By John Wood
You’ve spent your time wisely. You’ve been improving your writing skills. And you’ve done your homework. You’ve developed a great business idea. Now the time has come to map out your strategy for taking it online.
Today I’m going to look at four factors that may determine whether you go with a blog or a website …
1. The level of your ongoing commitment you’re prepared to make.
Starting a blog is the easy part; maintaining a blog takes time and effort. That’s because blogs are hungry beasts. To keep them happy, they need a continuous stream of new, fresh, relevant content. And because blog posts are usually stamped with the date and time, if you don’t update your blog for an extended period of time, people will notice – and they may lose interest in your blog. And not only that, your reputation may suffer.
Have you ever been to a blog where the last post was from say, May of 2007? I always think to myself: “Has this person gone out of business?”; or, “Is their business fading away, and they’ve all but given up?”; or worse, “Is the blogger still alive?” Starting a blog is not something to be taken lightly. It requires a high level of commitment to be successful.
Of course, websites also require a commitment. You’ll need to add new content to your site to keep the search engines happy. But you don’t have to update it on quite such a regular basis. Which means, if you’re busy doing other things or want to take time off, your site will still flourish and continue to generate revenue without you.
2. The navigation structure that will best help you achieve our online goals.
A blog organizes its posts usually by date or by category. It’s not the most logical format when it comes to letting your visitors know what your site contains. Some bloggers have chosen to add static pages to their sites to make it easier for their readers to access important information.
A website’s navigation structure is far more intuitive and easier to follow than a blog’s. If done right, your viewer will quickly be able to size up the type of information your site contains and how to access it. This is key if you’re looking to sell products and/or services on your site. A website’s navigation structure is simply better suited for e-commerce transactions.
3. The level of technical expertise required by each.
Very little technical expertise is required to start a blog. You can generally get a blog up and running in a few minutes. And adding additional features (like Google Adsense, YouTube videos, Twitter integration, for example) is relatively easy to do. Unless you’re doing advanced template customization, the technical expertise required to set up a blog is relatively low.
On the other hand, creating a website does take longer and does require more technical expertise (especially if you’re planning to build it yourself). Plus, because the navigation is more complex, you can’t just put together pages willy-nilly. Everything has to work together just right.
4. What you want to accomplish with your site.
Blogs are ideal for topics that are prone to constant updates. For example, politics is a perfect topic for a blog. New things are constantly happening that “political junkies” are eager to read about. Blogs are an excellent choice if your goals include establishing yourself as an expert on a particular topic or creating a bond between you and your prospects and customers. Plus, they are a great vehicle to get customer feedback. I’m not saying you can’t do these things with a website, but the interactive format of a blog fits in perfectly with the above goals.
As mentioned, if your main goal is to sell products and/or services, a website makes sense because of its superior navigation structure. If you’re, say, a copywriter or graphic designer looking for an easy way to show prospective clients samples of your work, a website will work just fine.
Choosing between a website and a blog is one of the first major decisions new online entrepreneurs have to make. Choose the wrong format, and you could lose months, even years, of precious time. Choose the right format, and you’re business will thrive and flourish right from the get-go.
This article appears courtesy of The Golden Thread, an e-letter from AWAI that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on how to build your freelance copywriting business.