Currently, I’m an admin on 28 blogs. That means I see in detail how 28 people are using their blogs to tell the world about their ambitions and their businesses. Okay, 2 of those blogs are actually mine (http://cynworks.com – where you are right now! – and http://xoxoquilts.com). So, taking that into consideration, I’m only looking at 26 other ways of thinking.
Still, I think that’s a decent sampling to be able to say without a shred of doubt, “a blog is better than a website.” In fact, I assumed this point of view was so obvious, I wasn’t even going to write about it… until I had my meeting with my business development group tonight and saw that two of the group’s members are still running a blog PLUS a website.
I just can’t get my mental arms around that. I mean… WHY? To understand this better, I thought it might be interesting to look at this in terms of business goals. Right? Surely, very few of us are narcissistic enough to just want an online temple to ourselves. We want a site to help us reach business goals like:
1. I want people to come to my site to see my (art) work.
A blog is custom-designed for the very purpose of creating traffic. The postings by date spark search engines to crawl your site for updates. Publishing your blog on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In add ways to draw more attention to your site.
Also, a blog is designed so that you can add galleries/portfolios as pages. There is zero reason to keep your portfolio on one site and your blog on another. Here’s a sample of how easy it is to integrate a gallery into a blog>> — be sure to click around and look at the drop-down menu for “gallery” to see how everything functions seamlessly.
2. I want to customize the look and feel of my site.
Blogs like those available from WordPress.com have over 90 FREE templates. Then you can add additional customization through a graphic you create for the header or adding widgets to the sidebars. You can also manage customization through the way you create and size the images that will be posted on your site. For instance, look at my xoxoquilts.com blog, based on the Coraline theme.
The header is a drawing created in Illustrator. Every time I add a new post, I size my images to be exactly the same dimensions and add the xoxoquilts.com logo to the bottom right, creating a sense of continuum throughout the different storylines.
The images on the right side are created in Illustrator and added as “widgets” which means they show up on every page of the site. They’re even set up so that if you click on an image, the embedded link can open in a new tab or window.
3. I want to manage the font style and size on my site.
I have to take a deep breath before addressing this. Really? I mean, really? If you think the font style is going to make or break your business, you cannot possibly be looking at the big picture. Add to that, most browsers (like Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox) are set up so that the person who owns the computer is choosing their preferred font when viewing a website. That’s right – you don’t necessarily even get to pick what font people see when looking at your site.
If you want to see how this works, go find the “Preferences/Content” part of menu in your browser. Mine is set to the default of Verdana, size 16.
And if you really care, you can actually choose some free customizations for fonts on WordPress.com using a product called typekit.com. If your computer is set so that you can see my custom font on this site, I’m using LFT Etica Display Web. I used it to test out the product. However, what I know is that people come to my site for good, honest, trustworthy information and maybe a touch of humor. They don’t come here to admire my fonts. Showcasing fonts is not my business model! Is it yours?
4. I want to control the information on my site.
This is really one of the best reasons to use a blog. They are super easy to learn how to use the dashboard for — much like using an email client like Outlook or Entourage or learning how to use all the stuff you can do on Facebook. You can’t break it! And though you can choose to pay someone to administer your blog, it’s really not necessary. It’s very easy to do yourself!
5. I want my site to represent me in a professional manner.
Okay, I do really get this. In a big way. I look at probably 15-20 new blogs every week. I like to cruise around the web and see what people are doing. And I’d agree that there are lots of messy blogs out there – poorly organized information, useless or outdated widgets, hard-to-figure-out purposes for pages and/or links, plus some really unappealing bios and bio photos. But you know what? I think these people behind these blogs would probably run sloppy “websites” too.
Having a clean, focused, meaningful site is not about the tool. It’s about the clarity of thought and the editing ability of the person who is behind the site. A blog is like a garden. It needs nurturing, trimming, and weeding.
To keep your potential customer’s attention, you need to give them a big wow every now and then.
A big wow means giving something personal, meaningful, insightful, or something they can’t find anywhere else. For some bloggers, this means contests. For some, it means insider information. For some, it means inspirational content or images.
What do you have that will make people want to know more about you and your business?