And I’m sure like many, you want to know, “blog or website?” And especially now in light of the popularity of social media, some people are even more confused as to whether either is relevant in our world of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and yes, now Funnels. I’m also going to show you how marketers are using WordPress to create sales funnels. Click here if you want to skip straight to that section.
And today, it’s not just whether you should build a blog or a website, it’s how the definition of a 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 is updated frequently and there is interaction between the writer and the readers by way of comments. And more importantly today, there is a seamless integration with social media, making the sharing of content easier.
You can have static pages on a blog to advertise your products and services, and with some of the great blog software on the market today, it can sometimes be difficult to tell some blogs and the more traditional static HTML websites apart. In fact, the best way to describe blogs today is just to call them content management systems, CMS or better and easier still, website.
The software you download for free from WordPress.org, for example, was always considered blog software – and purely used for journal type entries. However, WordPress has become a powerful Content Management System (CMS) and more and more brands, including big corporations, are building their sites using the software, even if they don’t want to write blog posts.
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 for your business is that it allows you to publish content such as written text, audio, video and images, and have it online within minutes. Traditional static websites on the other had can take hours to build and hours to update and can cost you to amend each time – unless you’re familiar with building or editing HTML sites.
If you run an e-commerce website, you can extend the capability of your site to sell physical products right inside the software using something called plugins.
Some years ago, I decided to put up a new html website for one of my services. I was using a template (something I rarely do) but 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 sitting at my PC, for hours, writing content for the site since I couldn’t publish the site on the web for the world to see until ALL the pages were complete.
And to me, this is one of the biggest “plusses” of using a content management system such WordPress …
Once you install the software, the site is published, you write your first post (I always recommend at least 5 to start with, though), and you are ready to do business online. By doing this, you’re officially inviting the search engines to come visit your site … and of course show it off on the social media platforms you use.
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 and the story behind why you’re doing what you’re doing.
But, the point is, there is no need to wait until you’ve written all of 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 traditional HTML sites.
This brings me to another Big plus of having 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 reason to come and visit your site to index its new content. So, another benefit is that blogs tend to be indexed (or show up on search engines) much more often than traditional static websites and …
blogs show up ten times more often in organic searches than static websites do.
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 and eventually find you, 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 bleak picture. 🙂
But … don’t think just because you’ve paid thousands of dollars or thousands of UK pounds 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 too many designers have no clue whatsoever about search engine optimisation or how to get traffic to a site.
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 with their audience 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, search feature and date archives found in any decent blog software.
If you can use word processing software, you’re going to be okay.
Once your blog is installed, you log into your back office (or dashboard), write your blog post and click the “publish” button, your content will be immediately published on the world wide web, ready for anyone who finds and then cares to read it.
You can even categorize your posts making it easier for people to find topic specific content, and the built in 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 the Internet, using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software. Confused? Don’t be, because I don’t suggest this route anyway. 🙂
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 “traffic getting strategies” that you employ.
I have had mine and my client’s blogs indexed within 24 hours and less.
One of my client’s 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 a consistent flow of traffic, but it’s a good start!
I mentioned earlier that I would talk about this, especially with the emergence of social media, and I hope this serves to clear up some confusion.
You may notice that blogs are used interchangeably with websites these days because so many small companies – and even multi-million dollar brands – are using some form of content management system (the core of the system being a blog) to run their sites.
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, such as Facebook, I don’t recommend it.
You don’t own those platforms and they can delete your content at any time for breach of their terms of service. Recently, Instagram accidentally deleted the account of someone I know and it took her three weeks to get her account restored. She had 87k followers at the time and losing her account had a huge impact on her business.
I therefore 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. Then use the social media sites for microblogging, which is a great way to engage with your audience and build your community, your credibility and your trust factor.
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.
But if you don’t like writing, turn your blog into a podcast or a video hub. Create audio content and post it to iTunes or create videos on Facebook or YouTube and post those to your blog with a few paragraphs of narrative, or get the audio transcribed, and there, you’ll have yourself a blog post.
Blogs are fads and will die away soon.
Boy … you would have thought those proponents would have cried off by now. But, let’s forget about them … just consider that content management software make podcasting, video blogging and social media sharing a lot easier, even if you are non-technical.
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 where you speak from your heart), not a corporate voiceover!
Remember, humans work in corporations so even if you’re targeting them, they have a sense of humour, 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 (not really), 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.
If you already have a static website, why not add a blog to it. Just ask your webmaster or hire a freelancer.
I can make my site look more like a blog – with my articles prominently displayed on the front page – or I can have it look completely like a static website, and I can even have a combination of the two, which I currently do.
the look and feel you choose for your site should be very much dependent on your personality, your audience and their expectations.
I thought you’d never ask!
Funnels are all the rage these days, and for good reason.
If you have an online business, funnels are one of the most important topics right now because the intention of a funnel is to take your visitor on a journey that will ultimately lead them to make a purchase.
The fundamental difference between a funnel and a website is that when you land on someone’s website, you’re prone to get lost. You have navigation buttons, blog articles, product and service offerings, and the list goes on.
A funnel is designed to ensure a) you don’t get lost b) you stay focused on activity and c) focuses you on taking one action – like leaving your name and email address.
There are many types of sales funnels, each of which have their own specific purpose, which may not initially include trying to make a sale.
For example, you could create a lead funnel, the intention of which is to capture your visitors email address and then follow up with a sequence of emails, intended to move you closer toward making a purchase.
After step 2, there are a number of steps you could add to move your visitor closer toward making a sale, including offering what is called an upsell, which is usually a low cost product that compliments the product you’ve just given them for free.
Whilst there are online funnel builders that do the heavy lifting of creating funnels for you, if you want a low cost solution to creating funnels that convert, you need look no further than Thrive Themes – the WordPress theme I currently use on this site.
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 as well as your technical ability.
My personal suggestion would be to start simple and get fancy later.
Focus your attention on getting your voice, your story and your message out there and then once you have visibility, you can start adding the fancy. 🙂
Whatever direction you take, keep it simple. This is 2019, and the days of trying to create a website (whether using HTML or a CMS such as WordPress) with a million pages, and a myriad of products really is over. That boat has sailed.
If you already have that kind of site, don’t trash it, but put more focus into making the sale, using a simple funnel.
Given that many sites online now use dynamic content management systems, WordPress being one of the most recognisable brands, the question of “blog or website” is probably fading, but if you were to have asked me this question even 18 months ago, I would have suggested creating a blog using the WordPress CMS, every time.
But, and this is but … things have changed. We’re now in 2019.
Online proprietary software has changed, and I’ve even built some of my clients sites using some of them including Wix and Kajabi (if you have a membership element, this is a great choice).
So if you feel you’re tech challenged, you may want to use some of the great alternatives to WordPress such as Wix, Kajabi, Squarespace and ClickFunnels. Even though I’m still not a huge fan of proprietary software – since even with all the bells and whistles, there is always going to be some limitation – do not let that be a stumbling block to you getting started.
I know people who have successfully used these services and have built a very successful business and broadcasting platform for their brand and their message. With your passion and determination, I believe you can achieve that too, no matter what platform you build your business on.
You can reach out to me via my contact page should you need some clarity on your objectives.
I sincerely wish you all the best,
Trish Jones is a Speaker, Storytelling Coach and Author, who empowers and equips women to create a business and life that's in harmony with who they are - from the inside out - by bringing more of their personality, their voice and their message via their story to the marketplace. Download her story success blueprint to find out more ... The Influential Woman PinkPrint.