By Lars Lofgren
The difference isn’t as prominent as you may think because, technically, both are websites that help you accomplish some of the same things. But there are a few important things you should know.
In this guide, I’ll give you a walkthrough through the world wide web to help you become an expert in starting a blog and distinguishing from a website.
What’s a Blog Anyway?
A blog is a type of website.
It’s where you present your content—news, tutorials, tips, articles, collections, lists, anything—in chronological order, with newest at the top down to oldest at the bottom. The goal is simple: Whenever anyone visits your blog, they’ll see the most recent blog post at the top.
Here’s an example from our Quicksprout:
A blog layout generally includes details like title, author, brief description, the publish date, etc. There is also usually a section where users can leave comments.
It’s either an individual or a small group of people who run a blog to present topics in a conversational style. You’ll find informational and thought leadership-style content, too.
Blogs run on a content management system or CMS, such as WordPress. It’s a tool that lets you edit your blog content as you would in MS Word or Google Docs. It also makes managing your content easier, even if you don’t have web development or web programming skills or knowledge.
Another interesting thing to note here is that a blog could be a website by itself or included as part of a larger, more expansive website. The Quicksprout blog, for example, is a blog contained within the main website, Quicksprout. In comparison, Mashable is a blog as well as a website.
Read that again.
People typically start a blog to journal their thoughts, ideas, and hobbies with the intent to make money. I’ll discuss this in more detail later in the article.
Examples of Some of the Best Blogs
The hardest part about blogging is getting started.
Before you begin writing, you have to pick a niche, choose a theme, and build a content strategy to realize your blogging goals and objectives. And that’s just a gist of it.
To make it slightly easier for you, here are the examples of three great blogs that present some fantastic ideas you can use for inspiration.
Shopify needs no introduction. It’s an excellent ecommerce platform that is perfect for anyone who wants to launch an online business. As one would expect, their blog contains a broad range of topics related to ecommerce, marketing, business, and the web in general.
Why Does It Work?
One thing that really stands out about the Shopify blog is the variety of content. Despite being an ecommerce website builder, it successfully avoids being too narrowly focused.
It covers everything you need to know about running an ecommerce business and more. You’ll find marketing tips, helpful techniques to promote sales hacks to capture more market share, and so on. By staying more broad in the subject matter, Shopify doesn’t go too narrow and miss out on views.
Ideas to Try:
You can also cover a variety of topics in your blog to boost your traffic.
Start by figuring out the topics that would resonate with your target audience, and then regularly publish helpful articles. It would be even better to get different people to write your content to have multiple voices and points of view.
Michael S. Hyatt is the CEO and founder of Michael Hyatt & Company. Throughout his career, he has produced several books about leadership, productivity, and goal setting.
His blog is a reflection of his experience and expertise in his selected niche. When people read Hyatt’s articles, they know he is reliable, and the information is something they can trust.
Why Does It Work?
Michael’s blog has a no-nonsense approach. Instead of overcrowding his blog page with haphazardly placed blog articles, he has displayed his content simply in two parallel columns.
Every article has a bold heading with an image, which adds to the neat appearance. This is, of course, in addition to the high-quality advice his articles have. As such, visitors get the best of both worlds: visually-attractive content and valuable advice.
Ideas to Try:
Plan out your posts where you share practical advice, and then group them together by theme. Make sure you have a supporting real-life image—not cartoons or copied images of stats and quotes—to add a more professional touch to your blogs.
Your articles should have a warm and friendly tone, and the content should clearly establish your authority on the subject.
Spoon Fork Bacon
Food blogs are a competitive niche. But despite the competition, Spoon Fork Bacon manages to stand out—for all the right reasons. It has a clean design filled with quality photos and recipes. In fact, this blog could very well be a case study in food blogging and writing.
Why Does It Work?
The blog’s name is unique and catchy. It instantly lets the reader know that this blog is fun and has tons of personality.
Next, you’ll find several high-quality images of the different recipes prepared by the owners, which works since food presentation is equally important for foodies. Every blog is well-written and highly detailed about a specific recipe.
Ideas to Try:
Use lots of high-quality photography across your blog. Also, you can get a writing partner or someone to help you with your blog like Spoon Fork Bacon (It’s a collaboration between two foodies, Teri and Jenny)
While you’re at it, don’t try to clutter the blog with unnecessary information or ads. If you do want to monetize your blog, be careful with how you place advertisements.
How’s a Blog Different From a Website?
Since we’ve covered what a blog is all about, let’s find out what we mean by a website.
When you open up your web browser and enter a web address like www.quicksprout.com, what you see on your computer screen is a website. In fact, whatever you open from your web browser will have you end up on some kind of website. Google is a website, and so are Instagram and Twitter and Huffington Post.
Technically speaking, a website is a collection of landing pages and multimedia content collated under a single domain. Every website is usually hosted over a web hosting service that allows these pages and content to be accessed over the internet.
That said, a website can also be a single page.
But how is a blog different from a website?
Blogs are dynamic and are updated regularly with fresh new content. On the other hand, generic websites are more static. Here, the content is organized in pages, which is why they don’t have to be updated frequently. Examples include About Us pages, product pages, or Contact Me pages. These are typically static, meaning the pages stay the same over time.
Additionally, blogs are often one part of a larger website. You’ll find websites having a separate blog section they regularly update to educate their customers and attract more organic traffic to the website.
In other words, while all blogs can be a website or a part of a website, not all websites can be called blogs.
When to Start a Blog
You can start a blog for various reasons. Some turn to blogging to voice their feelings and thoughts, while others want to share their opinion or knowledge on a topic.
You’ll also find bloggers who want to connect with like-minded people and help others by sharing their creativity and expertise on a particular subject. This is in addition to the obvious fact that most want to earn extra income from their blog, whether through advertisements, affiliate marketing, or using it as a lead generator.
If you find yourself nodding your head to any one of these reasons, and you have a lot of fresh information to share with the world, then a blog is probably the right choice for you now.
When to Start a Website
If you run a business that sells products or services or plan to start one, you definitely need a website to boost your sales and conversions.
A website is an excellent way to help potential customers find you and learn more about what you have to offer. They allow you to create a 24/7 online presence to make it easier for customers to find you anytime, anywhere.
The key here is to optimize the website to make your landing pages rank higher in the SERPs. You can include every detail you want to communicate about your products or services. Think of it as an advertisement for your offering.
You can also gain useful consumer insights through your website. For instance, you can identify who your typical customer is and what they like, how they find you, and how you can change your business strategies to maximize purchases through your site.
These insights can also help you identify ways to improve the offline aspects of your business, such as branch opening times, product ranges, and promotions.
How to Start a Blog
Starting a blog is a very straightforward process. There are specific steps you need to follow, and you’ll surely see results.
Before you can think about launching your blog, you have to pick a web hosting service and come up with a name for your blog. Once that’s done, you can start your blog by launching WordPress. Follow this by choosing an attractive theme to add more personality to your blog.
While it’s optional, I also recommend adding specific WordPress plugins that can help extend your blog’s capabilities.
For example, you can use Yoast SEO for optimizing your articles to help them rank higher in Google, UpdraftPlus for creating backups of your website, and Akismet Anti-Spam for handling unwanted spam. There are several others as well that you can use to make blogging easier for you.
The only thing left to do is also the most important: write high-quality content consistently.
Whatever content you post on your blog should be compelling and something your readers will love and learn from. Otherwise, the whole point of taking the effort of launching a blog will be a waste. Do thorough research to come up with ways to add a unique angle to your articles.
Even if you don’t have the fanciest-looking blog, you’ll still have a loyal fan base if you consistently provide value to your readers.
Wondering how to do this? Make sure you check out the following blogs to help you start blogging the right way:
- How to Start a Blog That Makes Money (Lessons Learned)
- The Complete Guide To Building Community Around Your Blog
- How to Write a Blog Post: 22 Actionable Tips
- How to Make Money Blogging in 2021
We’ve also grouped all our articles related to blogging here.