Saturday, September 1, 2012

Working Smarter: Should Your New Internet Site be a Blog?

So, you've decided to set up an Internet presence and you're not sure whether to set up a blog or a site that is purpose-built to suit your requirements. It's a common enough question and a sensible one given that a blog can be set up free within a matter of minutes; a purpose-built Internet site will cost and can often run into thousands of dollars. In this article I discuss pros and cons of blogs versus other types of Internet sites as they relate to business.

Blog is a contraction for "Web Log" which was the original intention of blogs ie, to be used like a diary or a log book. Initially most people used them to discuss what they were doing in their daily lives. The content ranged from ill-written nonsensical to professionally written blogs with good content.

Some "bloggers" as they are called publish multiple times per day, some daily, others weekly or at other periods. Many blogs begin with a bang and then get neglected so that there are hundreds of thousands of blogs that have apparently been abandoned by their adminstrators/authors.

Increasing numbers of people are using blogs as their primary sites instead of having a separate site. In fact, a writer on Small Business News opines that for a business, not having a blog is not an option.

Given that you must have a blog, why not integrate the two functions? Create a commercial site on a blog site where you can operate commercially and also have a blog.

Benefits of a Blog

You can get a Blogger or Wordpress blog free, but you cannot use a Wordpress blog for commercial activities unless you host it on your own paid hosting site. Benefits include those detailed on the Small Business News and also include the fact that the blog is an application that takes care of formatting, layout and design parameters saving you the time.

You simply put the content into the blog and press a button and it's published when you want it to be.

Blogs come with numerous applications that are helpful, especially Wordpress which has thousands of applications that are free or for nominal cost. The plug-ins as they are called and also the Wordpress theme you are using are also updated periodical

Disadvantages of a Blog

If you use a blog hosted on a Blogger or Wordpress server, you have less control of what is happening eg, if they have a server failure or change terms of service, you could be inconvenienced.

The formatting and layout cannot be changed significantly. Although you can make some changes, you cannot control as much of the blog content as you can with a dedicated Internet site. Some of the page features display on all pages including the first page.

Benefits Coding Your Own Site

If you have your own site you can:


  1. Upload pages at any time of the day and night
  2. Have complete control over your design, content, and any other aspect of your site
  3. Host it with a reliable provider whose system will be online 24/7/365 and who has a great backup process so you don't lose data
  4. Redirect the site URL anywhere you wish for any reason
  5. Delete the site permanently any time you wish or make major changes
  6. You can have as many downloadable files stored on your server as you wish
There may be others you can think of.

Disadvantages of Coding Your Own Site

  1. You need technical knowledge of a reasonably high order to code and manage your own site
  2. In most cases you need to buy an application generator eg, Dreamweaver or XSitePro to create your HTML pages and design and produce your site
  3. It's more time consuming than placing content on a blog
  4. If you get someone else to do it, it will be quite expensive
  5. When something goes wrong, it's up to your, or the person you hire to find the problem and fix it

There is much more that could be written for both sides of the argument, but for brevity I won't turn this into a 5,000 word debate.

Conclusion

There are obviously occasions when using a blog is a better idea than using a self-coded and managed site, and vice versa. I've used various HTML applications generators to create web sites over the years and since it came on the market have been using XSitePro Site Management software. Later this year, however, I will be moving my main site to a Wordpress blog hosted at a different venue. Why? Because I will be increasing the travelling I am doing and don't want to spend as much time managing my sites.

My advice to you is that you do some research and come up with the plan that suits your circumstances, budget and general resources availability.

Robin



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