What is a blog? Not only that, but what are blogs used for? If you don´t know the answer to that, where have you been for the last three or four years? The word blog is short for web log, and is strictly a record of the changing content of your website. People who were interested in the content of your site would register to receive your blog, and would be informed whenever a page on your site was updated.
However, although that is still a prime use for blogs, they are now also used for advertising and passing on information. Many use blogs as a type of article site, wherein there are no restrictions on their content or on the degree of advertising they include in the article body. If blogs are nothing but blatant adverts, however, they will tend to have very few subscribers.
Blogs can also allow comments to be posted by readers, although this is an option that not all bloggers allow. It is a good way to allow interaction on your website, and is something like a low key forum. However, blogs that allow this interaction tend to be more popular than those that do not, unless they are specifically known for their useful content.
There are two easy ways for the beginner to start blogging, and these are through Blogger and WordPress. Blogger belongs to Google, and strictly the content on your blogs on the Blogger site also belongs to Google. Blogger is not run from your own website, but from a site provided to you by Google, although you can provide a link from your website to your blog page. This, however, bleeds PageRank from your web page containing the link to your blog.
WordPress is a more advanced blogging option, and you can either have it hosted by WordPress, in the same way that Google hosts Blogger, or you can host your WordPress blog yourself. The latter is preferable because there are many WordPress plugins you can use to personalize or customize your blog. Once you get the hang of how WordPress works from your own website, then that is by far the better method. Links to your blog are then from one page of your site to another, and can be used as part of your internal linking strategy.
Blogs are used by many people to make money, and if you know how to use blogs for profit, then they can be a very good source of income. Some need no other since they make many thousands of dollars monthly only from their blogs. What is a blog to some is that it is their entire living. To reach that standard, however, you have a lot of learning to do, but it can be done. There are no secrets about blogs, and all it takes is the knowledge of how to use them and a bit of intelligence and common sense.
Another aspect of blogs that can be used to your advantage in marketing your website is Blog and Ping. This refers to the use of social bookmarking sites and others such as Technorati, where you can register your blog and ping them, or let them know when your blog content has been changed. Other such sites are del.icio.us. blinklist and spurl among others. There are techniques that can be used to help you get useful one-way links back to your website, and also exposure of your blog, and hence the adverts on it, to users of these very popular web2 sites.
So the answer to the question What is a Blog, is that it is a very useful means of communicating with others and a good way to keep your email list informed of new material on your website that could be useful to them. What are blogs used for? To market your site and your products, but also to keep people in touch with what is happening on your web site.
Use it right, and a blog can be the main tool you use to advertise your site, and you will no longer have to pay for advertising or other means of driving traffic to your site. A blog can do that job very well.