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’ve written a series of articles to help you:
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.
CAPTCHA: stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart. You’ll recognize captcha as those words you have to type to verify yourself as human when you leave a comment at some blogs or make changes to some online accounts. Article for more help: The Official CAPTCHA Site
Category: A blog category is a topic you address on your blog; your list of categories is like the table of contents for your blog. Categories are broad and can encompass smaller, more defined topics (i.e., tags). A category title should be descriptive and can be several words long. Categories go hand-in-hand with tags Article for more help: Understanding and Using Blog Categories and Tags Effectively
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: Blogging Tutorial Links: Learn HTML, CSS, and WordPress
Favicon: Favicons are the small 16 pixel by 16 pixel pictures you see beside some URLs in your browsers address bar. You also see them in your list of bookmarked sites. They are fairly easy to construct or generate online. Article for more help: What is a favicon and how do I make and install one on my blog?
Hexadecimal value: The six-digit code used within HTML to determine what color to display for a page element. For example, if you want a word to be green you could use this HTML code and hexadecimal value: <span style=”color: #ff6600;”>orange</span> which looks like this — orange — in your browser. The #ff6600 is the hexadecimal value of that particular orange color. For your reference, white is #ffffff and black is #000000. It’s handy to know the hexadecimal values of your blog design so you can be sure to use the same colors each time you add a design element to your blog (you can change your link colors to match or be complimentary, add lines between posts in specific colors, etc.). Here’s a handy chart that provides hexadecimal values for many colors.
Hosted: Refers to a blog that resides on the host’s server (e.g., Blogger, TypePad, or WordPress.com blogs). A hosted platform is housed on the platforms server — in other words, if you have a Blogger blog, your blog is hosted on the Blogger server; if you have a TypePad blog, it’s hosted on the TypePad server.
Articles for more help: How We Communicate: FAQs for Beginning Bloggers
HTML: Stands for HyperText Markup Language and defines how text elements are displayed on a web page. Article for more help: Learning HTML Can Help You Take Control of Your Blog
Lurker: Someone who visits a blog, but rarely, if ever, comments. Is it rude to lurk? Not at all. As a blogger, I appreciate that comments can make your day, but it’s important to remember that not everyone is comfortable joining an online conversation. Your lurker(s) may love what you write, but don’t feel that they have anything to contribute. Or maybe they were looking for specific information, found it, and are off implementing your advice or tutorial. There are a million reasons why someone may lurk, but don’t let it ruffle your feathers.
Meme: First things first: the pronunciation of this word rhymes with dream and theme. According to Top 10 Internet Memes, a meme is “an [online] image, video, phrase or simply an idea that spreads from one person to another seemingly for no logical reason at all.” A few years ago, the most popular memes were lists of questions that people answered about themselves. These days memes include everything from LOLCats to viral videos to Facebook statuses (e.g., the ones that ask you to post specific information in your FB status as a show of solidarity for a specific cause). If you invite someone to play along with a specific meme, that invitation is called a tag, as in “Tag! You’re It!” When you first start blogging, memes are an easy way to overcome writer’s block and share information about yourself. However, it’s important that you don’t get your feelings hurt if you tag someone for a meme and they choose not to play. Many bloggers don’t dig the meme. Article for more help: The Daily Meme
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: SEO: What Are NoFollow and DoFollow Links?
Non-hosted: Also referred to as self-hosted. A self-hosted blog is hosted on your own server or web host, usually a third party you pay to host your site. You can use WordPress.org or Moveable Type as a self-hosted blogging platform if you set up an account with a web hosting company.
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/basic-blog-defintions. 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:
- RSS Series Part 1: How do I burn my blog’s RSS feed with Feedburner?
- Part 2: How do I set up my blog’s RSS feed via e-mail?
- Part 3: How do I find and install a custom RSS button on my blog?
- Part 4: Should I offer a full or partial RSS feed to my readers?
- Part 5: How do I include advertisements in my RSS feed?
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. Articles for more help:
Tag: 1. A tag is a word or short phrase attached to your post that helps make the post findable. It addresses items you discuss in a particular blog post and is usually only a word or two and reflects the keywords or points of your article. If categories are your blog’s table of contents, tags are your blog’s index. Tags go hand-in-hand with categories. Article for more help: Understanding and Using Blog Categories and Tags Effectively. 2. An invitation to participate in a meme.
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
Troll: A commentor (usually anonymous, but not always) who leaves hurtful and rude comments at your blog. A troll is different from spam because spam is usually an advertisement of some sort. A troll’s sole purpose is to stir up trouble on your site. What can you do? Ignore them as much as possible, or, if it escalates, block their IP address (most blogging platforms have a way to do this, ask the help desk). My advice, and it’s easier said than done, is to try ignore the troll as much as you can. Do not engage in a conversation with him or her. It won’t end well.
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.