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Blogs - What happens behind the scenes ?

One of the things that is so amazing about blogs is their simplicity.
A typical blog has a main page and nothing else. On the main page, there is a set of entries. Each entry is a little text blurb that may contain embedded links out to other sites, news stories, etc. When the author adds a new entry, it goes at the top, pushing all the older entries down. This blog also has a right sidebar that contains additional permanent links to other sites and stories. The author might update the sidebar weekly or monthly.

Illustration - How blogs work in the background

Click on the diagram to get a full-size, non blurry image.

Basically, a blog is a lot like an online journal or diary. The author can talk about anything and everything. Many blogs are full of interesting links that the author has found. Blogs often contain stories or little snippets of information that are interesting to the author.
1. Joe Blogger writes something and publishes it to his blog.
2. Joe's Blog system updates his site's HTML, updates his RSS file and sends a 'ping' message to the 'Aggregation Ping Server' indicating that his site has updated.
3. Search engines like Google and RSS specific services like Feedster, Technorati and PubSub periodically ask the Aggregation Ping Server, "Which sites have updated?".
4. Since Joe's site sends pings and has an RSS file and is easy to update frequently, Joe's search engine rank is higher than a 'normal site'.
5. Techie Teresa uses a program called an RSS reader to subscribe to Joe's site. The RSS reader checks Joe's RSS file for updates periodically (usually once/hour or once per day) and notifies her of Joe's updates. Teresa no longer wastes time manually surfing Joe's site. She just checks her RSS reader.
6. As a result, Teresa's information flow is more efficient and she can monitor more sites in less time.
7. Joe Surfer (who is not related to Joe Blogger) still can access blogs the old fashioned, slow and less efficient way using his web browser and search engines.