September 2, 2004

Anatomy of a Weblog

So what is a weblog you might ask. One of the most succinct definitions I've seen so far is the one given by Cameron Barrett on his weblog Camworld. He says:

Typically, a weblog is a small web site, usually maintained by one person that is updated on a regular basis and has a high concentration of repeat visitors. Weblogs often are highly focused around a singular subject, an underlying theme or unifying concept."

However, what comprises a weblog is more the focal point of this post and presentation. So, without further ado, here we go.

Anatomy

  • Posts

  • Now you have a weblog. So now what? The most essential component of any successful weblog is without a doubt a well researched, regularly updated, and a well linked post. The quality of a blog post is directly linked to the readership that a particular weblog builds.

  • Links

  • Maintaining a weblog is often times very similar to writing an academic paper. It is basic etiquette to give credit to an author whose work has been mentioned on your weblog. It is also an oppurtunity to develop a continued readership pool through creating a blog library of other authors. My personal blog, Wanderlust, has approximately 40 blogs listed on the sidebar, and I interact with most authors regularly online.

  • Archives & Categories

  • To the left of this page you can see sections titled Archives and Categories. Most weblogs archive posts by the month that are in turn filed under separate categories and sub-categories. Movable Type (such as this one) and TypePad blogs (such as the one here) have calendars linked to the dates of the blog posts to help readers call up posts without great difficulty. Besides, archiving makes sense - after all the hard work that goes into blogging, who would want to see everything disappear?

  • Commenting & Trackback

  • Commenting is a great way to start networking online, because it allows readers to leave their thoughts on blog posts. Although most weblog providers include this service with the entire package, up until very recently, Blogger (where my blog is hosted) was probably the only provider that came without a "Comments" feature. Highly frustrating, but when you're as crazy about blogging as I am, you eventually end up finding a way out. Haloscan is a great online service that provides commenting and trackback services for free. Speaking of Trackback, all this great little feature does is inform the original author that his/her work has been referenced to in another post. It's the ethical thing to do. Also a great ego booster.

  • Permalinks

  • Simply put, a Permalink is nothing more than a direct link that leads to show a blog post as a complete web page.

  • Syndication

  • Most advanced bloggers have so many blogs linked to their own pages that they have no time to check up on updates every single day. This is where syndication moves in. It applies a very basic "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" principle in that it allows users to subscribe and be subscribed to. Syndication alerts bloggers of new activities on multiple pages. Bloglines is a free online service that users can use to find other blogs and also list their blogs on.

  • Design & Aesthetic Appeal

  • Finally, a very important component of blogging once the basics have been mastered. How the blog actually looks. A weblog with well researched posts can have almost no appeal if it is disorganised. Most blogging services allow users to experiment with templates and redesign blogs depending on personal appeal, but for the more courageous amongst us, there is another free service out there called BlogSkins that allows users to literally download new "skins" for their blogs for a fresher appeal.

  • Other Blogging Accessories

  • Creative Commons License - For those who would want to protect their posts from being plagiarised.

    Web Counters/Site Meters - This service helps bloggers track all the traffic on their websites.

    Blogshares - If you're interested in the stock market, then you'll enjoy putting up shares of your blog out there. All fun and games ofcourse.

    For more accessories and design possibilites, see a personal favourite of mine - Spinning.

    Posted by NehaBawa at September 2, 2004 12:17 PM
    Comments

    Excellent summary, Neha, and quite a bit of information in your usual minimalist style! Oddly, it occurred to me that you started Wanderlust just a year ago this month, and here you have franchised out to your second weblog.

    I think the appeal of a weblog is both in the getting your thoughts out there with nobody butting in, and the butting-in via comments that forms bloggers into cybercliques--formally known as webrings.

    You have mentioned all the general categories of what a weblog is, and I think your presentation not only answers the basic questions but with the links you've provided, invites those interested in pursuing blogging, while pointing them in all the right directions to get easily set up.

    I appreciate the kind references to Spinning, and will send cookies as promised.

    Posted by: susan at September 2, 2004 8:48 PM

    Cookies also welcome this way susan :o)

    Well done Nehu...good job..like I said, you can't find anyone geekier than me and I give it a camp thumps up! Glad all went well gurl..bravo!

    Posted by: Nicholas at September 7, 2004 6:14 PM

    I just got done rereading your presentation on panel 1-a. I found your presentation to be very helpful. Unfortunatly I am someone who is blog illiterate, so your info was very informative. I especially found the weblog "camworld" to be informative.
    Not only was there a definition of what a weblog was, but he also gave examples of different kinds of weblogs. Great job. Have you been blogging for a long time? You seem to very interested in it?

    Posted by: Denishia Salter at September 21, 2004 4:43 PM

    Hi Denishia..thanks for stopping by. I'm glad my presentation helped you. I'll be more than glad to help you out if you get stuck anywhere.

    And yes, I've been blogging for over a year. It's getting to be more of an obsession than an interest.

    Posted by: Neha at September 24, 2004 10:10 AM

    Well Neha, that gave me a great insight into what goes on within a blog. I am speechless and definetetlely feel you have gave me a better understanding of how a weblog is formed.

    Posted by: Simon Andrews at October 14, 2004 1:31 PM

    I'm glad it helped Simon. Sometimes the fun with blogging comes around when you get entangled in the accessories. I hope you're having a good time.

    Posted by: Neha at October 14, 2004 1:56 PM
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