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Monday, April 30, 2007

Small Website vs Blog

What is a blog?

The term "Blog" comes from "web log" - a space online which can be used like a journal. An example is our Pixel Zoo blog which we use to post useful information and resources (pixelzoo.blogspot.com) - you can read up on our guide to blogging (Blogging 101) here. You can browse through some of the other blogs on blogspot to get an idea of what people do with their blogs.

So what is special about a blog?
  • They are completely free
  • Anyone can create and maintain one without necessarily needing HTML skills. Posting text and images is a very simple process. You can even include video using Google Video.
  • Other people can respond to your posts by leaving comments - so it's a nice way to try and build a community and encourage participation.
  • It is often useful to have a blog along with your website as links between these can help improve your website's search engine rankings

So why pay for a website when you can have a blog for free?

Although blogs are great and have really contributed to democratising the web as a medium, there are some restrictions and disadvantages:

  • The designs are template based and there is a limited amount of templates to choose from. However, if you have HTML skills you can modify the templates as needed, but need to adhere to certain restrictions. The Pixel Zoo can help you create a custom template
  • You can only post images & text. More advanced content and functionality is limited
  • Your website address will have to be xyz.blogspot.com instead of xyz.co.za. This is not as easy to remember and influences your search engine ranking so your blog might not be found as easily as your website. For example, if you search for "pixelzoo" on Google our homepage (www.pixelzoo.co.za) appears as the first result on the first page, but www.pixelzoo.blogspot.com only appears on the third page. You also need to find an address for your blog that has not been taken. Common words such as marketing.blogspot.com will probably already be taken. The best way to test is to come up with a list of possible names and start setting up your own blog.
  • Although it is easy to update, someone actually has to take the time and make the effort to do so. This may involve writing copy, finding images etc
  • Blogs follow a very linear structure (like a diary), so you do not really have a very dynamic navigation system. Posts are categorised by date

With a small website:

  • You are not limited in terms of the design at all
  • You may include any content or functionality you like - obviously additional content and functionality, especially if it is complex will increase the cost
  • The code can be better optimised for search engines and you will have your own domain which you can use for email eg. contact@xyz.co.za which gives a more professional impression
  • It can really be engineered to make a tangible contribution to your business and can become part of the business strategy because it is flexible and can grow as your business grows
  • If you have a maintenance contract with The Pixel Zoo you always have a technical team on hand to help you with any updates, changes or questions you might have

BUT

  • You cannot update it yourself unless you know HTML
  • It will cost money for design, monthly hosting and updates.

What should be considered when deciding between a small website or a blog?

  • Money: If you are a business you need to consider the value that can be generated. We believe that a company's online marketing & communication efforts should not be a drain on resources, but should be an investment that generates value and shows tangible returns. You need to look at where your online presence can really help your business and decide how much it is worth.

    It is pointless spending R1000 per month on a website that only contributes (directly or indirectly) to R100 worth of sales. It would be better to spend R 50 on internet access to update a blog. For small startup companies it makes more sense to start off with a blog and once you know it's worth it, to invest in a website

    On the other hand, if you sell products and you know that having an online product catalogue would boost sales, the money you save by having a blog instead of a website is actually lost due to missed sales & customer contact opportunities.

  • Time: If you do not have time on your hands to update a blog it becomes useless, as no content = no interest. If your time is very valuable remember that updating your blog is using hours that might be spent earning income, so ensure that this balances out. If you have a maintenance contract with The Pixel Zoo most of the 'donkey work' is eliminated as you can just send us content in a basic format, although some input from our clients is required as they are the experts on their own businesses.

    If you are a small start-up company and you have time on your hands a blog can be very valuable

  • Role of online media in your strategy
    If you plan to use your website as the hub of your marketing strategy, the limitations of blogs can be a disadvantage, although they are a useful way to "test the waters" without risking too much, but you will not get as much exposure as with a website

    If you simply want to have information accessible online such as your contact details and basic information a blog might be useful. But remember that you need to keep adding content to your blog in order to maintain interest and improve the search engine rankings so people can find it.

    Blogs really shine when documenting a process or project or any other linear information - for example, if you were a community development NGO you could post daily/weekly/monthly updates on projects with images etc

The best way to understand blogging is to try it. We recommend that you set up a blog by visiting www.blogger.com (it's free anyway) and see how you find using it.

We hope that this document has provided you with some useful information and insight. Please feel free to contact us should you have any further or queries.

9 comments:

Search Engine Optimization said...

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As of December 30, 2007, 1.319 billion people use the Internet according to Internet World Stats. Writing in the Harvard International Review, philosopher N.J. Slabbert, a writer on policy issues for the Washington, D.C.–based Urban Land Institute, has asserted that the Internet is fast becoming a basic feature of global civilization, so that what has traditionally been called "civil society" is now becoming identical with information technology society as defined by Internet use. - web design company, web designer, web design india

Manjunath said...

To add a few more points on difference between web article and blog post

http://www.ceveni.com/2008/10/what-is-difference-between-web-article.html

Aparna said...

You can use blog for your personal use only.
Web Designer | Web Hosting

adrin said...

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zcocorporation said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Quick Online Money Making said...

To me it seems like if you have a company that you want a website for, then go for a small website just for the presence.
Looks good on a business card
You get a nice email id like Pixels said
So say your company names Green Dog
you can choose to have
admin@testing1223.com and customers can just quickly browse through your site www.testing123.com
Gosh do people even say testing 123 anymore LOL

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SEO said...

Blogs are the more SEO friendly then website. Blog have more advance features & plug-ins.

Thanks
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