The Most Important Difference Between Websites and Blogs
Website vs Blog: What's the difference?
What is the single most important difference between "conventional" or "static" websites and blogs? Many people will probably reply
- Blogs are dynamic, websites are not
- Blogs encourage conversation, websites do not
- Blogs offer RSS, websites do not
- Blogs publish current news, websites do not
- Blogs create the blogosphere while websites are in a way standalone islands
Now you already might suspect where I'm at: All of the differences, with the exception of #5 maybe are not true (anymore)!
- You have all kinds of websites which are enhanced in a way that they are not static but dynamic in their nature and I do not speak about static HTML vs PHP
- Also you do not need a blog to lead a conversation. Asides from forums, wikis and all kinds of Web 2.0 sites any site can add a comment form or a connection to a forum which will enable users to engage in a conversation and also engage you, the publisher, in one.
- There also plenty of services which will create an RSS feed for any website etc. based sites.
News sites like CNN or BBC are of course not blogs but they publish news and naturally the two are not the only ones. Everybody can create a non-blog website that deals with the latest news, buzz or products.
While there is no extra sphere for websites, the so called blogosphere is not as tangible either I would argue. Nonetheless this is indeed a difference somehow. Is this the most important difference? No, it isn't.
It has been a long time...
What is the most important difference between websites and blogs? It's about being up to date or timeless. Or it's about being still valid. The info at a blog is expected to be valid at a certain point in time while the content on a website is expected to be timeless.
Of course there are plenty of exceptions to this but generally you assume that a website you end up on which is not a blog and which has no date marking when it was published contains still valid information. In contrast you will often not even read a blog entry after noticing that it was published two years or sometimes even 2 months ago.
When I started my SEO 2.0 blog I was surprised that my theme, DM Bloodless, has the date removed from the posts. After realizing it I thought about it and decided to let the date to be hidden.
I wanted my blog to both a timeless website and an up to date blog.
A few weeks later I published a post called 5 Dirty Blogging Tricks which covered this decision in a short sentence.
Blogsites combine the best of two worlds.
After almost 9 months of blogging at SEO 2.0 I am convinced that it was the right decision. Combining the advantages of websites and blogs is not as easy as I imagines though.
What to do?
You have either to refrain from publishing news or you have to find a way to deal with the fact that they are not timeless. You can:
- Add a date in the content of the post: "As October 2007 it has..."
- Add updates to a post "Update 11. December, 2007: The service has been discontinued by now"
- Delete old posts or rewrite them.
Who wants to update old posts which are rarely visited if it all? Well, I don't in most cases. You can change the date though and republish them on top though. This way you save some time by not posting a completely new posting while also offering new insights, perspective or another update.
Which one of the two do you prefer?
Think about it and please add your opinion:
- What dis/advantages do you think this combination of blogsites does have?
- How else can you combine the advantages of both without doubling the workload?
- Do you update or delete your old postings?
- Am I right at all? What is the most striking difference between blogs and websites in your opinion?
- Who will become the next president of the United States of America?
Thus I won't tell you that WordPress 2.5 has just been released this weekend!