Friday, April 17, 2009

Blog Vs. Web Site: A Question for You

Why would someone want to use a web site for their business when they could use a blog instead?

In a way this blog is one of the answers. Originally this space was a place to sell my photography services. Eventually, it became clear that this wasn't the best tool for delivering proofs to my clients, so I started looking at sites like Zenfolio and SmugMug. And I hope you agree that my SmugMug site rocks! Still, as a place to start, this blog was a great! It cost $0 and I spent much less time on the technical side of developing the site.

I found this article examining the same question. And I'm building up a web presence for a new business venture I'm working on here.

Please let me know what you think. Why would a business want a website and not a blog? And, of course I mean a blog that has been modified to work as a dynamic website. Comments? Question? I really want feedback if you have any. Thanks!


Austin Storm said...

I'll bite!

I must admit I didn't read the article you linked... I got as far as it explaining that "blog" was short for "web log" and figured I'd just skip the rest. =)

1. Freshness
The reason blogs rock from the site user side is that they're an implicit promise of freshness. Everything is organized in a date-base hierarchy, so you can easily see the last time the site was organized. Before blogs every other website was cobwebbed and outta date.

2. Voice
Blogs have a more personal voice. part of the user-generated content revolution (which is old news and is not all it was cracked up to be) and the newly observed phenomenon of "curation" is that content on the web has a stronger, more personal voice. The "diary" format of blogs encourages this, and it's one of the reasons we love them.

3. CMS
The reason the first two are possible, and the reason blogs rock for site owners, is that they have CMS software that makes it possible for non-nerds to maintain. When businesses relied on their IT staff to update our websites, they were rarely updated.

On the website vs. blog question, I'd think about it this way. All the things that blogs suggest, websites do the opposite.

Blogs are more temporal, website content is perceived to be more permanent and timeless.

Blogs have a stronger personal voice, websites have a more impersonal and potentially more professional voice.

Corporations most often completely mess up their "web strategy" (well, their first mistake is having a "web strategy") by messing the two up. They start a blog, then the posts sound like dang press releases, and on top of that they don't update it frequently!

I've tried to balance the two in my new personal site. It's powered by a blog CMS (wordpress, natch), but it's hierarchically organized by topic, and looks more static.

Anywho... blessings on your new venture!

Austin Storm said...

Man, I sound like a curmudgeon. Sorry about that!

Peter said...

Austin, thanks for the comments, they are helpful... and really not too curmudgeonly, obviously you care, which is very good.

Unfortunately the link to your web site didn't seem to work. Blogger seemed to think it was a relative link.

Finally, the main question I have is why a business wouldn't want to use a blog or a balanced blog as their main website. Don't call it a blog, but use a blogging service for all those wonderful things about blogs you outlined, and save money. Is there some compelling reason not to use a blog? What am I missing?

Oh, and the article is actually good. Especially important to me is to point out that a blog is a website and that there's an added benefit for SEO since your blog pings search engines whenever you post new content.