how to read a blog

A visual look at recent content on my blog. From Wordle.net

This post isn’t for every one.

It’s for those who aren’t sure they know what a post is.

A post is an entry on a blog. But not everyone who reads this is sure what a blog is either. So this post on this blog is for you.

A blog is technically a web-log. Think star date and Star Trek. It’s a dated entry, very much like a journal, only it’s public, not private. And it has a title, like Too Cool for the Cross or A University of Porches.

The title and its corresponding entry has its own page, called a permalink. This lets you bookmark the post and go back to it later. But the post also appears on the home page as one long list, arranged from the newest to the oldest.

For people who are just beginning to read and understand blogs, this may take some getting used to. It’s called reverse chronology. It means if you want the background for the author’s idea, you may have to burrow for it.

One feature of blogs is links. On this blog, if it’s bold you can probably click on it and go to the original source, or to more information about the word or phrase you click on. This gives the blog credibility and makes it more useful, allowing you to dig deeper into the subject without much trouble.

Another important feature of blogs is comments. We really like it when our readers make comments, even if they disagree with us. Perhaps especially so.

Blogging is a kind of online conversation, spread out over time. People who have ideas like to talk about their ideas. And writers like to share their ideas. That’s why they write in the first place. Comments tell us that someone noticed and thought about our idea.

Recently a stranger wrote a couple of pages of comments on my post about the mosque near ground zero.

I like comments.

More people read a blog than comment on it, of course. But there are ways to find out how many page views we had each day. Not everyone who looks at a page reads it, of course. But we know that the more page views there are the more readers there are.

We like this too.

Bloggers have different or perhaps multiple reasons for caring about how may people look at their blog. Having a lot of readers may allow them to sell advertising. It may help them convince a publisher that people are interested in what they have to say. It may just encourage them to write more about certain subjects that people seem more interested in.

When someone starts a blog, their family and friends may be the only people who read their blog, unless they or their website are already famous. But over time other people find their blog, perhaps my searching for a certain subject or phrase on Google or some other search engine. Searcher’s found my blog this week looking for “jamba juice cheeseburger chill, “wedding homilies ephesians 5”, and “argentina casa rosa.”

I hope some of them come back.

Readers can also subscribe to a blog they like, so they are notified when a new post occurs. There are several ways to do this, but I won’t cover them here.

The main way that page views increase is readers recommending a blog or a particular post to their friends. When people recommend a post on Facebook or Twitter, for example, my page views go up.

This makes me smile.

It doesn’t usually cost anything to read a blog.

But if you enjoy it, feed it. Page views, subscriptions and referrals keep it alive.

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About wally metts

Wally Metts is the daysman. He is director of graduate studies in communication at Spring Arbor University and is a pastor at Countryside Bible Church in Jonesville, MI. The father of four adult children, he and his wife Katie raise barn cats and Christmas trees in Michigan. His grandchildren call him Santa.

3 Responses to “how to read a blog”

  1. Thought I’d post a comment instead of just reading, which I do each time you post something new. Love your writing, Dr. Metts.

  2. Nicely done!

    I personally have a single rule for blog reading: Take with salt. And usually more than just the one grain.

  3. Thank you for this post. I’m sending it to my mother. Even though I’ve had my blog for three years, she hasn’t quite figured out how it works. I think this may help.

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