narrow is too narrow a niche for monetizing with a blog? Is there such a thing?

    • John Saddington

      what are we talking about specifically? i can’t imagine anything too niche to be quite honest.

      • http://joshsube.com Josh Sube

        I have started a coaching youth football blog. I have mainly recordings of interviews I’ve done on there now. The idea is to help the other youth football coaches be a great coach for the kids they coach/teach. Is this too narrow of a niche if I want to monetize it?

        • John Saddington

          i don’t think so at all. you can start there and expand.

  • Art Cummings

    You’re an inspiration. After your talk last night, I decided to combine my interests of learning to be a better programmer with WordPress. I’m going to do a blog about learning WordPress, step by step and give you credit along the way. I intend to start by looking at your free plugins and themes.

    Thanks for a great talk last night.


    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing art! btw, i’m sorry you bought that domain before you knew… but you’ll need to get a new domain name.


      you’re breaking trademark and you don’t want to do that.

      • Art

        Thanks John,

        I’ve now learned the hard way about what is meant by checking before getting a domain.

        Always the best teacher.

        Appreciate it.


        • http://john.do John Saddington

          all good!

      • Art

        Guess what my first blog post will be about?

        Thanks again,


        • http://john.do John Saddington

          ah… ;) i think i know!

  • thepilatesbiz


    • http://john.do John Saddington


  • saumya


  • sejangos

    do you know deffenent between blog and post in wordpress.

  • yongo charles

    The one who is going first is who becomes position one in the race.

  • http://www.actressone.com krishna

    Blogger is creating our own but how to add links to bloger

    and blogging

    thank you!

  • MostD

    i just dont understand the urge the need to tell(write) stuff about yourself or your life to the world, to complete strangers…sure its cool that people are connected and
    what not but i would never write a blog, i dont need to.

    I kinda am a man of virtues and above all modern day things like vanity and stuff

    • http://john.do/ John

      then you miss the point of why a lot of us write: to educate and provide value for others. a shame, really, if you’re above “vanity” but aren’t willing to help and support others. sounds pretty selfish to me…

  • http://xmoorilearn.wordpress.com Dharsh

    blogs are excellent teaching tools check out my wife’s blog

  • http://allbloggingtips.com Ammar Ali

    The videos are not working properly John.

  • Michelle

    I am glad I was referred to your blog, as a potential new blogger who is intimitaded by technology, but am passionate about my subject, I thank you SO much for your very detailed blog to help someone like me who requires a lot of hand holding to get started. I am planning to spend time on your site to gain the confidence to move forward and to determine if I should move forward….

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