This discussion comes up quite a lot with both our clients and with fellow web developers. So I wanted to try to set the record straight. Blogs are different from “standard” websites in several ways. If you know someone arguing the point that a “blog” site is exactly the same as a “regular” website, please have them read this article, or better yet, have them give us a call and we’d be happy to explain it further to them over the phone.
Let me first list how a blog and web site are the same:
- You access both through a web address or URL (Uniform Resource Locator) such as www.mysite.com
- Both use hyperlinks to navigate through the site, linking to other pages within the site as well as to outside website links.
- You can include text, photos, audio and video on both kinds of sites.
If you stop and think about it, a blog is really a specific type of website that has certain properties that make it different from a regular web site. Typically blogs are easier to create and maintain than a regular website as they will usually have some sort of Content Management System (CMS). A CMS allows a user to edit the content of their site by logging into it with an internet browser. This removes the need for special web development software and people without a strong background in HTML programming can make simple edits to their site.
Alright, let’s say to DO have the development software AND the knowledge of how to use it as well as a knowledge of HTML itself. “Hey, I can make all the changes to my site myself without an online Content Management system. So my offline edited website is just like a blog, right?”
Wrong. A “blog” encourages two-way communication between the author and readers by allowing readers to post comments on those articles of yours which they read. This is different from a regular website, which often doesn’t allow for any kind of feedback or if it does, the feedback is more general, such as through a “contact form”. Blogs are designed to encourage open discussions, or two-way communication. Web sites are designed to share information, in more of a one-way direction.
Blogs use a more informal, “personal” voice than websites.
Because blogs were created to encourage conversations, you generally use a more informal tone in your blog posts than you would on a website. This informal approach allows you to develop a greater sense of community and connection with customers and others for whom you may be writing your blog.
Blogs increase your exposure on the web.
When you blog, you will generally be linking to other blogs who will, in turn, link to you. This increases the ways for people to get to your content and website. In addition, you will be publishing more frequently on a blog than you would on a website, which means more mentions of you online. Both of these result in higher search engine rankings.
People can subscribe to a blog.
You can’t subscribe to a “regular” site. Readers of your blog can use RSS to “subscribe” to be notified when you publish new articles. This makes it more likely that they will read your content because the information will come to them. They won’t have to remember to visit your site to get updated stories.
To quote Darren Rowse: “A company has a website. That website talks to customers. A person has a blog. That blog talks to people.”
Just in case you’re thinking that a company doesn’t need a blog…People buy from and are connected to PEOPLE, not companies. So if you want to create CONNECTIONS to PEOPLE, then you want to start a blog.
So to review blogs:
- Put a humanistic face on a business.
- Foster dialog with your customer base.
- Establish a broadcast point for high-velocity marketing communications.
- Build readership of prospects by sharing domain expertise.
- Increase the reach of your marketing message through syndication.
Still have questions? Please feel free to given us a call and we can explain more about the benefits of blogging.