Websites and Blogs Are Different
What is the difference between a blog and a website? “Blog” and “website” are sometimes used interchangeably. They are not, but we wouldn’t be as static in our definition as the “Apples” vs. “Oranges” image above. Blogs and websites have important roles to play in successful content and social marketing.
Blog is an abbreviation of “Web Log”. The idea of creating an online diary become popular in the late 1990s. Blogger.com launched in 1999 and was quickly purchased by Google. WordPress launched in 2003. WordPress is an open source platform with developers worldwide. There are more than 70,000,000 WordPress blogs.
WordPress.com is why “website” and “blog” are used interchangeably. WordPress has thousands of “themes” to design look and feel and publish content. Any WordPress theme can be used by someone familiar with 5 “WordPress Core” menu options (Appearance, Pages, Posts, Media and Plugins).
Engagement and SEO creates the difference between websites and blogs.
Blogs are “flatter” than most websites. Blogs organize content in reverse chronological order (most recent published posts appear first). Reverse order is a LOUSY way to organize content for great user experience (engagement), to promote inbound links and to secure long-term search engine (SEO) power.
Need Categories & Content Silos – REI.com Example
REI.com is a favorite ecommerce website. REI organizes content into categories such as “camping and hiking”. Camping and Hiking category is divided into tents, backpacks and camp furniture:
Tuning Blogs To Feel Like Websites
Websites need defined tiered navigation, splash pages, helpful categorization and internal search or they loose engagement. The more content you create the harder it gets for visitors to find. When visitors can’t find what they want they leave.
Chronological content has several engagement challenges including:
- Inbound links are hard to promote (or get) due to transitory content (here today, gone tomorrow).
- Lack of links makes PageRank hard to earn (PR4 is great for a blog, poor for a website).
- A blog’s “long tail” is short with most activity clustered into it’s most recent posts.
A blog’s lack of long tail content is an interesting problem. “Diary” blogs like ScentTrail Marketing use reverse creation order (because I haven’t had time to fix it). Reverse order is NOT how ScentTrail’s traffic clusters.
ScentTrail’s most popular posts, posts such as Internet Marketing Degree Do I Need One from January 2012. created a SEO niche for some reason or another. The “Internet Marketing Degree” post may have received a link from a powerful website or when written there wasn’t a lot of competitive content.
If “Internet Marketing Degree” was a keyword phrase ScentTrail needed to win creating a category and a content silo would be a must. Categories and “content silos” shore up single-post SEO wins like Internet Marketing Degree Do I Need One.
Content categories should be based on keyword research. Recently I worked with a large research institution. This institution created unique language for content categories. Since no one searched for the institution’s version of popular and competitive keywords SEO suffered. Competitors whose content was aligned with search thrived.
Identify 5 to 8 content categories your “website/blog” should create.
If ScentTrail created an Internet Marketing Degree category we would need to write, video or mashup more “Internet marketing degree” content. More content needs “splash” pages like REI’s “hiking and camping” page or visitors get lost.
“Tents” is a content “silo” inside REI’s “hiking and camping” category. The “tents” silo includes supportive content and internal links. Content silos increase content density and SEO power. Read Advanced SEO: Lessons In Bleeding, Bottling and Siloing for notes on the care and feeding of content silos.
Fighting content and social marketing trench warfare to consistently win a highly competitive term such as “Internet marketing degree” takes money, time and talent. Because you CAN do something doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do. ScentTrail Marketing shouldn’t compete on the term “Internet Marketing Degree”.
We don’t have the content to generate ROI for “Internet marketing degree” without significant investment. Investment doesn’t make sense given competition already clustered on the term. Creating an online training institute isn’t on our “To Do” list so best to let the niche win go without further content marketing and categorization investment.
Blogs Are Spontaneous, Websites Not So Much
Our fluke win on the term “Internet marketing degree” does demonstrate how blogging can inform a website. When you see valuable flukes like ScentTrail’s “Internet marketing degree” analyze the OVER/UNDER (what you can gain is the OVER vs. costs or the UNDER) to see if a war is worth fighting.
We look for “blue oceans” or places not turned frothy and red with competition. Read Blue Ocean Strategy for more on how to find and create “blue oceans” – a critical idea in an overcrowded content marketing world.
Don’t forget to hang a blog off of this new WordPress “website”.
Blogs are great content marketing “test grounds”. Watch how blogged content generates traffic, LIKES, links and social shares. When a post receives strong support we create another post about how the first post trended. We call this “post about the post” our “redux post”.
When we write a redux post we thank people who shared. Use a “social search” tool like Topsy.com to see your content’s real reach. Can’t get “real social reach” from Google Analytics. Less than 20% of your visitors create more than 80% of your links, shares and LIKES so KNOW and LOVE THEM (lol).
If our “redux” post, the post about the post, trends too we suggest splitting the keys and posting several more times. If ALL of those posts trend we create a new category fast since so much trending content indicates a “blue ocean”. The process of creating great content is Darwinian. Think of each stage as a hurdles. Hurdles help create content that generates ROI. Spend money on the “fittest” content you’ve created and send the rest back to clear a few more hurdles.
Apple & Orange graphic from onacoservices.com