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Blogs as Blogs or Websites?

Duncan points to a study by Nielsen Netratings that finds that 13% of blog visitors don’t know what a blog is and that 66% didn’t realize that the blog they were on was in fact a blog.

This does not surprise me in the least and connects with my experience of blogging for the last couple of years. It’s amazing how many people ask me what a blog is and then are amazed that they regularly visit a number of them when I point out some of the more popular ones.

Duncan asks – ‘is it really a bad thing that the majority of blog readers don’t actually realize they are reading blogs?’

I have two answers:

1. In terms of growing the profile of blogging it could be a bad thing. Those of us who love blogs and want to see their influence grow might be a bit disappointed by the statistic.

2. In terms of growing your blog’s profile and traffic levels I’m not convinced that focussing loads of energy on highlighting the fact that you’re a blog is a wise move. I know of some people who do this – they are proud of being a blog and make sure all of their readers know about it even though it is irrelevant to the content of their site.

Similarly I know people who want to be the number one blog in their niche topic. Whilst this is an admirable goal – I always encourage them to think broader than this and aim for being the number 1 website in their niche. Usually the biggest sites in a niche are non blogs and to ignore them is not a smart move.

In the end a blog is a type of website and bloggers should not lose site of this. Blogging is just one form of online communication – a small (but growing) subset of the wider market in which we live. The sooner we accept this and work at integrating into the wider online community the better our ‘blogs’ will do.

Having said this at times it can be useful for a blog to distinguish itself as a blog and should do so. For instance here at ProBlogger.net I think it’s in my best interest to make it clear that what readers is reading is a blog. In other circumstances it can also be useful in positioning your blog – but in general it’s not such a big deal.

Have your say in comments below.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Jim Turner says:

    Well said Darren. Websites are more braod in the sense of what they provide. I look at a blog as a communication device that is a part of the whole.

    Jim

  2. Blog is just another word. Websites which acted just like blogs existed before the term or the software existed. My feeling has always been that people spend far too much time worrying about defining and naming things.

    It’s much more productive to spend the time working on your blog rather than worrying about whether its a blog, a website or a widget. ;)

  3. Ryen says:

    I agree with “In the end a blog is a type of website.”
    However, this statement can be interpreted into various dircections. For example, what’s the difference between a blog site and a web site?
    Can I listen to more about this?

  4. Bill says:

    Congrats on the extra income of a weekend slashdoting. I come to this site every day during the week but wouldn’t you know it I found out about the article you posted here about yoor income from Slashdot….guess having your name in a lot of places is not so bad after all :)

    Finally had a chance to look at your other blogs this morning, I enjoy the default navigational structure of a weblog and when I go to one of your sites it looks like a website instead, I believe that the reason that the weblog is becoming more popular all the time is surely not content as some content can be minimal or even wrong but more the ease of navigation that lets a user interested in the authors opinion or specialty to find any related info within just a few clicks. Over the last couple years I have started to surf again and instead of a broad www surf it is more a surf through the info within a weblog and the links branching out only from that site.

    Thanks again for your great content, opinions and navigatable info

  5. I’m with the crowd that doesn’t really care if you call my site a blog or a website…just as long as you visit regularly!

    I don’t assume folks know what a blog or RSS feeds are though, and give them tips to help them understand how to get my blog delivered to them. I’m convinced it’s made a big difference in raising my RSS readership above my HTML visitors on my (day-job) corporate site.

  6. [...] Posted by Ray CHOW

  7. Baz L says:

    My 2 cents:

    Who really cares? I mean, right now the line between “website” and “blog” has been blured so much that I believe it doesn’t really matter any more. Before I started blogging I didn’t really realize this. But right now, I can look at almost anywebsite (except the static ones I guess) and in the right light It’s gonna look bloggish….

    As long as information keeps flowing, we should be happy.

  8. L says:

    Ai, then the fashion blogs have much too steep competition.

  9. kubalek says:

    Excellent. Many clients get excited to have a “having a blog,” but then don’t tie them in to their website, creating confusion in users.

    Yes, it should be clear that the user is moving from the main site to a more casual, more personal section (the blog) but don’t suddenly stick a blogger template in my face and give your blog a new logo/name/etc. How confusing for clients! And brand dilution!

    I don’t understand clients who want to make their customers work so hard. Teach them one interface and keep it consistent. From Blog to website, keep it seamless.

    (One of biggest pet peaves is bloggers who offer ten thousand links to other blogs, but no links to their contact information or to their own website(s). JEEEZZZ…talk about giving away your power.)

    A good corporate blog is simply a sub-section of the website. It can stand alone, but always offers visitors an obvious path back to the core site, since that is often where the real sales happen.

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