Introducing Blog Elements - dummies

Introducing Blog Elements

In the context of blogging, content management almost always means organizing the site by backwards chronology. In this way, your most recent writing appears first. As visitors continue reading your updates, they work backwards in time. Each piece of content is called an entry. When you write a blog, you post entries, and those posted entries are sometimes called posts. (The word post derives from Internet message boards, where online communities chat by means of publicly posted messages.) Each posted entry is stamped with a date and (usually) time. The front page of the blog contains recent entries, with the most recent at the top. Many blogs are organized with big daily headers that group each day’s posts.

Blog software makes easy business of posting entries. The interface is usually similar to the Compose screen you use for e-mail. You write in that screen, and then click a button marked Post or Post Entry. The software uploads the entry to the blog, putting it above previous entries on the home page, and assigning it a date and time stamp. The software also assigns the entry its own page, so that each entry has a dedicated URL (Web address).

In some instances, bloggers make the software put short entry excerpts on the home page (called the index page), saving the entire entry for the dedicated page. With that arrangement, readers can skim short bits of many entries on the index page, clicking through to a dedicated entry page when they want to read an entire post.

Even in blogs where the entire entry is published on the index page, a dedicated page is created —that unique URL enables bloggers to promote individual entries by sharing links to those entries. Creating a series of dedicated pages is how the blog software maintains an archive of everything written.

Here is a summary of the general process of blogging:

1. The blogger writes a blog entry.

2. The blogger posts the new entry.

3. The blog software uploads the new entry and fits it into the Weblog chronologically. Part or all of the entry is placed on the blog’s index page (the home page of the site), and the entire entry is also archived on its own page with a unique URL.

4. Visitors see the index page first, where they can skim recent entries in reverse chronological order. They can click through to individual entries on individual pages.

Blog programs create a unique page for each entry for two reasons: linkability (when you want to point to a specific entry) and continuity — the unique pages are an archive of the entire blog. Archiving is important. You might think that the immediacy of blogs makes past entries obsolete, but the opposite is true. Blogs represent a history of a person’s writing.

It can be fascinating to dive into a blog’s past, and most software encourages visitors to do that by linking to archived posts in a variety of ways:

  • On the index page, at least a few days’ worth of entries are presented.
  • A “recent entries” column is often displayed on the index page’s sidebar, listing recent posts that aren’t on the index page.
  • Deep archives are often listed by month, by year, or by both, somewhere on the index page. A calendar format is sometimes used.

Archived entries are particularly useful in professional diaries and topical blogs, where you might want to research article links and commentary opinion from months or years ago.