Should your website be a blog, or blog-based, or a regular static, web 1.0 site?
When I first heard of “blogs” a few years ago, back in the old days when they were still sometimes called “web logs,” (and a friend took a look around what’s now called the blogosphere and emailed me, thoroughly unimpressed, referring to what she saw as “blahhhgs” – though that was before politico.com was born), I thought, what is the big deal? – I’ve already got my website for my law practice, and it’s not a blog.
I created and maintained it with Microsoft FrontPage, and it’s easy to make quick, little changes using this “web-authoring” software, so why bother with a blog? It is also easy, technologically, to make not only quick, little changes to the website, but also big ones as well with the authoring software. (Question: when did “author” become a verb, and why? Is this really an improvement of the English language? Or an impoverishment of it?)
Admittedly, the look I came up with on my own, left to my own devices with MS FrontPage was pretty ugly — if you clicked on the link above, you saw the new, made-over, better looking version of my site. You can see a screen-capture of the earlier, ugly-ducking version – my old, homely, homemade homepage is here.
Only later did I decide I needed a cleaner, more professional, and pleasing look, with better, easier navigation.
When I did, I hired a professional designer to do the coding to carry out my idea, which it did, very well, I think. (A plug for this excellent designer: It’s a company called Cranvas (the name comes from a blending of the word “crayon” and “canvas”) – and they were excellent, professional, and cordial. I was very happy with their work.
Back to the main event: Back then, in the old days, the advantage of a blog seemed to be that you didn’t have to do coding or worry about maintaining, or even organizing your website. All you had to do was worry about creating your content, telling your story, describing your message, articulating your opinion. The software in the blog platform took care of everything else, the look, the organization, and it had click-a-button controls to modify the look as needed.
But it turns out to that a blog does more than that.
Search engine optimization (SEO) experts say that blogs get indexed by search engines faster than non-blog, static, web 1.0 sites, and of course, the sooner your blog is “indexed,” the sooner someone might find it. It seems that this is not just a function of google’s or yahoo’s or MSN’s or Ask’s robots crawling the web are giving higher priority to blogs (if they are doing that), but also that blogs more proactively and more interactively push the news out that your blog has been updated.
For example, using a service called pingomatic, wordpress-based blogs automatically notify up to 28 different search engines every time you update your blog, including Google Blog Search, Technorati, Feedburner, My Yahoo, and Newsgator.
Now for a real life experience: a few weeks ago, on March 16th, I posted a video on my Life Law and Taxes blog, showing what looked like an interview between a television journalist and an Australian senator, talking about oil tanker spill. In my post, I asked if any viewer could tell me who the journalist was, and who the Australian senator was.
The next day, March 17th, someone from Australia left a comment on this blog post, answering my question. He told me that in fact the video was of an Australian comedy duo, John Clarke and Bryan Dawe, who are well known down under, while not particularly well known here – up and over – in New York.
I emailed this fellow, thanking him for the information and I asked him how he found my blog. His answer: “Via a Google everyday search on tanker crashes. Oil spills rollovers etc.”
Remember, this is a very new blog, started at the beginning of February, with updates made generally once or twice a week. Last I checked, it had a minimalist page rank. Yet, despite the newness and the newcomer’s low page rank, in less than twenty-four hours, this post was showing up in a Google search. That’s pretty impressive.
And I think it has to do with the added interactivity of the website as a result of the blogging platform software. Let me say it again, as if I were Alan Alda as the quintessential “interested layman” host of that PBS science show where again and again, he’d say “Wow!”: