Should I Build A Traditional Website or a Blog?

By Daniel Scocco

questions and answersThis post is part of the weekly Q&A section. Just use the contact form if you want to submit a question.

Grateful Al asks:

I have come to believe there is little to be gained with a static old-school website being built, even with the plug&play type site builders available. Is it worth the extra time and effort to build a “typical” website?

First of all I don’t think it is a matter of how much time and effort you will need to spend building a “typical” website or a blog. The central point for this decision should rather be the use that you will make out of the site.

Secondly, I am also not sure if it still makes sense to talk in terms of “typical” websites. What would a typical website be? Something static and coded in raw HTML?

If that is the case, then probably you should avoid it. Why? Because today we have publishing platforms and content management systems (CMS) tailored for all sorts of purposes, and they will make your life a lot easier.

In other words, if you want to build an online store, look for a CMS that does that. If want to publish new content on a regular basis, look for a blogging platform and so on.

As for the characteristics of each website, well, I think it completely varies on a case by case basis. You could have a blog with a static front page (e.g., promoting an ebook or the paid services of the blogger) just like you could have a company website with a dynamic homepage (e.g., listing related news and articles).

The takeaway message is: do not limit yourself to what is seen as “typical.” There are no rules on the web. Everything is flexible and modular. Just choose a CMS that has all the features that you need, and then build your website around your own goals, regardless of what other people are doing or saying.

On a footnote, I also don’t think that you need to spend money for your CMS. WordPress itself can be used to create any sort of website. And if you want something more specific, there are plenty of open source solutions around.



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28 Responses to “Should I Build A Traditional Website or a Blog?”

  • Liz

    Good points. I’ve noticed that people like to follow trends but trends often fade.

    I have both traditional sites and blogs. My strategy is to build a traditional site for my products and product reviews. I build blogs to complement those sites with insightful posts that reference my main site. This strategy has served me well.

    My advice is to use whatever platform you feel comfortable with. Building a website is really about offering quality content and giving your visitors a user friendly experience by help them find what they are looking for. Most any platform can deliver that, you just need to know how to effectively deliver it.

  • Dave Starr

    The question reminds me abit of a person asking if he should equip his car with radial tires or old-fashioned bias belt kind while not yet even having a car to drive or a road to drive it upon.

    Now radials are far more common and durable, but without knowing when, why, how far and what will the road surface be, it is impossible to definitively recommemd one over the other.

  • Web Marketing Tips

    Yes everything is available but main point is time as well. If you want to learn a thing through internet without any prior knowledge than you will have to adopt different methods

    – Hit and trial method
    – Keeping record method

    These are really time consuming. But yes if you will manage to learn yourself than you will get huge knowledge about other relevant things as well.

    About typical HTML base website … people wont go even to second page as this one will look like old car in ferrari track.

  • Mike Panic

    Ed, I’m sorry, that’s a very ignorant statement. I guess CNN doesn’t know what they are doing, choosing WP as the platform to run parts of their site.

    http://www.deliciousdays.com/ – voted one of Time Magazine’s 50 coolest websites

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/home/index.html – NASA – ’nuff said

    http://blog.us.playstation.com/ Sony – clearly they don’t know how to run a business either.

    How often do you have to update a blog?

    WP is a CMS, not just a “blog” – update it once a day, week, year, depends on the structure of your business.

    How easy is it to gain a loyal following

    Very easy, integrated RSS feeds, Twitter widgets, contact forms, social bookmarking hooks, all very easy to implement in WP.

  • Suneel

    Absolutely true. A little bit of research over this question would eventually derive a solution which points at so many wonderful tools floating around.

    For example, as Daniel has precisely mentioned, WordPress.org does provide solution to any requirement.

    All you need to do is, Just

    1. Plan
    2. Build
    3. Market

    And you are done with the CMS. It’s so easy as it sounds.

  • Tom Bradshaw

    You’re right there are no rules on the net, I create a traditional website and have a blog incorporated within it, that way they can work in conjunction with each other.

  • George Serradinho

    I think one has to think outside the box and do a bit of everything like CMS/Blog and an estore. Try to do something that is unique and will keep visitors coming back.

  • Grateful Al

    I sincerely thank you all for your comments and suggestions!

    11. Ed Fry: “A website is a much more sustainable online business platform than a blog, primarily from a maintence point of view.”

    That was the real issue I was trying to clarify in my mind: (I wish I had said it that way!) Convenience, maintenance, and a visitor exploring and spending more time were exactly the issues I was pondering.
    I have tracked some stats that show that blog visitors are mostly in and out very quickly, as a general rule, but will hopefully return.

    Also, I was concerned that with the RSS feeds, and no ‘personal’ follow up, unless a lead capture page is incorporated for email, or by following comments, I believe it might be in my interests to build the site with WP to start and look to the other platforms for the ‘long-standing’ benefits of a website.

    You folks are incredibly gifted with the wisdom, knowledge, and experience you so openly offer here!

  • Robert W. Leonard

    Above all I think that it is important in this day and age to focus on standing out. Some people can do that with blogs because what they have to say stands out all by itself. These people rarely need more than just a blog or a simple site. However, I also think this is becoming harder and harder to get away with that. With thousands of blogs to compete with (in your field alone), you have to work hard to stand out on that alone.

    That said, I think you can take either option and make a lot out of them. Using wordpress as an example for blogs (since so many have mentioned it), you can do a lot with plugins. Such as advanced SEO, podcasting, detailed statistic tracking, feed tracking, and so on. These tools can let you monitor your visitors and focus energy on aspects that are more popular. As well as let you quit wasting your time on aspects that obviously are not.

    But, as Ed Fry mentioned, a website gives you a great deal more depth. With all the open source web software, and all the fantastic tutorials, one can spend a couple weeks and develop a very detailed CMS that will (hopefully) keep visitors on your site a long time. It is easier than ever to integrate a blog into your website, so why not do so? The drawback here is that you have to make an effort to update not only your blog, but your website as well. It takes more time, but I feel it is worth the payoff.

    On my website, I run a blog, a podcast, update visitors on how far along my latest writing projects are going, and more. My site contains a number of random SQL queries that give it a new look every time a visitor comes to the site. Granted, I have been doing this for awhile, but everything I know I learned from online tutorials and free ebooks. All of my knowledge is self-taught.

    All-in-all, I think these days you have to be willing to work harder to keep your blog or website fresh, whichever you choose. That is, ultimately, what will determine people’s interest.

  • Boerne Search

    I hope so. I have been working “Out of the Box” lately. I just hope it works. I am will to try anything at this point. My CTR is low and I just want revenue.

    Kane

  • GoBusiness101

    I believe in the statement, NO RULES ON THE WEB! Correct!

    Do what ever you want.

  • Alex Lim

    Weather a blog or a website, I think it wouldn’t matter for as long as you have the sufficient time to keep it in shape and make it valuable.

    I would have to agree with the author, you shouldn’t limit your self. If you are a beginner try the user friendly one and listen to what others are saying. Experience is the best source of reliable information. If it didn’t work for you, there are several platforms out there that suit your needs. Everyone has their own preferences and that is in relation to their own needs. ss

  • Chester

    I think it all boils down with particular use. Like if you don’t need much inputs or updates, typical website works best still.

  • Phil Bowyer

    Hi There,

    Well, the consensus seems to be “A Blog”. A blog IS a website, one that uses software to present information a certain way while at the same time make it easy for the content creator to publish content. In other words- Word Press is a tool, a platform that your website “runs on”.

    Let’s take a step back though, because you are asking the wrong question. You should be asking yourself “What is it I want to accomplish with my web presence”. Having a web presence today means something much different than it did 10 years ago. You need to be active in multiple places, and your website should be the hub.

    You’ve heard the term Social Media I’m sure a thousand times. It’s important, and vital – but only if you do it right. A blog is only going to bring you a benefit if you have the ability to create quality content with it, otherwise it’s a waste of time.

    In short, create a plan (what do you want to accomplish online) then execute that using the appropriate tools out there. It may be wordpress, twitter, and facebook. It may be a “traditional website” that uses facbook connect, js-kit or google friend connect to make it “social”. It may be a combination of everything, your plan will help decide that.

    I hope that helps.

    Phil Bowyer
    @phibble

  • Busted Keys

    when starting out, a blog is best to keep costs down while you build a community with other bloggers of interest to generate income faster. the plugins also reduce development time and other design issues.

    a dedicated website may however portray stability down the road.

    hence this shouldn’t be an either/or question. the answer is both.

  • Peter

    I personally prefer blogs. Why? Because they are easy to use and SEO friendly. What is more I think lot of blog templates offer almost all benefits which websites offer. But of course there might be cases when web site is better suitable for your purposes.

  • Ed Fry

    I disagree. A website is a much more sustainable online business platform than a blog, primarily from a maintence point of view. How often do you have to update a blog? How easy is it to gain a loyal following – and then lose it?

    Websites content isn’t dated like a blogs, and if it’s structured correctly you’ll find users going into more and more pages rather than with a blog, where your followers will read the latest post, perhaps comment and then leave.

    That said, blogs are great for supplementing a website in the same way as an email list does – it maintains a relationship and boosts your credibility. We all know that people buy from those we like and trust, and so a blog should be seen from this perspective rather than a stand-alone platform.

  • Tour Dates

    I don’t have programmers skills and prefer blog platforms. With good CMS and good structure for information i can easy to change blog to site, and back

  • Mike Panic

    What defines a “blog” or a “website” anymore? Like Daniel, I use WordPress as a CMS to handle websites for clients based on its flexibility, most of them don’t have a traditional “blog” section in them at all. The framework of WP gives me the versatility that I need and the ease in updating their site as needs and wants change.

    Some sites I’ve done are your traditional “blog” with 10 articles on the front page, some are merely pages with a “blog” tagged on, while others are just “pages” with no “blog”.

    I think the answer is – do whatever the client (or you) needs to best fill your needs.

  • Roger

    I have become a convert to the idea that in many cases, a blog is the best way to implement the creation of a web presence for small businesses. I did this recently for a self-employed relative when I discovered that WordPress allows “static” pages to be used as the front page.

    What would conventionally be called “posts” now appear on a page (a tab on the theme) called “News” and can easily be added by the blog owner. Another page called “Feedback” allows testimonials to be added as comments.

    And with the plethora of good looking, low cost, widget-enabled themes, nowadays it’s much easier to produce something that looks very professional without the kind of effort previously required.

    Roger

  • Samantha Milner

    Hi

    i have both websites and blogs but if i was starting out with my own business i would thoroughly recommend to others that they have their own blog first as its much easier for them to get things going.

    kind regards

    sam
    X

  • Harson

    I have two sites. one is using WordPress and the other one Joomla. I don’t really make difference between the two.

    i call the one using WP a blog, while the other one using Joomla a website. there’s not much difference i suppose, because i update the content of both regularly.

    so, whatever CMS you are choosing can make a very good website, including WordPress. i also found some people using joomla for their blogs.

  • Adam Baird

    Speaking from experience its a very good idea to run a blog even if the blog isn’t the main function of your website.

    You connect with your users and generate traffic for the website. Can’t really be a bad thing and its not like writing a blog a couple times a week is extraordinarily time consuming.

    Also, I’ve built websites using WordPress, and I highly recommend along with Daniel as a CMS

  • Chris

    I agree, wordpress is great for building webistes that are more “typical” as well as blogs. I just made my online portfolio with wordpress. It still has the blog part, but the main part is the rest of the site.

  • V.C

    Yeah, I agree with you.
    Just use WordPress.
    It’s much easier than to build a traditional website which takes you a year to finish 🙂
    But 1 problem we got that google still think that our site is just a blog, not a website.

  • Igor Kheifets

    I believe it is best to build a blog.

    The main reason is because a blog is much more SEO juicy and it is much easier to rank high with constant flow of fresh new content.

    Igor

  • NarenUbi

    Well, being a WordPress enthusiast, I would recommend a blog type website for anyone looking for online business. Except that if he/she insists on a static website. Even CMS like Joomla, Drupal, etc provide the flexibility to integrate WordPress into the websites. Ultimately, we all need some platform to keep our visitors engaged – duplex communications, I would say!

Comments are closed.