While most businesses today have websites, the majority still don’t have blogs. While blogging isn’t right for every business, it does offer compelling benefits. Though the ultimate objective of either a website or blog is ultimately to drive increased sales, the two platforms have fundamentally distinct characteristics. Here are six key differences between business blogs and websites.
Website: static content
Blog: frequently updated content
Other than a few select areas (e.g., company news, upcoming events, prices), depending on the type of business, most of the content on your website stays pretty much the same for a long time. You don’t update your product features every day, the descriptions of your services stay pretty much the same, your hours of operation don’t change, your address doesn’t change unless you move the business (an infrequent event for most enterprises), and your “about the company” is only revised when major developments occur. Blogs, on the other hand, are updated frequently – generally one or more times weekly – with fresh content. The search engines have always favored fresh content, particularly Google with its latest Caffeine release. Certainly standard websites can rank well in search, but a blog provides an extra SEO kick and is more powerful at driving repeat visits.
For a variety of reasons, web copy generally reads more like official corporate communications, while blog copy seems more like someone just telling what he or she really thinks. One reason is the editing and review process; web copy often gets written, then reviewed by subject matter experts, then reviewed by management, then reviewed by upper management, then reviewed by legal, then proofread, then glanced over and fine-tuned once more before publishing. Each blog post, on the other hand, is usually written by one person on a tight deadline.
Website content is one-way, one-to-many communication. It’s like speaking with a microphone. Thanks to commenting, a blog is (at least potentially) more of a two-way conversation, like using a telephone. On your website, visitors are information consumers. On a blog, they can also be contributors.
Company websites are generally designed to get visitors to take some specific type of action: buy a product, download a white paper, call or email for more information, sign up for a newsletter, visit an establishment, do something usually designed to lead either directly or indirectly to a sale. Though blogs may also have calls to action, these tend to be more subtle. From a business standpoint, a blog is more like PR than marketing or sales; it’s purpose is generally to build credibility, enhance a firm’s brand and image, and establish a position of thought leadership and expertise.
Website: products and services
Blog: industry and customer issues
In terms of topics, a website is usually inward-looking; it provides information about a company, it’s products, services, unique value proposition, pricing, hours of operation, location, sales channel, partnerships and other information. A blog is more outward-facing. Posts deal with industry trends, observations, insights, and with issues important to customers. Such issues normally have some relationship to the company’s products and services of course, but the purpose isn’t specifically to market those offerings as much as to demonstrate knowledge of the industry and how to resolve dilemmas that clients and prospects may be facing.
Website: (almost) mandatory
Blog: not for everyone
Finally, websites have become essential for most businesses. Whether the question is about where to order pizza for dinner tonight or which enterprise software system to install – or almost anything in between – most people start by searching online. Few businesses can thrive without at least a basic website, and web-generated sales or leads are critical for many firms. Blogs on the other hand aren’t right, or necessary, for every business. But where they do fit, they provide opportunities for search, communications and brand-building that go well beyond standard company websites.