Should You Have a Blog or a Website? Why it Matters

So what’s the difference and why do I think you should consider converting your website to a blog? If you are active in social media – and who isn’t if you’re in business – then a blog is the way to go.

Let’s get to the definitions and then discuss why you should consider a blog instead of a website (and I know some people will think I quibble):

A blog is a content management system that allows for quick updating, or produces, in Google-speak, dynamic content.

A website is a collection of static pages with information about the company that is updated occasionally.

A Blog is Your Social Media Hub

A blog with content that is refreshed at least weekly is rewarded by Google in SERPs (search engine results pages). A blog requires a minimal knowledge of HTML so a small business owner can manage her own updates.

Blogs are popular because visitors know they will see new content on a regular basis, encouraging them to return. Of importance, blogs allow visitors to interact with the company by leaving comments on articles and subscribing by email or RSS feed to receive new information when it is posted. Companies can connect directly with subscribers by email with breaking news or to sell them services.

A blog is your social media hub to the social media-sphere. It is the gateway for your social media activities. Remember, I talked about functionality? You can use plugins for specific activities. An analogy is a stripped down car – you add a radio, air conditioning, a GPS and other equipment to make your car work better for you.

In a blog, one nifty plugin will automatically deliver your new  posts to many social media sites – including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Your visitors can also give your new post a thumbs up on StumbleUpon, Reddit and Digg. True, a website may also have a blog that is part of the website. But the blog is usually hidden behind a navigation tab. The new content is not readily apparent on the home page.

Like a pied piper, these sites lead visitors back to your hub. Your goal is to eventually turn some of them into customers. It’s a recurring cycle and the search engines will love you for it.

Why Not Do it Yourself?

A website usually requires a webmaster with knowledge of code to change the content and add functions. A huge company has the resources to make frequent changes to its website. But, if you’re with a small organization, it’s likely you need to tap outside help.

Of course, there are a lot of blogs out there that aren’t updated regularly. Keeping content fresh is a major commitment of time. A couple of friends have recently converted to blogs (the most popular version is WordPress), and love the ability to “go under the hood” to make changes themselves. They realized they don’t need a separate website because you can have all your static and dynamic content in one place.

Here’s a little test. Which is the blog and which is the website? Answers below.

Amendment: As several people commenting have pointed out, a blog can serve as a website. In fact, Write Speak Sell, while blog technology, is also my website, with information and about me and my company and where I also blog.

"Huffington Post is a blog"

Huffington Post is a blog

"Deloitte is a Website"

Deloitte is a Website

 


Leave a Reply

Comments

  1. Hi Jeannette,

    I agree about having a blog, however I think it can be part of a website rather than being an either or. That said I am surprised that businesses still do not see the advantages of having a blog or they set it up separately from their website.

  2. With regards to the post, I think it asks the wrong question; Blogs are by definition websites, and so offering an “or” choice doesn’t make sense. Every business should have a website, and, in my opinion, every business should “blog”.

    That being said, I think using the word blog conjures thoughts of amateur work for many business owners (at least the ones I speak to), and they don’t understand where the value to their business comes from.

    When I speak to business owners on the subject, I simply explain that writing engaging, good quality articles on topics that matter to their target market will result in better traffic to their site from a variety of methods (which I obviously explain in detail). I never use the word “blog,” because for most of these business owners, a blog is somewhere a person just rants about stuff and is not very valuable.

    Of course I do understand that there are many great blogs out there that add great value, my comments are simply based on the base understanding that most small business owners have. Feel free to completely disagree. 🙂

    • Mathew — I think when blogging first became popular it was used by celebrities to connect with their fans. While some business owners may still have a negative opinion of blogs, I think they are in the minority because there are so many first-class business blogs out there. I hope in the future will use the word “blog” with your clients and explain the benefits because you, yourself, believe that everyone should have a blog — I hope for some of the reasons I outlined.

  3. Susan — Yes, I know a lot of people have a website and a blog. But I think that limits their ability to make changes in what I called the “static” content. The fact is that everything in business is changing all the time and a blog gives you the ability to make changes to ALL your content when you need to and not weeks or months later because someone else needs to do it for you.

  4. Jeannette,

    Thank you for this post.

    One thing to consider: Generation Y (born between 1977-1997) use blogs as websites, and they see static websites as outdated and basically becoming obsolete. So, if you are marketing to a younger market, I would highly recommend using a blog platform.

    There are some great looking blog templates through http://studiopress.com, http://ithemes.com, http://templatic.com and http://elegantthemes.com that look just like websites, so the typical lay person does not know if you are running a “website” or a blog once all is built out. However, Generation Y does know…they know how to look at your site to see if it is running on a blog platform or a static website, and if you don’t have a blog, they will consider you behind the times, and they want to do business with people who are savvy enough to be running their sites using a blog template. I know it sounds odd, but this is the way our world is moving.

    One last point, Google LOVES blogs, because of the valuable content on blog sites. Once you start using a blog template and optimize it using a plugin like the All In One SEO Pack or using a theme like Genesis (Studio Press) which has its own SEO plugin, your blog will be pulled up to the top of Google much more quickly, because each time you post, Google gets notified along with Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com.

    So, at the end of the day, I believe that while static websites are still being used, they are going to become obsolete in about 3-4 years (just my prediction based on the number of blogs out there right now). Some sources site that there are currently over 200 million blogs on the internet right now. While some of those are dead or not being used, this just shows where the interest lies. The Huffington Post is one of the biggest “sites” on the internet right now, and if they, the Wall Street Journal, Oprah, etc can are using blog templates to run their sites, this should be a sign that we should all be following the lead of some of the biggest brands in our world.

    • Thanks, Bea, for doing a better job than I did in pointing out the benefits of a blog platform, and also telling my readers about the blog templates that look just like websites. You also reinforced my point that Google rewards blogs because of their dynamic content. That is one of major benefits in my view. And Bea has been my blogging coach for over two years and she knows what she’s talking about! Visit her Become a Blogging Maniac blog for details about her courses http://bit.ly/bBsyQC.

  5. Jeannette,
    It can be difficult for people to distinguish the differences between blogs and websites but blogs are in fact websites. It’s true that the software used to build blogs is a content management system but there are other CMS programs such as Joomla and Drupal that have been used for years to build websites. As recently as 2 years ago, I was building websites in Joomla but I now only use WordPress to build client sites. WordPress has evolved to the point that there are many websites designed today using it that look nothing like a traditional blogging site.

    I agree that all business can benefit from having a blog but not all businesses should blog. If a company (or individual) does not have the resources necessary to update their blog regularly, I recommend that they don’t blog until they can consistently provide fresh content.

    • Sherryl — you are obviously very conversant and skilled with regard to blogs and websites and thanks for pointing out that blogs are in fact websites (I amended my post). I also agree that if people decide to write blog posts they need to commit to updating it regularly. Otherwise they will disappoint their readers and the search engines that keep track of these things and reward new content and demote websites/blogs that don’t have fresh content.

  6. As a (somewhat) recent j-school graduate, there was some emphasis on having a portfolio site, so I bought my name’s url. At the time, I also had blog on Blogger and I decided to make the blog a replacement for my website. My blog now serves as an online portfolio, with separate pages for my social media, resume, and information about myself. It’s worked out well, extremely easy to use, and I bought the url on the one-year anniversary (which I felt added a touch of professionalism). And as a bonus, you can promote your blog without sounding self-centered, and then if your audience likes what they see, they can find out more about you. –V

  7. Jeannette:
    I know blogs have been proven to increase your customer engagement and ultimately result in more business if you commit to it on a regular basis.

    My own website is a Drupal content management system so I can make changes to it when I choose. I included a blog on the home page with the idea of changing it regularly — but my web instructor discouraged me from upkeeping it because it was on a different subject than my site. I didn’t understand that the keywords I was using had to become part of the blog as well as the website. My blog was about inspiring entrepreneurs while my website was about syndicated articles publicity online. (My target was new and small businesses so I thought encouraging entrepreneurship was in tandem with my site.) I have since added a second blog, a syndicated articles publicity blog, but still want to change to your type of format because of its simplicity and upfront readability.

    Your blog as a website notion is very up-to-the-minute thinking in PR land. As you indicated, you are constantly updating it and Google rewards that. Further, the blog layout allows you to place great emphasis on your areas of expertise with headlines and brief copy that people can read without further navigation. You are also providing continuous samples of your writing for potential clients to read. I love your blog as website.

    Would still love to meet,

    Myrna Greenhut

  8. Myrna — thanks very much for the kind words. It’s not too late to change to the WordPress platform. I think you’ll like it and enjoy the ease of updating it.

  9. I have just joined a direct selling company called Talk Fusion. They have video auto responders, video email and, yes, video blogs. Whilst i am aware that these things are the future and I am definitely going to integrate them with my website, my question is, can video blogging build up ‘Google Juice’ ( Gee I love that term )? If so how?l Should I have text blogs as well as video blogs on my website ?

    • Phil — actually, the future is here! Video can definitely increase your search “juice,” as you put it. Here is the link to a story about how video did that for one company http://bit.ly/e1B8fe. So mix video with text blogs. I have to confess that I don’t use video enough myself.

  10. Hi Jeannette, I used to have a static website which has many back links built so I don’t want to lose them. What I did is to install WordPress to a folder of that site. I recently asked my friend to design a theme for the static pages exactly the same as my blog theme so both looks the same.

    I know that many business owners like to have a static page about their products or company stick to the front page. This can be easily done with WordPress which allows you to stick a (static) page to the front page or to have blogs on your front page.

    • Mary — sounds like good solution. It seems that there should be a way to preserve your backlinks if you’re switching platforms (maybe other readers know). In most WP blogs you can import an excerpt of your blog onto your landing page and still have space for other company information. Then there is the menu bar that enables you to dive deeper into the site for more information.