The History of Blogging: From 1997 to Present (with Pictures)

Blogging may only be a little over 20 years old, but the nature of blogs has undergone incredible changes over the years. In this article we will examine the history of blogging, from the first recognized blog to the overcrowded blogosphere of 2020.

The Early History of Blogging

Most experts agree that the first blog was, created in 1994 by then-student Justin Hall as a place to publish his writing. The page consisted entirely of short posts, each sharing a link and some of their thoughts on the content they contained. This compilation of links included links to websites he liked as well as his own work.

The history of blogging begins with

Others quickly followed in Hall’s footsteps and created their own websites to share her personal life and thoughts. Since the term “blog” had not yet been invented, these sites were referred to as “online diaries” or even “personal sites”. In 1997, the term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger of the Influential robot wisdom Blog to describe these pages.

Many of these early blogs were created by programmers and focused on highly technical topics, but in 1998 Jonathan Dube became the first journalist to blog an event. His blog chronicled Hurricane Bonnie for The Charlotte Observer, as pictured below:

The first live blogging event in history

1998 also saw the founding of Open diary, a blogging platform that allowed community members to comment on each other’s writing. This was the first of many tools that made blogging accessible to ordinary people, regardless of their programming experience.

How Different Blogging Platforms Began and Died

As the cumbersome, code-heavy blogs of the late ’90s began to give way to more accessible solutions, the word “weblog” was dropped in 1999 in favor of a simpler term: “blog” by Peter Merholz. This year also saw the emergence of three new blogging platforms: Xanga, LiveJournaland bloggers. Xanga, a site more focused on the social side of blogging (similar to MySpace), had 300,000 users at its peak but disappeared from the blogging scene entirely.

LiveJournal was one of the first blogging platforms in history

LiveJournal started out as a website for Brad Fitzpatrick to keep in touch with his high school friends and quickly grew into a place for all sorts of people to record their thoughts and build communities. LiveJournal remained popular as a blogging platform through the mid-2000s, but gradually transitioned from a blogging site that welcomed everyone to one of them Russia’s main social media platforms.

Blogger, on the other hand, started life as a commercial blogging service developed by Pyra Labs. The platform would go on Bought by Google in 2003 and made freely available to the world. This move not only brought bloggers but the whole concept of blogging into the mainstream.

Blogger was a blogging platform acquired by Google

The early 2000s

As blogging grew in popularity, tools emerged to help people curate their blog reading list or market their own blogs. 2002 was a particularly big year for the blogosphere. People also started monetizing their blogs using sites like BlogAds, a precursor to Google AdSense.

blogads was one of the first ad services for blogging

The very first blog search engine, Technoratistarted in November.


Many popular blogs also launched that year, including Gizmodo and Gawker, some of the first companies to use blogging itself as their primary business model. Check out the original version from Gizmodo below:

The original Gizmodo blog

Heather Armstrong was the first person to be fired for blogging about her job February 2002, who puts her blog Dooce in the spotlight of many conversations about online privacy. “Dooced” even became a verb meaning “fired for blogging.”

2002 was a big year for blogging, but 2003 turned out to be even bigger. Google bought Blogger and introduced AdSense, making it possible for anyone to monetize their blog without having to join a special network like BlogAds.

2003 also saw the birth of two brand new blogging services that would further transform the blogosphere: TypePad, a commercial blogging platform hosting blogs for large multimedia companies like the BBC, and WordPress, the open source platform we use for KCCSB and our sister sites. These platforms made it easy for businesses to create their own fully customized blogs and sell advertising directly to businesses for increased profits.

Check out the pros and cons of Blogger vs WordPress to help you choose the right platform.


In 2005, Garrett Graff became the first blogger in blogging history to receive a White House press pass. This, coupled with the birth of the Huffington Post that same year (see original page below), brought blogging into the political realm and gave the medium new legitimacy as a media source.


The rise of vlogging

With the advent of blogging, a whole new style of blogging emerged: video blogs or vlogs. The first vlog entry was created in 2000 by Adam Kontras. It’s a short video that doesn’t seem like much, but it was the start of a new form of content, and more importantly, a new industry:

See the first vlog:

Like blogs before 2000, vlogs grew slowly but steadily until 2005 when an innovative platform, YouTube, made the medium accessible to the masses. Like Blogger, YouTube was bought by Google in 2006.


Today, YouTube is home to much more than just vlogs, but vlogging is still at the heart of it, with the top YouTubers making millions of dollars a year. Forbes even publishes a yearbook List of top YouTube stars.

A brief history of blog design

The rise of vlogging was just a sign of a major shift in internet use: as internet connections became faster and more stable, images and videos became more important. Images and design also gradually became more important to the success of blogging. Early blogs consisted almost entirely of text spanning the entire page, with only the occasional small image. You can see this early design aesthetic if you look back at this screenshot from


The design aspect of blogs has evolved and become more important with each new iteration of the concept. Early platforms like LiveJournal and Blogger offered limited but easy customization. This allowed people with no programming experience to create unique websites. Popular LiveJournal layouts also introduced some design elements that are still common in WordPress themes, like the centered text pictured below:


Retrieved from

Many blog designs in this era of blogging history also used elements like notebook ring images or even just beige coloring to simulate the feeling of reading a paper journal, like the one pictured below:

When WordPress released its open-source code in 2003, the design possibilities exploded. Developers could use WordPress technology to create themes and people with no prior web design experience could customize these templates and build their websites with ease.

Since then, premium WordPress themes have become an industry unto themselves. KCCSB joined this wave of companies in 2012 with a strong desire to make WordPress themes more fun for both site owners and new visitors. Our first theme, CreativeMag, was released in 2012:

History of Blogging: First Themeisle design

The CreativeMag theme showcases several popular design elements from this era in blogging history, including what is perhaps the most enduring element of modern blog design, the sidebar. Like many older themes, it uses beige tones to evoke the feeling of reading a journal. The sidebar features an image of lined paper to reinforce this association.

The rise of responsive design

No blogging history article would be complete without a mention of the mobile revolution. Mobile data traffic was responsible for more than 50% of all internet traffic in 2018. However, websites made in the early to mid 2000s don’t look good when you view them with a mobile phone.

Some companies created separate mobile websites for phones, but this was costly and impractical. The better answer seemed to be responsive design. Responsive designor design that adapts to the user’s screen, has existed in some form since 2001 but surged in popularity in 2015 when Google announced it Websites would be penalized if they weren’t mobile friendly.

Today, responsive design is built into most WordPress themes, including all themes you can find here at KCCSB.

A Brief History of Blog SEO

Another important aspect in the history of blogging is the development of search engine optimization, commonly referred to as SEO. That Founded Google in 1998 changed the internet forever. The site quickly gained popularity, and enterprising individuals soon realized that they could overuse keywords to influence search engines. Blogs, as websites that are frequently updated and heavily focused on textual content, were a natural way for businesses to add a large number of these keywords to their websites.

In the early days of SEO, all you needed was to put the right keywords in your sentences as often as possible, and the search engines would reward you. High-quality websites often shared Google’s front page with keyword stuffers and other SEO spammers.

Luckily, Google noticed these spammers early on and started a long line of Algorithm Updates Designed to penalize sleazy SEO tactics and reward authentic, quality content. Today’s SEO is based on a combination of human psychology and an understanding of how Google and other search engines categorize content.

All in all, the SEO changes are rewarding high-quality blogs, making blogs an even more important part of marketing. companies that blog Get 55% more visitors to their website. These visitors are also of higher quality; SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads have a much lower close rate of 1.7%.

Blogging in recent years (2012-2018)

Blogging continued to grow, but there was no real innovation in the blogosphere until Medium was founded in 2012. Throughout its existence, Medium has made waves by introducing new ways to pay creators. They introduced a subscription model and replaced it with a in 2017 partnership program. Today, Medium hosts thousands of blogs with varying degrees of success and even employs a few writers directly.


LinkedIn launched its own blogging platform, pulsefor select users in 2013. Over time, Pulse was introduced to a growing number of users, and in 2015 it became available to everyone.

While some creators use Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, and the emergence of similar sites as their primary blog, many use them as secondary and tertiary publishing reasons. This will bring content hosted on low-traffic domains to a large new audience.

Social media works with blogs in a similar symbiotic way. Most bloggers today have some kind of social media marketing strategy. They share every blog post on a variety of social media platforms. Vloggers use similar marketing tactics, and many also run blogs.

Blogging today in 2020 and into the future

The history of blogging is far from over. By various estimates, there are millions of blogs live today. Blogs are also particularly important for marketing: 85% of B2C companies and 91% of B2B companies Use blogs or other forms of content marketing.

What is the next stage in the history of blogging? I can’t guess what the next innovative blogging platform will be, but I have a few ideas. As popular social media sites decrease organic reach and become pay-to-play markets, businesses may return to SEO as their primary online marketing tool. This could make blogs even more popular in the coming months and years.

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