Most individuals and businesses use a website or blog to help them to get found and get noticed online. A website or blog is like having your own home – a place where you invite, welcome and entertain your guests. If you design it properly and use it to your advantage it will enhance your brand presence and help build your online reputation. It can position you within your industry and will put you and keep you on the virtual map. When you think about your all important brand impression, the purpose of having a blog or website, as a home base or hub, seems quite clear. A website or blog allows you to imprint your global brand stamp, improve your brand image and claim your online real estate. It might also result in you extending your audience reach, building a loyal following or improving your search ability and ranking, as well as, increasing revenue opportunities. I am frequently asked a common question when individuals or businesses seek advice on establishing their online presence.
“Which is better—Website or Blog?”
Short answer—it all depends. Both a blog and a website can serve as useful online communication tools. We must first establish and understand the goals for the brand or business online. This is usually the beginning of a more in-depth discussion on which tool will better serve the needs of both the client and their audience. Once you are able to define goals, you can begin to look at the overall purpose of establishing either a blog or a website as a hub.
Answer these additional questions:
WHY have a website or a blog? HOW does the purpose of a website or blog align itself with your business goals? For both a website and a blog, and any social media channel that you use, you should without a doubt be able to answer WHY you’re using it and HOW its purpose aligns with your overall business and marketing goals. Each web communication channel is unique and makes use of a different medium. Each requires a specific style of content—as if we were to compare a book or magazine to a tabloid.
Like a book, websites tend to be more stationary. They consist of organized content—perhaps more detailed information regarding a company, a certain product or service and contact information. In the past, a website served as an online brochure for many companies. But today, with multimedia, websites are less stationary and more interactive and useful as a business showcase. My major criticism is that websites today often contain too much information. A website should provide relevant details to clearly stamp an impression for the brand and engage the visitor. Content needs to be consistent with the overall brand message and must be organized and cleverly written in a language that can be understood by visitors and recognized by search engines. The biggest mistakes made by both small and large businesses is that they fail to optimize their sites for search engines in the development stage, which means no one can find them; and they include content that can quickly become outdated, which results in their visitor becoming annoyed and less likely to return. If a website is developed and designed properly, the content will attract visitors and drive traffic. Frequent updates will not be necessary, as they too, can also become costly.
One of the simplest ways to publish online now is with a Blog. If you boast a particular area of expertise or your company has carved out a niche within a given market, you might want to blog to provide your visitors with the latest information, always changing and accessible at your site. A blog is a lot more fluid and creates a higher web rank and value because search engines are always looking for new information. If you have lots to share and can prepare creative new content ongoing, blog updates can be done hourly, daily, weekly or whenever you have more news to distribute. The most useful blogs cover ongoing events or changing news, industry and economic trends, topics with social impact, gossip, reviews and perhaps political or editorial commentary. Frequent and relevant posts engage your audience and give them a reason to return over and over again for a total user experience.
Know Your Audience
Regardless of whether you choose to have a website or blog, you must always consider and understand WHO is your audience and WHAT message you want to communicate. Learn the right digital dialogue to use online, adding elements of interactivity and click communications to engage your visitor. Think about designing your site in stages, beginning with initial pages to first position your brand online. You can then build upon your website or blog while addressing your business goals and providing a positive experience for your visitors at the same time.