Blog or Website – The Real Difference

Blogs are indeed websites, but there are distinct and relevant differences and advantages to both.

Google Logo officially released on May 2010

Image via Wikipedia

Most people think of a website as a digital storefront – a place for offering products and services, activities that you can also accomplish with a blog.

Then what exactly is the difference between a blog and a website?

A Blog is a Digital Magazine

Blogs are websites that are designed to engage an audience with fresh content – just like a magazine.

If you are a blogger you are a publisher – no different than a print publisher. The cover of your magazine is the home page – your most recent content.

Google loves blogs because the content they publish is fresh.  Fresh content is relevant.  It’s current.  If it also happens to be high quality, it quickly rises to the top of Google search.

Are you a sports fanatic?  If so, then you regularly check the updates at ESPN.com.  If business is one of your primary interests, you do the same with The Wall Street Journal at WSJ.com.

We all have interests, and the nature of digital publishing drives us to blogs where we can get the most up-to-date news and commentary that challenges or affirms our perspectives.

As a business owner, you have to determine whether being a news source or a storefront is right for you. Which will earn you more business – commentary with personality or detailed product and service offerings?

If fresh and original content is most likely to attract, engage, and convert prospects into buyers, then a blog or digital magazine as your home page is the right online strategy for you.

A Website is a Digital Storefront

Some consumers are on a short timetable and are more concerned about product and service details. In other words, they are ready to buy.

If your products and services are well-known or in high demand, then a website with a home page that is focused on commerce is clearly the best approach for your business.

If like many of us you still need to work at attracting new prospects to your website, then a blog should be integral to your online marketing strategy – and most likely your home page.

Remember the purpose of the web is search, and Google loves blogs because they serve up fresh content that is in demand.

The most promising option these days may be a hybrid site that combines the best of a blog and traditional website.

You can build a site to highlight your primary products and services front and center (above the fold)  on the home page of your site – with the most recent blog posts below the fold.

This effectively monetizes your site by keeping your commerce primary, while also taking advantage of the SEO benefits of combining fresh blog content on that same page. My favorite example of this is Copyblogger.com.  An example of a larger organization is Edelmandigital.com.

This hybrid approach gives you the best of both worlds.

However, there is a catch.  Yep, you have to do the work of actively creating fresh content.

Sometimes even that is not enough.  However, it is still the surest ways for staying in the good graces of Google.

What’s your view on this?  Do you plan to make any changes to your site?

Leave a comment below or share this with your community with any of the share buttons below – or with those on the little red bar at the bottom of this page.  

Enjoy your weekend,  Jeff

 Jeff Korhan
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Comments

  1. First of all one of my blogs is on genusis it really good. I prefer blogs there easy to keep up to date and you can put new content on im switching all my sites to blogs i also find it easer to get traffic as well. I will if i cant fit what i want into the blog just make a page for it so i suppose i will end up with a hybrid just hope it all works

  2. This was extremely helpful in clarifying what I do and where I am — strictly in the blogsphere.

  3. Hi,
    This was extremely helpful & Great!

  4. E. Lilly says:

    This is a terrific article about the evolution of websites and blogs. I’m wondering if anyone might know if it’s better to have a website with an external blog (for backlinks)…OR… a website that is built on a blog system (such as those given in the examples set by Copyblogger or EdelmanDigital?

    I’m wondering if the external blog would fare better for the website because of it’s backlinks, or of the site would fare better if it was set up as a blog.

    Thanks!

    • Jeff Korhan says:

      E.Lilly – It has been some time since I wrote this and you commented. Nevertheless, what I’ve noticed in the last year is more companies are using the WordPress platform – for SEO, ease of use, and the flexibility that it gives them moving forward.

  5. Hi Jeff,

    nice post, thanks a lot! I share your viewpoint. I am beating the drums for fresh contents and CMS-websites and Blogs in Germany, trying to raise the awareness of the importance for fresh content. Static websites are still more the norm with small business owners. I am offering to write fresh, custom content in German and English (we lived in the States until recently) and I think I am beginning to leave a mark… ;-)

  6. Thanks Jeff,

    What you are describing is exactly what I want. I blog regularly already and have registered a Domain Name http://www.doubleroo.com.au and want to do the same but with a few extra buttons to advertise and sell products. Thanks to you I now know it’s possible. Just have to work out how now :-)

    • Jeff Korhan says:

      Alex – You are welcome. I found the easiest way to do this is to map it out on a big whiteboard. That way you have in front of you everything and can easily size up the project and then divide and conquer. Good luck!

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  8. i really like the concept of feathe.rs/manifesto a blog without a blog!

    i found it on hackernews.
    i haven’t tested it yet but it looks very clean concept.

    has anybody of you received an invite code or tested it already???
    can’t wait for it

  9. I want to have my own Website. So far, I don’t have one. My I know How I can develop my own website/blog?

  10. Whether you create a conventional website or create a blog, content is king.
    The thing is that your website needs to be simple to create, manage and promote. Plus, needs to be correctly created and correctly optimized for the search engines.
    Also, the uniqueness and quality of your content is a determining factor in whether your website will be successful or not, as is is how well you promote the site.
    Also, if you choose a subject area that is highly competitive such as travel, then you are possibly going to have a challenging time competing against the likes of Expedia. That is unless you have a unique angle and can tell a good story about a location, and can possibly write like Hemmingway.

  11. I do both. I write informative articles and sometimes place them on my websites and other times post them on a blog. They all help and show up in the search engines. From reading your articles, I can see that I need to go back and add or change them to make them fresh. This is my latest blog:

    http://appliance-repair-or-appliance-replace.blogspot.com/2012/07/appliance-repair-or-replace.html

  12. CNN doesn’t sell anything, well except news, but it’s most certainly a web site.

    • Wasn’t finished and hit the wrong button. Anyway I think the differences stated here are a tad too simplistic. I use a WordPress theme, but I most certainly do not consider my portal a blog. I’m also pretty sure ESPN.com and the The Wall Street Journal don’t consider themselves blogs. One is the website of a cable network, the other the website of a major daily newspaper. In my Google Alerts both are listed as “Web” as opposed to “Blog” I think the distinction requires much more elaboration. There’s a lot of over lapping, gray areas. For example some Websites have blogs. Two cents spent.

      • Jeff Korhan says:

        Broderick – The distinction I’m making is that the term blog is no longer relevant.

        Just as ESPN and WSJ are publishing original news and editorial content, so am I. They monetize with advertising and some paid subscriptions, whereas I accomplish that in other ways via my coaching and speaking and training programs.

        A site that does not regularly publish fresh content to build an engaged audience is a traditional website – a digital brochure.

        Yet, as you have accurately pointed out, many are now incorporating blogs as a subdomain on that site -as they should to encourage higher search rankings and more personal perspectives.

        And yes, I find myself hitting those buttons too quickly at times as well. :)

        Thanks for your comment.

  13. Krastar Rockman says:

    This article helped me to know what exactly I should do now. I have a question about about.com. It has subdomain so much and covering all the topic. Is it a blog or website and if subdomain content is helping main domain to get all traffic? Please help me explaning about sub domain n main domain with traffic. Thank you

  14. What I’d like to know, though, is why sometimes when I post something new (on my . . . “blog” . . . ) Google sees the post AS a “blog”, but other times sees it as a page on a website (based on the notifications they send back that they’ve indexed the content).

    Any ideas? Anyone?

    • Jeff Korhan says:

      Jeff – Google does not make a distinction between the two.

      A blog post or article is a page on a website. That’s how Google sees it.

      In other words, a blog is a website and a page is a page, whether its called a blog or a page.

      Hope this helps.

      • I think I might have been unclear, Jeff.

        What I’m saying is that Google DOES distinguish, if only when they advise me that they’ve found a new page via Google Alerts. Sometimes they specify that they’ve found a new “Blog Entry” on my website (http://answerguy.com), and others they find a new “Web Page”.

        I can’t figure out how they distinguish one from the other.

  15. Does it make your website a blog if you post fresh content frequently?
    I like to think of blogs as opinionated, more personal, and written for now – the articles are of a temporary nature and are thus organised on a timeline; whereas a website’s content is written with less “I” and content is meant to be there and easily accessible indefinitely.

    • Jeff Korhan says:

      Steve – Great insight – Yes!

      Consistently publishing fresh content is what this is all about. And when there is less of you and more of them in the content, clearly you are positioning it as evergreen and worthy of Google’s attention.

      Well done :)

  16. Jeff, thinking of starting a blog-ish to determine if there is a market for my product idea. Once we see if such exists, then we start to sell the service. Also, much of our ‘blog’ will be links to articles and such. Does that make sense?

    • Jeff Korhan says:

      Nance – Rather than linking to articles, why not publish them as content on your blog?

      The primary purpose of your blog is to establish a platform that you own and control for attracting and engaging an audience.

      Does this answer your question?

      • What is standard ‘policy’ for getting articles and publishing? Do I have to get permission from author for each? I figured linking was easier, but don’t like the idea of having user/viewer leave my page to go to the article somewhere else….

        • Jeff Korhan says:

          Typical is to reference the source of the content by name or company and provide an attribution link.

          There are some folks that don’t want anyone using their content, but the majority is happy to have it shared provided a link is provided to the source.

          Google treats outbound links to authoritative sources much as a bibliography to a book. In other words, they view you as a professional that is referencing quality sources.

          • Thanks Jeff. I will review how this is done on other sites. I think we’ll be bloggin first. I’ll stay in touch as we go forward.

  17. i want to create a website (or a blog) to have some articles regarding my field of study, just like books.
    so which option will suite me more,either to go for a blog a traditional website?????

    • Jeff Korhan says:

      Ayaz – Best practice is to have your blog and website on the same domain – with our blog as a subdomain on the primary domain of your website. A good example is copyblogger.com.

  18. Jessie Philipps says:

    This website helps me a lot to know more about the online business planning. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Hi Jeff,
    I create my blog as a subdomain, however i begin to think that by having a subdomain i have to promote 2 domain altogether (my blog and my main domain). On the other hand having blog as a sub folder/directory on main domain don’t need double effort, i just need to promote my main domain and my blog automatically get exposure. What do you think about this?

    • Jeff Korhan says:

      Yunar – You got – that’s the way to go. Just be sure there is a separate link from your primary domain (home page) to the blog on the subdomain.

      A simple call-out of some kind is sufficient.

  20. When building a websites one of the most important ways is creating good quality and fresh blogs to attract more prospect buyers on their products. Thanks for sharing the difference between those two blogs and websites.

  21. Keep in mind – the difference only relates to the experience provided to the user. The search engines do not know the difference.

    • Jeff Korhan says:

      Great point Patrick – there is no difference to the engines – well, assuming that they both are interactive.

  22. The given content is very useful one. I really appreciate the work done by the Moderator of the website.

  23. Rex Eric Engstrom says:

    Just curious. WordPress? Primary domain? Sub-domain? External blog? Trackback? Is there really anyplace, in print or pixels, where I could find a absolutely basic primer to all this? I mean something at about a 5th grade level. I just finish putting up a ebook on Amazon and I keep getting told to promote it by blogging. But I’m baffled by jargon. This is a really great answer site, though. Thanks you,Jeff.

    • Jeff Korhan says:

      Rex – There are few things going on here. One is content marketing, which is the true purpose for blogging – to attract and engage an audience. More here: http://www.jeffkorhan.com/2012/03/social-marketing-process.html

      You don’t really promote with your blog, you use it to attract an audience, the use social media to engage them, and then sales become a by-product of the process. Other sources are the content marketing tab on this blog and Copyblogger.com/blog.

      The other things is the structure of the blog. I like how Copyblogger is organized a lot, with the blog on both the primary domain (home page – scroll to the bottom) and a subdomain (/blog)

      I just finished writing a book that I believe will answer a lot of your questions. It will be out in April but can be pre-ordered now: http://goo.gl/9U63S (note the url is case sensitive)

      Good luck,

      Jeff

  24. I always wanted to create a website.A i didn’t know the difference between blog and website.But I’m little confused.can you help me with that?

  25. I want to repeat a question asked by a commenter. Is about.com a blog or website? It has so many sub domains. Is it the right strategy?
    Thanks

    • Jeff Korhan says:

      Amsh – All online sites are websites.

      The difference is blogs are interactive. They are a dialogue vs traditional websites that are a monologue – just the business talking.

      Conversations engage – and that is the magic of interactive blogs.

      • The point about blogs being online magazines is interesting. From an owners perspective you are more likely to be regularly updating something you think of as a ‘magazine’ than your ‘one off’ website.

        That could help with Google etc ratings. At the same time you do want to establish an ‘authority’ presence online. From the look of it now you can’t do this without regular updates so as you say a hybrid site with a blog feed into your website probably best.

        That at least is something you can automate to a degree so post once and update multiple places, the only issue then is duplicate content which Google does not like. Hmm, a lot to chew over.

        Cheers,

        Andrew

      • Jeff, Your reply to Amish was key to me
        Blogs are interactive, websites a monologue
        That sorts out where I’m going
        Thanks

  26. This was a very clarifying article for me. Particularly the statement that a blog is a digital magazine. I’m not sure why that resonated, but it did. I have been struggling with how to convert my traditional website content and organization over to the WordPress platform. I also have a blog. I’ve had trouble seeing how the traditional content fits into a blog format so that it’s all part of the database and searchable. But I’m beginning to see the light. Thanks for the nudge.

    • Jeff Korhan says:

      Beth – That’s interesting Beth because when I first heard that about a blog being a digital magazine it too resonated with me.

      The more we realize all of this is simply a transition from the physical to digital the better we can keep it practical and useful for whatever needs to be accomplished.

      Thanks for your comment. :)

  27. This is really nice..

  28. Any website can easily incorporate a blog simply by syndicating an RSS feed on it. Treat the feed as a blog — i.e., post your blog items on the feed — and voila, you have a blog embedded on your website. Posting items on a feed is as simple as writing an email. Syndication can involve no more that inserting a small code snippet into your HTML code and uploading a script that does the XML-to-HTML parsing/conversion. A person can be up and running in 5 minutes with their new blog feed. And for free, by the way. Fresh content can pour onto the website as often as the publisher wishes to post new content.

    Looking at it another way, most websites today provide for frequent updates of content. CMS is all about simple management of content. Approximately 1 of every 6 websites today (May 2013) are WordPress based. All of them are a blend of “website” and “blog”. A huge number of other sites syndicate their own RSS feeds, so they also accomplish the blend. This has been going of for over a decade.

    Any site being designed today without a feature for keeping content fresh — blog or otherwise — will not rank well in SERP position. There’s no reason not to incorporate a feature like that — say a testimonial feed — is a mistake, unless the publisher is not too interested in having his website discovered via searches.

    Any interesting discussion would be, “What’s the difference between a blog and a feed?” Think of the feed as the underlying mechanism for transporting posted content that we think of as blog material (whatever that is). Think of the blog as one application of the feed, others being, for example, real estate listings, testimonials, new product announcements, tips on using the website/application, meeting announcements, coming events, market trends, financial advice, jokes :-) and on and on.

  29. Great explanation about blog and website jeff, iam a blogger and writing fresh content will attract new readers and search engine

  30. Still slightly confused by this, so what would something like this http://www.bikeradar.com/ get classed as? This is not what I think of as a blog, but my assumption is normally of some student sat sharing their opinions! But it’s not ‘static’ as you’re description of a website. Also this has it’s own domain name and I thought all blogs were .blogspot or .wordpress creations?

  31. Jennifer says:

    Well written and to the point, recommended to anyone needing a basic explanation and answer to the blog or website question. Most importantly, this article’s professional journalism is enough to convince without further researching. ;)

  32. Real Nice article! keep up the good work!

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  34. Electronic Publications are uncomplicated. They do not take much percentage of someone’s earnings. They preserve your time and effort and are the new in factor.

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  36. Nice article!

  37. Hey Jeff,

    Thanks for breaking down the differences for me. How does a blog that runs off ones main website effect their rankings and fresh content? I was going to start a separate blogspot blog but thought it would be better to have a blog run off my website. Just wanted to make sure it was a smart idea?

    • Hi Adrian – These days the trend is toward the blog and the website being one in the same. In other words, the blog is hosted on the secondary navigation of the primary website.

      This approach offers options both for those ready to buy, and for others that need to learn more before making their decision.

      Of course, they should be hosted on a domain that your business owns.

  38. thanks for your valuble posting, it was very informative.i am working in web design company in chennai

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