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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


Story Telling is at the Heart of YouTube; the Five Pillars of Content

I’ve been boning up on the newest developments in cyberspace at Social Media Week seminars in New York. This annual ritual is taking place in eight cities around the world with Twitter aficionados tweeting all the goings-on to their followers.

Today I attended a YouTube presentation. It was awesome. I learned there are five primary “pillars” into which most videos fall: informative, entertaining, conversational, useful and inspiring.

The two presenters, Lauren Siegel and Ali Pulver, are creative content specialists at Google, which owns YouTube. “Story telling is at the heart of YouTube,” they said. They called it the “digital campfire” with people gathering to hear new stories every day. The site also has the elements of a “general store” where you can pick and choose exactly what you want from an endless barrel of videos.

Just a couple of mind-boggling statistics and then I’ll move on. People are watching 2 billion videos a day on YouTube and every minute 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube. Wow!

Lauren and Ali discussed each pillar and gave examples of how companies and ordinary individuals have developed huge followings.

Informative: Making knowledge more accessible.

One example is Khan Academy with 1,700 videos, 24 million views and one faculty member Sal Khan, the founder. He covers subjects as simple as how to add, divide and multiple fractions. He’s got Bill Gates interested in exporting these learning tools to underdeveloped countries. “How to” videos is one of the fast-growing categories. In effect companies and individuals with a huge number of subscribers are becoming distribution channels for information.

"Conan O'Brien"

Conan O’Brien

Entertaining: Bringing us into new worlds and extending the experience.

One example is how Conan O’Brian kept himself in the limelight until his non-compete with NBC expired and he could get on with his new cable talk show. The vignettes starring the host are really kooky and fun and he dubbed his followers Team Coco. That’s the name of his YouTube channel now where you can see episodes of his talk show.

Live streaming extends access to concerts such as those of the rock group Bonnaroo, sponsored by Ford. On-site attendance at concerts is 75,000, but the live streams reach 43 million viewers.

Conversational: Inviting dialogue and community participation

Toyota turned its YouTube video channel audience into brand advocates with 50 humorous and irreverent videos launching its Swagger Wagon. Millions of viewers tuned in. The You Tube promotion was just once piece of a campaign that integrated TV and other media channels.

Useful: Offering tools for engagement

Seal of the President of the United States

I have to say I was unaware that a few days before his State of the Union Address, President Obama made himself available to answer questions on a wide range of issues submitted by and voted on by YouTube users in “Your Interview With the President” moderated by YouTube’s Steve Grove. Obviously the President understands the power of YouTube in reaching constituents directly, unfiltered by traditional media.

By the way, YouTube offers a nifty tool called Moderator that allows you to “collect commentary, questions, or ideas on your YouTube channel and watch the best ones rise to the top. It’s easy – you bring a group of people together on a topic of your choice, and leverage their collective wisdom to vote on the best video and text submissions.”

Inspiring: Helping us to realize our potential

Lauren and Ali showed the case study of Panacea81, “the everywoman as beauty queen,” as they called her. Lauren Luke, a UK housewife, decided to make a series of video tutorials about how to apply makeup. Sounds simple enough. She now has 448,007 subscribers and her videos have had 104,224,397 views.

Well, if you think I’m giving you a link to visit my YouTube channel, you’re mistaken. That’s my next project. Me, on video? Should I lose weight or get a face-lift? Nah. I’ll just visit the Panacea81 lady for some tips on makeup.