Five years ago, no one knew what a blog was. Just two years ago, the common concept of blogs in the mainstream psyche involved some sort of digital journal for computer programmers and other technology specialists. Sure, people were talking about Myspace and Facebook, but a lot of people over 30 had no idea what that all really meant.
Well, internet 2.0 is here with us now, and everyone is starting to realize. While blogging isn’t the explosive growth industry that social networking is, it is now taking root in the public consciousness and continuing to expand despite a general economic slowdown.
Its no accident at all that blogs became a major force in the internet, or that they easily conquered top spots on the search engine results.
Easy to Publish
The first point is no contest. A blog is the quickest and easiest way to build a website. You don’t need a degree in network programming – you don’t even need to have been a member of the high school computer club. Thanks to hosting by Blogger and WordPress, the only technical skills required for basic blogging involves being able to use a web browser to fill out forms.
Surfers get a Stake
Comments give users a chance to contribute, and a reason to come back. Before some bloggers decided to farm email addresses from their users, it was (and often still is) a process that is quick, anonymous, and right to the point.
Networks of Links
Trackbacks, comment links, social bookmarking websites, and blogger networks – there is an immense resource of links available to blog publishers. Well, things aren’t as good as they used to be because a lot of bloggers seem to think they can horde their link power, but a little bit of searching will turn up bloggers who still reward their contributors with “good” backlinks that will help out their own search rankings. (Why shouldn’t a comment author get recognition for their contribution?)
Software Helps but the Author is the Key
There’s a lot of reasons why blog software helps build popular websites – technical improvements over prior methods of publishing online. The bottom line is that it gets more authors out on to the stage and from there the competition becomes more interesting.
Its pretty hard to make a living as an author, or at least it was just a few years ago. Publishing is an expensive business – you need printing presses, you need shipping, you need expensive advertising campaigns. Books and magazines and even newspapers are hard to sell, and few of these publishers are looking for new writing talent. At best, they’re trying to keep their old staff in a job!
So that leaves a large pool of creative writing talent out there. With low barriers to entry, blogging software, free and shared hosting, and advertising networks – any author who thinks that have something worth writing about has a chance to do it and let the readers decide.
Ultimately, its about the author. Its about getting more authors online. All of the software and technical advantages are just a means of giving more authors, more visual designers, more photographers and video directors a chance to show what they are capable of.