Website or Blog: Which One Should I Build?
Obviously there are benefits to both blogs and website, otherwise we wouldn’t see so many of each on the Web. I’ve worked with both over the years and I don’t think there’s a “black-or-white” answer. I think it depends on your goal. Here’s what I think about when I’m trying to decide between a website or a blog.
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What am I selling?
If you’re making money with your site then you’re selling something, a product, a service or even just yourself. I like to look at the products I might buy online when I’m making this decision.
Some products require lots of current, updated information, like info-products that teach you how to make money online. Before I’m going to invest in that product I want more information than you might find at a website. For this type of product I’d have lots of questions, maybe hundreds, which is why it’s so important to use keywords and have lots of content on your blog. I also want to see what other people think about it, too, which is why blog comments are so important.
Other products, like a pair of shoes or a book or a soft drink, they don’t require a constant flow of updated information. It’s a pair of shoes and there’s not really that much you can say about it. Other than style, materials and price, nothing about shoes will ever change and most people buy shoes without having a conversation about it first, so a website would be fine.
Are you selling more than one product?
If you’re selling multiple products I think the same criteria still work. There are hundreds of online stores that carry multiple products and they’re built on websites, not blogs. So, again, it depends on how much information your visitors are going to need before they’ll decide to purchase.
What do you want visitors to see when they arrive on your site?
In some cases, you might need a blog so you can rank for hundreds of different keywords and provide a boatload of content – BUT – you don’t want your visitors landing on a blog when they first arrive. Blogs have a couple of drawbacks: Not everyone understands how to navigate a blog or the fact that the content flows from the top down, and on into the archives where they have to dig for it.
A blog also has a less professional appearance than a website. That’s not a bad thing because that’s part of a blog’s attraction, the fact that it’s homey and less stuffy. But it’s also off-putting to some.
I was recently asked to build a site for a church and we decided to go with a website and built a blog on a sub-domain. The website has seven pages of content, all clearly defined in the sidebar, and it provides information on service times, and the location of the church. It’s a professional looking landing page so that out of town visitors can easily find the church and get the information they need to attend a service.
The blog, on the other hand, has lots of information on the homepage that relates to the local members of the congregation. There’s a calendar of events, numerous downloads, a button for easy online donations, ads from local businesses who sponsor the website – all kinds of information that wouldn’t be relevant if you were visiting and just wanted to find a nice church in the area. It’s all great information on the blog, but it doesn’t make a professional impression like the website does.
In the past the opinion around the blogosphere was that blogs ranked better than websites, mainly because you update your blog frequently and add new information all the time. But personally, I’ve never had a problem getting a website ranked. You just have to make sure you use top-quality information, just like you would for a blog, and freshen it up on a regular basis.