I started my internet writing journey as a blogger…once upon a time.
At the time, I didn’t even know what a blog or website was, let alone the difference between both. If anything, I thought they were the same thing.
Had I known the distinction, I wouldn’t have selected a blogging platform (Blogger.com). Why? Because soon after, I realized I needed more features and switched to a more mature website building platform (WordPress).
To help you avoid a similar mistake, here’s my guide on the difference between websites and blogs.
What Is a Website?
A website is a collection of different web pages, each used to serve a different purpose.
Let’s look at Soilboy, a Squarespace ecommerce website, to understand “website” as a concept better.
Soilboy sells indoor gardening items through its ecommerce website. It has multiple web pages, each serving a different purpose — for example:
- The product page gives visitors information about the product. Plus, it has a CTA (call to action) for visitors to buy the product.
- The ‘About’ page tells the company’s story, among other things.
- The ‘Plant Care’ page showcases all Soilboy articles in reverse chronological order (i.e., the latest article is shown at the top). This page is their blog page.
All these web pages are put together under the domain name soilboy.sg, making it a website.
Soilboy is what we’d categorize as an “ecommerce website” because its primary goal is selling online. Similarly, there are other types of websites (defined by their goals), like portfolio websites, personal websites, etc. Blog websites are also a type of website.
What Is a Blog?
The definition of “blog” has changed since the term came into existence.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a blog as “a website that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photographs provided by the writer.” That’s the original — and old — definition.
I hang around in online blogging and marketing circles/communities, and today’s definition of “blog” is slightly different.
Here’s the new definition: A blog is a regularly updated website or a section of a website that presents all blog posts, generally in reverse chronological order.
- Blog post: A blog post is any written piece — article, news, or guide — published on the blog website or the blog section of a website. For example, what you're reading right now is a blog post — it's an article on "website vs blog," and you can find it in the Site Builder Report blog section.
- Reverse chronological order: It's when the timeline starts with the most recent item (blog post in this case) going back to the oldest.
Notice how the new definition doesn’t mention “online personal reflections” or “online journal.”
That’s because blogs have evolved from being a place for personal writings only friends/family read.
Nowadays, almost all business websites have a blog section, and they surely aren’t publishing “personal reflections.” Plus, the internet is filled with “niche blogs” by subject-matter experts — like Site Builder Report by people heavily invested in critiquing websites and website builders — and their end goals are also to attract traffic, drive revenue, etc.
Yes, many people still maintain a personal blog that fits the old definition. But today, most blogs aim to achieve business goals like improving search engine rankings to attract visitors, nurturing existing community, showcasing oneself/business as a subject authority to gain potential customers’ trust, conversions, etc.
Website vs Blog: Key Differences
Just from the definition of website and blog, you might have figured out the distinction between both. But let me spell them out for you in detail so you know precisely what you need.
|Goals||Awareness, sales, and information.||Improve organic search ranking, nurture website visitors, and help/entertain visitors.|
|Content||Mostly static (if you exclude the blog section)||Dynamic|
|Audience||Users in search for products, services, or information related to your company or the type of product/service/information you give.||Users who want information about topics related to you or your products, service, or industry.|
|Traffic||Mainly from outbound campaigns and SEO (blogging has a lot to do with it).||Primarily inbound|
|Navigation||To all web pages on the website||To blog posts or pages related to them (categories, tags, etc.)|
|Result||Establishes online presence||Builds credibility|
A website’s end goal is usually commercial: Sell products or host information that convinces users to inquire about services. The “information” here could also be in the form of blog posts.
On the other hand, a blog’s primary goal is to educate, inform, and engage the target audience.
If we look at how they fit the classic sales funnel, blogs primarily serve the top-of-the-funnel (ToFu) goals, whereas websites cover the entire funnel goals.
Let’s understand it better with examples:
Dental Care Seattle is a dental clinic that provides preventive and cosmetic dental services to patients in Seattle. Their website is one of the best dentist websites—not only because of its looks but also how it serves its goals.
The website’s primary goal is to provide information related to dental services and to influence patients to book appointments online. Therefore, they have ToFu pages like services to make people aware of the services they offer and our team to showcase expertise and BoFu pages like Request Appointment and CTAs to them for conversions.
Little Fat Boy is a fantastic food blog website.
The blog belongs to Frankie, a food fanatic, who shares recipes, experiences with food, and information related to famous food joints. The blog posts are informational and influence the audience to try new recipes.
If you look at the website, you’ll immediately feel he has nothing to sell (except his cookbook), just information to give & experiences to share:
Most blogs are dynamic and come up with new content regularly. Some blogs post multiple times a day.
Also, since the purpose of blogs is to educate and engage, you’ll find a lot more content on a blog post than on a webpage of a website. For example, even a short blog post like this one has more information than a typical non-blog-post web page:
On the other hand, a website that sells products or services is pretty much static, with a few web pages updated less frequently. For instance, a typical website will have a homepage to provide general information about the company, product/service pages to talk about its offerings, and an about page to give details about the business. None of these pages need to be changed unless there’s a major shift.
Since the goal of a website is to influence a well-defined action, the audience that comes to websites is interested in something the website is selling.
In the case of blogs, users might or might not be intent-driven — audiences are usually exploring. For example, you reading this “website vs blog” guide likely don’t intend to buy from us (nor do we have anything to sell).
According to a survey conducted by Hubspot, 33% of people who are driven to read blogs are the ones who want to learn something new, 20% want to be entertained, and 12% look for new trends in an industry.
Website vs Blog: When To Use a Blog?
You should start posting blog posts if you want to:
1. Attract search engine traffic
A large chunk of your potential customers searches for your business or business category-related queries on search engines like Google. And the search engine shows the answer it thinks is the best. s
For example, if Google thinks this article is the best “blog vs website” guide on the internet, it’ll rank us at the top for related queries (blog vs website, website vs blog, how is blog different than a website, etc.).
So if you want to rank on search engines and attract organic traffic, you simply need to convenience the search engine that it is the best answer.
How do you convince the search engine that your answer is the best? The foremost step is to publish relevant, high-quality content/blog posts (in the form of articles, opinions, comparisons, guides…whatever the query demands). Everything else (i.e., SEO or search engine optimization) comes after.
2. Showcase your expertise
You can showcase your subject-matter expertise by publishing relevant, informational/entertaining content on your blog.
Urban Beardsman by Beardbrand is one of the most popular Shopify store blogs, and it’s an excellent example of a blog showcasing subject-matter expertise.
The Urban Beardsman blog is a central hub for anyone interested in growing & styling cool beards and hair. They write high-quality content with expert curations and recommendations at its core. For instance, this is one of their latest blog posts:
It gives expert information about when to use shampoo and when to use a conditioner.
The Urban Beardsman blog has over 1000 such blog posts, bringing millions of organic visitors to the site. They try to funnel those visitors to the Beardbrand store, where they sell beard and hair-related products.
3. Engage ToFu and MoFu visitors
Blog posts are great for engaging top-of-the-funnel (ToFu) and Middle-of-the-funnel (MoFu) visitors. In simpler terms, you can engage visitors at the awareness, interest, consideration, and, to some extent, the intent stage of the sales funnel.
Let’s understand it by continuing the Urban Beardsman example.
- Awareness: The “Should You Use Shampoo Or Conditioner First?” article is an excellent piece for the awareness stage. People unaware of the Beardbrand might discover it after reading the article.
- Interest: Here’s another article on the Urban Beardsman blog:
People who read this show interest in getting a beard tool or styling the beard.
- Consideration: Here’s a guide on using some of Beardbrand’s products:
People who read this are considering buying it. And if they click on the product page link, they show intent.
Website vs Blog: When To Use a Website?
Everything a blog website can do, a blog section of any website can do. In other words, you can have a blog section on your website to attract search engine rankings, showcase expertise, and engage potential customers.
On top of that, building a website is ideal if you find the following use cases relevant to your business:
1. Win trust by describing your story
Narrating your story is a brand-building exercise that wins users’ trust. You can add different web pages to narrate your story, describe your mission, highlight what you wish to achieve, etc.
Standard web pages you can add for this are:
- About us: Describe your mission, vision, values, motivations, goals, about the founders, etc.
- FAQs: Answer common customer queries about your brand.
- Contact: Allow visitors to directly ask questions about your brand.
Example: Knapsack Creative Co. has an excellent About page, highlighting its mission statement and describing what makes them unique.
2. Describe products or services
You can have these pages on your website to describe products or services:
- Hub pages: Hub pages are central introductory pages that help visitors find other relevant pages. For example, a blog page has a list of blog posts; a store page has a list of products; etc.
- Service pages: Describe each service in detail.
- Product pages: For ecommerce stores, describe each product on a different web page.
- Location pages: Describe locations you serve and create pages designed for those locations.
- Help center: Make a Help Center hub page. Answer common queries in the form of help center articles, and add links to them on the help center page.
- FAQs: Answer frequently asked product/service-related questions on a single FAQs page.
Example: Dental Care Seattle has separate service pages like this one for Cosmetic Dentistry to describe their services in detail.
3. Provide different functions
A blog is only good for sharing information. If you want to engage people in multiple ways, use a website. For example, a website is better if you want people to book appointments, learn about your different services, see your case studies, etc.
Here are some functions your website can offer:
- Booking appointment: Have a web page for visitors to book appointments or schedule a call.
- Forums: Create a forum page on your website to get users to interact, comment, discuss, etc., your brand-related queries.
- Members exclusive pages: Host a members-only area to give exclusive access to VIP users.
- Store: To sell your products.
Example: Meiwen See offers both design and photography services. Therefore, she has two different web pages, both serving a different function/audience - the Photography page acts as a photography portfolio, and the Design page acts as a graphic design portfolio.
How To Build a Website?
Making a website is pretty straightforward these days: Most of the time, you don’t even have to write a single line of code — you can use a website builder like Squarespace or an ecommerce builder like Shopify instead. But before you go on and start building your website, remember these two things:
1. Select the right goals
You obviously want your website to accomplish something for your business. If you are unclear on what that is, define your website goals first. This is important because the goal will dictate the design, layout, content, domain name, and the kind of website you’ll build.
Some common goals are:
- Lead generation,
- Product sales,
- Sell memberships,
- Take donations,
- SEO, etc.
If the goal is simply building a blog website to publish regular content, you might find the next section on “How to build a blog?” more helpful.
2. Finalize how you’ll make your website
You can build your website using one of the following ways:
1. Use a website builder
If you want to build a website as quickly and efficiently as possible, go with a website builder. Unless you want to make something complex, you can make all kinds of websites (including blog websites) with a website builder.
Website builders are all-in-one website building tools that typically come with a drag-and-drop visual editor, hosting, templates, and more. They make creating web pages a breeze because pretty much everything you need — good design, templates, photo galleries, forms, etc. — is included with the package.
For instance, Squarespace has beautiful templates that you can select, edit per your need, and quickly publish on the internet:
Here are some of the website builders you can consider:
- Squarespace: Comes with modern templates, excellent features, and beautiful designs.
- Shopify: Known for its clear interface, extensive app store, and industry-leading ecommerce features.
- Webflow: Best for custom designs.
2. Use a CMS
CMS, or a content management system, is a platform that makes it easy to store, search, manage, update and edit the content on your website. You can’t directly build a website using a CMS platform, but you can use templates and page builders on top of CMS to create one. Also, you might need to code a little here to get your ideal website.
The most popular CMS is WordPress. It’s free and open source, but you need to buy hosting, domain, SSL certificate, security plugins, etc., on your own. There are some great WordPress alternatives too.
Designing and developing a website from scratch is always an option. If your project scope is vast and you have time and budget, then you can hire a developer or code your website. Its main advantage is it gives you endless possibilities.
Things to remember while building a website
- Keep Navigation Simple: Think of website navigation like elevator buttons: people use them to get somewhere. It needs to be simple and positioned in the obvious place, i.e., typically header and footer.
- Make Your Contact Details Obvious: Don’t try to get clever here. Make your contact details super obvious.
- Add Testimonials: Testimonials build trust with customers. A good testimonial addresses fears and concerns to build trust.
- Avoid Jargon: Write clearly and in words your target customer understands.
- Be Human: People will respond to your website if you make it clear there is a real, live human behind it — don’t try to hide behind corporate language or vague stock photography.
How To Build a Blog?
As I mentioned multiple times, a blog website is a type of website. Therefore, most website building platforms, like Squarespace, Wix, WordPress, etc., are well-suited for it. Not only do they support your current needs, but they also cover future needs. For example, got success with your Squarespace-built blog and want to sell something? You can simply upgrade to Squarespace Commerce and start selling.
Alternatively, you can use blogging-specific platforms as well. A few of the well-known ones are WordPress.com, Ghost, Medium, and Blogger.