A blog is an informal online discussion or informative blog posted on the Internet consisting of frequently updated, loosely chronological blog-style text postings. Blogs are not formally published journals, though they have many of the same characteristics. Posts are generally displayed in chronological order, with the latest post appearing at the top, followed by older posts. Some blogs provide “searchable” content; this means that users can look for specific topics or keywords to find posts relevant to their search. Most blogs now also include some sort of comment feature, though in the early days blog comment spam was commonplace, search engines now removing such comments before they are displayed to the public. Still, the ability to leave feedback and receive responses is a significant part of what makes a blog appealing.
In addition to providing a venue for ongoing dialogue between authors and visitors, blogs offer many other unique features that make them appealing to bloggers looking to monetize their efforts. For example, some blogs host user submitted links to high quality new articles or blogs that authors have posted. When readers click on these links, the blog host receives a portion of the revenues that would normally be earned through advertisements. The same is true of social networking sites that allow users to leave comments on blog posts or websites. Many blog owners also make money through advertising on their blogs, though this practice is becoming less popular as people are less likely to click on ads on their computers when they are searching for content rather than viewing it already. Still, there are hundreds of blogs on the Internet, and new ones are being launched every day.
The biggest drawback to blogging is that it is largely self-directed. The blog owner must create content, and then publish it on the Internet. Some authors and writers are comfortable with this arrangement, but many find blogging an unsatisfactory chore. As a result, there are now dozens of blog hosting service providers available that provide templates, hosting facilities and even technical support for bloggers. These services are generally inexpensive, especially compared to the cost of maintaining a blog on one’s own server or in a shared environment.