I am really thinking that perhaps the blog is the way to go for me. Currently my website http://www.macinnismarketing.com.au is okay but my blog is more interactive, I can display more information and is easier to change on the fly. I will seek some advice on this strategy but maybe it is the way to go, especially for small business. For one you can cut your costs and time in half!
The Zenguide guys explain the difference in functionality between a blog and a website
- A typical brochure-style website gives you several pages with your brochure information on it. This can serve you very well as it gives you clients/ readers/ customers all the factual information they need to know about you and your business/ books/ services
- A website like that is pretty much static. Once people have been once and read whatever is there to read, they don’t really need to come again unless they need to be reminded about something eg your office address when they are coming to visit you
- It can do well with search engines provided your designer has included search engine optimisation within the design
- You can update the website yourself fairly easily once your web designer has shown you a bit of HTML. This can be useful for a “Latest News” page. But you usually have to delete the old text to make room for the new text unless you’ve got the capability to add additional news items and additional pages.
- A website is not interactive – you are stating your message to your audience and they can’t interact in any way although people can usually email you via the Contact page.
- A blog alongside your website enables you to update content easily – as easily as writing an email using a web-based email account.
- You never lose the old content from a previous “post”. This is particulary useful if your latest “latest news” item is a follow up item to your previous “latest news” items. eg. Last month your news was “I’ll be appearing at the Hay Literary Festival…”; this month you can write “When I appeared at the Hay Literary Festival, we had a lively discussion about the publishing industry…”
- You can archive your posts according to date or subject eg “Book Events”, “Current Novel”, “Publishing Industry” and eventually build up a body of work
- Search engines LOVE regularly updated pages. They are likely to throw you up near the top more often and you’ll start appearing all over the internet as you write more and more. Your posts that are never deleted from months ago will be found by someone searching on a particular topic and that will introduce them to the rest of your blog. For example, my post on Malt Loaf on my arts blog Fusion View keeps getting picked up by a range of people from France across to South America even though I wrote it around a year ago – and hopefully, that means more and more people are discovering my blog through atypical searches (ie not by a typical searching like “Malaysian/ UK writer”, for example)
- And that is exactly the reason I started blogging as a writer. Almost two years ago, my presence was disappearing off the internet – my books website itself was just not enough to keep me active and live on the web. Traffic to my site was pitiful. Since I started blogging, I’m all over the web and my arts blog Fusion View has over 8,000 unique visitors a month.
- A blog is interactive and you can easily engage with your readers/ customers, building up loyalty and trust
- You can add multi media such as pictures, audio podcasts and videos very easily
- A blog has what is called an RSS feed that sends out notifications (like radio signals) to the rest of the web whenever it is updated so you don’t have to sit and wait for people to come and find you, it automatically tells people about your latest update.
- For solo professionals and small businesses, it may take time to blog but after the initial set up costs and some training, it’s a very cost-effective way to promote your presence online – which is very important if you have a limited budget.
If you don’t already have a website, discuss with your web designer using the blog platform – you can create numerous static pages for the brochure part using the same blogging software: you don’t need to pay for a website plus a blog. Traditionally, some web designers charged you by the number of pages because the old technology meant that they had to hand code and link each new page. If you incorporate your website as part of your blog, once the blog is designed you don’t have to pay extra for the number of additional pages – that’s all part of the package.
The guys from Designerplayground agree with me…
Why Use Blogs Instead Of Website
Why would you use Blogs instead of a web site for your online business?
You can definitely continue using a website in your online business.
Combining a website and a Blog however offer a number of superior advantages in terms of traffic generation, marketing and efficiency which a stand-alone website cannot do.
(a) Automatic push-button publishing.
(b) Fosters relationship building, trust and stickyness
(c) Increase search engine ranking
(d) Free listing in Google, Yahoo and MSN
(e) Syndication Power
The most powerful feature of a Blog is its syndication function. Blogs can be turned into RSS feeds, and most Blogging service providers have this built-in function.
It is just a matter of turning it on from within your account.
Once it turned into an RSS feed, you can syndicate your Blog contents by:
Submitting to the major RSS directories and search engines like Yahoo and MSN, gaining free exposure and free traffic
Allow other website owners to publish your feed on their sites, again, getting free traffic you otherwise will not have
Gain new readers, subscribers and potential clients by letting them subscribe to your RSS feed via a newsreader.
I’ve become a firm believer that the website in the traditional sense is all but obsolete.
That’s right. The “Website” is dead, the Blog has risen to power, and it’s becoming harder for the big boys to compete with smaller businesses online. As a web designer for 11 years, I have seen technologies come and go, rise and fall, but the social shift in the web is leveling the playing field, and allowing small businesses to thrive.
The Price – It’s a helluva lot cheaper. Even free, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty. Even a complete professional install can be done for as little as $100. You also don’t have to pay anyone to develop custom features, because just about everything you want to do is available as a free plug-in.
- The Design – There’s a million themes available for free, the process to change the entire look of your website can be done with just a few clicks. There are also some absolutely amazing commercial theme providers, like WooThemes.com, that create the most effective and beautiful themes that need little or no customization other than a logo.
- The Effort – When you want to add a page, edit content, update a new article, add or edit an image – you can do it with a few clicks. WordPress makes every action, every design element, every possible change extremely easy for anyone.
- The Traffic – When you self-host a WordPress installation, you get full credit for all the traffic to your blog. This is in contrast with hosted solutions like Blogger.com and TypePad, where all your traffic is credited to the company, not you. Some companies are solving that problem, but as of now, a self hosted version is the absolute best.
- The Security – When you use a WordPress back-end for your website, you get the advantages of spam prevention, user-level access with several tiers to allow complete control or just read privileges.
The Search Engines
Another amazing feature, with a little luck and effort, your website can be listed on Googlewithin a couple hours of you writing your first page. This takes a few tricks I will be sharing in upcoming posts.
- Communication With Customers – Does your website have the ability for your customers to easily leave feedback and communicate with other people on your site about your products or services? Remember, word of mouth still the largest method obtaining sales. If you give your customers a place to communicate, even if it’s heavily moderated, you can use their satisfaction with your product or service as a testimonial and selling tool.
Thanks Robby. I am starting to think that an all in one blog with some extra pages for my web content is the go. What are your thoughts?