Website, Blog or Hybrid: What’s your style?

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I like to read advice on how to become a a better blogger and how to build a better blog. But I don’t like reading “everyone needs a website, not a blog”  because that’s bunk ie. absurd, ridiculous, nonsense.

Pages and Posts

Every blogger needs to comprehend the differences between static Pages and Posts before they decide which site model is best for presenting their content to their readers.

Please examine this example of the URL for a Page:

https://onecoolsite.wordpress.com/about/

Now examine this example of the URL for a Post:

https://onecoolsite.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/better-blogging-at-wordpress-com-pages-and-posts/

Did you spot the difference?  In most WordPress.com themes Pages do not have date stamps in their URLs. However, all WordPress.com Post URLs contain the date of publication as well as the title.

Pages and Category Pages

Every blogger also needs to comprehend the differences between Pages and Category Pages before they decide which site model is best for presenting their content to their readers.

Please examine this example of the URL for a Page on my blog:

https://onecoolsite.wordpress.com/basic-blogging/

Now examine this example of the URL for a Category Page:

https://onecoolsite.wordpress.com/category/blogging-tips/

Did you spot the difference in the URL? The category URL contains “category”.

Limitations and Implications

Pages can be used for many purposes, but it’s critical to comprehend their limitations, when selecting a website model.

For clarity scroll down to “The Differences Between Posts and and Pages” in Create a WordPress Website Step By Step.

  • Pages sit outside of the blog structure.
  • Pages are meant for content that rarely changes.
  • Pages cannot have Categories and Tags assigned to them.
  • Pages lack RSS feeds, so followers cannot subscribe to receive them by email or read them in RSS feed readers.
  • Pages can only be updated manually by editing them.

There are also SEO implications of creating a page based structure to consider. In short, Post based blogs have much better opportunities to:

  • secure traffic;
  • secure comments and subscribers;
  • secure backlinks;
  • achieve authority in their niche;
  • earn a Google PageRank.

Pages and Category Pages: The Differences

Every day and more than once a day bloggers post to the support forums asking for help with posting to pages. When I visit their sites I discover that they have created a horizontal menu comprised of tabs to static Pages that they refer to as Categories, and that they expect to update when they publish new post,  but they never will.

They don’t understand that they can only assign Categories to Posts (not to Pages). They don’t know that only Category Pages will automatically update. Once they comprehend the basics they can  create a custom menu and add the dynamic Category pages to it. Thereafter, whenever they publish a post with that Category assigned to it, it will display on the dynamic Category page under the relevant tab in the custom menu.

 Debunking the “everyone needs a website, not a blog” myth

A blog is a frequently updated post based website designed for interactive communication. What’s referred to as a website is an infrequently updated page based site, designed for one way communication. Page based websites do not attract as much search engine attention as post based blogs do.

The static website model is a good choice for a small business site that’s not going to be frequently updated, and serves the purpose of providing information about the company, their products, and services. But “everyone needs a website, not a blog” is bunk because creating a website with a static front page is not the best website model choice for many other kinds of content.

Creating static front page on any website where interactive communication is anticipated can be a traffic killing choice.  If you seek to express yourself, informpersuade, promote opinion exchange, provoke controversy, to entertain, or to socialize, visitors return to read your most recently published content, and having to click through a static front page to locate what they came for is an annoyance.

What’s your style?

WordPress software allows you to create three different website styles (static, blog ,hybrid). Lorelle describes the three different core site models, as well as, providing the pros and cons for each:

Remember, the site model that works best for you is one that serves your readers  your content presented in the most convenient way possible. – WordPress Site Models

Discussion

Which type of site model (blog, static, or hybrid) have you chosen for your site?

Related posts found in this blog:

Static Front Page, Yay or Nay?
Better Blogging at WordPress.com: Pages and Posts
Create a Business Blog, Website or Both?
Custom Menus: Featuring Older Content
WordPress.com custom menu walk-through
Custom Menus Arrive at WordPress.com

54 thoughts on “Website, Blog or Hybrid: What’s your style?

    1. Hi there,
      I have updated most of my pages and now have just 3 left to do. I try to do the updating every month but sometimes I just don’t have the time to.

  1. My gosh, you did very well at explaining the differences between categories, posts, and pages. I had no idea this was so confusing to wordpress users. Have a site that’s easy to navigate can’t be emphasized enough! The search box simply isn’t the best tool for finding content and bloggers shouldn’t expect users to stick around if a site/blog doesn’t appear organized.

    1. Hello there,
      It’s good to know that you think my explanations of the differences are clear. Thanks for letting me know that by commenting and best wishes with your blog.

  2. Thank you for this information. So, it’s the blogging life for me. The static front page on the web is not appealing. I like being able to have a variety of different views when readers come to my blog. ;-)

    1. Hi Judy,
      I’m with you on that choice. As a reader I want to locate posts quickly view choices on the front page of sites I visit. As a blogger I want to offer a selection of choices to readers. I think this Expound theme achieves that because it allows the featuring of 5 post excerpts on the front page.

  3. thanks for the interesting, illustrative, and to the point post. i have a hybrid web/blog. it is still in development despite being up for about a year, now. originally i was using it to write about travel and show off photographs in the blog. photography is becoming more and more important, though, and have always had a static page for photo galleries.

    i have a welcome page because the whole site is made up of static pages except for the blog which has the heading “blog.” when i add photos to the photo galleries i post a blog to give a bit of background information and then point people to the photos via a link. my only uncertainty is my “welcome” page but because the static pages are equally important as the blog i decided to keep the welcome page.

    1. Hi there,
      Welcome to my site and thank you for sharing your site model choice here. If your hybrid website model with a Welcome Page and Blog Page is working for your readers then retaining it is the way to go.

  4. Hi timethief,
    I tried the static front page, but it didn’t work for me, not even with my theme’s showcase template. A problem I’ve noticed with many people trying to create hybrid pages is that they neglect to create a page where the blog’s regular feed can be found. That makes it very hard to actually read the blog if you go their blogs via any other route than the Reader.

    1. I tried it too using Twenty Eleven was the best of the lot of themes that I tried. The links to recent posts on the front page made it rather like a hybrid and I did have a blogs page. I used it both with and without a showcase front page template for some time but I’m still not convinced that I ought to go back to using it. I’m still waffling about using it without the static front page showcase template, because I do like the posts without sidebars when they displayed on their own pages.

      P.S. Your observation about bloggers we meet in the support forums not getting it when it comes to setting a blog page when they set a static front page is the same thing I have observed too.

  5. I can’t begin to tell you how clear and helpful these explanations are, as usual. I don’t know that I’ve ever read anything more straight-forward about the blog vs. website issue. Thanks so much, TT.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy,
      Thanks for that feedback. As you can see and have read I have published posts previously on this subject but due to the confusion I witness in the support forums I wanted to take another run at it. I’m so glad you think I did a good job.

      As in so many other of my posts I find myself repeating the idea of looking at your site as a reader would do, and trying to understand how they experience the site you have going now. The beauty of being a wordpress blogger is we that have three site models, and that we can shift from one to another to present our content our readers in a better way, very easily and, at any time.

  6. I am on the road visiting family and friends and taking a break from all my internet posting and reading. Being almost 80 also sets different priorities. Than said, yours are not to be missed. This one proves it once again. “If I were a wealthy…” woman, you’d be paid what you are worth. Opps, not enough money in the world to do that. So sending a hundred million thank you-s your way. Love all.

    1. Hi Katherine,
      I’m sending that love right back to you. :)

      Though I became conscious in my early twenties through meditation, it wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that my hubby decided to move and live out lives differently. In my early thirties I reviewed my core values, ditched some and replaced some. My priorities slowly changed but not by much until I reached about 50. Since then I have have been reassigning my priorities more and more. I’m currently looking forward to embracing becoming a senior, and I’m anticipating enjoying the latter part of my life more than I allowed myself to during other phases.

      1. Rearranging beliefs builds emotional strength at least in my mind. On the flip side, however, some people have a static front page of beliefs and feel it helps them thrive. What works, works as long as a sincere effort is made to avoid harming other living creatures as much as one can. I have not gone vegan preferring the First Nation way of thanking animals for giving my sustenance.

        I have resisted a static front page on my blog against much advice. You are the first to agree. Always nice to be affirmed by at least a few of the people you respect.

        The only bad thing about aging is the excuse “Not enough time” gains validity. Well, deafness and body aches aren’t so great, but better than the known alternative. Stay strong and thank you for all you do.

  7. “If I were a weathy …” woman, you’d be paid what you are worth. Opps, not enough money in the world to do that. I am on the road seeing family and friends, so doing Stay strong, I am trying.

  8. Another great article and I’m now follower the other blog you mentioned. I’m working on a org site at the moment as a web site and integrating a com blog site so this is going to be tricky x

      1. Thank you for the tips i am following both now :)

        Oh it’s not a new site of mine, just helping out a voluntary organization sort things out, so trying to spruce it up and tell them the wonders of .com v .org, so keeping the blog in .com with the community spirit :) xx

        1. She’s on my lap looking miserable between coughing fits. She has an upper respiratory infection and is now on penicillin.She got a shot that’s supposed to be for 2 weeks coverage. My fingers are crossed in hope that the other two dogs don’t get it too.

          1. oh i hope they don’t get it but at least it is something they say they can fix, ie medicine to get her better, poor thing but she is in the best of hands, or lap! :) x

          2. She’s still so sick and so tired that I ache for her. She’s in her little basket bed snoozing at my feet and so far the other dogs have no symptoms.

        1. Shhhhsssh …because I also need to update both my Basic Blogging page and my Popular Posts page but I have a stack of dishes to wash and a house to clean too. Whenever I’m about to take the updating on there seems to be something on the property, in the house, or in the business that outranks it. :)

  9. I’ve always had a hybrid, as you suggested. Even static websites need updating from time to time, and even most now have a ‘News’ (or similar) list somewhere on an otherwise static homepage (it’s just that the word blog didn’t fit with their business model). I try to get small business to have something change at a frequency that works for their industry: new product lines, industry developments, successful tenders, new menu items (it’s a good way of forcing cafes to engage with their customers in a different way). It can vary from weekly to once every three months or so as some industries are very slow moving. Community and personal sites do better as blogs because of the need to update more frequently. There is, to use a cliche, no one-size-fits all solution.

    1. Hi there,
      I like your blog a lot and that’s not because we use the same theme. I like the tasty content. :) Your remarks re: small business website updating are valuable ones. Thanks for posting them here. I always tell those who contact me not to start a website for their business unless they are willing to keep it updated and interesting so they get return visitors.

    1. It’s so good to read you benefited from participating in Blogging 201. I like your About page and your The Best of the Eternal Traveller page. I’m glad to see you use the latter for your for Editor’s picks posts, rather than duplicating the Popular Post links already displayed in your sidebar.

      1. Thanks. It’s good to hear some feedback. I think these pages look okay, but I’m slightly biased! I created the Best of page during 201 and I picked the stories I’ve liked best. I’m surprised that the Weekly photo challenge pages are the most popular ones but I guess the link goes on the Daily Post page. I’ve been busy scheduling posts to go up while we are away on holidays soon and I think I’ve got a couple of good stories coming up.

        1. Don’t get me wrong when I say I like photo challenge posts but I rarely consider them to be the best posts on any mixed content blogs. Granted that I’m an artist and I’m visual, but I’m also a reader and like text too. I like knowing the story behind the image, and I don’t think most photographers give enough thought to creating informative engaging captions and surrounding text.

          No doubt that will peeve off those who think every image of their cat without or without silly text overlaying it can stand on it’s own. However, if I never see another cat picture that’s okay with me, because I own The King of Cute http://thistimethisspace.com/2014/05/11/blogging-companions/ and no cat can match his looks. lol:D In fact, most Pomeranians don’t come close to rivaling his good looks either.

  10. I use the “blog” so there is most recent new content on the home page. I tell people I have a “web site” since to many a “blog” is still some kid in Jammies and blogging from the attic about politics or something.

    I have a few Pages that are legacy from when I first started and would be better as a Post I guess, and with the Custom Menu option, a Post can be put in the top navigation bar.

    1. Hi Mike,
      That remark about blogs and jammies made me laugh.

      I’ve tried static front pages on more than one theme and on both blogs. The best one was when I used Twenty Eleven but in the end it didn’t work for me despite the fact it’s a hybrid and the inclusion of links to recent posts do display on the front page.

      I don’t include any Category pages in my custom menu. I include only a few static policy pages and some index pages (Basic Blogging and Popular Posts).

      I’m not sure if I want to keep my All Posts (sitemap) page I made with the Archive shortcode public or not or not. It’s a page duplicate content links and we cannot use robot txt to block search engines like we can on self hosted sites. Unlike Basic Blogging and Popular Posts All Posts has no pagerank and lacks traffic but it does have Likes and Tweets and it may get more, so I’m waffling about whether or not I ought to make it private. What I did today was enable pingbacks on it so we shall see.

      1. Dear Timethief,

        Thank you so much for your clear examples and information on Blogs vs. Websites! It’s been so confusing for me to figure out what works best in my situation. After reading some of your posts, I have definitely realized it’s the blogging world for me. I am more of a content person and my site welcomes feedback and comments from readers. The site is not finished yet but I do have a few posts already published. Thanks again! You rock!

    1. Hi John,
      Thanks for the feedback. I’m so tired of hearing that every site needs one because it isn’t true. Static front pages have limited use and are only suitable to some sites – not all sites.

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