Some key features of websites – part 1

Please note: This is the fifth post in a series of posts on the general topic “What is a blog?”  The series includes the following posts:
Blog or website – what’s the difference?
Some key features of blogs : Part 1 : Creation; Structure and technical aspects
Some key features of blogs : Part 2 : Content; Community and relationship building
Some key features of blogs : Part 3 : Blogs and websites sometimes overlap; Advantages of blogs; Some concerns about blogs
– Some key features of websites : Part 1: Creation; Structure and technical aspects; Content;
Some key features of websites : Part 2 : Authority; Website and blog overlaps; Advantages of websites; Some concerns about websites
– Blog or website?  Your conclusions!

Creation:
Websites are traditionally created by a person or team with expertise in website creation, starting “from scratch,” although there are also fill-in-the-blank type website hosting platforms – but most of those require some basic knowledge of html at least.  It can be quite expensive to set up a traditional website if you have to hire someone to create the site, unless you have a lot of technical know-how; and you may also need a webmaster to update it.

Structure and technical aspects:

  • websites have many pages, with a separate article or topic on each page.  Websites do not usually have posts like blogs.
  • on websites, the content information is usually on the right hand side of the page, and the navigation and other related information in a column on the left.
  • unlike blogs, websites do not usually have a navigation bar at the top, dates for each article, comments areas, categories (tag, labels), or subscription options.  They do often have an About page.

Content:

  • the content of a website is more static than a blog’s content.  It is more about straightforwardly providing information (while a blog, in providing information, is dynamic, seeking ongoing community and relationship).
  • nearly all businesses and organizations nowadays have a website, even if they have a “brick and mortar” business location (an office, a store, etc) as well.  Not all of them have a blog, though some attach a blog to their website.
  • a website can act as a “virtual store” that self-promotes, advertises, and sells products and services.  It can do all its business online on the internet, or it can be part of an off-line business.  If the latter, it may also sell, or it may direct you to the brick and mortar location where you can buy.
  • BUT a website does not necessarily sell products or services.   A website can focus on a topic of interest, or even a variety of topics.  One of my personal favorite websites is Conversations, Reflections & Meditations.  It is a “personal website” which covers topics of interest to the website designer, including : Creative Writing (stories and poems); Education and Homeschool; Haida Gwaii Reflections; and Prayers and Meditations.  It’s a great personal site!
  • Okay!  I admit it!  The Conversations, Reflections & Meditations website happens to belong to me!  I started it many years ago (about 1996) before blogs even existed.  It began on the old “Geocities” platform where it went through 2 incarnations; and then moved to Yahoo’s website builder after Yahoo bought out Geocities.  It has gone through 2 incarnations there, too, and now also features a blog attached to the site as well.  Bits and pieces of the OLD sites are posted here and here which you might find interesting – things have certainly changed over the years!
  • By the way, while the website was built on website platforms, I had to do all the html myself (okay – on my Yahoo site, I got quite a bit of help from my daughter Taryn, who is an excellent website designer).  If you’re curious about how that works, here is what to do.  Go to my website, right click on your mouse, and from the drop-down list, click on “View source.”  THAT is html!  It tells the computer how to show the information on the site.  Luckily for you, if you’re considering creating a blog, you don’t have to do all that background stuff (unless you want to).
  • Oh yes, you’ll notice on my website that I don’t update it all the time, like I do this blog.  I make changes when I need to (for example, when new grandchildren arrive and I need to change the family section, or when I want to add new sites to my links, or when I’ve written new stories or poems, or taken new photos to add to the site).  But I can also let it sit there for long time periods if I want.   Though I probably should get busy and add regular updates to the attached blog, right?
  • Websites can also – surprise! – be built on some of the blog platforms, like WordPress.orgFor an example of that, check out the Another Chance Street Ministry website, which I helped design for this charitable organization.  It was much easier.  I’ve hardly done any html at all!  You’ll notice that it has a blog section built right into it, but the front or main page of the site is “static,” and there are quite a number of other static pages, with more to come.  As you can see, these days the distinctions between blogs and websites are sometimes pretty blurred.

Okay, time to get back on track!  We were talking about how websites often promote a business.  Larry Brooks defines a business website thus:

A website is the contemporary equivalent of a yellowpages ad, or a listing in a trade directory, or a flyer you leave on windshields in the stadium parking lot.  It’s your digital calling card.
In essence, an advertisement.  The shingle you hang out in front of your virtual place of business.
Here I am.  Find me.  Hire me.  Love me.

So, as you can see, websites, like blogs, can fill a variety of functions.   Come back next time to learn a few more features of websites!

Question:  From what you’ve learned so far, do you think a blog or a website would serve your needs best?  Or maybe a combination?  Why?  (Share your ideas in the comments below)

Tip of the day: On your blog (or website), create a compelling story: YOUR story!  What you’ve done, what you want to do, and your goals.

Put it into action:  If you haven’t already looked at the websites listed above, click on the links now, and take a look at the different examples.  You should also take a look at some business websites.  Certain business websites do all their business on-line, for example, the giant on-line publishing company, Amazon.  Other businesses do most of their “selling” in their “bricks and mortar store” but present a variety of  information about the business in their website.  A local author and self-publisher, David Korinetz, does this at his website, Red Tuque Books.   Amazon and Red Tuque Books are two very different businesses, in size and in what and how they sell, though they both are publishers.  Therefore their online needs are also different.  Check them both out.  If you have a business, what kind of website might work for you?

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