Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blog Versus Website (or Blogsite?)

The more I learn the less I know. Especially regarding technology. But I keep trying.

My new plan is to combine my website and blog into a single online presence. It makes sense to me to send readers to one place instead of two. Yet I realize not many authors do this. Is it because website design software typically doesn’t include blogging capabilities? And/or because the free blogging sites (Blogger, Typepad) don’t accommodate web pages?

Wordpress.com says you can do it all. Add web pages to your blog or make your blog a sub-page of your website. This is exactly what I want to do—create a blogsite. But so far, I find the setup on Wordpress to be less than user friendly. At least in comparison to Blogger. So this could be a long and painful process. Especially the transferring of posted blogs from here to there.

So I’m conducting a survey. Authors: Do you maintain a separate blog and website? If so, why? Do you have more than one blog? And if you combine the two, what software or blogging platform do you use?

Readers: Do you like it when an author’s blog is part of his/her website? Or do you visit author websites looking mostly for book information?

29 comments:

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I was separate, but after Google threatened to delete me, I pulled up stakes and ran to a half-finished WordPress blog on my own website. I really am liking the WordPress platform and I've put up a few pages -- but we're still working on some issues. They may have been resolved sooner, or may not have been issues at all, if we hadn't had to run so fast.

I like being on the same site, to be honest, and I can't wait to fold Win a Book into it, too. I'm finding people are spending more time browsing the rest of the site, for one.

Sanderdoe said...

I like everything together in one place. I set up my website before my blog and plan to bring them together. If you use Yahoo for your website they already have a connection to your blog so it's easy to do (and a way to sell your books or anything else).

Helen Ginger said...

In everyday life, I find most authors through their blog. But if I'm googling an author, I go to his/her website. If they're separate, they should be linked so it's easy to go from one to the other.

But in practical terms, I think it makes sense to have them both on the same site. Fewer links to have to remember. If you're going to do that, I'd say do it early, before your blog address is so ingrained that people lose you when you move. Yea, you can leave a forwarding link on your old blog, but some people follow you through RSS and may not follow you to your new site.

Anna said...

I agree with them all. Better integrated as one. I've seen a few author pages with both the site and the blog and it really makes more sense. Or at least it should be really well linked for anybody to find you.

thebreakupdiet said...

I had a static site for my book, The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir, but it didn't even show up on the first three pages of a Google search. What came up? All the blogs that mentioned my book! So, I scrapped the static site and now have a customized WP blog with several pages that now holds all the content from my original static site--and it comes up as the first hit when you Google: The Break-Up Diet. The search engine spiders LOVE blogs. (And that's a good thing for blog-based sites!)

I also created a custom blogsite for my writing/editing/speaking at http://www.annettefix.com. It has several pages, so it functions like a website, but has the benefits of being attractive to those little spiders, too.

I have just basic custom CSS (header, background, and navigation buttons), but if an author wanted to get crazy with customization, that's an option. My main goals were: easy to find on the internet, easy to read and navigate, and cute. =)

Gayle Carline said...

I started with a website, then got a blog, then two, now three, but still need to website to post my weekly newspaper column - Gaaaa! I feel a little fractured. As a matter of fact, I blogged about it today, http://gaylecarline.blogspot.com. Oddly enough, I wanted to write about my website last week, but ran out of time. I think I need to keep the website (and the blogs), but just revamp it.

Gayle Carline (aka GeeCarl)
http://www.gaylecarline.com

L.J. Sellers said...

Thanks everyone for sharing. This is just the kind of feedback I was looking for. Now I need an inexpensive, local, Wordpress expert to make this easy for me.

Rebbie Macintyre said...

Great idea and one that I think a lot of us are trying to do but just plain stuck, as you say. I now have separate, but want to do combine. I'm soooo incredibly tech-dum though, so I'll have to keep searching for something that won't cost more hours than the stimulus has in dollars.

Valerie Brooks said...

Thanks for opening up this discussion, LJ. I have neither blog, nor website yet, so this is perfect for me.
Val

J Hugh Thomas said...

I have both, a basic website and a regularly updated blog. For me the main reason is web searchability (if that's a word). My website is www.jhughthomas.com which is the author name I plan to use. If you google "j hugh thomas" my blog and website are the first two entries that come up.

I don't do much with the website, but I guess when I finish my first book that will probably change.

Just my two cents.

Alexandra said...

Personally, I really think it all depends on who you want to attract, and for what reason(s) - are you looking for people to find and read your work, or comment on your blog, or, hopefully, both? Because the dynamics, as I have found out, are very different.

Some authors keep a very distinct web presence for their 'author' identity, and have a link in their navigation, which takes you to a very distinct (tho incorporated) blog, which is sometimes on a different blogging (free) platform.

With Wordpress and it's ability (and templates) you can have it all, through one 'Name' by buying your own Dot Com and having it hosted like I do, say at A Small Orange, Dreamhost or through your ISP.

Try looking at Laurie R. King's new website which incorporates WP beautifully (http://www.laurierking.com/) or my own, here: http://alexwolfe.ca

An if you need help and or advice about WP, feel free to ask. :)

JD Rhoades said...

My blog and website are two different (but linked) sites, because when I started, I was not aware you could put them together.

Lee Lofland said...

My website and blog are two different sites, but they're linked. I do find that I neglect the website in order to maintain the daily blog.

If the two sites were together, I'd probably pull a few weeds from the website once in a while. As it is, things are a little like a jungle over there.

But the blog just takes up so much time. And then there's FaceBook, Twitter, and...

Diane Eble said...

I like XSite Pro (http://www.easywebsitesforauthors.com) for creating my "regular" websites and WordPress for my blogs. The advantage of having both kinds is that you can then link to each of your sites--relevant links help your search engine ranking. XSP is a great program that's as easy to use as MS Word, plus it's got all sorts of bells and whistles AND training in Web marketing. Honestly, it's one of the best products I've ever bought.

I use WordPress, too, for two of my blogs, but it's more complicated. I suggest, if you use WordPress, that you listen to Cathy Perkins's WordPress Wizard Weekly teleseminars. You will learn a lot from her. (She has helped me with both my blogs, my Abundant Gifts blog (http://www.abundantgiftsblog.com and my http://www.yourbookpublishingcoach.com blog. (For examples of my XSP sites, go to http://www.wordstoprofitnow.com and click on some of the product links. All of those sites (except the aforementioned WP blogs) are XSP sites. They are much less complicated to "configure" than a WP blog.

Anonymous said...

I have a website LJ which is essentially static, however I maintain a blog for updating various things - events, shows, travel and other things .. the blog is linked to the website and whoever visits one can visit the other. KW

Yvonne Perry said...

I have a Web site http://writersinthesky.com and a separate blog for my writing and editing business. Each of my books has its own blog, my e-zine has a blog, and I have a blog for my personal postings so that means I have a total of seven blogs.

My Web site is found more often than my writing blog. I don't mind having them separate because I have team members who help me keep up the blog posting, but I am the only one with access to making changes to my Web site.

I hope this information helps.

Morgan Mandel said...

Mine are separate at the moment. For some reason, I don't like going to a website and clicking on the blog button. Don't know why.
I do know I have lots of work to do to get my website back in order since I've not paid much attention to it lately because I'm mainly on the blog.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

ggymeta said...

I use http://tina-anderson.net like a business card. It explains who I am [but better then Wiki does!] and contains my bibliography, my fanzine info [the fun stuff I produced], where to reach my reps, etc.

My blog at GGY-Meta is my working-life journal and though it does have a nifty sidebar featuring my titles and where to buy, it is primarily where news, updates, my thoughts on fandom, and writery schtuff-- is located.

I have a an additional diary with wordpress that contains only unfinished work, un-produced scripts, and orphaned ideas--but this is not something I advertise to fans or linkshare sites.

L.J. Sellers said...

Thanks for all the great feedback. I like having new options to think about. And I'm making headway on Wordpress; not as painful as I projected.

Helene said...

I hope I'm not too late on feedback.

Currently I do have both a blog and a website, but I also want to merge them together in the near future. However, like you've mentioned, some blogging software are not so user-friendly with websites, unless you buy a domain/website hosting plan with the blogging software included.

I'd like to have my blog on my website because I like knowing that my website will have fresh updates every time I blog about something. Right now, my website is a bit static due to the fact that my blog isn't currently the main page of the site. I'm hoping soon I can figure out the coding to incorporate my blog into the website.

Best of luck with your decision!

~Sia McKye~ said...

LJ, I find Wordpress more complicated and not as easy to use as Blogger. I'm looking for ways to combine the blogging and website. It's work in progress.

In my opinion, if they're separate then there should be a link. I have to do so much on line as it is and for me it's easier as a reader to have everything in one place.

Interesting to read everyone's thoughts on it.

Charlotte Phillips, Co-Author of The Eva Baum Detective Series said...

Lj,

When I first irst heard that WordPress let you combine webpages and blogs, I rushed over there. I loved the idea.

It didn't take me very long to figure out this was no easy task. I put it on the back burner for "when I have more time."

Since then, I have noticed that many wordpress blog links send me to the home webpage and I have to hunt for the blog. I don't always have time for the hunt and assume I'm not alone in this.

So, I decided that what I really need to do is just link the blog and website together. For me, this makes sense. Website visitors tend to be readers and friends. Blog visitors tend to be othe writers.

Charlotte

M. R. Sellars said...

I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I just ran across your post...

I personally have a combination thereof -

I maintain a site that is for the most part static, save for my tour schedule and a "what's new" rss feed. It links to my blog, which is essentially a website all its own - i.e. bio pages, sample chapters, rss feeds for my tour schedule, etc.

I also have redirected domains, since folks will often spell my name like yours, and go looking for M. R. Sellers instead of M. R. Sellars. Just one of the hazards of being non-standard (LOL)...

I know the idea of maintaining two sites seems a bit redundant, but I'm one of those "cover all the bases" types. :)

BTW - I'm a huge proponent of WordPress, and I use a self hosted version. While it may be slightly less intuitive than some of the point and click platforms out there, I found it relatively easy and far more robust. Just MHO. ;)

Anonymous said...

I think it's besst to have the website prominently linked to the blog and vice-versa, that way people landing on either one can get to the other. I don't want me web site mixed together with the blog--I'm selling my books, not my daily ramblings. The only thing I want people looking at on my web site is my book and how to buy it. But a link to the blog is good.

Jennifer Roland said...

As a reader, I think it's okay to have different locations that point to each other. I like to see a common look, if possible.

I went through the setup process with wordpress yesterday, and it is decidedly not user friendly. But I like my blog there a lot better than when it was on blogger. (I moved my Pop Culture Curmudgeon blog to http://popculturecurmudgeon.wordpress.com). My writer blog (http://jennifer-roland.blogspot.com) is still hosted here on blogger.

Jennifer Roland said...

BTW, I love the blog name. My house can go to hell. I need to write!

David Eric Tomlinson said...

You should have a single site. You can probably consolidate your current blogger posts into a new blogging tool by exporting them first, and them importing them into something like WordPress once it's set up.

WordPress is not as intuitive as blogger, especially if you are going to be creating a custom site. If that's the case, download WordPress from http://Wordpress.org (note the .org) and install it on your own domain. Then you can modify the PHP code behind the content tool and create a totally custom design that is hosted on your unique domain.

See this article on the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org installations: http://support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/

I plan on getting around to this once I've completed my book, but am buried in the first draft at this point and just don't have the time.

Good luck!

Lisa Logan said...

I have a web site and a blogger blog, but am beginning the process of expanding the blog and reducing the static site. In today's "social network" age, people like the interactivity and "lived in" feel of a blog as opposed to a lonely webpage.

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