When one steps into the era of surfing the internet, we come across the terms blog and website very often. If you are looking forward to either start your own blog or a website if you’re an entrepreneur, then understanding these two terms will help you proceed with clarity.
I shall explain what a blog is all about – its usage in different scenarios, why it is so necessary for marketing today, and how it helps businesses flourish with examples.
Technically speaking, you’ll realize there is not much difference between the two as both are websites. A blog can act as a website in some scenarios and a typical website can do the other. But there is more to it than that. To begin with, let’s be clear about a blog is.
Blog and Blog Posts
A blog is a website where fresh content (blog posts) appears on top of the feed and the older posts go down. What are blog posts? These are posts just like your Instagram or any other social media post or entry. Each post with unique content posted from time to time.
With that being said, a usual website’s pages are generally static and their content pages are seldom updated. While the language used on this website might be formal, blogs on the other hand have more of an informal touch to its content. Blogs convey information in a conversational way. However, there are a number of blogs (corporate ones) these days that convey a lot of information with expertise style content.
So how big is a blog? And how often are blog posts made? Here comes the wider picture: A blog can be run by a single person or a group of people. Some large blogs publish blog posts many times a day while individual bloggers may publish once a week. Some may even go for one blog post a month.
Emerging Era of Blogs
Blogs originally emerged from personal online diaries and register logs from the 90s. The time when the net users were already engaged in sharing their daily activities, thoughts, and commentary. And they have been evolving ever since – and it still evolves.
There was a time when a person had to have some basics of code to blog. At least the simple HTML tags. While that is still possible today, there are sites that help you maintain a blog with ease now. One of the first platforms that became widely popular was Blogger in 1999 (read about it here).
However, it didn’t stop there. While Blogger lets its users start a blog with a subdomain over it, WordPress launched four years later (2003) – turning the blogging industry again. WordPress, unlike blogger, is open-source software. If one knows a way around code, then the doors to possibilities with just a blog are endless with the platform.
Though WordPress is still known for its blogging platform, it is a home for a large number of sites – be it a blog or a typical website. In fact, 30% of the Internet is powered with WordPress today. If not product websites, their blog part of the site is again run on WordPress.
How is a blog different from a website?
With all that we discussed, blogs are a type of website. A blog may have its content updated every now and then. But a website’s pages are generally static and updated rarely. Thus with the newer blog posts coming on the top of the page in a blog, it makes a blog dynamic.
But sites that wish to expose themselves to an audience or potential customers have a blog as a small part of them. These blogs help inform their customers, earn their trust, and keep them updated. The Godaddy’s blog that I mentioned earlier is one such example.
Now speaking of WordPress: it can help build a blog or a website. While used by a considerable number of bloggers out there, a lot of small business owners also make use of it. Since it is much simpler than coding or hiring someone to manage a site, it is an efficient platform for starters.
Coming to simple terms, a blog can be said to be a website. But not all websites can consider themselves as blogs.
Which one is better – blog or website?
A website is a collection of web pages and media content that all comes under one domain. Blogs can be hosted with the help of platforms like Blogger, Wix, or WordPress. But websites, in general, are hosted over web hosting services.
Now comes the real question. What would be best for a beginner? Should you start a blog or a website? That all depends on what you are looking for. Be it a website or a blog, once you have it, you can make whatever you wish out of it.
Small blogs that slowly get more audience over time make it a website with some fixed pages so the audience can communicate and know more about the blogger. Small business owners would prefer a website in order to have an online presence. These contain information about the particular business or organization and traditionally static pages and no blog.
But over time, more people realize the need for blogs. Blogs can help drive traffic and potential customers to their websites. Thus making the blog a marketing strategy. Some may pay for affiliate marketing through other blogs while others pay to put up guest posts on huge blogs that have a large and relevant audience.
But most add a separate section on their existing website for a blog to drive traffic from search engines like Google.
Grammarly is one such website with its own blog. It is a software/plugin that helps you proofread your text on your Web browser.
The website’s homepage describes the main features of the software. When you scroll to the bottom, they have a separate blog section. With the blog, they teach on how to improve writing and hence get the site more leads. This can educate people and cover their industry at the same time. But the major point is that it helps them drive free traffic to their company.
How is blog content different from website?
In simple words, think of the content on a website as pages of a brochure. There are a number of web pages that make up the website content. One page – usually the home page – explains the main features of the business, organization, or individual’s profession. Another page could be the pricing list of the services and products they have to offer.
One page could be for the FAQ to let people know more and tell them why they can be trusted(people don’t pay right away for a product). And the other could be for the contact information, a ticketing system, or an email contact form.
Blog posts, on the other hand, target something more specific, These can be updates or perspectives of individuals on the relevant niche of the website. A blog post can comprise text, images, videos, infographics, and podcasts. It can be a combination of any of it or even all of it.
This website made from WordPress favorably supports two types of content that you can publish – ‘posts’ and ‘pages’. Posts can have the following information:
- Date of publishing
- Category in which it is posted
The latest posts add up onto your blog feed when you update them. Whereas pages can remain static in the background unless you have a navigation bar or menu to refer to them.
How do blogs make money
Making money from blogs might seem daunting. But to monetize a blog, you will see that it isn’t complicated at all. Individuals might start out blogging as a hobby or for the fun of it. But there are others who write blogs for commercial purposes.
This blog of mine here started out as a passion a few years ago. But with the number of visitors increasing, I thought it would be great to monetize it – helping myself with a passive income. Moreover, it helps me pay the cost of hosting it.
Now, here are some ways you can monetize.
- Ad networks: The most common and popular way of monetizing a blog is through ads. Here, the ad networks generally pay when a reader clicks an ad on the blog. Google Adsense is one such well-known ad network for emerging publishers. As long as your blog meets the required criteria, you’re good to go.
- Affiliate marketing: Compared to ad networks, this is a little tricky until you get a hang of it. If a user clicks and buys a product through a link in your blog, you get a commission for it. Commission Junction, Amazon, and eBay offer affiliate networks. I personally use Commission Junction (also known as CJaffiliates) and make a commission out of the products I promote on this blog.
- Guest Posts: You can charge for guest posts on your blog! With some careful measures, making sure the guest post won’t hurt your blog, guest posts can make a lot too. Sites that have a six-figure number of visitors per month sometimes charge over 500 dollars for relevant content guest posts on their blog.
- Memberships: If a blog has high-quality content, it can charge its readers to pay a subscription/membership free. This usually works with content that is difficult to find. Medium.com is one such blog with 60 million users per month.
- Selling: You can sell online courses, books, or set up an online store.
- Write for others: If you are available to write elsewhere apart from your blog, offer your services.
How to start a blog?
To start a blog today, you require no technical skills. You can start right away!
There was a time when bloggers needed coding even to update, but those days are gone. There are various ways to start a blog. If you’re looking to start for free, then Blogger is a great way to begin.
But I would recommend going for a CMS blog (Content management system) with WordPress. With this software, the doors to opportunities are endless, unlike Blogger.
To begin with WordPress, you will need to buy a domain name (e.g. randomname.com) from a web hosting provider. Prices differ from services to services. Typically, the domain name registration can start from $15. Some may offer you a free .com registration where you just have to pay for the hosting (around $2.95 per month).
Irrespective of the prices, I would recommend Godaddy. When setting up a blog, a lot of doubts arise about how to go through the process of purchasing. Godaddy has by far the best customer service that I’ve experienced. If you’re a beginner, no problem! They’ll guide you throughout understanding every part of your bill.
If you’re looking forward to freelance or start blogging, here are some articles that might help you:
- Complete Writers.Work review (2020 Update)
- What to write in your first blog post
- Best Ways on How to Avoid Plagiarism in Writing
*This post contains affiliate links where I receive a commission at no additional cost of the product to you. I only recommend products that I personally use and trust.