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By 3 September 2008 | Categories: netsmart

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Most Internet users have almost certainly heard the term “Blog” before, and you might have a rough idea of what a Blog is. The word Blog is a contraction of “web log”, so if we looked at an actual definition of the term then a Blog is a ­web-based log, or diary, of your thoughts, ideas, useful links, ­photos, videos, or the latest news. Blogging has started to enter a realm of its own, as recently it has been moving from a fad to becoming an industry. We see thousands of people ­entering the Blogosphere daily.

It is important to understand the difference between a ­website and a Blog. The evolution from website to Blog has changed how people communicate, and is changing how ­journalism is done. Let’s look at the development of Blogs to help you learn more about Blogging, and about the difference between website and a Blog.

Generally a website is a bunch of web pages on a server that provide a sort of billboard of information. A website can be a collection of articles, news, links, information, photos, facts and almost anything you want (not to confuse things, but  a website can even host a Blog!). A website is more about serious information. A Blog, on the other hand, is probably about less serious information. The great thing about a Blog is that anyone can start one and write one. It’s a straight-forward thing to do. Here’s how you do it:

1.    Find a decent blogging provider. Check out a few and pick one that appeals to you.
       See further down for my recommendations.
       Most don\'t require much technical ­know-how.
2.    Sign up with the site you prefer and pick a ready-made ­templates and colour scheme.
3.    Decide if you want your blog to be private or public. In other words, do you want anyone on the
       Internet to be able to read your
       blog, or do you just want your friends and family to be able to read it? Most blog sites let you
       password-­protect your blog so
       only those you choose can read it.
4.    After you’ve done this basic setup start to write! At first it might be difficult to know what to write
       about, so start with something easy, for example write about your day, your thoughts, ideas,
       fears, joys or anything that’s on your mind!
5.    Publish your blog by sending the web address to your family and friends, or publish it on your
       website if you have one. Add your blog address to posts you make on other blogs.
6.    You’re done! Get into a Blogging routine. If you update your blog frequently, more people
       will visit regularly to read it.

Popular Blog publishing sites to try:
•    WordPress – www.wordpress.com
•    Blogger.com – www.blogger.com
•    Live Journal - www.livehournal.com

Sites to help you improve your Blog:
•    Weblog Basics – http://tinyurl.com/6za3qf
     (30-minute audio overview of blogging basics)
•    Build a Better Blog – http://tinyurl.com/27mamn
     (Build a better Blog in 31 days)
•    SpillBean – http://www.spillbean.com
      (Blog search directory and resource guide)

Keep blogging, and pretty soon you’ll be writing the NetSmart column! Enjoy. lance@brandedinternet.co.za 

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