From blog to website What’s the best balance for your biz

From blog to website: What’s the best balance for your business?

If you’re eager to boost your online presence, you might be confused about the best path to take. Some experts would advise you to start a blog; others might suggest building a website. But you might wonder: What’s the difference?

Although the terms blog and website are sometimes used interchangeably, some clear distinctions set the two apart, says Brett Nordin, a web developer at Grateful Ventures. The company helps top influencers and content creators optimize their sites for better performance.

The term “blog” is actually an abbreviation of “weblog” (or web log) a name given to an early way that individuals could create their own journal-style websites, without requiring a lot of technical know-how.

Take a look at some of the key differences between blogs and websites, the pros and cons of each, and how you can use elements of both to boost your business.

Blog vs. website

Blog Website
Purpose A blog is meant to offer fresh content on a regular basis to keep readers coming back. A website is created to be more informational or transactional. In essence, it’s like an online magazine or storefront.
What it looks like The quickest way to spot a blog is the ever-changing homepage, featuring the latest posts. Most of the articles within will show the date posted, category name and associated tags (keywords). In the case of a typical company website, pages usually include an overview of products and services, along with things like the business location, store hours, and perhaps customer testimonials and an FAQ section.
What is featured Throughout the site, a blog will feature a listing of content (the blog posts), arranged in reverse chronological order. “A website is usually made up of static content broken up into pages that rarely gets updated or edited,” says Nordin. A magazine website may be organized much like a traditional blog, and feature space on the homepage for the most recent features, but much of the homepage and sidebars will be picked by the editorial team, and not be based on a “recent posts” feed.
Interactivity level Blogs aim to invite a community of people to share their thoughts and have a two-way conversation about the topics. Readers are encouraged to comment and share posts on social media. If visitors want communication with a website owner, they usually have to use a contact form. Otherwise, Nordin points out, there is very little interactivity.
How it’s built Blogs use a content management system (CMS) that allows for organization by date, categories and/or tags. Websites can use a CMS, but they also can be built just with HTML, CSS and scripting languages such as PHP.

When blogs and websites collide

Of course, rarely do you find a small business that chooses between a blog and a website these days; mostly, what you’ll find is a combination of the two.

Usually, a company builds a general website to start and then ends up incorporating a blog to offer fresh content and updates. This, in turn, gets search engines to rank the site higher.

In other cases, an individual might start out posting on a blog platform and transition to something more akin to a full website as the audience grows and business needs change. For example, a site owner might decide that the content library needs better navigation or that the site requires a home base where customers can find general information about services and products the company has recently launched.

Take SallysBakingAddiction.com, for example. Sally McKenney became a well-known blogger and influencer in her field, sharing recipes with her more than 2.7 million fans each month. With that growth, she decided to revamp her blog and make it look more like a digital magazine with a more intuitive navigation.

“The main goal with SallysBakingAddiction.com was to provide visitors with the ability to easily find any recipe they were looking for, while also discovering a recipe they loved that they weren’t looking for,” explains Nordin, who was an integral part of the Grateful team who helped Sally in this mission. “We created something that doesn’t look like a traditional blog and really gave it the personal touch of Sally’s creativity and love for her recipes.”

The new look is designed so that visitors can navigate the most popular baking categories easily, while static content areas promote Sally’s cookbooks and three annual events/baking challenges. In addition, all her latest posts and recipes are easily accessible from the homepage, making it a robust, intuitive experience for its visitors.

The best of both worlds

If you’re not sure if you should add a blog to your website or build website elements into your blog, consider this: HubSpot research found that adding a blog to a website can generate 55 percent more visitors; 97 percent more inbound links; and 434 percent more indexed pages.

In other words, a blog/website combination can pull triple duty by neatly providing the details of your business while helping you connect and build relationships with prospective customers — all while improving your search engine rankings through regular content updates.

The bottom line: By merging a blog and a website into one powerful online presence, you can reap the benefits of both.