Blog vs Website

Blog vs WebsiteBlog vs a website … which one should I have?

*NOTE – I wrote this article initially back in 2010 and have updated it to reflect the many new changes in WordPress.

So, the recurring question, blog vs website? A Question I still get asked despite the popularity of blog software such as WordPress, Tumblr, Squarespace etc.

Still, it’s a valid question and today, it’s not just wether you should build a blog or a website, it’s how the definition of blog has changed and how you should build your site. More on that later. 

First of all, I need to make this ultra clear ...a blog IS a website.

In fact, I want to take that a stage further and say that blogs are “dynamic” websites. Dynamic, meaning that the content changes frequently and there is more interaction as well as the addition of news feeds, events and now, social media. When it comes to using content management software such as WordPress to build dynamic websites, what you can do is actually really only limited by ability and imagination. 

You can have pages on a blog, and with some of the great blog software on the market today, it can sometimes be difficult to tell some blogs and static html websites apart.

The software you download for free from WordPress.org for example, was always considered blog software – and purely used for diary type entries.  However, WordPress has become a powerful Content Management System (CMS) and more and more people are building their sites using the software, even if they don’t want to blog. 

So What is a Blog?

For those of you who may not know what a blog is, it’s short for web log, and is a frequently updated website consisting of blog posts, or entries (more often than not, dated entries) that are arranged in reverse chronological order. So when a reader comes to your site, they see your most recent article (often called posts), first.

The advantage of using WordPress as a CMS is that it allows you to publish content such as written text, audio and video and have it online within minutes, unlike traditional static websites which can take hours to build and hours to update and which can cost you each time – unless you’re familiar with building or editing html sites.

What Are The Time Factors?

Some years ago, I decided to put up a new website for one of my services. I was using a template (something I rarely do) and, it came with very clear step-by-step instructions.

Now, I hit some snags, which I eventually resolved, but the one thing I had to do which drove me crazy was sit at my PC for hours, writing content for the site since I couldn’t upload the site to the server until ALL the pages were complete.

And to me, this is the one of the biggest “plusses” of using a content management system such WordPress … you get the site up, write your first post (I always recommend 5 to start with though) and you are ready to do business online and invite the search engines to come visit your site. 

I do also suggest you complete your About, Services and Contact pages too since people are naturally curious and will want to know more about you.

But, there is no need to wait until you’ve written those pages to publish your site for the world to see. You can build as you go … little by little, step by step … flexibility that doesn’t come with building html sites.

This brings me to another Big plus of having a blog …

Optimizing Your Site For The Search Engines is Much Easier With a Blog

Each time you publish a blog post, you do what is called “pinging” the update services.

In other words, you automatically notify the search engines (sometimes indirectly) that there is new content on your site so “come and take a look!”

This gives the search engines occasion to come and visit your site to index it’s new content. So, another benefit is that blogs tend to be indexed much more often than traditional static websites and,

blogs show up ten times more often in organic searches than static websites do.

On a tight budget?

Then a blog is something you should definitely consider.

Generally, blogs are cheaper to build than static websites and even if you get your neighbour to build you a static site for free, you will still need a budget to maintain the site and keep the site updated. Also, there is no “pinging” feature with static websites. This means you either have to manually notify the search engines of your presence or, you have to wait until the search engine spiders do their rounds, which could be months. However, with the explosion of social media, you could get the attention of the search engines faster than you could in the early days, even with a static html site, so let me not paint too much of a black picture. :-)

But … don’t think just because you paid thousands of dollars or worst thousands of UK pounds (real money!! Sorry my US friends) to have a website built that you’re going to get people flocking to your site.

In fact, I’m going to dare say that most designers have no clue whatsoever about search engine optimization.

Their strategy is to make your site look good … “build it and they will come.” And, I’m not exaggerating here … I had my first designer tell me this! But, I’m not using that example as a generalization … just do a Google search for web designers and take a look at their offerings and you’ll find that most of them will sell you on “look good” rather than “get found.”

One more benefit (though there are many more) before I “bust” some myths … Bloggers establish credibility much faster than static website owners because blogs by their very nature build a stronger and more vibrant knowledge base and community.

Sure you can do this by adding articles to your static site but it comes down to cost again and in my view, “findability”. Finding articles on a blog is usually much easier than navigating your way through a static website because of the additional navigation features such as post categories and date archives found in any decent blog software.

Publishing New Content On Your Blog

With a blog, you log into your back office, write your blog post and click the “publish” button and your content will be immediately published on the world wide web ready for anyone who cares to read it. You can even categorize your posts making it easier for people to find your content and the search feature makes it super easy for them to find archived articles.

With a static website, you have to open up your editor, such as Microsoft Expression or Adobe Dreamweaver write the article (and, I’m not even going to cover the potential complexities of adding videos or audio), update the page properties before uploading that page to your site using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software. Once you’ve done all of that, you have to “wait” until the search engines do their rounds again, visiting your site to get the page indexed. This could take months, depending on the strategies that you employ.

I have had mine and my clients blogs indexed within 24 hours and less. One of my clients sites was indexed within 36 hours and all she did was post about 10 blog articles which were mainly snippets from her book. The crazy thing was that the posts were not even properly optimized and had zero keywords but, her blog got the attention of the search engines. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not enough to get traffic, but it’s a good start!

How The Definition Of Blogs Have Changed

It’s interesting that blogs are used interchangeably with websites these days because so many small and large companies are using some form of content management system to run their sites.

Rather than just being seen as websites, blogs are now considered powerful publishing platforms, and the hub for all of your social media marketing.

Whilst some people have abandoned their blogs and have instead opted to publish all of their content on one or other of the social media sites, I don’t recommend it.

I suggest that you have a base, your blog (hub) which gives people a home to come visit you on and a place where all of your services and products are neatly packaged.

Now for some myths about blogs and blogging:

      1. Blogging takes too much time. 
        What!! Do you know how much time it takes to properly maintain a website!?

        If you’re building a business then the act of blogging or article writing if you prefer not to think about the term blog, should be an important aspect of your marketing.  

        So spending 2-4 hours each week researching and writing blog posts should be seen as a plus, not a negative. That is not to say you have to post so often … I don’t, but I had to in the early days to build my credibility. 

      2. Blogs are fads and will die away soon.
        Boy … you would have thought these proponents would have cried off by now. But, let’s forget about them … just take a look at the direction the online world is taking and you will see that it makes sense to have a blog EVEN if you decide to build websites too (and, I do encourage both … more on that later) because blogs make podcasting, videocasting and social networking a lot easier, even if you are non technical.
      3. No one reads blogs anyway.  
        This is what some of speakers and coaches used to tell me when I told them I was building a site for my services. 

        Now, I will tell you what I would tell them if they were to give me that same “cookie cutter” answer today … “No one reads YOUR blog!”  

If this is you, it’s time to spice it up. Give your blog a voice (some good quality content), not a corporate makeover! Humans work in corporations so even if you’re targeting them, they have a sense of humor, they don’t all have MBA’s and use long “unarticulaterable” words (like this one I just made up) and, they want information they can use. So save the Guardian style editorial for your press releases but give them great tips in your blog articles.

I could go on, but I hope I’ve given you enough information to make an informed decision on whether you should have a blog or a website.

As a side-note, this site is built using WordPress and the StudioPress Genesis Theme Framework.  I can make it look more like a blog (which I prefer) or, I can have it look completely like a static website.  However, the look and feel you choose for your site should be very much dependent on your clients and prospects and their expectations.

So now you have a little more clarity about whether to set up a blog or a website, the decision you have to make really is one based on ease, time, cost and effectiveness.   

My Conclusion

If I’m asked the question, “blog vs website,” I’m going to suggest blog using the WordPress CMS, every time. And by this, I mean downloading the free software from WordPress.org, purchasing your own domain name and uploading the software to your hosting account.

There are some great alternatives to WordPress such as Tumblr and Squarespace, but I’m just not a fan of proprietary software since even with all the bells and whistles, there is going to be some limitation. That said, I know people who have successfully used these services, so don’t let it be a stumbling block to you broadcasting your message and building your business online.

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Comments

  1. says

    Nicely explained, Jones! Websites are almost static, but blogs keep updating periodically, their content keep growing which earns respect of search engines. I would prefer blogs! By the way, I loved nicely done design of your website.

    • says

      Thanks Jignesh!

      I agree, that by updating content more regularly, blogs earn respect with the search engines than static websites that might get a “once in five years” makeover.

    • says

      I agree with you Toni. And blogs are so much quicker and easier to update. Could never see myself going back to html style sites, not knowing how powerful WordPress is as a serious content management system for todays business.

  2. John Ho says

    Nicely explained, and thank you Trish. I am wondering if you can also explain why you use StudioPress Genesis Theme Framework in addition to WordPress. What does StudioPress contribute and WordPress does not already have? Your information will be much appreciated, as I am thinking of doing my blog all over again with increased content etc.

    Thank you.

    John HO

    • says

      John, StudioPress is a premium WordPress theme and basically, I like the community support and their themes. There are plenty of other premium WordPress themes out there, but I’ve been using StudioPress for some years now and like the styles as well as the theme’s versatility.

  3. Laura Wallace says

    I need a website because I am offering professional business services. I wanted to include a blog component to keep my clients up-to-date and of course generate new business. After some research, it appears that my website will be separate from my blog and that I should direct people to my website from my blog. Is that correct? I don’t want to set something up wrong and am trying to be as informed as possible so I can start off on the right track.

    • says

      Hi Laura,
      Got your email and just responded to that too, but here is what I would do …
      If you already have an established site that is not built using a content management system such as WordPress, then I would build a separate blog site.

      However, the preferred way is to use a content management system such as WordPress to build your site, having the main site on the front end and the blog as part of the site. It’s much better for search engine optimisation this way, rather than having to send people from your site to a separate blog. Your click rate also won’t be as good.

      Hope this helps.
      Trish

      • Laura Wallace says

        Thank you for your time. I am offering accounting and business consulting/analysis services. I would have a limited “product” offering, but could allow the clients to pay their services online.

  4. Andrea Call says

    Hi Trish,
    I have built my own godaddy site and want to attach a blog to it so that I can give people a forum to chat about the novelty items that I am offering…I want people to be able to share their funny stories, etc. Since I have my domain name and a completed site should I still use wordpress and have a link on my website?

    • says

      Hi Andrea,
      Personally, I would build your WordPress blog in the subdirectory of your site, so your blog address becomes amerkingirl.com/blog. It’s better for search engine optimization this way rather than building a blog on a different domain. I think this is what you’re suggesting anyway, but wanted to be sure.
      All the best,
      Trish

  5. says

    Trish, this is the absolute best article on the subject of blog vs. website I have read – and I’ve read plenty. I am a wanna be writer and have been flirting with blog writing for a couple of years. Using WordPress was a steep learning curve for me and finally I decided to host it on Goaddy.. not sure exactly if that was the right thing to do but am now struggling with what to do with the ‘pages.’ I do have a small business but not sure if I want to blend it with my personal blog. Your thoughts? – (thanks again- love, love love your blog).

    • says

      Hi bzirkone,
      First of all, a big well done to you for not giving up despite the steep learning curve.

      Whilst I’m not a GoDaddy fan for hosting WordPress sites (though I use them for domain name registration), I’m not that familiar with their hosting package. Creating a page should be no different than creating a post – just click “Add New” under pages.

      In relation to combining your business site with your personal blog, I would say it depends on a lot of things, the most important things being your industry and therefore target market. It all comes down to culture of your target audience really. Even though I will post personal things on this blog, I always tie it in to the theme of my site and leave the more general personal stuff to Facebook.

      Thanks for the compliments re my blog, if I can help further, you might want to use the contact form to email me.

      All the very best,
      Trish

  6. says

    Hi Trish – I have a website at its final stage from being completed. There is a blog in there. However, I find the interface difficult to get around. I am contemplating a WordPress blog. Should I close the blog on my website and only blog on WordPress?
    My limited information on this technology holds me back from taking best decision as to whether I should keep both blogs or use one blog program. Any thoughts about this to assist me? If I keep both blogs, then I will have to blog twice. What I am seeking is exposure and visibility to many people to increase traffic to my website. Thank you so much, Trish for your input and guidance. Louise

    • says

      Hi Louise,
      I’m not sure if you mean building another blog on WordPress.com, but I would steer clear of that. Send me your url via the contact form on my site and I’ll take a look at your site if you don’t mind.

      Being a techie and being able to build my own and client’s blogs, I know first hand what it’s like to try and maintain two sites. Over the years, I’ve gradually shut down a number of my blogs and now have three and working hard to condense those into two. So my suggestion to you would be have the blog on the same site for ease, but there is also a HUGE SEO advantage in having your blog on the same site as your primary website.

      Look forward to hearing from you,
      Trish

    • says

      Hi Trish,

      Apologies for a late reply! I was in the process of moving data and what not from my old computer into my new one. Lord have mercy!. It will drive us crazy to no end, no matter how techi we are!

      Dear Trish, yes, please, feel welcome to explore my website. To access the blog in my website, scroll down and click on the image “Louise’s Journey (blog). I have closed the “blog tab” to the left-sided menu a while ago. There were some glitches with the blog at the time and started using Constant Contact for what I needed to do.

      I am moving Transform Your Life By Design into a different venue. Your excellent and thorough article open my awareness to WordPress morphing into a one-stop shop where blog, website, and interaction with people blend into one dynamic environment. I like the idea of a dynamic, interactive, and changing environment.

      Trish, I am no newcomer in my field, but my website is. It was designed by a webdesign firm. I wanted it custom designed. Time was of the essence then. At this point in time, it is in the process of an significant makeover. By this, I mean, loosing a few pounds by removing content and pages if need be so..

      I would appreciate having your thoughts and comment on the website as it is now.. Please, feel free to contact me at your best convenience. This may turn into an opportunity for us to work together and share our expertise.

      All the best of everything in everything to you and your readers,

      Louise

      • says

        Hi Louise,

        Is this your new site, or your old one? I wasn’t sure if you’d already started the process of pruning. You’ve done a great job though and there are few things I would suggest in terms of traffic and engagement.

        I would consider making the video shorter to keep people finishing to the end. Tell them what their frustration is, agitate it and then give them the solution in about 60 – 90 seconds. Not that I’m into dating (been married too long!), but check out http://www.evanmarckatz.com, he does a great job of engaging his readers / watchers to the end.

        In terms of traffic Louise, the internet is going mobile and it’s going social. I know the SEO purists (and I used to be one) hate to admit this, but it’s true and one of my VERY purists SEO connections had to admit that to me last night. She quoted, “”everything is moving to social. A royal pain in the butt.”

        Eric Schmidt
Executive Chairman of Google said recently, “Right now at Google the rule is ‘mobile first’ in everything. In a few years, mobile advertising will generate more revenue than advertising on the PC.”

        What this means is that you need a mobile responsive website (or blog) so that your page adjusts to mobile phones, tablets etc and you need more social influence. It’s all about engagement and relationship building.

        Since you’ve already rebuilt your website, you may have to park the mobile responsive design for the future, but in terms of more social influence and traffic, I would make more use of Facebook, Twitter and definitely Google+.

        I know this is just a basic outline, but hope this helps.

        Trish

  7. says

    Hello Trish,

    I enjoyed the tone of your article and found the content very useful. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

    You mentioned in your article that you would explain later why you encouraged both having a web site and a blog. However, I researched your blog and did not find such an article.

    Can you enlighten us please ;)?

    Thank you,

    Kim

    • says

      Hi Kim, you are right, I didn’t expand! Oops!

      I actually need to go and edit that really since you can use WordPress for practically any site now, but when I wrote the original article, most people still had static websites. Even then, you could create a subdirecgory for the blog so you kept everything on the same domain. So it would look like this … youdomainname.com/blog. You can do this with WordPress by integrating the blog within your site, but it looks like a regular website with a blog integrated. I would still have some posts showing up on the front page though. An example of what I mean would be the Agency Theme by StudioPress.

      Hope this helped Kim, but shoot me an email via the contact page if you still need more info.

  8. michelle little says

    Hi Trish, I was creating a webpage with host gator but i have different topics i want to write about.
    Hostgator uses WordPress. But my question is most of the bloggers i follow uses blogluvin is this a better approach than committing to an individual hosting site.

    • says

      Hi Michelle,

      I’d actually never heard of blogluvin but have just checked it out. If you’re serious about building a business then in my view, you have to own your blog. Blogluvin is no different to using Facebook or another social media as your primary platform for building your business. If they pull the plug, you’ve had it. :-( So Yes, blogluvin is easier, but not better.

      If your topics will have totally different audiences then you really do need to have more than one site. It just makes it much easier for marketing purposes – easier to target your audience.

  9. says

    Hi Trish,

    Thanks for your article. I’m needing to move 200+ pages of articles from my defunct online magazine to a new platform. (The old platform, HostNexus, went out of date.) I like the idea of a blog + website together. I’m considering WordPress and also Weebly. But, not being a techie, I’m feeling overwhelmed trying to compare those two (and perhaps others) and make a choice. I don’t know if the free options will allow me to add my 200+ articles. I’m hoping to find a theme or design for the site/blog that will work for a magazine. I like the idea of a blog because I’m hoping to get my blog articles picked up by Google News.

    I would appreciate any suggestions you might have.

    Thanks very much,
    Judy

    • says

      Judy, I’m going to highly suggest WordPress but do remember tat I’m biased! I’ve used Weebly for kids who want a blog – like my daughter’s first site, but if you want to own your business and for Google to pick it up, I highly recommend Google.

      And re the 200+ pages … this isn’t a problem for WordPress. Note I’m not referring to WordPress.com but rather that you download the software from WordPress.org and install it on your hosting server.

      Hope this helps Judy,
      Trish

  10. says

    Hi Trish, great article. I have been using WordPress for my sheet metal work company’s website and blog posts for a couple of years now and I am impressed with how easy it is to produce static pages and blog posts. I have approx 100 pages and 100 posts and wondered which you think I should concentrate on expanding. The blog posts are easy to create and publish but the static pages do have more of a organised feel putting pages of the subject under certain headings. Which are best for SEO or doesn’t it make any difference.

    Many thanks

    Ray

    • says

      First of all Ray, your site is a brilliant example of how a local business can market online. It was a joy to read your comment and an even bigger joy when I visited your site. Keep up the great work.

      Now, in terms of posts and pages, ever since the early days of blogging, people have for some reason focused on pages being about your services, your company etc and posts being about almost everything else. However, in terms of SEO, the search engines like content to be organised and so there are those who will say that a page is better for SEO. But that being said, even though timeless content is considered to be more important, a lot of priority is given to the latest timely content.

      I hope all of that made sense Ray. I would continue the mix as you’ve been doing and you can’t go wrong. All the best.
      Trish

  11. Wasantha says

    Thank you Trish.I have been wondering for months to start a website for educational purposes,but I didn’t have a clear idea on websites and blogs.Finally I got what I wanted.Now the first thing I have to do is write and collect loads of articles,photos and videos to post.Then it will be in action.

    • says

      Hi Wasantha,
      My suggestion … get into action now. It’s better to post one article, video or photo per day than it is to add a load at once and then do nothing for long periods of time. When it comes to blogging, consistency is quite important. :-)

      All the very best though!

  12. says

    I had a skype consultation with Trish Jones this afternoon. I want to express how highly I do recommend her. She is a well of knowledge, very generous with it, and doesn’t hold anything back to get you to have to call her again. Her true nature and authenticity are remarkable. I nominate her The Undisputed Queen of WordPress/Blog/Website, and….she is a delight. Thank you Trish for a load of priceless information. We will speak again soon. Louise

    • says

      Thank you for such a great unsolicited testimonial Louise!
      I enjoyed consulting with you and love your energy.
      Yes indeed, we will speak again soon. Trish

    • says

      What I like about WordPress is the speed that Google seems to index any new post. I can publish a post and sometimes within hours I can search for a sentence within the post and it is already indexed by google.

        • says

          Hi Trish,

          It’s true that Google does index posts very quickly so by keeping a steady flow of ideas and views coming you do build up a network of pages that can be found. I also find that the dates don’t seem to matter with older posts being just as likely to be found as newer ones.

          Ray

  13. Debi Boushey says

    Hi – Great information, thanks! I have a web site with GoDaddy and Blog with WordPress. My question, is that I want to purchase another domain name and create a new blog with WordPress. I’m not finding where this is done, I keep getting re-directed back to my original blog. I also didn’t see a direct contact info to WordPress to ask them this question. Any help is greatly appreciated!

    Blessings,

    Debi

    • says

      Hi there Debi,

      Basically, what you will want to do is move away from WordPress.com altogether and create your blog using the free software from WordPress.org. WordPress.com is what we call a hosted solution (WordPress.com host your site for free) whereas, when you download the free software from WordPress.org, you upload that to your server (example GoDaddy) and this is what we call SELF hosted.

      WordPress.com might – and they usually do – offer you a domain name of your own, but your site with them is still hosted on their free platform and subject to their terms and conditions.

      You might want to watch a video I created a few years ago called “Own Your Blog Or Else.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LoVDWImq7Y This will give you more clarity.

      All the best,

      Trish

  14. Ilsie says

    Thanks so much for this excellent information! I have been wanting to create my own blog for ages, and am glad I came across your site. I am sure I will be ‘visiting’ you again… and soon!
    For now, I just have a silly question – why are your latest posts/correspondence at the bottom and not at the top? I presume there must be a good reason – maybe physiological…? :)

    Sunshine and smiles,
    Ilsie

    • says

      Hi Ilsie, thanks for the comment.

      My actual posts are in reverse chronological order but my comments on each post are in date order. The reason for this is that it’s much easier for people following a line of argument when reading comments to read from top to bottom rather than bottom to top.

      Hope this helps. :-)

      Trish

  15. Ramya says

    If a Blog is Merged into a Website, then how we can know whether the blog is converted into website ? will the views will identify that this blog is converted into website ?

    • says

      Hi Ramya,

      It’s more about the software that’s running the site which gives it the flexibility to look like a standard website, but built using WordPress, with the ability to use it as a blog also. Whilst still new, this is a perfect example of what I’m talking about …. http://www.womenofinfluence.com. This is my website for female entrepreneurs. It looks like a website, but is built using WordPress and has a blog integrated into the site.

      Hope this helps Ramya,

      Trish

  16. kevin says

    Hi Trish

    Great site. I’m a newcomer to this and you have clearly explained exactly what i wanted to know. I just want to get started to see how it all works but i don’t really have the funds at present. Although your article explains not to go with a free site, and i agree with that view and understand the logic behind it, is it possible for me to initially start with the free hosting on wordpress and then change to my own hosting as funds allow and after i’ve written some articles. Indeed, would it be best to do it this way as i have read that google adwords etc are not usable until you have large volumes of traffic to your site. I would appreciate your advice.

    Thanks, Kevin.

    • says

      Hi there Kevin,

      It is possible to go with creating your free site on WordPress.com and then migrating later on, but that has it’s own pains since you have limited marketing opportunity on the free sites.

      I hear you when you say you don’t have the funds, but here’s what I would do:

      1. Buy a domain name (preferably .com) from GoDaddy.com $12
      2. Buy hosting from hostgator – $4 per month
      3. Go to getafreelancer.com and ask someone to set up a basic WordPress site for you – $50 or less

      If #3 is still a stretch, there are a myriad of videos on YouTube that will show you how to set up a basic blog quickly and easily. Unless you’re a real technophobe, it’s doable by almost anyone. :-)

      After you’ve done all of this, the only ongoing cost you’ll have is the $4 per month hosting. But, you have the freedom to do what you like and start building something which will be long-term.

      Hope this helps Kevin and I wish you all the best in your endeavours.

      Trish

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