Over the last 20 years a strong community has built up around it, making it a quick and effective way of sharing information.
We’ve taken the blog – or maybe more accurately, it has taken us – further than any one of us could go alone. In fact, today’s blogosphere ranges from business-minded, to barmy, to the outright bizarre. The earliest blogs were simple, taking the form of an online journal that just a few whizz-kids had the capacity and time to put together regularly.
But 20 years on, and with platforms such as WordPress and Tumblr enabling even the biggest technophobes to pen their thoughts into HTML, it’s easy to create a blog that gives otherwise voiceless entities their very own spotlight.
Whether it’s hungover owls, cats with their heads in bread or a site dedicated purely to fantastic sandwiches, every subject matter you could think of can work as a blog.
Even Martha Stewart’s French bulldogs, Francesca and Sharkey, have one.
CEO of hosting and colocation firm UKFast, Lawrence Jones, began blogging in 2006 and has built up a strong online community that not only boosts his web presence but drives business leads.
“Blogging isn’t just a fantastic networking platform; it shows people the personality behind your business,” he says.
“People might think they know the business inside out, but until they know you and the things you’re interested in, that’s not the case.
“Blogging lets me share my passions, opinions and stories and that leads to interactions with like-minded people.
“Plus, it’s a two-way stream; while people might look to my blog for business inspiration, I look to others for entertainment and to distract myself from work. I love engaging through my blog, offering advice and hearing other people’s stories to inspire my own.”
In many ways the blog has revolutionised the writing landscape, and empowered people who may not otherwise have had an online voice to become vocal authorities on subjects; as they’re often writing without an underlying agenda, it can also afford bloggers a freedom and reliability that other publications don’t have.
These days, if you want to be taken seriously in a particular field – especially within writing or journalism – having a blog is essential. It’s a way of getting noticed, consistently showcasing your work, and building up engagement with a community; basically doing what a company would want you to do on a smaller scale.
Blogging is evolving, generating other user platforms such as vlogging, Twitter and Snapchat as it becomes even more popular. But what makes a blog brilliant? You tell us.
“Catching up on the Econsultancy blog is my daily ritual. It’s crammed full of detailed digital marketing information of all stripes, plus lots of hands-on critique. There are lots of laughs to be had, too, if you can get your head around the idea that online marketing can be funny.” Steve Barnes, managing director, Netvouchercodes
“I’ve been following John Gruber’s Daring Fireball technology blog since I came across it in 2002. It’s a perceptively castigatory blog in the IT sphere, that is well known for its daring criticisms on society and tech themes. Extremely informative, sardonic, astute and always entertaining!” Declan Flanders, company director, E247
“Whether your interests lie in online purchasing psychology, emerging web technologies or the use of social media to improve your business, you should put Neil Patel’s QuickSprout on your radar. It’s one of my favourite destinations for picking up great ideas and improving knowledge.” Stephen Tucker, founder, Bunting Website Personalisation Technologies
“Anthony Mathews’ Dear Customer Relations is dedicated solely to witty complaint letters and is exactly what a blog should be: a little bit eccentric and massively entertaining. Mathews not only built himself a dedicated online audience from his collection of complaints, but is now in the process of publishing a book based on them.” Stacey Cavanagh, head of search, Tecmark
“The Next Web blog is always my morning reading material. It’s an international network of blogs combining the world of technology and business – basically my life! With topics ranging from the hottest start-ups to companies pushing the boundaries with technology, the content is always fresh and dynamic, from people who know their stuff.” Karl Barker, CEO, Cube 3