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A more in-depth look

More detail:
It's like the "What's New" page on traditional websites, but in a grander scale - most if not all of the site's focus is on entries that, a few years ago, would have gone in "What's New" and simply pointed to updated sections of the site.

Blogs are generally not laid out in sections containing static information (like this site), but are in fact navigated by time - you start off with the most recent article on the home page of the website, then as you scroll down the page you'll find older articles. When you reach the bottom of the page, you're invited to look at another page (or, you're invited into the "archives"), which will show articles even older, again in reverse chronological order. And thus, you carry on until you get back to the very first article that the site owner wrote. Thus, as the writer usually improves in skill through practice, the very best articles are presented to the visitor immediately when he or she visits the home page of the site.

Sometimes only the first few hundred words of an article are presented on the home page or in the archives, to serve as a quick summary for what the article is about, and you'll get to the body of the article - and any comments that visitors have posted - by pressing a "Read More" or "Full Story" link. After you've read the article, you may have the opportunity to post a response to it on the same website by filling out a short form.

Blogs generally run on a Content Management System or a blog engine of some kind, so articles aren't "pages" in the traditional sense - the pages that you look at are generated on the fly. When you look at a page, a collection of scripts retrieves the article, comments and any other content from a database, assembles it into a series of page fragments, applies a style, and puts it all together. Doing it this way might sound complicated, but it's really not - the server-side software takes care of everything, and there are several important benefits which will be addressed in the "Why" section. Essentially all you have to do is write.

Blogs used to be created exclusively by the common man, and used to provide commentary on current affairs or news on a subject that the writer knows well. Increasingly, they're being used in a commercial setting by companies aspiring to provide a greater quantity and quality of information to their current and potential customers.

Why?
The biggest argument for using a blog rather than a traditional website (or as a subsection on a traditional website) is that it encourages the creation of useful content. Put simply, if you have a blog, you'll probably want to write in it, and often.

This is good because the more frequently your website is updated, the more often your visitors will return to see what's new, and the more often the search engines will return to re-evaluate where the page should stand in their rankings for any particular search term or keywords. Which all means more traffic and more visitors.

Some businesses use blogs to create and present guides, FAQs, anecdotes and how-to's that are related to the products or services they provide. By having a blog they are encouraged to create this content, and by creating this content they provide more and better reasons for people to visit their websites. Giving your visitors something informative, as opposed to simply trying to sell them things, will make them more likely to choose your business; therefore making it easier to actually get the selling part done!

Advanced blogging engines (like the ones we use) have a "Ping" function - you write an article, and then you send a Ping to a blogging directory service to let it know you've updated your website, and the directory service comes to take a look. The directory service may then recommend your site when its visitors search for a topic it covers.
More information about "Ping"

Most blog engines will have RSS functionality, which will allow your visitors to read your website in their RSS readers. It goes beyond the scope of this description to define RSS, so take our word for it that this is a Very Good Thing, or check out the Wikipedia article and maybe get some RSS reader software to experiment with for yourself.
More information about RSS

Blogging engines typically have a range of inbuilt tools to make linking up with other websites easier; trackbacks, pingbacks, permalinks, blogrolls. These go both ways, simultaneously making it easier for other websites to link to you.
More information about automated and manual linkback methods

Blogs can be easily monetised by running discreet adverts through systems such as Google AdSense and Project Wonderful, and we can help optimise your layout and advertising to earn the highest possible amount of revenue.
More information about Google AdSense
More information about Project Wonderful

A quick word about reversed blogs
As we've already discussed, blog engines are pretty state-of-the-art frameworks, so we've been using them for other sorts of websites too.
By tweaking and modifying existing blog engines, we've come up with a "Reversed" blogging system, where entries are displayed in chronological order, oldest post first.
This is an ideal system for writers and webcomic artists who need to show their work in chronological sequence, but also want all the benefits included in a blogging engine such as commenting, search and RSS capabilities.
There's also an option to mark an entry to be displayed first regardless of its age - this lets the artist or writer display the latest chapter or comic as the first page in the website for the benefit of regular readers, and then offer them an option to start from the beginning if they're a new reader.

 

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