You have a pretty good idea of what a blog looks like. As you probably know, a blog is a website, but not every website is a blog. When it comes to blogs, you’ll find food blogs, fashion blogs, music blogs, travel blogs, fitness blogs, lifestyle blogs, sports blogs, DIY blogs, political blogs, finance blogs, business blogs, parenting blogs, movie blogs, personal blogs, news blogs, car blogs, gaming blogs, pet blogs, etc.
How can you know if a website is a blog? There are strong indicators that you’re browsing one of these websites. I will show you some of the most essential blog features next:
1. Entries or posts
A post is a publication made of text, video, audio, images, or a mix. You write an entry on your blog. A blog post is at the center of it. You can see that each publication is separated from other publications.
Each blog post needs expertise and/or some research. This is critical since you want to provide value to your audience. Each blog post has a title; this title ideally has your keywords on it. This makes it findable by search engines.
Many times, an entry has an introduction and a conclusion. Therefore, each blog post should be separated into sections. The h tag in HTML is used frequently to indicate the beginning of a section.
2. Frequent updates
Unlike brochure websites, where content is written mostly once and for all, you’ll find that a blog gets new content often. Many bloggers update their content a few times a week; some other bloggers or publications update their content daily.
Some bloggers, especially those who publish personal information, update their blogs when they feel like it. Finally, many professional bloggers have an editorial calendar in place.
The big question is: how often should you publish? It all depends on your audience and your availability. For many blogs, two or three times a week is fine. However, sometimes you’ll find that you can only publish once a week. The most essential elements to consider are your audience’s needs and your convenience.
3. Reverse chronological order
Reverse chronological order lists things from the latest to the earliest. Chronological order means items are arranged according to regular time, from earliest to latest.
Blog posts in a blog are usually arranged in reversed chronological order. This makes sense since fresh content should be more visible. For example, let’s say you have a news website. You don’t want old news to take the spotlight. Instead, your audience expects news to be at the top, with higher visibility.
A blog follows this logic. It begins with your audience, even if you’re not publishing news. Otherwise, your readers would have to search, using more clicks and spending more time seeking information. This feature is undoubtedly helpful for a blog.
Have you seen the URLs of many online software products? They are usually illegible strings of information. Most humans would have a hard time understanding what these words mean.
The permanent link or permalink of a blog is the full URL you use for a given page, post, or content on your blog. They are usually readable by humans. They make it simple for other blogs or websites to point at them.
Permalinks allow you to make easy-to-use link structures. They make it easy for search engines to rank your website higher. It’s also much easier to share a blog post or page with a colleague or friend.
As I mentioned before, new posts are visible to your readers. What happens with older posts? Although they are essential and provide valuable information to your audience, they don’t usually appear on your blog’s first page. The archives feature of most blogging applications allow your older posts to be found online at any point in the future.
Many posts are not time-sensitive, which is why they are evergreen posts. Many users want to read these posts, even if they are not part of your latest publications. You’ll be creating loyalty by providing the archive service to eager readers who want to read past posts. An archive page increases the time your audience spends on your site.
Most pages on most websites are meant to be 1-way. That is, they provide information to the visitor. For example, with comments, a blog allows readers to add short text messages in response to blog posts. By encouraging conversation and interaction, a user feels like a part of a community. This increases engagement and the time spent on the site.
A dynamic blog helps remember information since readers associate what other lectors write about the subject. A clear benefit of a comment section for bloggers is getting instant feedback. If you make a mistake, a visitor might observe it and communicate with you through a comment.
You can find user-generated content in the form of comments. This means that adequate comments augment your content quality in the eyes of search engines.
Let’s say you’re interested in the business section of a newspaper. You would go to that category and read all the news related to business. No more, no less. The same happens when a blog uses categories. A user can sort blog posts by category. This allows a blogger to write about many different topics, letting readers center on topics of their interest.
As you create categories for your blog, you may wonder how many categories a blog should have? Many experts believe that it should be 8 categories at most. The sweet spot is between four to six categories. If you don’t follow these guidelines, your content may get harder to find.
You’re visiting a website and want to know whether it’s a blog or not. With the features I presented, you will see the category of a site. Does it have entries or posts? This is where you will find text, images, audio, or video. Is it frequently updated? Is it arranged in reverse chronological order? Does it have a permalink? Does it have an archive section? Does it include comments?
By answering these critical questions, you’ll know if a website is a blog. Many blogs begin humbly, being a 1-man operation. As time goes by, they may include more people on staff and become larger sites. No matter what, their essence is the same; they are blogs at heart.