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Should I Change My Website Into a Blog?

Posted By Darren Rowse 30th of March 2008 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

“Hi Darren, I’ve got a website at www._____.com which I’ve had for a few years and not really done much with. I’ve heard that blogs are a good way of building traffic and making money, should I change it to a blog?”

I get this type of question on a weekly basis so I thought that I’d tackle it as a post.

There are a number of factors to consider when deciding whether to change an established website into a blog.

6 Reasons to Consider a Blog

Much has been written on the topic of why blogs are a medium to consider for your website but here’s some that I’m particularly attracted to:

1. Blogs give Individuals, Companies and Brands ‘Voice’ – 5 years ago I was a guy with a ‘voice’ that reached a few hundred people on any given week – today what I write and say is sneezed out to hundreds of thousands of people on any given week. My blogs are the vehicle for this.

2. Blogs are Conversational – both in the style of writing, the way they interact with one another and the way that they are designed with comments at their heart blogs are all about the conversation.

3. Blogs build Trust – as a result of being a relational/conversational medium a blogger can build trust with their audience (something that most businesses would kill for).

4. Blogs build Profile – looking to become an ‘expert’ (or at least be perceived as an expert) in your field. Blogs have the ability to showcase your expertise and help you become the ‘go to’ person in your field. Just today my blog brought me the opportunity to appear in Australia’s national newspaper – the result has been numerous other opportunities.

5. Blogs are Immediate – blogs are a great way to communicate with people because they are so quick to use. Have a thought, write it down, hit publish and within minutes it can be being read and commented upon by your readers.

6. Blogs are a doorway to Search Engines and Social Media – one of the great things about blogs is that they are indexed so well by search engines which love sites that are focused upon a topic, updated regularly etc. Social media sites (particularly bookmarking ones) also love blogs.

The list of reasons to blog goes on and on. Of course everything I’ve mentioned above can also be achieved with other types of websites and just because you have a blog doesn’t mean the above all falls in your lap (it takes work – see below) – however these are some of the attractive aspects of having a blog.

5 Reasons why a Blog May Not be for You

Some bloggers tend to build blogging up to be the answer to every problem you might have online without giving a full picture. Let me shed a little light on the flip-side of blogging and why it might not be the right medium for you.

1. Blogs Take Time to Mature – one of the misconceptions that many new or ‘PreBloggers’ come to blogging with is that they just need to set one up and people will come reading it in their thousands. This is rarely the case. Unless you get extremely lucky or have some existing profile or traffic source to leverage a new blog takes considerable time to build up when it comes to readership. When I surveyed Technorati’s Top 100 blogs last year I found that on average they’d been running for over 3 years to achieve their prominence (it’d be more now).

2. Blogs Take Daily Work – the key to successful blogging is to post quality content on a regular basis. Most bloggers post on a daily basis, many of the top blogs post numerous times per day. Combine this fact with the last point (ie that it takes years for a blog to mature) and you have this question to ask yourself:

“Can you write something of high quality on a daily basis on your chosen topic for the next 3 years?”

That’s 780 posts if you post each weekday for the next 3 years – 1560 if you post twice each weekday…..

3. Blogs Take More than Writing – I’m not trying to depress you but there’s more to successful blogs than writing posts. Bloggers face a lot of other practical challenges on their way to success. These include moderating comments (blogs are the targets of spammers and occasionally ‘trolls’ (trouble makers), design (making your blog look unique can be an important element in it’s success), marketing (new readers don’t just appear – it takes networking, self promotion etc) and more. The list of jobs that a blogger needs to do can be overwhelming to a new blogger. Of course a lot of these skills develop over time and become a natural part of your working rhythm – but it’s worth counting the cost of this before you get into blogging.

4. Bloggers Can be Anti-Trust/Profile Building – I mentioned above that a blog can be a wonderful tool for building your voice, profile and trust. However the flip-side is that you can actually hurt your reputation in your niche if you don’t use your blog well. Everything that you do on your blog has the potential to either build or destroy your reputation in some way. Remember that what you ‘publish’ online is permanent. While you might delete it from your actual blog there will be a record of it somewhere online. So publishing untruths, writing while angry, being manipulative or not being transparent on your blog can actually come back to bite you and hurt your reputation. The vast majority of bloggers have positive experiences from blogging but do enter into it with a little caution and care – the blogosphere can be a very unforgiving place if you give it reason to turn on you.

5. Blogs Rely Upon YOU as a Conversation Starter – I was chatting with a new blogger recently about their experience of starting a blog and they reflected back to me that they didn’t realize how draining it could be to be the instigator of conversation. They’d come from a background of using online forums previously – a medium where the community kicks off conversation. Blogs are similar to forums in that they are conversational, but where anyone can start a conversation on a forum a blog relies upon you to do it. This takes time, energy, creativity and a certain skill.

Once again, this list could go on (and on) but I’ll leave it at that and invite others to add their thoughts in comments.

My hope in exploring some of these themes is that those with established websites might have a better picture of some of the pros and cons of switching from their current website to a blog.

Blog or Website OR Blog and Website

The last question that I’d pose to those considering the switch from a website to a blog is that it’s possible to do both.

My challenge to most people who ask me the question about making the change is to think about whether they really need to replace their current site with a blog or whether they could just add a blog to their established site. In some cases the established site is fairly poor and deleting and replacing it can be the best move – but if you have a site with some level of presence in search engines, traffic and reputation then it can sometimes be better to simply add a blog to it and let what you’ve already developed remain.

The thing is that we’re now seeing many bloggers add other types of websites to their blogs (forums, social networks, static pages etc). Bloggers are realizing that blogs are not the best medium for every situation and that there are opportunities to reach different people with different types of sites – so keep your mind open to the possibilities of keeping what you’ve already established and adding to it rather than replacing it.

Recommended Reading

As I wrote this post I was reminded of a previous one that I’d written that I’d highly recommend those considering starting a blog read. It’s called 23 Questions for Prospective Bloggers – Is a Blog Right for You? This post explores some of the above themes plus numerous more and is designed to help you work out whether blogging might be the right medium for you. It’s one of the first posts in my series – Blogging for Beginners which is also worth a read if you’re at the beginning of your blogging journey.

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 and LinkedIn.
  1. I really like it when traditional websites (that are really boring) turn into a conversation. I think that’s amazing when there’s a little company/website that has had the same website they built in FrontPage over ~10 years, and they finally switch to a blog. And a conversation starts.

    Great advice, Darren.

  2. Wonderful answer to this question. Blogs are wonderful for content, and I always recommend my clients at least consider adding one to their corporate or business sites.

    I’ll have to refer to this post for reasons why as well!

  3. Darren Rowse,

    Thanks for the post. No doubt, blogs provide many benefits for many purposes especially to grow your business and build your reputation.

  4. Darren,

    Great points on the benefits and costs of blogging.

    I have worked for hundreds of magazine and newspaper publishers. The biggest issue is that the CMS (Content Management Systems) used by these companies are at the breaking point.

    Blogging is an open platform that understands the modern language of XML, RSS, widgets, and Javascript. Thousands of widgets and services keep blogging modern. New services plug and play.

    By comparison, CMS is expensive to maintain, slow to update with new features, and look out-dated.

    It’s easy to blog and maintain. It’s a big decision to end the CMS.

    -Dash Chang
    The New Economics of Advertising

  5. I favor the blended approach.

    Our site is a personal blog, but with additional more traditional web pages also. I’ve gone to some length to make the transition from one to the other fairly seamless by using the same theme and CSS throughout – on dynamic blog pages as well as hand-coded static pages.

    But yeah, it does kind of depend on your goals and the blog approach will demand more effort to keep fresh.

  6. I converted my static website to a blog a little over a year ago, and it was a very good move. Not only do I update it more, I write more and both my writing and discipline have improved hugely since I started. In fact, it was blogging that finally convinced me that I was a writer, instead of “going to be a writer”, and as such I am now actually being paid to write.

    I love the community aspects of blogging and how simple it is. I have been hand-coding sites since 1996 and this is way, way better. I’m actually configuring my oldest site into a hub for all my blogs–I have four myself now, and one group blog–I started the new ones when it became easier to do that than to try and make the off topic stuff fit the travel blog. ;)

    With a flexible attitude and a willingness to keep coming back, a blog is really a great asset. I use it to have a voice, to promote my book, and to make money…in that order of importance.

  7. Blogs really are a lot of work.

    If you don’t like writing everyday then a blog is not for you.

    The payoff in new customers, conversations, and networking seems to make it all worthwhile.

    The Masked Millionaire

  8. Blogs are like children. They take a lot of work and are sometimes pains in the butts? Are they worth it? I guess that varies from person to person. Personally, I think so.

  9. You don’t have to CHANGE the website – just add a separate directory or subdomain for that new blog

  10. On #2 in the “why it would be for you” the L in conversational is not bolded :)

    Blogging is definitely time consuming and until you get to the “authority” status, the guest blogging will be few and far between to lighten your load, so if you want to try a blog out, I’d suggest like SearcH EngingS WEB said and set it up on http://www.yourwebsite.com/blog


  11. You need to be consistant with your writing and posting frequency, you need to be heard and have a voice of your own. If you could not do it, then stick to a website instead.

  12. Good Post Darren.

    What you say about hard work involved is true. But in my opinion the same is also true for a conventional websites. And they are harder to push than those.

    Blog makes it easier.

  13. Software like WordPress can be used to create static sites as well. I’m finding that for the most part, it’s much easier to build static sites with that as a basis than to handcode it myself. Consider resume sites or comic sites or simple store sites – you can just add static pages for content until it’s done.

    ‘course, I’m currently hand-coding my April Fools joke site (as I’m programming by the seat of my pants), so there you go. :)



  14. My little two cents experience: I was the owner of a “static” site, made of html pages, subdivided in folders, with a way to add comments but without rss and all the other “jingles” of a blog system (wordpress or other).

    On septermber 2007, tired by the difficulty to update the site (but without thinking of increase traffic or gain better SERP) I’ve installed WP, imported all my pages in WP pages or post, do a lot of redirect to not loose the actual index position in Google.

    My traffic to now has been increased by 5, the incoming by 10. If you look at the old site and at the new one, there is not big differences. But a blog helps you to make better accessible the content to the user: categories, lastest posts, latest comments.

    For me that was the key: my site is “generic”, I go from metaldetector to puic shaving… just because is a really personal diary – not a niche blog. And a visitor coming in for a search engine looking for a chemistry recipe can be interested in wedding jokes too… :-)

  15. Great post. I’ve spoken to many people who think that by starting a blog that they will be millionaires next week…thanks for highlighting that it takes considerable effort to make it something substantial.

    Best Regards,
    Arnold :)

  16. Hi Darren,

    Point #5 on your reasons why a blog may not be for you hit’s home for me. I was literally just thinking about this the other day. While I love blogging, sometimes I really do miss just having a website, and being able to answer other people’s questions/topics on forums.

    Thinking up topics takes work.

    And I know you don’t have this problem, but for less trafficked blogs, even asking a question can be a bit risky to your reputation. Not many worse feelings than writing a “question post”, and still having 0 comments 2 or 3 days later.

  17. Very helpful. Thank you. Especially for point #4.

    As I new blogger I find it much more time-consuming than I imagined.

    However, it is very rewarding to already have people subscribing, enjoying what I’m producing, but the best part is that it keeps me writing everyday – regularly.

    One post at a time can turn into a book after 6 months.

  18. Darren,

    I like the blended approach. I am the owner of a small company. Last year when I decided to begin blogging about Experience Design with tips and tricks for readers, we left the main website as it is (adding links to the blog, of course). I run the blog alone, so that I can make it personal and so that it can have some life of its own. I link back to the company website in the sidebar, the About page, and once in a while in a post if it’s relevant. Other than that, no “monetization.” Very soft sell.

    Keeping it separate allows the website to have a more traditional feel (our potential clients are often a bit less tech-y), and allows prospective clients or prospective readers to feel like we’re not trying to shove one more thing at them, just adding value for those who are interested. Another thing that has been dramatic, is that potential clients who come to us are more “pre-sold” than ever before. They feel like they’ve already had the initial consult. At their leisure, they’ve answered their own questions, exactly according to their interests.

    HOWEVER, a blog is really, really not for everyone. “Feeding the beast” is a new enormous weight on my shoulders. Two choices: carve more hours out of my family/free time, or take away hours from my working time. Usually it ends up being a 5am or 10pm thing, while my daughter’s sleeping, with occasional business time thrown in. So in essence, it’s like a new hobby, say gardening, with a very demanding garden that won’t take no for an answer. You’ve got to know this in advance (I did) and commit to it fully, which is a little rough sometimes. Luckily, I was always doing this out loud anyway, now I just jot a note and call it a blog idea. And I love it.

    Great piece, Darren. Very thought-provoking. Thanks!



  19. There’s no such thing as a set it and forget it successful web site!!!

    I converted my “main” company web site into a blog a little over a year ago. I put up a web site that was NOT search engine friendly on purpose about 5 years ago. I hid my navigation bar inside a javascript to effectively “hide” my content. My business is built on referrals and at the time I wasn’t able to ignore the email pleas for help from the “something for nothing” crowd.

    Then, I wrote a book and suddenly, I had something to offer the “something for nothing” crowd. So I converted my main web site to a blog and something interesting has happened.

    When my web site was “just a web site”, when a potential client would contact me, the conversations would begin with “so and so says you’re wonderful.” After launching the blog, my phone began to right with people saying, “I read your post on [insert topic here] and I thought you might be able to help me. I can’t say I ever had ANYONE who wasn’t a referral contact me without an article being picked up by a newsletter prior to launching the blog.

    It does take more time to manage my blog than it did my web site, but then again… as I said, no one ever contacted me solely from my web site.

    Blogging is communication… and communication takes time… but it also builds trust.

    By the way, IMHO, it’s not necessary to post daily if your goal is like mine and you’re blogging to demonstrate what kind of service provider you will be to potential customers/clients.

    The purpose of my blog is as a communication tool with my current client base because many of my clients are also regular readers of my blog. A side benefit is that potential clients can see my “style” and may or may not contact me to learn more.

  20. I’m a fan of the blended “website with a blog” approach, as the different content types can complement each other well..

    When I wanted to start a blog two years ago I already had an 8 year old hobby website in place. Not wanting to lose the benefit of years of traffic and link building, I left the site mostly as it was and added a WordPress blog to a subfolder.

    It needed a lot of tweaking – basically rewriting the WP theme so that the site and blog both use the same style sheets. The effort was worth it, as the blog and hand-coded html pages integrate quite well. I learned heaps about CSS as well.

    If I was to start completely from scratch – doing the static pages and blog entirely with WordPress would be the simplest option. But for established websites, adding a blog to an existing static site may be easier, and ensure existing links and traffic are not affected. Whatever the method, static sites and blogs can co-exist peacefully!

  21. My concern in the case of this particular blogger is the fact that he/she stated “I haven’t done much with the website”. If they haven’t done much with a static website, will they stick with a blog which is a ton of work to maintain?

  22. It’s really the same question as ‘Should I dialogue with my prospects and my customers?’ For any successful company, the answer is Yes to both.

  23. I melded my blog and web site together earlier this year and have been very pleased with the result. I’m a writer working towards having a novel published and, for me, the interactivity provided by a blog coupled with the ability to provide regular updates to both blog and web site was the clincher. My old web site was just there–not usually a reason to update it that often. My blog changes every few days with new posts. For me, combining them was the way to go.

  24. Work is right! Though when I first starting blogging, newbie me, I thought, build it and they will come–not. Since I’ve taken more of an active role in blogging, my Amazon hits have tripled, my traffic is greater. How well you do is definitely related to how much you’re willing to put into it.

  25. My non-profit organization just converted a website into a blog and we are launching that this week. Our previous website was preventing us from connecting with parents– we hope the blog will accomplish that.

  26. I like blog rather than a normal website, mostly because it is more search engine friendly. This may be because of the pluggins that you (and I as well) get without any extra costs involved. I have found and liked wordpress for blog and wouldn’t hesitate to refer wordpress to anyone as well.

  27. So true and spot-on to the point on hard work. Write with passion and be on topic to current happenings or future trends and you will one-day see the traffic. Our site (still young but growing older by the page) was getting about 40 visitors a day in July 2007. Today we are seeing over 500 visitors and close to 2000 page views per day. We combined a Blog strategy linked to the web site along with contined CONTENT updated weekly across the theme of the site…

  28. There are no differences between a websit and a blog. It denpends on why you setup it. Are want to do your own business or just share some tips in a niche market? The website is good for business, and the blog is for information very well, I think.

  29. Great post! I was considering switching to a blog, since I have seen many others doing this. I also like the wordpress platform. However, I am not good at keeping up with writing everyday yet…so I may just keep with my site and a blog.
    I’d also like to get more personal with my blog…so may start another one anonymously.
    Here’s another great post I just read on why you should start a blog:

  30. So, true. Blogs are not replacement for website. It just gives us another tool. Previously we had to go for static websites for all content. Now, we have option to use blog for conversational and fresh content and websites for static content.

  31. I’ve noticed that I tend not to follow a blog if it is not the front page of a company’s website. I might bookmark it but I most likely won’t subscribe to it. Honestly I don’t even see the point of having a static front page to your website when the blog is what will suck people in and keep them coming back.

    Many big companies have blogs stashed away that don’t appear to have any participation on them whatsoever…it seems like a total waste! The joy of blogging for me is knowing that there is someone there to interact and have a discussion with. I like to read other peoples opinions and impressions from the article.

    When I am on a popular website and I go to their blog and see no comments I feel like I am in the middle of some cold abandoned warehouse. Usually the comments are more informative than most blogs at times. I have also noticed on an added note that when bloggers post pictures of themselves in articles, or have a pic on the front page or in the banner that I tend to be more instantly intrigued…like…hmmm…”what does this person have to say?” But I guess that is a topic for another day!

    Thanks again for the great information Darron!

  32. I’m @ WordCamp Dallas right now. The panel, including Matt M., are discussing this topic now. Great timing.

    See the live stream at mashable.com

  33. Liked this part: “Everything that you do on your blog has the potential to either build or destroy your reputation in some way.”

    Perception of a “website”, per se, is that it is factual and theoretically may be taken at face value.. Blogs are more personality plus individual opinion and can indeed make or break..

    Mine will be gradually going to a mix of both with the blog intended first and foremost to immediately disperse important news and resources that the Mind is stumbling over trying to meld into the factual website.. Opinion will be used to share why the piece at hand tickles these fingertips or alternatively brings tears to the Heart.. :)

    Cyber hugs from the Hills of North Georgia..

  34. I can vouch from first hand experience that it is hard work running a website AND a blog.

    I’ve only been running my online business for about a year, and a few months ago did I decided to put up a blog about the company too, so that people could get an idea of what goes on behind the scenes and get to know the people who run it.

    But little did I know how hard it was to come up with a way of saying what I wanted in a way people could understand, we don’t have many visitors to the blog at the moment, but that will come with more posts etc, but it’s difficult in trying to translate my business thoughts into more personal thoughts that people will understand.

    Anyway, its well worth the effort I think as it gives our business a personality, and allows people/customers to see that we’re not just a business interested in selling them something …. well, not all the time anyway! :o)

  35. I don’t think tossing websites overboard is the answer. When you go to the search engines, it still seems like websites are ranking higher plus . . .

    Websites are made to add articles gradually. Nothing to add – leave it until there is.

    I actually have 3 sites set up now where when I add a page, a blog gets updated and I find this the best of both worlds. Not to mention the traffic really taking a leap.

    Having said that, the nice thing about a blog is when your posts are picked up by other sites and, anytime you post, your post appears elsewhere as well.

    But the bottom line is if you plan to put up a lot of different sites, go website. It is true you can put up sites and down the line they will begin to pay off. I am doing that. And I don’t really think blogging daily is a must. Setting up a blogging schedule and sticking with it is fine. Blog on Mondays and Fridays – for instance – works fine.

    The problem is many people think they need to blog daily to set up a blog and that has to drive many people away.

  36. I had been using myspace to keep a regular photo blog going but with no grand scheme; just keeping friends and family updated with what I had been up to. I don’t quite know why, probably because other photographers seemed to have ‘official’ blogs, but last month I got a domain name, some webspace and set up a WordPress blog.

    It was only when setting up in WP that I realised I had been blogging for almost 2 years and had built up a wealth of posts, over 100 in that time. Even with a sizeable archive I feel that there is an element of starting over again. However, as I’ve managed to blog regularly for over two years without really thinking about it and without struggling for content the process does feel second nature now.

    Using some of the tips on this site, the change in traffic, page views and unique views has been huge – more in 6 weeks than in the previous 2 years on myspace. And it’s good to think that hopefully this is just the start.

  37. Thanks, great info

  38. Blogs are fun, but you really need to be a risk taker to get one come to life. Like Darren said it takes more than writing a good post to get a blog come to life.

    Actually it may come to life and bring you a lot of happiness and friends, or it can die and bring you grief and enemies!

    Us Bloggers are always walking a fine line of LinkBait, so when someone reads our blog they need to take things with a grain of salt. Look at TechCrunch and Michael Arrington. Sometimes he flames everyone in his mother, but he knowns when to hold back and not to make it personal.

    Blogging is an Art, and requires a lot of time and care. A Website is one way communication and is Static!

  39. Darren,

    Do you think that the search engine algos will ever pull back on their penchant for new and frequently updated content (like blogs)?

    Surely if the web becomes all about “just a minute ago”, maybe they will put even more emphasis on “authority” – however that is measured in the future.

    Thanks for your work


  40. I’m actually in the process of adding a blog to a long time website that I have. I update this website about twice a year, and yet even with the benign neglect (it’s a very time intensive process to do updates as it’s a *huge* links list), I still get almost 4000 uniques a month. I was blown away when I saw that. Last time I checked, well over a year ago, it was getting about 1000 uniques a month.

    I decided to leverage the exisiting audience by adding a blog. It will enable me to provide content to keep people coming back in between the times I make the very time intensive updates.

    I also figured with that kind of traffic, I really ought to broaden out from just adsense to trying to sell ads directly. I know a lot who will advertise in this niche. Just have to figure out my pricing.

  41. 4. Blogs build Profile…

    This is so true. It happened to me already while I am not even an “A-list” blogger. An editor for an Australia news website happened to visit one of my blogs. H liked what he read and offered me a job as a senior writer.

    Now, I get paid more writing for them than I used to while blogging for my own.

    If you’re an authority at something, they’ll be a time when you will get noticed and open doors for you to other opportunities.

    Good read right here BTW.

  42. This post is featured in today’s FullTiltBlogging.com’s Daily Blog Summary – a 5 minute summary of the top 50 Make Money Blogging sites. Great post.

  43. Hi, nice post!

    I agree with you adding a blog to an existing site rather than replacing the site altogether..

    That’s the strategy we’ve adopted on our site.. even though it’s a new site (3 weeks and counting..)

    People looking for commentary, often find the blog and continue to browse through the rest of the content/features we have to offer.

    It’s a good strategy for adding traffic to new sites and getting some more eyeballs to your regular content.

  44. Hey,well done post.
    The same with you,add a blog to the site instead of changing the site into the blog,
    Thanks! :-)

  45. Hi , where do i add in bound links in wordpress ?

  46. Darren, thanks for your post. It’s a good article.

    The reason why I use blog is I can interact with my visitor. If they like my post they will leave comment. And it makes my blog interactive.

    In my opinion, using blog or website depends on you. How you want to represent your site to audience.

  47. I agree with you. Blog takes time to mature. Blogs and Website have their strengths and weaknesses. I think, the important is how you make your content (to inform your visitors) and design (to attract visitors) a nice one.

    I’m currently expanding my knowledge on how to create a good blog. Maybe I will choose to create a blog rather than a website because maybe the advantage of a blog is you can communicate easily with your visitors/readers through comments… but website is also good.

  48. I blog almost everyday and I see the rewards of it. I’m not really a writer so blogging has it’s challenges but if you are good at something then you should blog about it.


  49. I’ve got blogs and websites and have both on the first page of Google.

    It only takes good keyword research, basic seo strategies and, in the case of blogs, appropriate plugins.

    Both website and blog appeared on first page off Google within a week, not for fiercely competitve search terms but enough to make it worthwhile.

    There is no secret, just make sure you do keyword research and provide quality keyword rich content.

    I even have an article number one in Google for ‘first page of Google’ It brings lots of traffic.


  50. Blogs are more customisable, imo.

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