The blogging phenomenon has appeared long before the term “blog” was first written or spoken by anyone. Its roots stretch back to bulletin boards, the precursors of online forums (a largely forgotten form of social interaction over the internet) and the email lists of the past. The term “blog” has appeared in the late 1990s, as an abbreviation of “weblog”, an online diary. Since then it has become a common word, and a phenomenon that has led to an unprecedented increase in content creation and the rise of the amateur journalist.
Blogs were at first personal journals written by everyday folks like you and me. Later a more specialized kind of weblog appeared, written by professionals for professionals, either as a form of sharing knowledge on a certain topic, or as a way to document progress on a certain project. Slowly niched blogs started to appear, taking the place of traditional internet publications like portals, written by professional journalists. Today personal blogs are quite rare compared to all the niche publications available over the internet.
You can find a blog on any topic you can imagine. Anything from progressive online slots to lawnmowers, from home improvement projects to quantum physics, from engineering to religion is covered by at least one blog. There are popular niches with an above average number of blogs: those covering technology, lifestyle, cooking and fitness are among the most popular. But there are also numerous blogs about blogging, teaching others how to begin and grow their blogs.
How many blogs are there? There’s no way to know exactly. First of all, the term “blog” is used for a huge variety of online publications, usually based on the software (CMS) used to publish their content. WordPress.com, one of the most popular (free) blogging services hosts tens of millions of blogs, which produce over 56 million new posts every day. The service has over 409 million visitors each month, who download 22.8 billion pages, and produce more than 46 million new comments on the posts found there.
WordPress, the CMS offered free by Automattic, is currently the most popular self hosted CMS of the world. The exact numbers about its usage are probably only known to WordPress’ developers, but two years ago WordPress was the CMS used by more than 35 million self-hosted blogs and websites, meaning about 19% of all the websites of the internet. And these numbers have increased a lot ever since. Statistics have shown that WordPress is used to provide content to over 20% of all new internet domains registered each day. And with 120,000 new domain names being registered each day this growth is most likely (for lack of a better word) huge.