I tend to “jump in” to things without doing a ton of research. I guess I’m an experiential learner? So the following is what I personally experience in the “having a blog” versus “having a website” dilemma.
A website does not require constant updating and website content does not generally have dates on them (like the article posted date.) A website is something you can come back to whenever you have more time and interest in writing more. Or maybe you just tweak it twice a year to add any new information. Many visitors may stumble upon your site, look around, and leave. For good. For this type of visitor, they get what they want and call you or they don’t get what they want and leave.
A blog on the other hand lives and breathes on being UPDATED. There is no more turn off on a blog than to see the last updated post was 2+ months ago, or longer. It makes the reader wonder if there is still “life” on the blog and maybe the blog isn’t worth returning to if it takes that long to see new content. The blog may feel more alive to a visitor and something visitors may easily add to their list of blogs they read. (If they’re more techie they have one page they go to and it “feeds” all the new blog entries so they don’t even have to go to your blog.) Blogs often result in return visitors. But a blog reader may never go to your “regular” website to sign up for therapy or your class. They may ignore that little area on the side that explains who you are and what you offer. And if you try to say in every blog entry that you’re a therapist, or they should buy something, it may just be a turnoff. So repeat visitors are great, but you may writing for “free”, if that matters. Or, you may be writing and someone finds your blog so amazing they tell their friends! Those friends convert to clients.
For most therapists, a website is tough enough. Finding time to write, or being inspired on exactly WHAT to write may make a blog seem beyond threatening. And it may just not be your thing! That is just fine.
Here’s where I struggle in the web vs blog thing because I have both. Blogs may get repeat visitors and search engines LOVE blogs. But, blog entries may or may not result in reading any other blog posts. And people move on, without getting to know you more. A website, however, can continue to grow just like the blog might, still attract new people through search engines, and have all the “call to action” tidbits around the content. A website also gives you some flexibilty in how to organize the content. Blogs are always posted by date you entered, and some offer “tags” or “categories” that, if someone clicks on a tag, will pull up all the posts you “tagged” with that word. But that’s fairly clumsy for many therapists who don’t quite know what “tag” they would put on the content, or whose content would all be labeled the same way…. and as an experiential learner I rarely know ahead of time what my “tags” or “categories” will be. So in this post I am adding “blogs” and “writing content” as two tags but may return later to rearrange those tags or add more.
So what have I mostly been doing lately? If I have something short to say, I may just blog about it. If I want to write more, I create a new article for my website, then in the blog entry I will use the same article title, have that link TO the article itself, and then I’ll talk about writing the article in a more casual way. This might be how fun it was to write, or how the topic is so important to so many people, or maybe I will share some personal stories that I wouldn’t share in the article…. this becomes the teaser and the link FROM the blog TO the website. It fits both the blog reader who wants to see updated content, but it helps bring traffic back to my website, where arguably I’m better able to “sell” whatever I am selling – be it therapy, books, etc.
In a nutshell, with a lot of things missing, like my wanting to actually “tsk tsk” anyone who thinks a website could be written once and left alone… this is a super general conversation of a blog versus a website. In a future post I will talk about the idea of making your entire website just a blog (ooh, confusing!) And I should add that I’m in flux with my Thomasconsultation.com website and this blog. That site may stay more static, or may go away completely some day, or I might continue to write articles on that site and blog about them here.