I get this question all the time from clients. Whether they are just starting out and have no online presence or are considering upgrading their online presence – they ask me this question.
“Derek, should I use a website or my blog or both? What’s the difference?”
It may sound like a basic question – but it is actually one of the most important questions to consider regardless of whether you have a website or a blog already – or are considering changing what online presence you have.
There are some fundamental differences and reasons why you should choose one over the other – that essentially combines a “best of both worlds” approach with a blog and website.
In this article I will share why having a blog is actually the best solution and I’ll reveal the best resource for setting up your blog. The best part is that it’s free and easy.
And just to be clear: a blog IS a website. A blog (web-log = blog) is a dynamic website. It supports the idea of having fresh new content that is updated consistently. As opposed to a website which is more traditionally seen as static and not frequently updated with new and relevant information.
Here is why you should not have both a website and a blog. Imagine your prospect is searching online for your niche or subject matter. They type in some keywords and look at the results to see two different search results. One is your website, say www.mywebsiterocks.com and they then also glance at the other search result and see something similar – but a little different. It may have your name or company presence on there – so the prospect is a little confused what the difference is. That website is www.blogpost.mywebsiterocks.com. Well, guess what – you’ve essentially just confused your prospect before they even come to your site. They will ask themselves? What is the difference with these two sites? Are they the same person or company or something different? Which do I click on? These are questions you NEVER want your prospect to be asking when they are reviewing search engine results and deciding which site to visit.
Having both a blog and a website is essentially putting you in competition with yourself. This will confuse your prospect and ultimately decrease the number of visitors to your site and compounded from that will decrease leads to your list and clients or buyers of your programs and products.
Even worse in this example is the fact that you’re essentially giving blogspot.com search engine credibility for your keywords by having your blog hosted on that site as opposed to your actual website name – say www.mywebsiterocks.com.
Let’s take another unfortunate scenario. You’ve decided to host your blog on your own website or domain – so you now how have a menu item on your website that says “Blog”. So, when people come to your www.mywebsiterocks.com website and see the menu item “Blog” – they will click on it and go to your blog. Not good. Not only will you be competing again in the results of the search engines – but you’re adding an additional step for your visitor to take to get what they actually came for – CONTENT. Typically a blog will have new and fresh and updated content (articles, posts, tips, etc.) – why not showcase that on your homepage of the website as opposed to having it hidden in another area of your site?
The moral of the lesson is this: don’t create a dual presence online with your website and a blog.
So you might be asking yourself, “Great Derek, what’s the solution?” Well, the answer is to setup your website as a blog. Combine the website and the blog together to have the best of both. Here’s how:
If you don’t have a website or a blog yet – set one up using WordPress (www.wordpress.com). There are hundreds of reasons why you should use WordPress to setup your blog. But, the best one is this – you can setup your blog like a website. It’s totally customizable in everything from the layout to the design to the look and feel – so you can actually have it look like a website – but with all the benefits of having a blog.
What are the benefits of having the blog?
- Search Engine Optimization. Google loves new content. So, Google loves blogs because those have the most new and updated content. And, Google loves WordPress blogs because they are the best at setting up the content and including all the SEO “stuff” so your site will rank higher in the search engine results
- True plug-n-play. Wordpress provides all the social connectivity with Facebook and Twitter and other state-of-the-art “widgets” that allow you to literally have a site setup in minutes – and connected to the other online outlets to help showcase and broadcast your content
- Easy. It’s so easy to customize and design a WordPress blog. WordPress has hundreds of “themes” out there where you can choose a pre-defined blog template that you like and then very easily customize. Adding images and videos is a snap.
- Scalability. As your business grows or evolves – you can very easily change or re-design your blog without having to hire an expensive web designer. Using a customized “website” that is built on a non standard platform could make it very difficult, time consuming, and expensive to change in the future
- Show off your content! Blogs are designed to showcase your content. So, it helps you showcase new and updated content. This will most definitely help you attract more visitors to your site.
An example of a WordPress blog that is setup as a regular website is www.clientattraction.com. Our site “looks” like a regular website but it’s designed using a custom WordPress theme. So, we get all the benefits of using a blog (and a WordPress blog at that) and the ability to customize and design it like it was a customized design website.
And don’t worry. Other website functionality is available for WordPress sites like membership site functionality using applications like WP Wishlist (member.wishlistproducts.com).
So, if you fall into the scenarios described above where you have a separate website and a blog – or no blog at all – consider moving it over to a WordPress blog format. It’s not difficult to do and will position your website in a way to attract more leads so you can build your list and get more clients.
Until Next Time… Learn It, Love It, Live It!
Derek – Your post was so timely for me. My Blog is in WP.org accessed with a button on my main site, which I thought was OK til I read your post. In the past few months, I have heard a lot of buzz about using WP.org as your entire website, so I have been considering it. I greatly admire the design of the Client Attraction website, and I tried to find a WP theme with similar functionality and flexibility, then got lost and frustrated in WP “themeland”, so gave up and settled on the default Twenty Ten theme. I would greatly appreciate your advice on some of the best places to purchase WP themes. I am ready to take the plunge and convert! Thanks so much, LeeAnn
Teat to hear, LeeAnn. My tip is to search online for wp themes you like and use those – so many free and good ones out there.
If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.
Helpful info. Lucky me I found your site by accident, and I’m stunned why this accident did not came about in advance! I bookmarked it.
I have done a lot of research on this issue and just had to click over when I saw your post in my twitter feed. I could not agree more. I have known for a long time that you can have the best of both worlds with having WordPress. Just using the static page button in the back can create the website feel if you are worried about people going straight to your blog or want a more professional feel. And the fact that it has a What You See Is What You Get editor sure is nice. You can literally build out your website in just an hour or so if you really know what you are doing. Great post Derek.
Gen – thanks so much for your comment and feedback. Glad you agree!
Derek, thanks for really covering the ins and outs of websites and blogs — great article. I resonate especially with the confusion of having a blog and a website on separate domains! I look at other people’s websites for a living (as part of my review of potential new Certified Experts) and I’m surprised how many make this mistake. It really serves more to hide your best selling point, than to showcase what folks are really looking for when they find you on the web. Hope your message gets out to those who need to hear it!
Thanks, Terri – I see that so many times as part of our work with clients and students and one of the first things we work on as part of their online strategy.
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