Defining Basic Blogging Terms

BlogHer Original Post

If you're new to blogging, you may be overwhelmed by the jargon tossed around effortlessly online. I started this article thinking I could define a few key blogging terms that may help beginning bloggers find their footing. What I ended up with was an epically long post that needs to be separated into several categorical posts. As I started defining terms, I realized that it would be easier to have separate posts for blogging terms, social media terms, and Twitter terms (though Twitter is part of social media, it has its own vocabulary that will fill a post). But even my list of blogging terms is too long for a single post, so I'm offering you a partial list this week and I'll be back with more next week. Then we'll tackle social media terms, then Twitter terms.

Metal type spelling blog

In the list below, I've included the term, a definition, and a link to an article that provides further explanation or a tutorial. I'd love to know if this is helpful to you or if you prefer just the term and definition.

Blog: Short for weblog. A blog is collection of thoughts, media, links, etc. shared with others online. Most blogs

  • are public, though blogs can be password protected
  • post newest content at the top of the page (in reverse chronological order)
  • allow comments so readers can give feedback to the blog's author and continue the conversation

Article for more help: Just What Is a Blog, Anyway?

Blogosphere: The entire network of blogs. It's sort of like the universe in that it's infinite.

CSS: Stands for Cascading Style Sheets. CSS defines how a web page displays HTML elements. By using a cascading style sheet you can define the page elements of an entire site (e.g., link color, heading color, font, etc.) in a single place. Then, each page created on the site will reference that style sheet and display accordingly. The advantage of this is that, by making a change to a single style sheet, you can change one element throughout an entire site instead of having to open each page and change the element. For example, imagine if BlogHer wanted to change the color of every heading on every article to a darker green. It would be a nightmare to open each document and change every single heading markup. Instead, using a stylesheet that defines the elements of the entire site's pages (including the color of headers), you have all the style definitions in one place and only have to change the style in that place because the sub-pages (or articles) all reference that one stylesheet. Article for more help: Tutorial Links: Learn HTML, CSS, and WordPress

HTML: Stands for HyperText Markup Language and defines how text elements are displayed on a web page. Article for more help: Take Control of Your Blog: Learn HTML

NoFollow / DoFollow: How a blog treats links. If a site is DoFollow, then links to external sites are acknowledged by search engines and get credit for being linked to (which helps search engine ranking and authority). If a site uses NoFollow tags within links, search engines do not acknowledge the links to the external site. Article for more help: Understanding NoFollow and DoFollow

Permalink: The specific link for a blog post or article. A blog's main URL would be, for example, http://www.blogher.com and would link to the main page of the blog that's updated regularly. A permalink links directly to an article on the blog. For instance, the permalink for this article is http://www.blogher.com/defining-basic-blogging-terms. Article for more help: What Is a Permalink and Why Do I Need It?

Platform: Refers to your blogging software. There are many different platforms (all housed online, not on your computer) available for blogging, but the most popular are Blogger, TypePad, or WordPress. Article for more help: WordPress? Blogger? TypePad? How to Choose a Blogging Platform

RSS Feed: RSS stands for Real Simply Syndication. The easiest way to explain it is to ask you to watch this video:

Articles for more help:

SEO: Stands for Search Engine Optimization and refers to how your blog ranks when someone searches a keyword relevant to your blog. There are many factors that go into SEO, some of which include keywords in your headings and article text, who is linking to you, relevant content, etc. Article for more help: How to Build Blog Traffic - Search Engines and SEO

Theme: A blog's design or template. The major blogging platforms provide many free themes you can apply as your blog's design or you can hire a designer to create a custom theme for you. Most themes allow you to do some basic customization (e.g., use your own banner graphic). Article for more help: 10 Important Traits of a Great Blog Design

Please feel free to leave some ideas for other terms you'd like to see defined or add your own definitions in the comments section.

Melanie Nelson writes tips and instructions at Blogging Basics 101 and shares daily links to fascinating and helpful tech links at the BB101 Tumblr blog.

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