At first when I saw this assignment, I was under the impression of many other of my classmates.
"Blogs? I don't read any blogs!"But then I realized, there's actually a few blogs I do frequent (or use to at one point, anyways). I just never realized that they were actually blogs, written by people. One of blogs I actually still frequent is Engadget, for the purposes of keeping up with the latest technology (mostly hardware) currently available. Out of all the blogs I frequent, this one probably has the most viewers. It also has expanded so much that I no longer consider it a blog, but a full on news site. Which also raises a good question, what makes a blog a blog rather than a news site such as CNN, LA Times, etc.?
A few other blogs I tend to frequent is CakeWrecks, LOLCats, Oddly Specific, Photoshop Disasters, The Design Blog: Design Trendsetter, to name a few.
Recently, I noticed that many blogs take on the same structured layout. Posts appear in the middle of the page, with the most recent on top. A calendar structured navigation menu on the right. A description of the writer or blog on the top right. A banner at the very top of the page with a navigation menu that may link to different pages, or an RSS feed.
The blog is now a form of media where we expect certain things to be available. We expect that there be an RSS feed, we expect that we will be able to post comments on a particular post, and we expect that we'll be able to navigate to posts from a month ago. But how did this structured layout come about?
The answer lies in the blog services. Places like BlogSpot supply a simple service: you make posts, they'll provide you a domain name, a layout, a comment system, and basically all the components of a normal blog. The layout is usually some what customizable, and most people just download one from a set of pre-made layouts.
Lately, I've seen a lot of blogs use WordPress to setup their blog accounts. WordPress is a little different in the idea that it will basically let you customize anything, as long as your service provider supports PHP and MySQL. Wordpress allows users to add-on customizable widgets and rearrange their placement on the blog. Users can create their own themes, store them, and switch between themes, which is nice for those year long blogs that need to switch between holiday themes.
Although setup is not as easy as BlogSpot or Blogger, the extra effort makes up with the extra features. WordPress is the perfect system for the serious blogger who's not afraid to do a little coding and extra work. And in fact, many people have begun to create full websites using WordPress due to the easy link structure and navigation.
The extra customization really helps blogger's structure the blog's visual appeal and let's the user decide how to best make their blog more appealing based on the audience. Not every blog is the same, so editors shouldn't treat them like they are.