The differences between a blog and website might be obvious for some. But even though I have been online since the mid-nineties, the differences are still difficult to see.
Recently, I have been giving this question a thought because – and let’s be honest – if someone asked me about this, I wouldn’t be able to answer it.So, I set a goal to figure this question out, and I thought it would be a nice thing to share the results with you.
When you look at the keyword search volumes regarding this question, you’ll notice that you (and me) are not alone. Indeed, there are plenty of others who are searching for an answer to this pressing question:
There are many differences between a blog and a website, although these sometimes overlap.
While the terminology is precise, technically speaking, the practice is sometimes different.
For instance, a blog is a particular kind of website. Then again, a website can also include a blog. The question then goes, if they are both websites and both have blogs, what are they? This just shows that a line between a blog and a website is sometimes minor.
In the following table, I have gathered the differences that a blog and a website might have. Based on my experiences, I have bolded the most important points to look for, when making a distinction between a blog and a website.
Please note that the following table describes the characteristics that you would most likely expect from a website or a blog. On the other hand, if I say that you can’t subscribe to a website through RSS feed, it doesn’t mean it is not possible with every website out there.
The basic unit of content is a post.
The basic unit of content is a page.
A list of chronologically listed content (in the form of posts).
Usually, the content (in the form of pages) is not displayed chronologically.
You can comment on posts (unless the commenting is turned off). This means more interaction between the author and the reader.
You can’t comment a page.
You can subscribe to blog’s RSS feed
You can’t normally subscribe to an RSS feed.
May include components like a blogroll or an archive of old posts.
No blogroll or an archive of old posts.
Updates regularly and requires more commitment from you.
Static content. Updates infrequently (depends on the site, though!). Less commitment from you.
Organized by tags and categories.
Organization is non-existent, at least visually.
Blog posts more likely to go viral if the content is incredible.
Since most of the content is not updated often and the content (a page) is shorter than in a blog, there is a less chance that the content goes viral.
Doesn’t always have a home page.
Has a home page.
If you asked me the difference between a blog and a website, and I had to come up with an answer in a few seconds, I would say:
“A blog publishes content often, in chronological order, and it has a commenting system. A website is more static than a blog and its content is not organized by categories or by time.”
I hope that this comparison table gave you some ideas about the differences between blogs and websites. But let’s not stop here. To make this answer more concrete, I’ll show you some websites and blogs.
3 Examples of Blogs
1) Making Sense of Cents
If you want a web presence for yourself or your business, create a website. But if you are more committed to keeping your site up-to-date, choose a blog.
Making Sense of Cents is a popular finance blog, run by Michelle. However, when you enter the site the first time, you may not consider it as a blog since it has a home page (like websites do).
Blogs with home pages have grown popular over the years, and one of the key reasons is that they are a terrific way to build your email list.
Overall, this blog has plenty of other pages that may let you think that this is not a blog. However, the more you explore it, you’ll see that the blog is the centrepiece of this site. In other words, this is a blog!
ProBlogger is one of the most popular blogs on the web, and it blogs about …. blogging. Yet, and like with Making Sense of Cents, when you enter the front page of ProBlogger, it may not feel like a blog. This is because it has a lot of other content, too.
Yet, the blog is the driving force behind this site. ProBlogger also announces its subscriber counts publicly, and they also have a strong presence in social media.
3) Social Media Examiner
Alongside with ProBlogger, this site is one of the blogging heavyweights. But where ProBlogger focuses on blogging, Social Media Examiner focuses mostly on social media (and some blogging, too).
When you enter their site, you are immediately greeted with a blog. This type of layout is still prevalent for many blogs (hint, hint, for Online Builder Guy, too )
3 Examples of Websites
Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia. This site feels indeed like a website when you first enter it. Also, it doesn’t have a blogging component.
It is composed of pages, that volunteers can create and edit.
Amazon is a US-based e-commerce and cloud computing company. It is one of the biggest and most trafficked websites in the world.
This website is all about selling goods – both physical and electronic - and it contains an abundance of pages. There is, however, no blog on this site.
3) KW Finder
I saved this site last since it is a different type of creature.
It is not a website. Instead, it’s a combination of an online application and a website.
Here is the deal: KW Finder is primarily a keyword research tool and this part of the site is displayed first when you access the home page. However, a blog component is also included in the site.
The blog has typical characteristics of a blog, like commenting system or categories. Yet, the blog is just one part of the website.
Blogging Sliced Even Further
I hope that by now you’ll start to see the differences between blogs and websites. However, there are other terms when it comes to blogging, and they might equally confuse you, too.
A Blog vs. Weblog
I got my first touch to blogging in the year 2000, and back then, blogs were more often called weblogs than blogs. During the years, the shorter form took over and nowadays no one talks about weblogs anymore.
So, if you ever run into the term weblog, it’s the same as a blog.
A Blog vs. Articles
Sometimes there can be a special section in a website, and you think that it’s a blog, but it necessarily isn’t.
For instance, Norman Nielsen Group’s website has one of these sections: articles.
I like to think that when I see the term “articles” in a website’s navigation bar, it is a section which updates occasionally, but not as often as a blog.
On the other hand, if the text “blog” were used, I would have different expectations towards it (read: it would update more often, and it would have a commenting system).
A Blog vs. a News Site
Don’t confuse a blog with a news site. Even though both sites update on a regular basis, they are still different.
A news site lists new events on its front page, while blog posts are more time-independent. A blog’s goal is not to deliver anything time sensitive.
Also, news sites are updated many times throughout the day, while a blog could have a very different publishing schedule.
A Blog vs. a Vlog
Vlogs are particular kinds of blogs. Vlog stands for video blog, and as the name implies, it’s a blog but it’s published content is in a video format.
YouTube is one of the most popular platforms to publish your vlogs.
A Blog vs. a Journal
Now and then you hear someone talking about blogs and journals interchangeably. But don’t fall into this trap, since these two are different!
Yes, both types of sites can publish content in chronological order, but that doesn’t make journals blogs.
The difference between these two lies in the topics they cover: A blog focuses on a particular topic(s), while a journal is a more private version of someone’s writing.
Journals are more geared towards someone’s personal life, while blogs are more public (though, these two factors can sometimes mix very easily).
Blog vs. Website: When to Build Which?
Whether to build a website or a blog depends entirely on your needs.
Creating a website or a blog and then maintaining it takes time. However, I think that it’s easier to start with a website.
When it comes to creating a website (and I know, I’m cutting some corners here), just create a few pages first, like a homepage, about page and a contact form. If needed, create some additional pages that are more related to what you do, or what your site is about.
Once all this is done, you are set!
Creating a blog requires more commitment and time from you. This is because you should be able to update your blog with fresh and exciting content frequently. Just remember: a non-updating blog is worse than not having a blog at all.
How to Create a Website or a Blog
There are plenty of site building tools that help you create your site. Here is a quick rundown of the ones I have reviewed on this blog:
Wix is probably the biggest and the most popular of online site builders. It’s a drag and drop tool that helps you to create your site fast.
One specialty of it is Wix ADI, that speeds up the site creation process. It works with blogs, too.
My Wix review: Wix Review - Is the Biggest Also the Best?
SquareSpace is another giant in online site builder business. It also has a drag and drop editor, and it makes it easy to create your website or a blog.
My Wix vs. SquareSpace comparison: Wix vs. SquareSpace review
Weebly is yet another tool that helps you create your (first) website or a blog. It has one of the most straightforward user interfaces I have seen so far.
My Wix vs. Weebly comparison: Wix vs. Weebly review
You can create a website or a blog with Jimdo, too. It’s a universal tool since your site’s admin panel can be used with various languages (not just with English).
On top of using the traditional site creator, you can also use Jimdo Dolphin, which makes a site creation a breeze!
All these online site builders have specific common characteristics between them.
First, you get customer support, if you happen to run into an issue with your site.
Also, there are no installation hassles, since these platforms operate through your browser. If there are any installations to be done (like, when extending your site with apps, like in Wix or Weebly), the process is still straightforward.
Finally, there are no security updates to install, because the maintenance is done automatically, without you having to do them.
Check out my Jimdo review.
So, there you have it, (hopefully) a clarifying article about the differences between a blog and a website.
As you have noticed, the line between these two is sometimes quite blurry, since both types of sites can blend easily.
Still, I would say this: a blog updates its content regularly in chronological order and has a commenting system. A website, on the other hand, is more static, and its content is not necessarily organized into categories or by time.