In today’s digitalized world, many people are familiar with blogs, but have troubles understanding the difference between what a blog is and what is just a website. To be fair, knowing where to draw the line isn’t always easy.
In this post, you will learn the difference(s) between blogs and websites. Also, the typical features of a blog and a website will be listed and explained in detail. Finally, you will also learn what types of blogs and websites there are.
Why is a blog called a blog?
“Blog” is a shortened form of “web log”, a logbook on the internet (similar to a ship’s log where events are recorded). The term is not particularly old — the now obsolete “web log” or “weblog”, was coined in 1997 by an early blogger (or should I say, weblogger) named Jorn Barger.
The shortened form, “blog”, appeared two years later in 1999, popularized by Evan Williams from Pyra Labs, the creators of the blog-publishing service Blogger. As Blogger gained popularity, the terms blog and blogger became mainstream and the names have stuck ever since.
What is the difference between a website and a blog?
Many people want to know whether there is a difference between a website and a blog. The question does not have a straightforward answer.
On the one hand, practically anything online is some sort of a website, since the term is very inclusive. The blog you are reading right now, bloggingfromatoz.com, is also a website. So, no matter what URL you type in your web browser, you will end up on a website.
On the other hand, the contents of “normal” websites and blogs do differ in some fundamental ways. For instance, a blog differs quite much from more traditional, static websites that are rarely updated and lack personality.
Here’s a summary of the most distinctive features of a traditional website and a blog, respectively.
- contains information, but lacks personality
- does not allow comments and is not focused on interaction. In other words, websites usually prefer one-way communication, whereas blogs strive for interaction
- can have a photo gallery (for instance, a school’s website will most likely have a gallery with photos of the facilities, smiling students doing teamwork etc.)
- can have an online shop/e-commerce pages
- can include a portfolio of someone’s work (for example, an artist showcasing her best work)
- usually have a contact page with a contact form
- can include an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section
- can have a career pages
- often have multiple pages about the company (about us, values and mission, investor relations, press etc.)
- can have a blog. Blogs that are only a part of a (traditional) website are, however, usually less personal than proper blogs
- is a website where the author’s personality matters. Many associate blogs with openness and honesty
- is a website where posts appear in chronological order (with the latest one first). A blog, especially lifestyle blogs, often resemble an online diary
- is updated regularly
- is well-suited for giving personal opinion on things
- allows comments (the comment section is often moderated by the blog author, who also actively participates by answering comments)
- can be self-hosted (ie. the website is all yours) or be on a free/paid blogging platform such as Blogger.com or WordPress.com
- can be used for promoting your own (or other people’s) products or business
- can focus on helping others and giving tips to other people who share your passion, problems or lifestyle
What Is a Website?
Today, you can tell a lot about a company just by looking at their website. As a rule of thumb, traditional brick-and-mortar companies have websites, whereas online entrepreneurs favor blogs.
A traditional website is the perfect “online business card” — anyone interested in your store can go to your site and get all the information they need, such as your opening hours and contact information.
Depending on your business, your website might also have a list of the services you provide or products you sell. A hair saloon, for example, should have a price list of all their services on their website and a restaurant should have their menu on display.
Companies selling their own products can have their own web store on their website.
Traditional websites also often have a page with their location (typically, an embedded Google Maps).
Large corporations also choose to have traditional websites rather than blogs, even if their websites might have a separate blog section that gets occasional updates. These companies usually need websites for more serious work purposes: they often have a ‘careers’ page, a page for investors, a page where they state their values, mission and vision, a ‘press’ page with image/video libraries as well as their press releases and company statements. The website is important for the image of a corporation: an impressive website should attract both customers, partners as well as potential employees.
To conclude, a traditional website is usually for companies with physical brick-and-mortar stores, or bigger companies. For these companies, the traditional website functions as a place where customers can get information or even buy their products. The website is a place for information, not opinions.
What Is a Blog?
Most people think that a blog is a personal website that is run by a single person. Historically, this was true for a long time. Still today, brick-and-mortar companies and corporations don’t run blogs. There are, however, numerous online entrepreneurs who use their personality to build a brand and make money online with their blogs. These professionals build an online brand that is then used to market products or, alternatively, to sell ad space on the blog. These blogs are very different from the blogs of the late 1990’s or some of the personal blogs hosted on sites like Blogspot.
Whereas traditional websites usually revolve around practically the same content (at a minimum: company information, opening hours, contact information and address), a blog can be very diverse. The blogger decides what he or she writes about. This is a key difference between a website and a blog.
Here is a short SlideShare presentation with examples of common blog and websites features.
How can you tell a professional blog from an amateur one?
Professional blogs are characterized by their intent: making money. There are several ways one can make money online so it is no wonder that many people try their hand at blogging. There are several ways to tell a money-making blog from a non-professional one. Here are the signs of a professional blog that you want to look for:
- Ads. If the blog has ads, it’s (most probably) making money.
- Affiliate links. It is not always easy to tell an affiliate link from a non-affiliate one, but blogs using affiliate links should have a link to a disclaimer page in their footer, where the author discloses to the consumer that the site contains affiliate links.
To summarize, blogs are more personal and are often run either by one person or, in some cases, a small group of people. They are all about personal stories and opinions. Websites, on the other hand, typically revolve around information about a company or organization, as well as their products or services.
Hopefully you now know the difference between a website and a blog. If you are still unsure or if you have a question, leave a comment.