Self Hosted Blog or Website?
In case you’ve been dying to know the answer to this question, the answer is both.
A personalized, custom built Website gives a business many freedoms concerning structure, content, and additional applications, such as shopping carts, forms, dynamic flash interfaces, and more, plus a very fresh, from-scratch, start. While many of these things may be available on a self hosted Blog, there is a difference between having a recognizable format and having one that may very well cause a user to bounce from your page. Self hosted Blogs, while capable of hosting many things that a website can, have an expected format, and should be used primarily for content. Content refers to onsite, html readable text, and links. This includes headers, footers, side bars, body text, posts, etc.
Now, what is the meaning behind this question, and more importantly, why the need for both?
The simple answer:
Blogs are becoming increasingly popular, to the point of absurdity. Every other person who is active on the internet these days has at least one blog to which they contribute, and many have two or three. Still, some have more even than that! So why join the crowd?
First of all, all the well tuned on and off site optimization in the world will not turn leads into conversions. For your sites ROI (return on investment) goals, more than likely there is a thank you page, order confirmation page, or some similar page which contains a tracking code. This is how you tally conversions, and when pitted against clicks, impressions, or monthly budget (depending on your campaign), you can measure ROI. There is a key factor between the initial lead and the conversion: Your Website
I’ve discussed how your optimized keywords and on site content need to relate to eachother, but these things should also be related to the design and structure of your website. If a lead comes to your site expecting to find a list of available products, easy to use shopping cart and easy checkout, more than likely, they will not find this on a Blog.
Another example, on the flip side, is content. While your site’s page content is crucial to optimization, suppose there is a good deal more information pertaining to your business that you wish to share with your potential clients or customers. Having all this information on a website that is also being used for checkout and browsing may bog things down for the user because, as I mentioned earlier, the quicker and easier it is for them to order and pay, the better the chance they will do just that. Adding a link on your site to a Blog about your company and it’s products, as well as news about upcoming products or services, is the best way to share large amounts of information without interfering with their shopping or browsing experience.
Additionally, having “sister sites” which link to eachother, one of which being a Blog containing feeds, news, links from Social Media Blog profiles, and lots of key content, is a good way to increase relevance and page rank, as well as targeted traffic. You can link relevant posts in the Blog to product pages on your site (and to other relevant posts within the Blog itself), give the user more opportunities to contact you with questions, and provide more than enough information that may already answer their inqueries.
There is a good deal of optimization that goes into a successful Blog (be it Sponsored Ads or Natural Search), but the beauty is, traffic coming to one site will lead to the other, and there is a clean, concise, well designed format which makes it easier for your leads to convert to sales.
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