Blog or Website - Which Is Right For You?
If the 1970’s were about bell bottom jeans then the 2000’s are about blogs. Do a search for ‘how to make money online’ and the first piece of advice will be to start a blog. All the kids are doing it.
Blogs are easy to setup. The most popular blogging platform Wordpress claims that you can have a blog running in 5 minutes or less. In five minutes you are a blogger. Becoming a blogger is easy. Making money with a blog - unfortunately that were things begin to get difficult.
Websites are so 90’s. The term webmaster (owner/manager of a website) brings up images of medieval wizards in castle dungeons with smoking green beakers. It's just not cool to say you are a website. None of the kids are doing anymore.
Ignore what everybody else is doing.
Do not let fads and fashions dictate whether you need a website or whether you need a blog. Determining whether to have a blog or website is not about what everybody else is doing - it is about providing the right platform for the information you want to provide to your visitors.
Websites provide information organized by topic. Blogs provide information organized by time.
Website is a Book
A website is a bunch of webpages related by a single theme. The homepage is the introduction and tells the visitor what the entire website is about. The remaining pages, in one way or another, discuss this single theme.
If your website is about gerbils then your home page will be a brief introduction about gerbils and how great they are. The remaining pages will be about gerbils - their evolutionary history, what they eat, how to take care of them, pictures of what they look like.
A website is like a book. You write it, publish it, and then it sits waiting to be read. Since gerbils have not changed for thousands of years you will not need to constantly update the website with the latest gerbil developments. People who have a question about gerbils will visit your website and will be able to find out everything they ever wanted to know about gerbils. Your website will be the place to go for information about gerbils.
Like books, websites are best when they are about a single topic. Would you buy a book called How to Love your Gerbil and Where’s the Best Place for Sushi? And like books, they are great if the information is static.
Blog is a Magazine
Blog’s are great if the information you provide is always changing.
Blogs started out as personal diaries. People would write about what they did every day and visitors would come back everyday to get the latest updates. Blogs are progressive and always growing.
For blogs the date is important. Instead of being organized by topics and themes blogs are organized by time.
If you want to have a site about best the best Sushi in town you might want to consider a blog. Every week you review a new Sushi restaurant, and every week people come to blog to check out your latest reviews.
People get magazines to find out what’s new. What happened in the world last week, what is new in science, what are best new products, what did Mel Gibson say to his maid. Blogs are perfect for this kind of progressive through time information. If your idea for a site could be made into a magazine then a blog is right for you.
Blogs Are Cool, But A Website Might Be Better For You
Blogs are very popular now. So if you are deciding whether to create a website or a blog, you will come across a lot more information about blogs.
The virtues of blogs are in the spotlight. Some of the most successful blogs are about blogs, and how great they are, and how easy it is to make money with them.
But be careful. Blogs are a fad. Their popularity is due to their newness. They are not a one size fit all solution. True they are easy to setup, true people are making money with them, true the White House has a blog, but this does not mean that you need a blog. Would you wear bell bottom jeans if Obama started wearing them?
Choosing between a blog and website is a big decision. Do not make the mistake of writing content better suited for a website on a blog. Do not make the mistake of starting a blog only because it is easier at the beginning. Think about what your content will be and the best way of presenting it to your readers.
To help you determine what is best for you here is a table of the main differences between a blog and website. These are not hard and fast rules - you will find exceptions. But if you are completely lost and have no idea which is right for you, this table will help push you in one direction or the other.
|Setup and Design||If you purchase a pre-made website template then you can have a website up and running in an hour.
The great thing about websites is the control it gives you. A website can be anything you want it to be. You can make it look and act anyway you want.
But to be able to create a unique and well designed website you need to know a little about HTML and CSS.
|You can have a blog setup in 5 minutes. Simply download a blog template from wordpress.org. Select a theme, pick a few free plugins, and write content.
The reason that there are so many blogs and bloggers is because it easy to do. No HTML or CSS required - everything is already done for you.
|Cost||You do not need any special software to create websites. You could create a website with nothing more than Microsoft Notepad.
But to make things a lot easier on yourself you will want to get website creation software. Some are free, some are $50, and some are $400. Like with all things, you get what you pay for.
Unless you want to start a website from scratch you might consider purchasing a pre-made website template - starting at $1.
Finally you will need to pay for a domain name and hosting.
|The most popular blogging plafrom from Wordpress.org is free. There are also lots of free templates and plugins to choose from.
Of course there are fancier templates you can buy but they are not necessary, especially if it is your first blog.
The only costs are for domain name and hosting.
|Required Knowledge||To take advantage of the flexibility and potential websites provide, you will need to familiarize yourself with HTML and CSS.
You do not need a computer science degree, you just need to spend a few days reading about it and doing tutorials. After a few days you can start your website and hone your skills
Also depending on which website creation software you choose you will also need to spend a few hours learning how to use it. But if you are comfortable using computer software it is not difficult to learn.
|Almost none. If you download a Wordpress blog then you will need to spend a hour familiarizing yourself with things like adding plugins and publishing posts. But it is intuitive and common sense stuff - if you are comfortable on the internet you will have no problems.|
|Content||Your website should be about one theme. Ideally is should answer a specific question.
Visitors to your site will have a question - your website content should answer that question.
This website answers the question ‘how can I make money on a website.’ Every page on this website helps answer that question.
Website content is organized by pages, each page should focus on a single issue. Visitors should be able to quickly navigate your website and find answers to their questions.
Website content is mostly static. Some websites have not been updated for 10 years and are still a great source of information. You write web pages with the intent that the content will be true and valid for a long time.
|Blog are organized by date. Blog progress through time.
Blogs are prefect for news and current events because there is every day brings new content.
Visitors subscribe to blogs because they want to be updated regularly. Visitors keep coming back because the content changes on a regular basis.
Blogs started off as public diaries in which the bloggers wrote about what they did that day. Visitors kept coming back to read about what happened next.
|Traffic||Because your website answers a question, most of your traffic should come from search engines like Google. This is the best kind of traffic because these visitors have a question and Google directed them to your website which has the answer - a perfect match.
Of course, traffic can come from anywhere: links to your website from other websites, Facebook, favorite links.
|With blogs the best kind of traffic is subscribers.
These are visitors who found your blog, found it interesting and subscribed.
Every time you publish a post your subscribers come back to your blog and read what you have to say. These are your loyal readers.
Loyal readers are great because they trust you, think you are great, promote you, and best of all buy from you.
|Maintenance||A well designed website should be able to go for a long time without an update. Website were created with HTML twenty years ago and they are still created with HTML today. At most you will need to change the copyright date once a year.
All the back-end server stuff is handled by your hosting company which has the responsibility of making sure all of its software and tools are up to date.
|Again, if you have a Wordpress blog then maintenance is easy. Whenever there is an update to the blogging platform a little button appears, you press it and seconds later your blog is up-to-date with the latest version. Same applies to any plugin you have - with a mouse click it is up to date.|
|Social||Most likely your website will have a contact page. Every once and a while somebody will email you with praise, complaint or a question.
Websites should be able to talk for themselves and usually interaction with the visitors is not required. As the webmaster you can be completely invisible, just like the author of a book.
|Most blogs have a comment section. Readers can leave comments at the end of every post. The blogger is expected to interact with the readers.
To get more traffic and subscribers most bloggers have a Facebook and Twitter account. Reader can become the blogger’s ‘friend’.
Blogging is a social party. Everybody is invited and everybody is your friend - you talk to everybody.
|Making Money||Since most website visitors arrive at the website from search engines, they are strangers looking for answers to specific problems.
Placing advertisements on your website that provide solutions to your readers' problem is the most common approach. Visitors arrive at your site and see an advertisement that solves their problem - they click on it and you get paid.
You can also provide a product to your visitors. If they are looking for information about gerbils try selling them a gerbil cage.
The major advantage of a website is that if your website is about a single theme and answers a specific question you can be quite certain of your visitors needs. Knowing their needs makes it very easy to provide and sell them exactly what they are looking for.
|Blogs are about building trust. Your readers keep coming back because they enjoy your content and they trust you as a source of good information.
Once you have trust with your readers you can begin selling them stuff. People are a lot more willing to buy products from a trusted source then from strangers.
Business use blogs as a way of communicating with their customers. The blog allows for a continuous interaction between the business and customer.
If you want to make money with a blog your goal is to become a trusted member of a online social community.
Blog Or Website - Which Is Right For You? I Have Both
For howthiswebsitemakesmoney I started with a website. I wrote static content that is organized by subject. The content is as valid today as it was when I first wrote it. Beside making small changes to fix grammar and spelling I leave the website alone. Every page I add to the website I write with the intent that it is valid today and will be in the future.
Visitors looking for answers to the question ‘how do I make money with a website’ find the answers on the website.
But I also have a blog. The blog is a progressive. It reveals on a regular basis my current thoughts and views on ‘making money with a website’. Because I am always learning and have new things to say, the blog is a perfect place to write these revelations down. The blog is sorted by time. A visitor starting from my first post and reading through to the last one will experience the progression of time as I learned more and more about websites and how they make money.
I need both: I need to organize information by topic on my website and I need to organize information by time on my blog.
You want a website if:
- You want total control of the look and feel of the site.
- Your content is static. A site about gerbils.
- You are willing to familiarize yourself with HTML and CSS
- You want to make money by advertising and selling a products.
- You do not want to have to write new content on a regular basis.
You want a blog if:
- Your content is progressive. A news or current events site.
- You do not want to get too involved with the technical details about HTML and CSS.
- You are willing to be part of a community and interacting with your readers.
- You will make money by building trust with your readers.
- You are prepared to create new content on a scheduled basis.
Why Websites Are Better Than Blogs
One of the most difficult aspects of writing is getting past the blank page.
You are sitting on the bus and looking out the window. You watch people shuffle down the sidewalk, some with grocery bags, lovers hand in hand, a mother calling to her son to hurry along. You see the world with your eyes but your mind is elsewhere. You are creating pages and pages of content in your head.
On the bus it is easy to come up with new ideas. Words form sentences that turn in masterpieces - entire pages magically write themselves. You are eager to get home and start pecking at the keyboard. You want to get it all down before it dissipates in your mental wind.
Your mood is perfect, you got time, and there is nobody home to distract you. You sit in front of the computer, double click the word processor icon and in a few seconds you are looking at blank screen. Then time freezes. Minutes pass and the blank screen is still there. Suddenly everything crumbles - the mood, the ideas, the entire page in your head disappears. Its just you and the blank screen.
The blank page kills. It has murdered everything that you wanted to write but didn’t. It sent to the grave countless pages that could of been on your site. Imagine how much content you would have if you were not shot down by the blank page?
Every writer has to struggle against the blank page and I am no exception. Every page on this website and every post on the blog is a success story - a victory against the temptation of the blank page to turn the computer off. Every time I publish a web page or a blog post I exhale deeply and rub my eyes - a battle has ended in victory.
Every page is a miracle - a new born baby. As you hold it in your arms what are you going to do with it? Send it off only to have it die in a few days as a blog post, or are you going to provide it a home on your website where it can live a long and prosperous life?
Web Pages Live Forever, Blog Posts Fade Away
A web page is meant to be timeless. You write it and it sits in the forefront for years. You might need to make a few adjustments, but mostly it stays intact and holds its place on the website. It serves you regardless of its age. There is no difference between a web page you wrote yesterday and one you wrote a year ago. Each page has a point and that point does not change. Like a sign on the highway, your web page waits day and night ready to help passersby.
A blog post is completely different. A blog post ages. Its birthday is the day you hit publish and then it starts to get older. In a matter of days it lays on a death bed and is replaced by newer and younger blog posts. Blog posts get their few days of fame and then left to drift away in your heap of old posts. As soon as a blog post leaves the ‘Recent Post’ section it dies.
You agonize to get past the blank page and the few times you do is a miracle. Where do you want to put that page? A blog post where it flashes into the light but quickly fades away never to be seen again, or on a website where it can serve you eternally?
Websites Give You Time To Write Good Content
Blog post are much harder to write well because you know that their time is limited. You know that it will be read for a short time and then never again. Getting past the blank page is made so much harder when you know that a month from now the post will be irrelevant. That's why most blog posts are not very good - they are rushed, the writers just write something and hit publish. They are not too worried about quality because they know that nobody will be reading it in a month.
A web page is completely different. You are writing something that will last. It will be read by people three years from now. It is easy to motivate yourself to do quality work when you know that you are creating something that will have value for many years. With a web page you can justify spending weeks on a single page. Brainstorm, rough draft, rewrite and rewrite, polish with graphics and links to other websites. No hurry - spend the time to make it right because it will serve you for years. Web pages force you to create great content.
If you enjoyed this website, please share. Thank you.