This is going to be pretty basic if you’ve been around the blogging and website publishing scene and yet, I’ve heard people ask this same question over and over again – ‘What’s the difference between a blog and a website?’
It’s a fair enough question if you already have a website and some marketing guru out there is asking you to start a blog. You are probably sitting there wondering if the guru is trying to fleece you off with his/her blogging services, or just pulling a quick one on you.
The answer to the question is not as simple as it used to be. There is, however, a lot of difference between a website and blog.
The Purpose of a Blog
You already know the origin on the word blog is the combination of the words web and log. Essentially, it is a form of online journal or diary kept by individuals, groups, organizations, or companies to keep their customers, fans, followers, families, friends, and other interested people on the internet, up-to-date via blog posts.
People create and update blogs to write about something they’re passionate about, spread the news about something important, update their friends/family/followers/fans/clients with the latest news, share tidbits of life with anyone who is interested, or simply as a way to express themselves or build a portfolio.
People start blogs for various reasons and it’s either of no cost to them (if they start with CMS like Blogspot or WordPress) or is really cheap.
The Purpose of a Website
Yes, you build a website to essentially do the same thing above but with a little twist. If you’ve invested some money into a website, chances are, you’re trying to promote it or make money from it.
It doesn’t matter if you’re into affiliate marketing or trying to SEO your way into top SERPs. The point is that there’s always going to be some form of marketing element in it. There’s no point in hiding it.
Websites, therefore, contain more professional content, are tweaked for SEO, sell you something, promote products/services, and is less personal. Even with that said, some websites actually benefit from putting a little bit more personality into their websites. Such is the case when you highlight your Instagram or Facebook reel, include a blog on your website, or update your clients with the latest happenings in your country, family, or business.
When Blogs Make Money
It’s not uncommon for some blogs to gain so much traction that they start ranking really well for particular keywords. This depends on how netizens are responding to you or find your content reliable.
That’s when blogs are monetized as a form of incentive and reward to the blogger. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. In fact, you’ve probably been advertised at without knowing it at some point in your life.
Blogs can make money via:
- Affiliate links
- Ad displays
- Membership and subscription services
- Selling online courses
- Setting up an online store
The Content of a Website and a Blog
For most websites, there will be 5 to 10 pages of content that tells visitors about their products and services. The more packages, solutions, or products you have, the more pages there’ll be. Once you’ve set the web pages up, that’s pretty much it until the next update.
Blogs are ongoing projects. There isn’t really an end-date to when you stop updating the blog with new content until you decide that ‘Yeah, that’s the last blog post for this blog.’
Otherwise, it’s just your call to continue updating the blog. I’ve never really stopped blogging since I started 20 years ago because it has become an outlet for self expression and release, a habit, and also a way to just get things out into the world.
On websites, they’re more categorized the way brochures or company profiles are. Web pages are sorted through into various categories to make navigation easy for website visitors, customers and clients.
Suffice to say, the content on websites are more static compared to blogs. Things are changing up even as you’re reading this, so you’ll always need to play catch-up with the latest content strategies and trends.
Are Blogs Search-Engine Optimized?
It depends on the type of blog you’re running. For most parts, people assume you’re talking about ‘personal blogs’ whenever the word ‘blog’ is mentioned, but there are many different types of blogs out there on the internet.
- Personal blogs – It’s the original kind of blog. The kind where moms write about their kids, couples update their friends/family about their weddings, and the singleton writing about his/her travel escapades.
- Branded Personal Blogs – Granted, I do this with MarshaMetta.com where I write about writing, blogging, SEO techniques, online marketing, digital trends, social media marketing, etc. I drop the personal stuff in my personal blog where things are more candid while maintaining a sense of professionalism with MarshaMetta.com. That’s a branded personal blog. Often, you’ll use a particular tone of voice to establish either your blog’s personality or brand. You need to pick one and stick with it.
- Company or Corporate Blogs – This goes without saying but corporate blogs are all about building the business, selling the company’s products and services and increasing traffic to the website. Topics are carefully chosen, written, checked, posted or curated. The main objective of a corporate blog is to create sales funnels through landing pages and capturing leads. You might want to check out this list of tools for content management and SEO here.
- Small Business Blog – This is another type of corporate blog but compared to corporate blogs, these are often smaller and more personal. A small business can afford to be more carefree about the topics they choose to write about but they often encircle topics related to the industry.
- Niche Topic Blogs – Companies, groups, or individuals are at liberty to create their own niche topic blogs and do whatever they deem worthy with it. Once they gain traction in the industry they are in, they might put up ads, get paid for articles and promotions, or even sell products and services in their blog. Niche topics you can write about includes movie reviews, book reviews, technology news, travel, health, fitness, cooking, parenting, entertainment, lifestyle, DIY, pets or anything else you’re passionate about!
- Artist Portfolio Blogs – I honestly find artist portfolio blogs absolutely enchanting and exciting, especially if the artist spends time and effort to share his or her experience, ideas, tips, and advice in the form of a blog post, Vlog, Instagram Story, or YouTube video. It’s a fantastic way for people to get to know the artist better. Sure, a gallery is fine but nothing beats going that extra mile to show your followers/fans/potential clients/customers the real artist behind the work.
- Experimental Blogs – These are really interesting too because the blog writers would often try something really fun, or use different techniques and strategies to achieve something we have questions about. They build a rapport and reputation with their followers by providing guides, insight, ideas, tips, and reports on the experiments they’ve embarked on.
- Affiliate Blogs – Technically, I wouldn’t really call this a blog because they tend to focus on making a quick buck or two. As someone with experience, I can tell you the owners and writers of these blogs don’t often put too much time and effort into producing each blog post. They’re typed out within 10 minutes, sardine-packed with keywords, and contain affiliate links. They’re shallow because the writers (often) don’t have real information or real experience to share with the readers. The main objective of affiliate blogs is to make money off affiliate links. Nevertheless, they continue to work in today’s business landscape.
Becoming a Thought-Leader Through Your Blog
There are more than 600 million blogs out there on the internet. Even Google is struggling to navigate the large swath of up-and-coming websites and blogs so much so that they’re tightening the noose on the SEO people.
The best niche topics to write about in 2020 includes technical, digital marketing, finance and investment, fashion, lifestyle, travel, movie, music, health and news. But you might carve out your own market in pet grooming, hairstyles, home decor, gaming, or cooking if that floats your boat. There’s loads of space on the internet for all kinds of niches.
However, if you want to rank well with your blog, you need to be a respectable thought-leader, be consistent, not spam others, publish useful content, go that extra mile, earn the respect from your readers, work SEO the right way, and work your way into Google’s good books.
With more than 2.7 billion blog posts being churned out every year, it is understandable. If you’re running a corporate blog, you need to be intelligent about your content strategy by reading your readers. Consumers today are prickly about having things shoved down their throats or thrust into their faces.
Instead, I would try to win people over with a solid strategy that aligns me with them. I must share their values and help them by being the bigger person (or company). Remember, you’re courting your customers the same way you’re trying to win the heart of a toddler or chatting up someone you’re interested in. It not just takes effort and lots of thought, but also a lot of patience.
(Yes, and money too)
Wrapping It Up
If you’re thinking of starting a corporate blog or a personal branded blog, start with a solid content strategy and work out a timeline for your content posts. What you need to remember is that…things change. And you’ll need to change along with the tide in order to continue the ride.
But before I go, here’s the wrap up!
- Understand the purpose of the blog
- Websites are not blogs although they, too, need some form of updating from time to time
- Websites are straight-up corporate. It’s in the money game and there’s no point hiding that
- Blogs can make money too and there are so many ways to do it!
- Concentrate on producing top-notch content for both your website and blog, if you’re running both concurrently
- Even when you feel disappointed or tired, continue trudging on if you really, truly believe in it
- SEO your website and blog
- Aim to be a leader in your industry in order to rank well with your blog
Good luck and have some fun creating blog posts and managing your blog! How much fun you have with it, on a personal note, will also determine how well you connect with your audience. And that, most of the time, is the variable you need to close in on.