In previous posts (see below) we’ve looked at how a blog differs from a website. I myself have both. You may be in the process of getting your web presence up and running, wondering if you need a website or if your blog can do double duty, here are four areas to consider.
1. What’s your ongoing commitment?
Don’t underestimate the level of commitment a blog requires. It’s easy enough to set up a blog and get started blogging. It’s much harder to keep going and for a blog to come into its own, you HAVE to keep it well-fed and happy. Consistently. Blogs need fresh, relevant content – and lots of it. On the plus side, Google loves them. That’s good for your organic traffic. However you may find yourself struggling to keep up with a seemingly insatiable content-hogging blog. For my two blogs (one of which I’ve been blogging for three years) I’ve developed my own system for coming up with fresh content. You must be committed.
Because blogs are stamped with the date and time, if you don’t update regularly it shows. I’ve come across numerous blogs with the last update as far back as 6 months ago. Six months, six weeks – no updates are a poor reflection on you and your business. It’s just as bad to return months later with a “I’ve not been blogging for xx months, because I’ve not really felt in the mood…. “ Too late… the damage is done. Put up a static page or get someone to blog for you – if you have several authors this is less of a problem. If it’s just you, it’s tricky.
A website, on the other hand needs only enough content to keep the search engines happy. No need to continuously feed it with content, it needs very few regular updates and it will sell whether you’re there or not.
2. How technical are you?
You don’t need a lot of technical expertise to start a blog. With a free WordPress blog you can be up and running in a few minutes. You can extend your blog, in particular with Social Media and interactive additions by using widgets (wonderful things) which in most cases require very little knowledge of code and a simple upload to your folder.
It’s also easy to add video, audio and other interactive content If you’re like me however there may come a time when you want to add more to your blog and don’t have the time. In that case there are plenty of top-notch WordPress designers to outsource the work to. I now outsource the upgrading of my two blogs, however most of what’s on this blog I added myself. It is possible to keep your blog very simple and just blog.
To do the same with a website, unless you use the web building package I use, you are going to need considerable technical experience both to build and update. Unless web designing is your forte you will need a web designer. Great designers – like great copywriters – don’t come cheap.
3. Navigate from your goals
A blog’s navigation follows its posts: generally by date and category. There are several standard navigation elements that should be on any blog (e.g. About, Archives, Home, Contact) Everything else, unless you’ve added static pages is governed by the chronological posts. You need to make posts easy to find. You can add any number of static pages to a blog, however static pages are for information that doesn’t date. Because by nature a blog is dynamic, your static pages won’t get the same search engine attention – that will go to your frequently updated pages. See point 1.
You website navigation is completely different and in most cases follows a set formula that is more intuitive. While you will have Home, About, Contact etc as well, you’ll also have your product/service navigation primarily to sell/transact business. If done well, people will quickly know what your site is about, how to access it and how to buy from it.
4. What do you want to accomplish with your blog or website?
You can blog about any topic under the sun, and blogs are better than websites for establishing yourself as an expert on a particular topic or subject, interacting with readers, sharing information, posting new ideas and thoughts, establishing a relationship with your prospects and customers as well as getting feedback. Websites, because (in most cases) they are much less interactive don’t do as well. Depending on your industry, your website will most likely be static. There are no rules about what you can do with your blog – except those you impose. It’s entirely up to you, so if you want to sell on your blog you can. You need to set expectations with your audience quite early on so they know what to expect. One of the best things about a blog is that you are the publisher. I am a firm believer in your blog, your rules. Having said that I have disclaimers on both my blogs so people know what’s what very early on.
Blog and website together?
I have both a web site and a business blog and although I’ve thought of combining them, I’ve always stopped short. In fact, I was going to use a blog CMS (Content Management System) as my only business web presence. However that didn’t work for me and very early on I built my own web site using XSitePro. My website and my blog serve two different purposes and so far it makes sense to keep them separate but linked.
Some swear by the CMS and see no need for a blog and website. The necessity to have your blog optimized for Social Media and their search engine friendliness is a good reason to to have a blog. And we haven’t even mentioned making money from your blog.
So, what are your thoughts? Are you a business person or company debating the blog/website question? Have you decided on one or the other and why? Are certain industries “predisposed” to having a blog or website and why? Does this article help? What other questions do you have about this topic that haven’t been covered here? Let me know by leaving a comment.
Don’t forget to check out the other two posts on this topic: