The Definition, Origin, and Purpose of the Term 'Blog'

Blogs feed the internet's hunger for content

Hands resting on a computer keyboard.

  Kiyoshi Hijiki / Getty Images 

A blog is a website that consists of entries called posts that appear in reverse chronological order with the most recent entry appearing first, similar in format to a daily journal. Blogs typically include features such as comments and links to increase user interactivity. Blogs are created using specific publishing software.

The term "blog" is a mashup of "web log." Variations of the term:

  • Blogging: The act of writing a post for a blog.
  • Blogger: A person who writes content for a blog.
  • Blogosphere: The online community of blogs and bloggers.

The World Before Blogging

There was a time when the internet was just an informational tool. In the early life of the World Wide Web, websites were simple and provided one-sided interaction. As time went on, the internet became more interactive, with the introduction of transaction-based websites and online shopping, but the online world remained one-sided.

That all changed with the evolution of Web 2.0 — the social web — where user-generated content became an integral part of the online world. Today, users expect websites to provide two-way conversations, and blogs were born.

The Birth of Blogs is recognized as the first blogging site on the internet, although the term "blog" didn't exist when Justin Hall, a college student, created it in 1994 and referred to it as his personal homepage. It is still active.

Early blogs started as online diaries in the latter half of the 1990s. Individuals posted information daily about their lives and opinions. The daily posts were listed in reverse date order, so readers viewed the most recent post first and scrolled through previous posts. The format provided an ongoing inner monologue from the writer.

As blogs evolved, interactive features were added to create a two-way conversation. Readers took advantage of features that allowed them to leave comments on blog posts or link to posts on other blogs and websites to further the dialogue.

Blogs Today

As the internet has become more social, blogs have gained in popularity. Today, there are more than 440 million blogs with more entering the blogosphere every day. Microblogging site Tumblr alone had a reported 350 million blogs as of July 2017 according to

Blogs have become more than online diaries. In fact, blogging is an important part of the online and offline worlds, with popular bloggers influencing the worlds of politics, business, and society with their words.

The Future of Blogs

It seems inevitable that blogging will become even more powerful in the future with more people and businesses who recognize the power of bloggers as online influencers. Blogs increase search engine optimization, they foster relationships with current and potential customers and connect readers to your brand — all good things. Anyone can start a blog, thanks to the simple — and often free — tools readily available online. The question will likely become not, "Why should I start a blog?" but rather, "Why shouldn't I start a blog?"