Is it time to convert your website to a blog?

When I launched Virtual Impax in 1997 – I was creating traditional “set it and forget it” static websites for business owners.   After all, straight HTML websites were “cutting edge” technology at the time.  As time and technology progressed – blogs began taking the internet by storm.  When it became obvious that the search engines actually PREFERRED content published to a properly set up self hosted WordPress blog – I began converting my existing clients’ websites to blogs.   What follows are the three most popular questions I encountered as I approached my clients about converting their static HTML websites into blogs.

What’s the difference between a website and a blog?

Quite honestly – from the visitor’s point of view – there’s very little “difference” between a website and blog.  As a matter of fact, many of my clients weren’t even AWARE that some of the websites they frequently visited were actually blogs.

Blogs began as “content management systems”…. which is just another way of saying that blogs were created to make publishing content to the web fast and easy.

See – in the early days of the internet – in order to publish content to the web, you had to be able to not only write well, you also had to be able to code in HTML and use FTP software to get your html masterpiece from your computer onto the web.  That meant that business owners would hire a web developer – like me – to create a website for their business.  However, if that business owner wanted to make CHANGES to the website – he/she once again had to contact me and pay me to make the changes.

It was a cumbersome process – and one that was literally crying out for an easy to use web publishing solution.  Microsoft sold millions of copies of the WYSIWYG HTML Editor Front Page as one “solution” to the problem – however that solution -like virtually every other “easy to use” web publishing solution -  came with it’s own set of problems.  The most significant problem with these so called “user friendly” software solutions was that the websites created were not only “not so easy”  – but they were also ineffective.  See the websites created with most DIY easy to use publishing software are often difficult for the search engines to  index.  Since the search engines drive most of the traffic on the web – using an “easy to publish” software solution often lead to creating a website that was ignored by the search engines.

Enter the blog.  In the earliest days of blogging – this easy to use publishing option was originally used by web pioneers to journal.  However, as time went on – many internet marketing experts discovered that the content created using blog software – most notably WordPress – was getting favorable treatment by various search engines.  Many internet marketing gurus began touting the “magic” of blogging.

For webmasters who had previously been doing things “the hard way” – blogging was like magic.  Suddenly – building a massive web presence became easy.  The blog’s flat architecture made navigation a breeze.    However, it wasn’t just web savvy webmasters who appreciated the ease of publishing content to the web using a blog – business owners discovered how easy it was to use the web to build their business by using a blog.

So the primary difference between a “website” and a “blog” from a business owner’s point of view is that a business blog is actually just an easy to use website which can feature informative articles in addition to the “standard” information communicated with a business website.

Is it time to convert your website to a blog?

The answer – “Maybe.”

If your current website is currently enjoying high SERPS (Search Engine Results PlacementS) on relevant keywords for your business – then DO NOT FIX WHAT IS NOT BROKEN!  Feel free to ADD a blog to such a website – but if the search engine gods have chosen to smile on your HTML business website – don’t try to fix what truly isn’t broken.

How can you tell if your business website is enjoying high SERPS on relevant keyword terms?  Does your website get a lot of traffic? Are customers regularly contacting you via your website?   If the answer to either of these questions is “yes” – then you may want to consider ADDING a supplemental business blog to your already thriving business website.

Most business websites however do NOT fall into this category.  Many don’t even rank highly for the business name – let alone for terms potential customers may use to find the products and services offered by the company.  When that’s the case – converting a low performing static website into a blog can be the best investment a business owner can make.

What are the other advantages of converting a static website into a blog?

One of the reasons I began converting my clients’ traditional static websites into blogs is that they came to me asking for a “web site makeover”. Websites are like fashion – and what was once “trendy” begins looking dated after only a few years.

One of the biggest selling points for converting a traditional website into a blog is how EASY it is to change the appearance of a blog.

In a “traditional” website – the design elements are part of the web page DNA. In order to change the colors or images on a large HTML based site – each page has to be created over again. Meanwhile, changing the “look” of a blog is as easy as installing a new theme. Themes govern the “look” of a blog. I often tell clients that while changing the look of a traditional website is a lot like trying to change a tattoo – changing a blog’s “theme” is as easy changing your clothes. That means – when your business blog begins to look “dated” you can quickly and economically “change” the theme instead of investing in a total site overhaul.

Since blogs are better – are they more expensive to create than websites?

The answer is “NO!” – launching a business blog is actually a FRACTION of the cost of hiring a professional to create a traditional HTML website.  Not only are blogs easier to set up than a traditional website – they’re easier to change the appearance and they’re easier to update.

Are there any downsides to using a blog?

There is one significant disadvantage to a blog over a standard HTML website and that is that WordPress blogs must be frequently updated to remain secure.

Remember – WordPress blogs have an unfair advantage when it comes to creating search engine friendly content for the web and since they operate on a fairly easy to use interface – it makes security a pressing issue. Keeping your WordPress blog up to date is the best defense against the evil doers on the web who would love nothing better than hijack your business blog’s enviable SERPS. Acumen Web Services offers “Cyber Angel” hosting which automatically updates WordPress for our clients – but if you choose to take on the task of converting your website to a blog on your own – be aware that keeping your installation of WordPress up to date is an ESSENTIAL part of blog ownership.

Is it time to convert your website to a blog?  If it is – contact us for more information about how easy this process can be.

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