Jan
13
2010

Blog or Website? Which do I choose?

Ford Website built on Blog

Working with my new client base of smaller businesses in Sarasota, I’ve been asked this question several times over the last few months. Blog or Website? I usually recommend a blog over a traditional html website in most cases, but it’s not for the reason you are probably thinking.

Most people associate a blog an unemployed person, sitting in their bathrobe, ranting about a particular topic. And I’m not saying that isn’t true. But that is also NOT at all what I am suggesting.

When I recommend a blog over traditional web pages, I am recommending a TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM, not what you will be using it for. And that’s a crucial distinction. Using a blog as a technology platform gives you access to a free, easy-to-use-and-administer content management system. It gives you the ability to change your design with the flip of a switch, and it gives you the ability to add tons of functionality at a fraction of the price you would pay to have custom built.

By building your site on a blog-based technology* you get a few things that a static HTML site just cant offer.

  • With a blog, you have a built in CMS (content management system) that allows you to update your own content. That means you don’t have to pay me every time you need to update a phone number or add a page. If you can use Word, you can use WordPress.
  • Blogs are waaay more search engine friendly. You can put all the tags right in when you are writing the page. No fancy coding needed. Tags show up more often on pages. Pings are set up automatically, etc.
  • Blogs encourage interaction with comments. This both moves buyers along the decision making curve, but also creates more inbound links, and keyword appearance both bumping your Google visibility
  • Blogs have THOUSANDS of free design themes. Don’t like your current design? Pop in a new theme. Flip the switch. Even if your theme is customized, the amount of work to change it in blog format is CONSIDERABLY less than redesigning and rebuilding an entire site.
  • Blogs have THOUSANDS of free functionality plugins. Add a form or survey? No problem. Want a fancy photo slideshow for your portfolio? No problem. Calendar of events? No problem. All free, all with minimal setup. Pay me $100 to set it up, or pay a developer $1000 to rebuild the wheel… you choose?

Cases where a blog is not your best idea:

  • Very design heavy sites- Customizing a blog or CMA base theme (either WordPress or Joomla or Drupal, or whatever) is NOT easy. They were designed for content, not pretty pictures and advanced interaction. It can be done, but it may require a lot of work.
  • Programming intensive sites – custom shopping carts, fancy scripts in the works? Not so easy on a Blog or CMS

This ain’t yo mammas blog:

The last question I get a lot is this “Don’t blogs look like…well blogs.” And that question depends on how much you want to spend. This site for example is built on a blog. It has some pretty fancy customizations, but both the platform (WordPress) and the theme (Brandford), are the same as the frees one you can download. The design is seriously pimped, the wordpress install is vanilla.

 

Some other sites that are using wordpress as their base technology

famous-blogs-wordpress-1 famous-blogs-wordpress-2 famous-blogs-wordpress-22
People Wall Street Journal Magazine Playstation

Blogs that don’t LOOK like blogs

wordpresscomachocigs-300x202 wordpressfurnwarehouse-300x222 Ford Website built on Blog
Camancho Cigars Furniture Warehouse Ford Autoshows

 

**(I usually recommend WordPress for most small busineses since it is both free and fairly user friendly. Joomla for larger businesses with multiple contributors or advanced needs)

2 Comments + Add Comment

  • JJ,
    Exactly my thoughts, your evil brain-wave-hijacker must be working again.
    I am in the process of switching my danbrantley.com website from iWeb to WordPress. iWeb does some cool and realtively easy things, the site looks good, but I hesitate to change things because I have to upload everything again, etc etc etc. I miss just logging in to the Admin section and changing things as I please like on my usinghumor.com site.
    “Miscreants” now there’s a word we don’t hear often enough!

  • I hear ya. I can be a pain in the butt to switch over, but well worth it in the long run. Let me know if I can help out.

    JJ

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