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The difference between a website and a blog

This is not directly related to problogging as such, but it’s an insight we can probably all relate to. This is cross posted from The Blog Studio, making this an act of shameless self promotion. But its too good not to share, so I’m going against my better (sober) judgement and posting it here too. Sorry Darren, I hope you’ll forgive me!

I get this question all the time: “what’s the difference between a web site and a blog?”

What it comes down to is this:

A company has a website. That website talks to customers.

A person has a blog. That blog talks to people.

It’s a matter of attitude, not of technology.

Yes, this is a gross oversimplification. But it gets right to the heart of the matter.

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Comments

  1. I don’t think your assessment is accurate. The difference between a blog and a web site has nothing to do with ownership and audience. The difference lies in the technologies, not in their (many) applications.

  2. Bill Peschel says:

    Sorry, have to agree. It adds a complicating distinction that’s not readily apparent.

    After all, is the drudgereport a Web site or a blog? What about lileks.com? It’s Bleat talks to people in the same way that ProBlogger does, but it’s not a blog.

    John Scalzi’s (scalzi.com) a freelance writer who promotes his book through his Web site. He writes personal essays, but he’s essentially selling himself and his works. He’s very much a business.

  3. flashlight says:

    I was actually doing a bit of a countdown until this came up. It was much quicker than anticipated. Well done.

    Needless to say, I disagree with you Steve. I’ve built many websites using blog content management tools. Yet they are most certainly websites in every boring, brochure like way possible. As a designer though, using a CMS greatly reduced my development time.

    By the same token, one of the greatest bloggers I know (whom I shant name for fear of revealing a secret that’s not mine to share) writes all his posts as static files. He doesn’t use a CMS at all, yet his site is most certainly a blog. So no, I don’t think its a technological difference at all.

    Bill, I’m not implying that a blog can’t be used for business purposes. Scalzi’s site is a blog, no question. He has a page (books) which isn’t, but the rest of the site is pure blog. He talks about his kids, his tattoos, his frustrations… He isn’t actually selling. He’s informing. If you choose to make a buying decision, great. But he’s talking to you, the person, not you the consumer.

    Lileks sure looks like a blog, at least on my admittedly short overview. It’s structure is a bit different, but its function is pure blog.

    I don’t think drudge falls into this at all. His site is not written to you, rather its written to them. Perhaps that’s a more accurate description of the difference.

    This may well be an unwinnable semantic argument. In which case I humbly toss my definition on the pyre of blog definitions that came before it, and await the muse’s whisper….

  4. That isn’t good at all. A company can have a blog and a person can have a website. Silly. A blog requires a number of things:

    Articles/Postings
    Trackback
    Comments
    RSS/ATOM feed

    A blog is an application but a website doesn’t have to be one.

    What say you?

  5. Companies usually use CMSs — content management systems — but that doesn’t make a website, per se. But a CMS is an interactive web application just like a blog is.

  6. flashlight says:

    Well, I’d argue that a company can’t have a blog.

    A person can write a blog on behalf of a company. But when a company tries to blog, it goes rather badly, witness Captain Morgan, Lincoln Fry, etc.

    As for the list of requirements, I just did a super quick survey of technorati’s top 5 blogs. Only one meets your requirements. Three don’t accept comments or trackbacks. There are even plenty of blogs that don’t have rss feeds (bloody frustrating, that).

    So, we’re left with articles/postings.

    BTW, text is such a flat medium; I do hope I didn’t offend anyone with my reply. I am quite enjoying this discussion.

    Thanks

  7. Rachel says:

    I’d argue that a company can have a blog just as a company can have a newsletter, magazine, newspaper, website etc.

    The distinction between blog and website is something I have been thinking about, but on a different note.

    Is an online newspaper a blog? Our local paper has just put up a “blog” for the Lions’ tour of New Zealand here:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?c_id=1500899&ObjectID=10328455

    I’m not sure I’d class it a blog… or is it?

  8. Tom Hanna says:

    I have to add to the chorus of disagreement. I have personal and business blogs. I think the real distinction might be that a blog talks withat them. Of course, the germ of truth in what you are saying is that even for a business oriented blog, it has great potential for being an interactive, personal medium compared to the flat postcard on the internet of a typical webpage or even the faceless ecommerce store on the internet. A blog has the potential to help the business owners/managers see the customers as people and hopefully let the customers know they are more than just dollar signs.

  9. Tom Hanna says:

    Not sure how that got so messed up. “I think the real distinction is that a blog talks with them, while a website talks at them.”

  10. Andy says:

    Website: A set of interconnected webpages, usually including a homepage, generally located on the same server, and prepared and maintained as a collection of information by a person, group, or organization.

    Blog: an online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page; also called Weblog, Web log

    Therefore, a blog is a subset of webpage. Yes, it is also published via RSS feeds, but its home is on a website.

    A website may incorporate many elements, including but not limited to a blog, a forum, static pages, e-commerce solution. Hopefully these are interconnected in a seamless way so as to further the aims and mission of the individual or organisation running it.

    I guess I keep forgetting that many people here are business-focussed, therefore a website only talks to customers. This is wrong. Even “potential customers” is still wrong. A website communicates to people just as a blog does – those people may happen to become customers if the site is commerce-based in any way.

    I’m not sure why we get so bogged down in buzz words all the time. A blog is just one tool in an arsenal of on and offline methods.

    This article doesn’t get to the heartt of the matter at all – it confuses when the heart of the matter is “communication” and “community” – everyone must find their own solutions for acheiving this.

  11. flashlight says:

    Apparently I should be wrong more often: it makes for good conversation!

    I give! I give!

    Andy hit the nail on the head with his last line: “…everyone must find their own solutions for acheiving this.”

  12. Nicholas says:

    I agree with Andy with some small differences on his definition of a blog (did you grab this from a source or some up with on your own). I think he uses an older definition that is no longer true. Here’s how I would define it.

    Blog: an online publication, usually published as a web site; contains short posts or articles displayed in reverse chronological order.

    Although most blogs are a type of website (or at least part of one), they don’t have to be. In the future, blogs may not publish to a website, they could just as easy publish only to a RSS file. Certainly blogs don’t have to be personal thoughts. They don’t even have to be original thoughts. If that were the case, spam blogs could not exist, and to all of our displeasure they do exist.

    Any interconnected set of web pages that you visit is a website. That’s a pretty general definition and contains just about anything including almost all blogs.

  13. flashlight says:

    Nicholas, I was totally ready to leave the whole blog definition thing alone from now on, but I think you’ve offered the best description I’ve yet to see. Well done. May I quote you?

  14. Smart Money says:

    In my opinion your comparison it like comparing dogs to german sheppards. A blog is a type of website. A website is type of computer application, etc.

    Of course not every dog is pure-bred, same goes for websites.

  15. dannyFoo says:

    I think I understood where was Peter coming with that. The confusion might really start when company websites have a blog.

    To me a blog is the honest opinion of the person who posts and speaks from their point of view without care that it might tarnish the identity people assumed them at first.

    A website or to be more precise, a company’s website should be a place where information about the company is produced for the customers. Newsletters are content made for customers. A blog mailing list is something like a newsletter but it’s just the technology and not the content.

    I think overall, I have to agree with Peter that a blog is most definetely aimed at the people. Anyway, just my 2 cents. Cheers.

  16. Mongrielle says:

    i was looking up this question (difference blog and website) because I am an ignorant animal and wanted to know i guess which is the most accessible – it seemed like with blogs – anyways the ones ive done i.e. http://www.dailydogger.blogstream.com – just (putting it politely) a stream of (semi)consciousness and the other one wwwdoggerblog.blogspot.com a phalanx of photies
    whereas with web because you can link to different pages it’s a bit more manageable/digestible. I guess you can do both in either format but blog is easier for me cos im not good at HTML.

  17. u says:

    i didn’t understand what really is the difference between blog and website????????????????????????

  18. Paul says:

    Crazy, but just thought I had to share – so if i create a set of web pages, with a navigation structure (page menu nav bar) and dependency – all of the pages, support feedback, inline comments, text inserts,date & time stamp, support rss – will it be a Personal website or a blog :) Cheers! :) Maybe I’m just being a jerk out to try and prove a point! Peace.

  19. Gbolade Egberongbe says:

    I am not a computer guru like you all. But my opinion regarding the difference btw a blog and a website is that a web site is MOST OFTEN static while a blog is DYNAMIC ALL THE TIME.
    A WEBSITE is ” This is what I have to say or offer, should you need to contact me regarding my offer/product/service, EMAIL ME at [email protected]
    A BLOG on the other hand is a webpage that says “This is MY OPINION about this issue, You may share your opinion as well regarding this Issue”.
    And a web log of the various opinions [i.e communications between the blogger and the world at large on this particular issue] are then updated on THIS blogsite.

    Please don’t blame me if I am wrong but isn’t a blog like a personal chatroom with a log of the various conversations?????

  20. kugiant says:

    Ahhhhhh….I am quite confusing btw blog & website….there are many thing that I need to know..

  21. radiant says:

    All blogs are websites too but with a different attitude.

    http://thelivejournal.blogspot.com/2008/06/difference-between-website-and-blog.html

    Hope this will help!

  22. iili says:

    just cannot be technology, some bloggers do get really creative and techie with their blog while some corporate or institutional websites are pathetic.
    I agree with SmartMoney.
    If German shepherds are scarry what about a chihuahua !!

  23. willyams says:

    It is confusing me, I still don’t understand the difference between website and blog. It looks like the same. Since I try to build a website, I need more information about web world.

  24. pnkguru says:

    Dear sir,

    I wanted to know “the difference between a website and a blog”, but you all have totally confused me”

    Making of a superfine business blog and its presentation comes very closer to a website. To a visitor it is almost same. the blog contains all the introduction/home-products/ services, sales page and contact details of a website.

    My interest is to know, whether the website has more power to pull more traffic in a normal course, than a blog. Anybody can tell me a xxx.com has more power to bring more people than a xxx.blogspot.com.

    Please enlighten me whether the search engine do favor in bringing more people because of domain registration.
    I have a beautiful blog equal to website:

    http://breastsandblouses.blogspot.com/

    Please comment.

    pnkguru
    business strategist

  25. botez says:

    MMM… it’s quite a big difference betwen a blog and a website. First of all the blog is more active, more dinamic, and it can provide fresh information about something even if it’s a company or a privat person. It’s not an acurate way of speaching to say that blog is only a matter of person. Definatily, the website has a totaly different structure and development than a blog.

  26. H. Shekhar says:

    Website :
    Clear category structure.
    Posts are frequent and even.
    People Find them from website easily due to clear site links hierarchy.

    Blog..
    Topics may not be same all day in a category a bit deviation may be allowed.
    People find individual posts by search engines and not usualy from site.
    Tone of persuation is friendly.