Even if you are not a regular user of the web, words such as “blog”, “blogger”, and “blogging” must sound familiar. As for those of us who know something about a blog, we often get confused about the difference between a website and a blog.
To put it simply, a blog is a type of website, where the most recent content is displayed, first. In technical terms, the content is often displayed in reverse chronological order so that the newer content is always visible to the visitor. As evident by this order of entries on the blog, blogs are mostly used to offer new information.
Order of a blog post: How fresh information is displayed?
Whenever the blogger adds new content, the information is displayed as a new “blog post”. Sometimes, these blog posts are also called “entries”. Accordingly, the new “blog post” is automatically displayed at the top of the blog page, which is a way of providing fresh information to the reader.
The order of the blog entries can be changed depending on the requirement. For instance, it is also possible to pin a specific blog post at the top of a page so that it remains there until it needs to be moved. Therefore, it is not uncommon for bloggers to pin a blog post at the top of a blog page if it contains important information. As new entries are created, the pinned blog post remains at the top, and newer entries are added to the bottom of the first entry in chronological order.
To keep track of the order of a blog post, most blogging platforms automatically add a “date” and “time-stamp” to each entry. Perhaps, “date” and “time-stamps” are the easiest method to maintain a correct sequence of entries. As new blog posts are published, they are automatically categorized in the order they were created.
Your blogging software may also offer a variety of options to organize the blog. These options can include changing the sequence of blog posts to show posts in a certain category on top of the page. Similarly, the order of entries can be changed to show specific blog posts for a particular amount of time on the first page.
Difference between a website and a blog
After reading previous paragraphs, it should be obvious that the main difference between a blog and a website is the manner in which the information is presented to the reader. Whereas the main page of a website remains static without any frequent changes to the information, the main page of a blog continues to change on a regular basis. Accordingly, a blogger can write several blog posts every day.
Another major difference between the content of the website and a blog is the writing style. A blog is usually written in an informal conversational style. Many of the popular blogs use a variety of jargons and slangs to engage the reader. Some bloggers feel that natural expressions and informal attitude is important to build strong bond with the audience.
The informal style seems practical because popular bloggers usually have a lot of fan followings who keenly follow the blog. In contrast, a website is mostly geared towards a wider audience and customer base; therefore websites are usually characterized by formal writing techniques. It will not be an overstatement to suggest that some blogs are informal because they reflect the individual identity and style of the blogger.
If you have ever written comments after reading an article on the Internet, chances are that you have commented on a blog. Perhaps, the most visible difference between a website and a blog is the ability to post a comment under the article. As blogs are noted for their unique identity, bloggers like to engage visitors by allowing them to post their views about the topic. Next time, you come across an article that allows comments, see if you can notice any difference between the blog page and a typical website page.
Sometimes the difference between a website and a blog are not apparent at first sight. It can happen because some bloggers turn off the ability to comment on a blog. There may be multiple reasons for this action such as avoiding harsh comments on a controversial topic. Other reasons may include annoying comments posted by readers. In addition, some bloggers don't feel comfortable answering questions.
Interestingly, the ability to control the comments also makes a blog a powerful tool that is often used by bloggers in a variety of ways. For instance, blocking negative comments from readers will yield a positive image of the blog if most of the other comments are positive. On the other hand, the strategy can also backfire, as some readers may continuously interfere by writing comments with a different username. Overall, it is obvious that blogs are dynamic; therefore fresh comments and writings can be more powerful communication tools compared to a static website.
If you are still confused about the purpose of creating a separate blog, think of a blog as an information page, which is often categorized in different categories and tags to find pertinent and fresh information. A good example of the need to create a blog is a travel blog for a travel brand to offer different deals to customer.
For a travel website offering different travel deals, it does not make sense to make tens of different web page categories reflecting travel deals in various months. Hundreds of such pages will often mess up things and offer jumbled information with lots of fuzzy tags. By creating tags and categorizing deals, a blog can also provide a sense of order
To present the travel deals in a streamlined order, it is practical to build a blog inside the main website. The travel blog can then be customized to include hundreds of different tags, which can be used to offer information on discounts. As such, it will be easier for visitors to navigate literally hundreds of different tags because the blog is designed to offer information in a chronological sequence.
Website Blog and Independent Blog
If you are a potential blogger, remember not all websites can be called a blog, but every blog can be a website. To illustrate the anomaly, it should be noted that website owners can easily build a separate page for blogging. For example, WordPress offers the ability to design a webpage that also contains a blog.
A blog incorporated into a website allows website owners to post new information for their readers without disrupting the original content. Often, advertising companies have a separate blog section on their website, which is easily accessible through the website navigation menu. While the main page of the advertising company shows their current promotions, the blog is used to keep follower engaged with the brand. Hence, blogs can also be a part of a larger website making them a powerful marketing tool for the website.
There are many blogs that also function as an independent website. In this scenario, the main page of the website is a blog; whereas, the other pages, reflected in the navigation menu, are supporting pages. These supporting pages usually provide information about the blogger; their contact information; and their work. Just as a normal website, the navigation menu may include links such as “About Us”, “Contact”, and “Portfolio”.
There are many blogging platforms designed to create a stand-alone blog. Some of the popular blog platforms include WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, and Wix, among others. These platforms offer easy-to-use tools enabling bloggers to start an effective blog, quickly.
Structure of a Blog
These days, there are variety of software and tools to create a blog. However, the structure of most blogs have not changed, which is a testament to the strength of the original theme of blogging. Almost all popular blogs follow a basic structure.
The basic blog structure consists of four elements, which are header, main content, sidebar, and footer. The header contains the title and vital information on the overall theme of the blog. Unlike websites, good blogs are able to provide enough information in the sub-title, which is enough to inform visitors about the purpose of the blog. Apart from the title and sub-titles, the header contains menus, navigation bar, contact and links to past blogs.
It is also worth mentioning that bloggers often put special emphasis on “About Me” link inside the header, which allows them to introduce themselves and their skills to the potential reader of the blog. Often, the mobile versions of blogs only contain one or two visible navigation menus on the header, making it easier for readers to navigate.
The main section of the blog is under the header. This section highlights the main content of the blog comprising of the latest blog posts. Just like a good byline, bloggers try to attract readers using catchy and often controversial headlines, forcing visitors to read the entry. It is also not uncommon for bloggers to pin a popular blog post to the top of a blog so that it is the first post seen by the visitor. It is an effective strategy because any popular post with lots of shares will definitely arouse the interest of first-time visitors. As for regular visitors, they are already accustomed to reading the blog; therefore, it should not be difficult for them to navigate around the blog. Most often, the latest entries are under the “pinned” blog post.
Depending on the layout and theme of a blog, the sidebar mostly contains shareable social buttons. These include favorite contents, bookmarked entries, and a call to action. Due to relatively smaller screen size, the sidebar is more prominent in the mobile versions of a blog. These sidebars are used to create a buzz by giving readers an opportunity to share the blog entry. Overall, sidebars are associated with the marketing intent of the blogger.
As with any blog, the layout and structure of the blog varies according to the taste of the blogger. Still, most popular bloggers like to keep their blogs as simple as possible because a variety of elements on the page will likely distract readers from the topic. Since blogs are created to create relationships and build strong bonds with readers, keeping the blog as simple as possible is helpful and practical.
How blogs started?
According to experts, blog started as a mix of what was happening on the Internet, and what was happening in people's life. As it became easier to share information, people started to share their experiences with like-mind people on the Internet. As the community of these writers grew, new words such as web and logs were introduced to describe their writing. Later, the word, “weblog” was shortened to “blog”.
There were many self-proclaimed bloggers in the heydays of the Internet. However, blogs and blogging became a worldwide phenomenon with the introduction of blogger.com, which allowed almost everyone to write and share their information, stories, and thoughts easily without writing a single word of computer code. The experience was enhanced by the introduction of WordPress because WordPress provided added functions and lots of flexibility for bloggers.
Today, anyone can start writing a blog in matter of minutes. For more serious bloggers, they can just purchase a cheap domain, and start using added functions such as AdSense and Affiliate Marketing to earn extra income. For many, blogging has become a full-time business as popular bloggers not only share useful experiences, but also earn a full-time income from their blogs.
Statistics on Blogging
To understand the significance of a blog and blogging, in general, it is interesting to note that 4000 blog posts are published in a minute. From another perspective, almost 5.7 Million new blog posts are written on a single day. Blogs are not only used by individuals, but they are also used by companies to promote their products and services.
According to 2018 State of Inbound Marketing report, more than half of the companies surveyed suggested that blogging is among their top priority in the coming years. Similarly, almost half of the companies have plans to increase their blogging budget in the coming years. The report also suggested that nearly 96% of the companies will either increase their blogging budget or it will remain the same in 2020.
From a blogger's perspective, 80% of bloggers think that writing blogs have helped them reach their goals, more effectively. More than half of the individuals and professional writers also claim that they can prove that writing blogs have helped them increase sales and increase audience engagement. If all these statistics are to be taken seriously, blogs are definitely a force to reckon with in the future.
Why are Blogs becoming so popular?
You must be thinking why blogs have generated a buzz around the Web?
Blogs are taking over the Internet because anyone can quickly start a blog compared to the intricacies involved in starting a full-fledged website. For most individuals, website design is problematic, or they simply don't have enough time to design a website.
To start a blog, you don't need to create multiple website pages. All that is required is your writing creativity to fill the single page of a blog. Accordingly, anyone can just start typing ideas by creating a new blog post, every day. There are a number of individuals who write multiple blog posts. As the blog is filled with new entries, and shared by blog visitors, new content is automatically added to the page from various individuals who regularly comment on the blog post. As a result, the ranking and authority of a blog post increases without any significant marketing effort.
For businesses, as for individuals, blog creation also makes sense because blogging doesn't require formal etiquettes and corporate tone that is usually associated with a website. As blogs are known for their individual styles, a corporate writer can start a blog without restricting the writing style to business theme. Instead, blogs are known for their free-flowing and conversational writing style.
The argument is also valid for individuals who want to start a blog. You don't need any writing skills to express your thought. While grammar and spelling mistakes matter, your followers may ignore these if you have a strong message to deliver. These days, many bloggers share their lifestyles and daily events with their followers to develop a sense of closely-knit family bond.
Blogs are attractive because blogging is often attributed with full-time income from home. Nowadays, there are growing numbers of bloggers who use blogs to earn a full-time income by sharing their knowledge. Some of these bloggers review different products to provide an in-depth analysis. These products may include branded cameras and digital gadgets.
In fact, many large and well-known brands use celebrity bloggers to market their products. These brands offer bloggers an opportunity to test latest gadgets without buying these costly gadgets from a store. Using new gadgets, bloggers can keep their readers aware of the benefits and potential drawbacks of products. On the other hand, a positive review from a blogger can go a long way in enhancing the reputation of a brand.
This is not the only example of businesses to consumer partnership as many bloggers also review digital products such as computer games and Internet marketing software. Similarly, blogs are used to review a seemingly endless variety of services, which can include health insurance products and travel-related websites. If used wisely, a good blog can be used to make a healthy income using affiliate links directing visitors to the product website. In return, the blogger earns a specific commission if a visitor buys the product or service. Due to these working relationships, blogs are playing a significant role to strengthen collaboration between consumer and businesses.
Blog – A Personal Touch
If you need an inspiration to start a blog, think of it as the most powerful source that companies use to humanize their brands. It touches hearts due to its strong “human” connection because blogging had started when people started sharing their life experiences. Even now, if you want to get “close and personal” with your readers, the blog is a powerful medium that can relay your thoughts effectively without any formalities.
As described earlier in this article, the most visible difference between a blog and a website is the ability to comment on a blog. Blogging is effective because it can strengthen the relationship between the customer and the company. Anyone can easily ask questions and express their experiences with a blogger. For small businesses, one-to-one interaction is a great method to build trust.
For individuals, blog is also the most effective channel to build rapport and gain trust of the followers. By sharing knowledge and answering questions, individuals can establish themselves as industry leaders. The power to create a personal bond is a significant feature that is generally absent from a stand-along website.
Individual bloggers have also increased their appetite for finding new ways to market their content. Many of these bloggers are simultaneously using their blogs with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts to grow their following. Similarly, many popular bloggers are invited as guest bloggers to share their experiences, while others have found relevant industry jobs using their knowledge to present themselves as industry leaders.
Today, blogs are considered an essential part of a website. Many popular blogs are stand-alone versions of a website. In fact, there is also a growing trend among brands to invite multiple writers to their blogs. Essentially, a blog can have multiple writers, each with their own perspective, personality, and expertise.