BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE
BLOGSITE OR WEBSITE: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
What’s the difference between a blogsite and a website?
This question was raised at the Beanery Writers Group (Latrobe, PA) meeting in early May. It is a significant question, because the group’s unique project is publishing the Beanery Online Literary Magazine (www.beanerywriters.wordpress.com ).
Being computer illiterate, I had to plead ignorance of the answer. I held the impression that blogs were easier and cost less.
To answer the question, I plugged it into the search engine.
Examining various sites made me feel better about being unable to define the differences. …since the differences have become increasingly blurred for many bloggers and users*— the difference…is steadily vanishing. These channels are definitely converging.*** there are shades of gray.##
Initially blogs, a condensation of the word “weblog,” were viewed as a web log or online diary… a place where a blogger can generate a log of interesting personal comment and intimate details and information about a particular niche subject or topic * Today, although many blogs continue to be personal ramblings about daily life,…that is only one aspect of the blogosphere – and a fairly trivial one at that.***Currently, blogs range from the personal to the political, and can focus on one narrow subject or a whole range of subjects.$
As the popularity of blogs increased, blogging tools evolved at a breakneck pace, to where new entries (articles) would automatically be placed on their own standalone Web pages…featured on the main page of the site until supplanted by newer material…an important evolution because it meant that Weblog tools had morphed, perhaps without anyone noticing, from diaries into true content-management systems…**
The real value of blogging is its ability for each and every page on the site, each and every article, to invite and display feedback from readers–comments, as they’re called in the blogging world. This is a dramatic difference because it changes a monologue, a “brochure,” into a dialogue with readers or customers…Indeed, often the most compelling reading on a Weblog are the comments that others leave and the debate that often ensues as people add their two cents and disagree with each other.**
The various websites all agree on certain defining aspects of a blog:
- The home page features a series of posts organized in reverse chronological order.** ## ###
- Each blog item has a unique, persistent web address (URL) enabling people to link easily and directly to any item at any time. In terms of connecting your blog to the public conversation, this is a huge benefit over systems that rely on dynamic URLs and framed content – which are difficult or impossible to link to directly.
- Each post has a title and a body. ##
- Posts can include virtually any kind of content. ###
- Each post has an indication of the number its comments**
- Each post has a time stamp**
- It allows post-specific comments, open or moderated***
- It has categories: a list of general topics covered by the blog. Any posting can be assigned to one, several, or no categories.*** ##
- It has links to see monthly post listings. ##
- It has site search, usually by keyword (very basic but powerful).***
- It has permanent archives which can be browsed by category, date, and/or author.***
- It has feeds which allow readers to subscribe to instant updates of fresh content.*** ##
- It has trackbacks, a system of notifications (pings) that allows a blogger to see who has seen the original post and has written another entry concerning it.***
Since any or all of these features are optional, they do not define a blog. However, their presence in a website is a good indication that the website being viewed is a blog.***
Due to the way people read blogs, it’s best to create a blog if you have a lot of “newsy” and fresh information to write about on a topic, and you are able to produce new content on a consistent basis.$$
Search engines like Weblogs because they’re content-centric and are typically updated with great frequency. This combination makes Weblogs far more findable than Web sites.**
Websites tend to have more evergreen information and less pressure to constantly write new content. Website information is more static and often contains reference information that people want to bookmark and return to from time to time.$$
Websites, like blogs, are collections of content called web pages. However, they are not usually organized by date.$$ Websites need special software programs (easily obtainable) to be managed, but this factor makes it easier to control the site layout. Although bloggers can also control their layout, they must learn CSS, HTML, PHP, etc. Blogs, on the other hand, do not need special software for management.$$
A disadvantage of websites: they rely on dynamic URLs and framed content – which are difficult or impossible to link to directly.
Notice that this post avoided discussing technicalities of blogs and websites. For deeper information, check the websites listed below.
If you are not sure if a particular site is a blog or a website, ask the creator.***
Ultimately, I like the following differentiation between a blog and a website:
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.
This gross oversimplification gets right to the heart of the matter.# Bloggers should focus on content, not technology. Content is the real driving force of blogs. Most people who create and read blogs see tools as merely a means to an end. That end is having a voice in the public conversation. Avoid techno-talk unless your audience is mainly geeks.***