28 JulSeven reasons for converting your website to a Blogsite
For years, something has been missing from my website. I’ve received plenty of compliments from it. Along with the dazzling writing (naturally), there’s a funky little typewriter animation at the top, pretty clear-cut navigation, and a nice overall look. My problem with my website is the same problem most businesses experience: Once I put it up, it just sat there, like an abandoned brochure on the shelf.
Sure, I could send people to visit it, and people could reach me via the contact form, but overall, I didn’t really touch the thing. Making changes through a programmer was a bit of a cumbersome process. I didn’t want to launch a blog, primarily because what was the use of having a website if your blog was going to hog all the traffic? In a quandry, I did what most people do: Nothing.
Enter ”the Blogsite”
My thinking changed a while back, when I saw a website written by a friend of mine. It was written in WordPress, a blogging software. It looked great, and had all the navigation of your typical website. Soon I took a similar approach, launching a “blogsite” called www.wisconsinenergyconnection.com. I was impressed by how easy it was to create webpages and manipulate content in WordPress.
I decided at that point to convert my static website into this Blogsite. What’s my definition of a “blogsite”? Simply put, it’s a site, written in blogging software (WordPress) that has the look and feel of website. This is not a new approach, and I don’t claim to be a technology pioneer. I usually come in after the early adapters have worked out the bugs on technology. My arrival is probably a good indication that a Blogsite should appear more often in the mainstream.
I started working with a great programmer: Brian Groce of WatershedStudio.com. Gurus of WordPress, Brian and his team took the graphics from my current static website, and turned them into a theme for this current site. As a result, the look of my website is retained on my new blogsite, but I have the ability to get in and add posts and manipulate content. Suddenly, I’m in the game!
Of course there are other Content Management Systems (CMS) out there, but I like the beauty of using WordPress and the blogsite approach for the following reasons:
- The look and feel of a website: WordPress is very flexible, and allows you to adapt a wide range of looks. For smaller businesses, this allows you to create a website feel, but still be able to routinely update your website and enter new content. Keep your image, but beef up your content.
- Blogs are better for social media: If there is one venue where websites are definitely old school, it’s in the give and take of social media. The blogsite allows for commenting from customers/clients/friends/bitter enemies, and gives you the chance to chat back. Perhaps not something for everyone, but hey, you can always turn the comments off. There are also plug-ins which can link you straight to your social media site. A notification of this post will automatically appear on my Twitter account, for example.
- Search engines love blogs, which makes them a great venue for keywords like “Freelance copywriter”: Blogs are loved by search engines like Google. Those meta-crawlers are always in search of new, exciting content. They want to find the pages that have great new, exciting stuff. They love blogs because these sites tend to be updated frequently, with exciting new content. Because blogs tend to have blogrolls with people who subscribe to them, they’ve also got a good number of back-links returning to the site. I can fill my blog with great keywords (note the headline of this piece), which makes it easy for search engines to find me.
- Content back in the hands of the creators: I’ve been copywriting for many moons now, and one of my frequent beefs with writing for websites has been the distance between me and the website. I’ve always had to rely on website programmers to get in there and make changes for me. Their service has always been good, but writing is a constant state of revision. You’re always looking at ways to revise your copy and build upon it. Making continuous updates and tweaks can be frustrating for your programmer and expensive for you.
- WordPress is open source and a standard in the industry: The beauty of open-source is that it’s a collaborative effort among software programmers. There has been much written about open-source software, but the bottom line is that it often tends to be better than a prepackaged software program, simply by virtue of the fact that so many people collaborate on it. There is definitely strength in numbers when it comes to software.
- Pay for content, not for programming. WordPress is also free, but I won’t say that creating a blogsite costs you nothing. I pay my programmer and my designer, but here’s the difference: In WordPress, you’re paying the designer to create a nice template for the look, and for your programmer to convert that look into a theme. From that point, the creation of additional pages and content is in your hands. The amount of time required for the programming and the design is small compared to what is required for a traditional website. So either you can spend less on the overall site, or you invest your savings in great content, whether that be writing, photos, video, podcasts or all of the above.
- Free content management system. Ultimately, you’re getting a free content management system that many have described as superior to Joomla and other competitors. Check the search engines and you’ll find a number of advocates and detractors from different sides of the CMS arguement. For the reasons listed above, however, I think WordPress is a solid choice for smaller businesses and start-ups.
Ultimately, you’re getting the look of your traditional website, with the interactivity of social media. And you’re getting a site that’s full of great content. It works for me, and if you want some help, I can help make it work for you.