?Blogging gets its name from the term 'blog', itself a short form of 'weblog', which again is a blend of two words, 'web' and 'log'. A blog is a repertoire of web publications stored in reverse chronological order, which means that a new entry comes on top of the one just preceding it. Anyone who looks after a blog, writes for and maintains it is said to be 'blogging'. Blog-posts are articles posted on a blog by a 'blogger'. Since early days, blogs have focused on particular subjects, for example web development, learning craft or estuarine fishing. Blogging is like an online diary, being constantly updated, that can contain both images and texts. A typical blog-entry or blog-post will consist of title of the post, main content of the post, the URL of the full article called 'permalink' (article appears in a separate page), the date when posted, the blogging category of the post, comments if made and, finally trackback URLs' (which are URLs' of those pages that link to the blog-post). Should you be blogging? Why not? But remember thousands of blogs debut everyday only to die soon after. So while blogging is surely an addiction (and perhaps a necessity), it is incumbent upon a would-be blogger to prepare a fertile ground for it to succeed. Blogging Signposts Blogging has become popular in a relatively short time. Here is a 'trackback' to sequence of events that together shape up today's blog scenario: 1. The term 'weblog' was first used in December, 1997 by Jorn Barger. From 'weblog' to 'we blog' to 'blog' - a short journey before Peter Merholz coined the term 'blog' in April, 1997. 2. Xanga.com, launched in 1996, is one of the earliest entrants on the blogging scene, having started with fewer than 100 online 'diaries'. Today, Xanga's community is populated by millions of users. 3. OpenDiary.com is another popular blogging site, having started in October, 1998. OpenDiary currently has nearly 450,000 users. Closely following OpenDiary came LiveJournal.com in March 1999, which today has over ten million users and nearly 230,000 posts everyday. 4. Blogging started gaining momentum in 1999 and in subsequent years, specially after the advent of hosted blogs. 5. Blogger.com is a notable blogging service that commenced in August, 1999. In Feb, 2003 it was acquired by and is now a part of Google. 6. Though reliable figure of total usage is not available, there is no doubt that blogging has arrived to share centerstage with other essential net activities, like emailing, chatting and surfing. Free Blogging To be sure, there are good numbers of free blogging tools to get going. Blogger.com from Google's fold is an excellent start-up. Xanga.com has both free and paid blogging service. So are host of others like Wordpress, Nucleus CMS (both database driven), Blog-City, Blogsome, Blog Studio, Yahoo!'s Flickr photo blogging (free and paid account), Fotothing photo sharing and so on. All free services require you to sign up for an account and proceed step-by-step to ultimately establish your blogging account. Blogger.com also permits hosting a blogging account on your own server. Wordpress and Nucleus are both rich in features, but database-supported (PHP, MySQL) software applications. Parameters of successful blogging Before you start your own blog, here is a quick checklist: 1. Do you know your blogging subject well enough? 2. How conversant are you in your subject of blogging? As a rule of thumb, expect to contribute yourself for a good length of time before others join in. 3. Look for a niche category for your blogging, subject of course to the conditions above. 4. Are you in a position to devote time to your blog? Unless there are regular updates and a genuine willingness to do so, it is difficult to succeed. Blogging and SEO For any website to rank high in search engine results, search engine optimization is needed. Search engines prefer lot of relevant contents that are added and updated on a regular basis. Blogging fills in that requirement effortlessly and automatically. If you are a frequent contributor to your own blog, and if your articles are keyword enriched and relevant to the subject of your blog, be assured that search engines are keeping track of that. Examples are many where in terms of search engine traffic, websites have prospered on the strength of targeted blogs. So get going, start blogging today! About the Author:Article by Josh - firstname.lastname@example.orgJosh is the webmaster of Visit his site for a comprehensive web hosting directory, articles, tools, and much more.