Often, readers ask us, “what is a blog, and how is it different from a website?”
In this beginner’s guide, we will explain what a blog is and the difference between blogs and websites. We will also talk about usage scenarios, with real-world examples and their benefits.
What Is a Blog?
A blog is a type of website where the content is presented in reverse chronological order (newer content appears first). Blog content is often referred to as entries or “blog posts.”
Blogs are typically run by an individual or a small group of people to present information in a conversational style. However, now, there are tons of corporate blogs that produce a lot of informational and thought-leadership-style content.
Typical blog posts also have a comments section where users can respond to the article.
History of Blogs
Blogs evolved from online diaries and journals in the mid-90s. At that time, internet users were already running personal web pages where they published regular updates about their personal lives, thoughts, and social commentary.
The term web log was first used during the late 90s, which later became ‘weblog’, then ‘we blog’, and finally just ‘blog’.
Due to the growing number of such web pages, several tools started to appear, which made it easier for users to create online journals and personal blogs. These tools helped popularize blogging and made the technology accessible to non-technical users.
In 1999, the popular blogging website Blogger.com was launched, which was later acquired by Google in February 2003.
The same year, WordPress released its first version as a blogging platform in May 2003.
What Is the Difference Between a Blog and a Website?
Blogs are a type of website. The only real difference between a blog and other types of websites is that blogs are updated regularly with new content, which is displayed in reverse chronological order (new blog posts first).
Typical websites are static in nature, where content is organized in pages, and they are not updated frequently. In comparison, a blog is dynamic and is usually updated more regularly. Some bloggers publish multiple new articles a day.
Blogs can be part of a larger website. Often, businesses have a blog section where they regularly create content to inform and educate their customers.
You can use WordPress to create both a website and a blog. That’s why a lot of business owners use WordPress to build their small business websites.
In simple terms, all blogs can be a website or part of a website. However, not all websites can be called blogs.
Now, let’s take a look at another example.
This time, a website called Awesome Motive. It is a business website and belongs to WPBeginner’s management company.
It does not have a blog or any content published in sequential order. It uses pages to organize and present information about a business and collects user feedback by adding a contact form.
You can also say that blogs have articles that are organized using categories and tags. On the other hand, websites use pages to organize and display content.
Blog or Website – Which One Is Better?
As a beginner, you may wonder whether you should start a blog or publish a website. Which one is better?
To be honest, the answer to this question really depends on what your goals are.
Many small businesses around the world have traditional websites made up of just pages and no blog. Such small websites are often made to create an informational web presence for a business, organization, or individual.
On the other hand, more and more businesses are realizing the potential of a blog in their overall marketing strategy. Business owners are adding a separate blog section to their traditional websites and using it to get more traffic from search engines.
That’s because blogs are proven to improve search engine optimization (SEO).
Blogs also come with an RSS feed feature, which allows users to stay updated with your latest posts. When a new post is published, the RSS feed is updated automatically.
Take OptinMonster, for example. It is lead generation software, and its website has traditional sales pages showcasing its product and features.
They also have an informational blog that teaches users how to improve conversions and get more leads.
This helps them cover their industry keywords to get free traffic from search engines and make more sales.
Whether you are a business, a non-profit organization, or a professional, adding your own blog to your website can help you attract your target audience, grow your email list, and sell products.
What Is the Difference Between Blog Posts and Pages?
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform and a powerful content management system. By default, it comes with two content types: posts and pages. Often, beginners get confused between the two.
Blog posts are displayed in reverse chronological order (newest to oldest) on your blog page because they are timely content, which means your users will have to dig deeper to view older posts.
Static pages are “one-off” type content such as your about page, contact page, products or services landing page, home page, and more.
To learn more, see our beginner’s guide on the difference between posts and pages.
Pages are usually used to create a website structure and layout. Even blogs can have pages alongside them (See our list of important pages that every blog should have).
Why Do People Blog? What Are the Benefits of Blogging?
Each individual blogger has their own motivation for blogging. Many of them use it as an alternative to keeping a diary or journal. Blogging sites provide them with a venue to share their creativity and ideas with a wider audience.
Top brands and businesses create blogs to educate their customers, share news, and reach a wider audience. Blogging is an essential part of online marketing strategy for many businesses.
Here are just a few benefits of blogging.
- Provides an avenue to organize your thoughts and ideas
- Allows you to showcase your skills, creativity, and talents
- Help individuals become an authority in their industry
- Helps you socialize with interesting, like-minded people online
- Many bloggers make money blogging using various monetization methods
- Businesses use blogging to bring more potential customers to their websites
- Non-profits can use blogs to raise awareness, run social media campaigns, and influence public opinion
What Are Some Examples of Good Blogs?
Blogging is huge!
Millions of individuals and businesses from all over the world have blogs. This means that there are blogs on just about any topic you can think of.
Here are some popular blogs that you can check out as an example. We have hand-picked the best blogs in different industries to give you an idea of how diverse blogs are.
Pinch of Yum is one of the most popular food and recipe blogs online. Started by Lindsay, a high school teacher, the blog allowed her to quit her day job and become a full-time blogger.
WeTheParents is a popular parenting blog run by Neve and Keane (the parents). They share parenting tips for moms and dads, and while doing so, they make money by earning commissions on products they recommend.
Started by Danielle Bernstein, We Wore What is a popular fashion blog. With more than 1.5 Million followers, it covers everything from fashion to interior design to menswear.
A fitness blog started by Steve Kamb, Nerd Fitness is dedicated to helping people stay fit. It provides fitness advice, motivation, support, diet and exercise tips.
A popular travel blog run by Alex, who shares her journeys while offering travel tips, advice, and guides for other backpackers.
Tiny Buddha is a personal development blog created by Lori Deschene. The blog publishes content on happiness, love, relationships, mindfulness, spirituality, simplicity, minimalism, letting go, and more.
There are many more great blogs out there on many different topics. See our list of the most popular types of blogs for some more ideas.
How Do Bloggers Make Money?
Usually, people think of bloggers as hobbyists. While some people have lifestyle blogs, a large number of bloggers make money from their blog websites. This enables them to focus more on their blog, quit their day jobs, and build successful online businesses.
The more successful blogs can make six-figure, seven-figure, and even eight-figure incomes in a year.
Below are a few ways that most bloggers use to make money from their blogs:
The most common and probably the easiest way to make money online is by displaying ads. However, as a new blogger, you will not be able to contact advertisers directly or manage them on your own.
This is where Google AdSense comes in. It takes care of finding ads, displaying them, collecting payments from advertisers, and sending you those payments for a small cut.
Many bloggers also make money through affiliate marketing. Basically, they recommend products on their websites and earn a commission when users buy those products. For example, you can share your favorite Amazon products and earn a referral fee when users purchase using your link.
See our list of proven ways to make money online from your blog for some more examples.
We also have a list of “easy-to-start” online business ideas that you can check out.
Can Anyone Start a Blog?
Yes, anyone who wants to start a blog can easily do so.
In the early days of blogging, users needed HTML and PHP coding skills to even update their blogs.
Now, there are plenty of blogging tools like WordPress, Tumblr, Medium, Blogger, Wix, and Squarespace, that allow you to easily create your first blog without ever writing code.
Basically, if you can point-and-click, then you can build a blog within minutes.
With that said, choosing the wrong blogging platform to start a blog is the most common mistake that beginners make. But, since you are here, you will not be making this mistake.
We recommend using WordPress. It is the world’s most popular blogging platform and website builder. Over 43% of all websites on the internet are built using WordPress so that you can get an idea of how popular it is.
There are two types of WordPress: WordPress.com, which is a limited hosting service, and WordPress.org, also known as self-hosted WordPress. See our guide on the difference between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org for more details.
We recommend using WordPress.org because it is open-source, which means you get instant access to all the powerful WordPress features. It also allows you to easily make money from your blog without restrictions.
Want to learn more about WordPress? See our complete WordPress review for a detailed breakdown of its functionality.
You will need the following things to start your own WordPress.org blog:
- A domain name (This will be your blog’s address and what users will type in their browser to visit it. For example, wpbeginner.com)
- Website hosting service (This will be the home of your blog’s files)
- 20 minutes of your time
Normally, a domain name will cost you around $14.99 per year, and website hosting $7.99 per month. Now, if you are just starting out, this seems like a lot of money.
Thankfully, Bluehost has agreed to offer WPBeginner users a free domain name and up to a 77% discount on web hosting. Basically, you will be able to get started for $2.75 per month.
Plus, Bluehost is one of the biggest hosting companies in the world and is officially recommended by WordPress.
Need a Bluehost alternative? We recommend Hostinger. They are also offering a free domain name with a generous discount on hosting.
After purchasing hosting, you can head over to our step-by-step guide on how to start a blog for detailed instructions.
The best part about WordPress is that it comes with thousands of pre-made templates, also known as WordPress themes.
You can choose a theme and then customize your blog design with drag & drop tools. See our list of the best free WordPress blog themes.
There are over 60,000+ free plugins available for WordPress. These plugins are like apps for WordPress websites that let you easily add features such as contact forms, podcasts, online stores, and more. See our expert pick of must-have WordPress plugins.
We hope this article helped answer your questions about what a blog is and what’s the difference between a blog and a website. You may also want to see our list of the most useful tools to manage and grow your WordPress blog and our tutorial on how to create a free business email address for your blog or website.