History of Blogging: From Online Diaries to Influencer Empires

Since its beginnings in 1993, blogging has evolved significantly. 

Justin Hall, the father of blogging, shared his emotions and stories through it at an early age. Gradually, blogs have transformed into much more than personal diaries. Individuals are now using it as a powerful tool for attracting clients, establishing brands, etc.

Many individuals consider it as their income source. According to a recent study, there were over 31 million active bloggers in the US in 2020. But how did blogging become so popular? 

When and how did it began? 

The root & story is pretty interesting. Let’s dive deep into the history of blogging. 

History of Blogging: From 1993 Till Now

  • When did blogging begin? 
  • What was the purpose? 
  • Who started the first blog? 

I’m going to explain the history briefly in this section. Let’s explore the evolution of blogs.

Early History: 1994 – 1999

1994: Justin Hall Created the First Blog on Links.net

The first stage of blogging was not recorded properly. As a result, there is debate Since the online-record-keeping mechanism was not advanced in the first half of the ’90s, you will barely find the most primitive blogs.

Many online bloggers understood the value of the World Wide Web (www) during the 1980s. Justin Hall was one of them. He was an undergraduate student at Swarthmore College and created a website named Links.net in January 1994. This was a review of HTML examples he had sourced from different online links.

Such an activity gave him the “founding father of personal bloggers” title.

Why is it called blogging?

Jorn Barger followed Justin Hall and started sharing his personal life on “weblog.” He continued sharing blogs till 1997. The name comes from there.

1998: Beginning of “Open Diary”

Open Diary is a community approach to blogging. It lets users comment on other bloggers’ work.

1999: Blogger was Launched by Meg Hourihan and Evan Williams

“Blogger” is one of the popular blogging platforms launched in 1999. Thanks, Meg Hourihan and Evan Williams created opportunities for people to publish their thoughts online. 

Journey of Video Blogs Started: 2000 

The first rumored video blogs were released in 2000. Adam Kontras posted a written blog and a video on his website. The video showed his family and friends what he was doing.

The same year, Professor Adrian Miles posted the first video blog, “vog.”

During the end of the ’90s, a lot of people started blogging. Individuals started considering blogging a lot more seriously than before. 

A Big Time for Blogging: 2002 – 2003

2002: Raised the Biggest Question – Online Privacy 

A few major events occurred in the early 2000s. The first blog engine, “Technorati,” was launched in February 2002.

The same month, blogger Armstrong wrote about her colleague on her website. As a result, she was fired. Such an incident highlights one crucial point: online privacy.  

A new trend began in 2002; mothers started blogging regarding parenting. The prime focus for parent blogging was to educate readers. It was the beginning of the biggest trend. According to Mashable, roughly 3.9 billion mommy blogs are available online after 10 years. 

2003: Google AdSense was Launched

Do you know when Google’s blog advertising service AdSense started?

In 2003!

Google AdSense’s biggest feature is matching the ads according to the blog content. Such a platform helps the Blogger to earn money or make passive income.

Google acquired Blogger in February 2003. The Blogger was the most successful blogging platform. The popularity of this platform continued to skyrocket till mid-2010.

2003: WP (WordPress was Released)

Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg released the first version of WP. They used b2/catalog and the code of an earlier blogging platform for making WordPress.

Now, 43% of websites are built with WordPress. This open-source software takes blogging to a whole new level.

FURTHER READING:

Momentum Continues: 2005 – 2009

2004: Vlogging started taking the place

The father of video blogging is Steve Garfield.

He started uploading short videos of almost 1-2 minutes on his blog. As he was a photographer, it was fun for him.

Following his footstep, other people also started creating short videos. 

This is how the word “vlogging” arrived. 

Steve Garfield named the year 2004 “the year of video blogging.” And guess what? The most searched word for 2004 in “blog” in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary is “blog.”

February 2005: The Birth of YouTube

 People loved video content.

Seeing this opportunity, YouTube was launched in 2005. And it’s easy and free! Users were free to upload their videos to the internet. 

And we all know the rest- Google purchased YouTube in 2006.

November 2005: The Beginning of Google Analytics

Learning about the user’s interaction is important to make a successful blog.

So, how to track user activity on a website?

Google Analytics will help you to learn which blog posts are liked by user and which one is disliked. However, the mechanism is developed from other analytics software. Google acquired it later.

FURTHER READING: How to Add Google Analytics 4 to WordPress Website

March 2006: Twitter Started its journey

What is one of the popular microblogging platforms?

Twitter is the top microblogging platform founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey. You must be wondering how it becomes a microblogging platform.

Well, Twitter restricted their users to post a maximum of 140 characters, opening a new concept of blogging.

February 2007: Release of Another Popular Microblogging Platform “Tumblr”

“Tumblr,” another microblogging platform, was released in February 2007. 

At the same time, it is a social networking platform. It comes with some unique features like reblogging, following other blogs, incorporating sharing tools, and many more.

Currently, it is acquired by Automattic. Tumblr changed the definition of blogging a lot. The reason is, following other blogs and reblogging is a completely new feature for bloggers.

Dark Age of Blogging: 2008-2010

Why the Dark Age?

Well, not much happened at this period of time for blogging. Just one mentionable event from that time was Google’s “Panda” algorithm update. As thin content was penalized, many bloggers suffered with the growth of their blogs. 

Start of Modern Blogging: 2011 – 2017

2011: Change in the Google Algorithm

Google launched its first-ever algorithm update in 2011. According to the update, Google penalized thin or low-quality content. Also, Google lowered the rank of those websites that used duplicate content in their website.

August 2012: Medium Was Founded

A different type of blogging platform named “Medium” was launched in 2012 by Evan Williams. It is a social media platform. Simultaneously, you can post articles here. It’s a great place for-

  • Bloggers, 
  • Experts, 
  • Journalists, 
  • And writers 

Yes, maybe have a limited number of blogging features, but Medium is an easy-to-use blogging platform. The fact is that it doesn’t give freedom of monetization like WordPress. As a result, many people are switching to WP.

2016: WP Releases the .blog Domain

In 2016, the popularity of blogging soared to great heights. 

WP sees this as an opportunity. They introduced a new domain extension, .blog, to their existing list of potential blog URLs. Their domain extensions were much wider: 

  • .com, 
  • .net, 
  • And .org. 

This strategic move creates countless new opportunities to play with domain names. 

July 2023: Google shifts from universal analytics to GA4

Google has introduced Google Analytics 4 as its latest analytics platform. They announced that universal analytics will no longer work from 1 July 2023.

Blogging Future & Predictions- What’s Next 

At the time of AI and other technological advancements, predicting the landscape of blogging is a little bit tough.

AI-powered tools could help bloggers with-

  • Content creation,
  • Topic suggestions,
  • Automated editing,
  • And even personalized content recommendations based on user preferences.

Search engines also try to cope with the changes and incorporate more automation in their functionality. For example- Google has launched a conversational generative artificial intelligence chatbot- Google Bard.

So my takeaway?

So it won’t be surprising to see more changes in blogging in the near future. Plus, a data-driven content marketing approach will dominate the future of blogging. Other things that will have an impact are-

  • Video and Multimedia Dominance
  • Voice-Activated Content
  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

FAQs about Blogging History

Q: Where was the first blog created?

A: Pennsylvania, Swarthmore-College undergrad Justin Hall first created a site links.net from where modern-day blogging came.

Q: What are the uses of blogs?

A: Blogging is now used in every niche. But the main purpose is teaching and education.

Q: How many types of blogs?

A: The five main types of blogs categories are: Personal blogs, Niche blogs, Affiliate blogs, News blogs, Business blogs

Last Words

From taking blog as a hobby to the source of main income- bloggers bring blogging a long journey.

As technology thrives, the future holds endless possibilities.

Try to cope with those possibilities, bloggers have to improve their skills. At the end of the day, survival of the fittest.

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