What’s the difference between a web site and a blog?
People considering a new business web site sometimes ask,
Do I need a blog and a web site, or just a web site or just a blog?
Let’s break it down by answering the following questions
- what is a web site?
- what is a blog?
- what are the advantages of a blog over a web site?
- what criteria should I apply to decide whether I should have a blog or a web site?
- if I do need both a website and a blog, how do I decide which does what function?
What’s a Web Site?
Technically, a blog is just a particular type of web site but for now we’ll define a web site as a non-blog site that has the following characteristics:
- Created by a web design agency or built in house
- Possibly uses a package to speed up development
- Owner has complete flexibility over content, appearance and functionality of site
- It may require a technical person to make changes unless an administration site or CMS is also supplied
- Requires considerable amount of upfront development
- Effort needs to be put in to make sure search engines list the site in their indices
What’s a Blog?
Again, this isn’t hard and fast, but we’ll define a blog as having the following characteristics:
- Configured by the user possibly using free blogging software
- Owner has complete flexibility over content and appearance but has some limitations on functionality
- Blog can be updated by the user immediately at any time
- Blog can be up and running in a matter of hours
- Blog gets noticed by Google very quickly (sometimes a matter of hours, but this does vary as Google and other search engines change their algorithms)
- Blog has built in facilities to encourage visitors to interact with blog posts and this helps spread the word about the blog
- Blog has built in RSS feed to allow information to be shared with other sites
- Blogs can sometimes be configured to look less like blog and more like sites.
Advantages of a Blog
- Quick start
- Quick turnaround on changes
- User has control
- Free or low cost
- Lots of featues out of the box
- Search engine friendly
- Blog gets noticed by Google quickly
- Blog is easy to integrate with other feeds
Criteria indicating that a web site is required
- Complex functions
- Member database
- Precise control over the layout
Division of responsibilities between a web site and a blog
- Blog does the marketing and brings qualified leads to the web site
- Website makes the sale (converts) and services the client
- Blog also maintains contact with existing customers
In short the Blog is about building relationships with prospective and actual clients; the web site is about servicing clients.
So What’s the Answer? Blog or Website or Both?
In summary, for business with simple products then a blog may suffice, especially if the blog is primarily intended to develop relationships with prospective clients rather than act as a mere shop window.
But WordPress can be used in conjunction with e-commerce plugins or third party tools to allow you to run a simple shop right on your blog. Or you can use blogging software plus a more sophistictaed e-commerce solution together for larger shops.
Essentially, using blogging software such as WordPress gives you huge benefits – all you need to do is figure out how the blog can be best used.