Blog or Website?
A lot of people get confused about the difference between a blog and a website.
While there are many similarities between the two, there are some major differences.
Before going into them I want you to know something. Making money online is not necessarily easier with one or the other.
Whether you choose a blog or a website, you still have to learn how to generate targeted traffic or you won't make anything... period.
The reason I say this is because blogs are typically easier and cheaper to setup than websites. And because of this, people often run to create a blog and then later find out it's not always the best approach for their needs.
So make sure you read this page so you choose the option that's best for you.
What's a Blog?
A blog is a series of content (called "posts") that are usually organized by date with the most recent post showing first. Many blogs also have the posts organized by category for convenient browsing.
They have comment forms at the end of every post that allow the readers to give the author feedback and interact with other readers.
Blogs (taken from the phrase "web logs") were originally created for personal journaling. Now people use them in place of a website, or in some cases, they own both.
When to Blog
Blogs are best when you have a topic that compels you to write fresh information on a consistent basis. That's why a lot of news-oriented websites are moving toward blogs.
People who read blogs often use a functionality called RSS, which allows them to subscribe to your blog's content with an RSS reader.
When they open up their reader, they can see the latest headlines from your blog at a quick glance. That's why it's important you choose a topic where you can provide fresh content on a regular basis. Otherwise, people may stop reading your blog if they see you aren't writing enough new content.
Creating a Blog
Both platforms are free and provide user-friendly editors for you to publish your content. No programming or additional software is needed.
If you do decide to go with a blog, I'd highly recommend that you register your own domain name and have a self-hosted blog instead of using the free blog hosting platform.
You want the address of your blog to be something like yoursite.com or blog.yoursite.com instead of yourblog.wordpress.com or yourblog.blogspot.com.
You Can Use WordPress for Static Sites
One thing I should point out is you can actually use WordPress to create a static/traditional website. It just requires some manipulation and understanding of the tool. I talk a bit about this in my WordPress video for beginners.
What's a Website?
Just like a blog, a website is a collection of content called web pages. Unlike a blog, the pages are not usually organized by date.
With websites, you have a more control of your site's layout because it's easier to work directly with the code.
Now, of course, if you take the time to learn CSS, HTML, PHP, etc. you can change the layout of a blog as well. However, it's not quite as straightforward since blogs are made up of several different files and the coding is a bit more complex.
With a website, you can manage your entire design in a software program so editing the overall layout and design is a little easier than managing the layout of a blog.
In fact, I created some simple CSS web templates to help newbies get started.
Another difference between websites and blogs is how content is published. With blogs, the publishing functionality is built into the blogging platform so you do not need any additional tools to publish your site online.
For example, to publish your content from a WordPress blog, you would login to the WordPress admin panel and select "Publish".
To publish content to a website you need an FTP program or web software that has a built-in FTP program.
Note: FTP stands for file transfer protocol and it's just a simple program that moves your web pages from your computer to your website. FileZilla is a common FTP program and it's free.
Don't let the acronyms scare you. It's really not that difficult. In fact, many web hosts now have FTP programs bundled into your account so if you can publish your content right through their control panel area.
Publishing Your Website With Software
I usually recommend people use web software that has a built in FTP program. For example, I use Dreamweaver to create and manage this site. I bought a design template online and customized it in the software.
The nice thing about Dreamweaver is you can publish your content to the web right from the software so you don't need to download any additional FTP software or use your web host's functionality to save files to the Web.
Dreamweaver is a bit pricey for some at $400, but there are some alternatives. Nvu and Komposer are both free. Of course you won't get as many of the bells and whistles that you get with Dreamweaver, but they are still good options.
Artisteer is an easier program to master and has plenty of design templates to help you along.
No matter what software you choose, rest assured there are plenty of free tutorials online that will help you become familiar with it.
No Web Software?
You do not have to use Web software to create a static website. You can write your HTML from scratch using a basic text editor like NotePad or BBEdit.
Then you simply save your pages to the Web using an FTP program or your web host's control panel.
If you are serious about learning how to code from scratch visit w3schools.com. They have some awesome tutorials on HTML and CSS.
"Should I Start With a Blog or a Website?"
There's no right or wrong answer to this. Which one you start with depends on you. Due to the way people read blogs, it's best to create a blog if you have a lot of "newsy" and fresh information to write about on a topic, and you should be able to produce new content on a consistent basis.
Websites tend to have more evergreen information and there isn't as much pressure to keep writing new content all the time. The information on a website is more static and often contains reference information that people would want to bookmark and return from time to time.
Whatever you do, please start with one or the other. Don't try to create both because you'll be overwhelmed with trying to market them. Take one thing at a time.
Just remember, you can use WordPress to create a traditional website too as explained in the video above.
Owning a Blog and a Website
While I don't recommend starting off with both, here's an example of why you may start with a website and then add a blog at a later time.
Let's say you have a site on healthy eating. It's 75 pages of different tips on what kinds of foods you can eat. A lot of the information is evergreen and it's a wonderful site for people to bookmark for future reference.
Now let's say you want to start a section on this site where you announce a new recipe every week. Since you will be providing new information on a consistent basis, this kind of content is best presented in a blog format because blogs show the most recent content first and organize the information by date and category.
Since blogs are setup to divide the content into categories, you could add categories to make surfing your blog easier (Desserts, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner etc.) and post the recipes into the appropriate category.
Now you have your healthy eating site with its static, evergreen information and you can use your blog for your latest and greatest recipes. People can subscribe to your blog through RSS and they'll be notified every time you add a new recipe.
Why I Have Both
I have a blog and a website, but I created my website first. Once my website began getting enough traffic, I used that traffic to promote my blog. So my blog is more of an extension to my regular website.
While 2 Create a Website has basic, unchanging tutorials on how to build a website, my blog allows me to discuss what's on my mind regarding the topics of website creation, making money, etc. So I've branded my blog as sort of an extension of my main website.
Watch My Video on Blogging vs. a Website
The video below covers most of what I wrote about above, but I know some people prefer audio over text, so if this is you, watch my video that explains my take on the blog vs. website topic.
If you can absorb the preliminary information on this site, you will have a huge advantage because most people rush and don't take the time to plan and educate themselves before they begin.
If your goal is to make money with a website or blog, absorb the content on this site like a sponge.