A blog is an online writing genre characterized by episodic entries that may be thematically related, related by being a particular person’s thoughts, or be sequential in time like a diary or log. In fact, the word blog is short for weblog — a log of events maintained on a website. A blog application is a software program that provides an online environment and features for a blogger. A blog application may be open source software used by many people or built from scratch by the blogger. A blog application may also be referred to as weblog software or blogware and can be considered a particular use of a CMS (Content Management System).
Hosted weblog applications, downloadable software, and blogware that can be hosted by the blogger’s ISP (Internet Service Provider) are all available. Each of these models could have a basic version that is free, possibly with added options available for a fee, or the software could be proprietary and only available through a licensing agreement. Many bloggers use Blogger® or the hosted version of WordPress® or MovableType® — the hosted version of the latter is called Typepad® — for example. A hosted blog application may or may not be paired with a downloadable option. WordPress® and TypePad® are; Blogger® is not.
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In general, many add-ons and plug-ins are available for any popular weblog application that a blogger might choose to use. These include free and licensed theme templates to provide a particular look and feed, enable ecommerce, or serve as a means of offering the blogger extensive control over the look-and-feel of his or her site. Plug-ins add many different kinds of functionality including calendars, tag clouds, recent post lists, statistics packages, connections with social networking sites, such as Twitter® and Facebook®, ecommerce capability, etc. Professional developers are also available to provide custom-made templates or blog design, as well as for assistance in integrating a blog into an existing website.