how to read a blog

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

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. You can also share this URL with others. The posts 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. The author puts his posts in categories. This helps you find others posts he or she has created about the same topic.

Another important feature of blogs is comments. Bloggers 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 enough about our idea to say something about it.

We 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. This is encouraging.

We like this too.

Bloggers have different or perhaps multiple reasons for caring about how many 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. Searchers have found my blog 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. You can subscribe to get an email on this blog when new posts appear. Rss feeds, twitter and Facebook announcements are other ways to find out when new material is up.

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 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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8 Responses to “how to read a blog”

  1. Marshall Jones Jr. Reply February 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing. A friend of mine recommended your blog, and I really appreciate the effort and thoughtfulness you’ve put into making this “How to read a blog” page. Nicely done.

    I’m looking forward to reading more from you.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  2. I think I understand a bit more about blogs… but I’m getting too old to mess w it… I enjoy ur stuff wally …. stop by sometime

  3. Just put a number of your blog posts on Stumble Upon. Can’t imagine why I didn’t think of it sooner. I apologize!! Hope that you get lots of new readers.

  4. Very helpful information. Thanks for thinking of what we new people don’t yet know!

  5. Thank you or the information. It helped me to better understand blogs and may help to inspire me to get working on my own blog. If nothing else, reading your blog will help to increase your page views. 🙂

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