Should I Start A Blog Or Website First?

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Should I start a blog or website first? I believe this is a common question many newbies ask nowadays.

To answer this question, you must first ask yourself what is your objective?

Are you trying to:

- sell your own product?
- make money as an affiliate?
- make money from advertising such as Adsense?
- Or you simply want to share your knowledge with the world (and make some money in the process)?

Sell your own product….

If you are trying to sell your own product, the answer is obvious. You should first have your product website.

You should focus your initial effort in getting traffic from joint venture and advertising, and building a list. You should not waste your time blogging to thin air (assuming you are totally new and has no traffic sources).

BUT as soon as you have a substantial list, say 1000 subscribers, you can start blogging, with 2 intentions in mind: 1) to build relationship and sales, and 2) to build search engine traffic “for the future”.

Make money as an affiliate….

With so many ways to make money as an affiliate, it’s impossible for me to cover the details here. But whichever way you use, starting with a blog is definitely not the fast way and certainly not the way I would recommend.

You can start with a presell website, advertise to get targeted traffic and sales. Or you can start with a squeeze page to build a targeted list.

You should start a blog ONLY when you have a list, and you should blog with 2 intentions in mind: 1) to build relationship with your list and make more sales, and 2) to build more traffic from the search engine.

Make money from advertising such as Adsense….

How about building many blogs on different niches, optimizing them for search engine traffic and monetizing them through Adsense?

Compared to static HTML websites, blog indeed offers a better alternative because you can easily make changes to your blog through templates.

But as your empire gets bigger, you may realize that it becomes troublesome to manage so many blogs, with so many different logins, databases and templates. I believe there are software that you can use to mass manage blogs, especially WordPress self-hosted blogs. (I don’t use such software. If you have any recommendation, feel free to share it below.)

Note: If you want to use blog for this purpose, remember to remove posting date from the template and DO NOT show any post history by date. The reason is obvious. Since you are not going to update the blog very often, disclosing the posting dates will not do you any good.

Besides static HTML website and blog, another alternative is to start with .php websites. (Note: WordPress blog is also a PHP website, but here I’m talking about simple PHP website without the need to install or create databases.) The advantage of creating website in .php instead of .html is that you can use the PHP INCLUDE function to build simple templates for your website. If you were to make some changes, you just have to change the templates instead of altering every file. If you understand HTML, you can easily pick up simple PHP language and learn to do it.

Share your knowledge….

Lastly, if you simply want to get online and share your knowledge, I advise you to start with a content website instead of a blog.

Before you think I am anti-blogging, read my explanation below:

If you are good at scrapbooking, you probably have some fundamental skills that you want to share. It will be better if you create something like an online learning center for scrapbooking fans, with organized scrapbooking tutorials that your visitors can study.

You can still have a blog, but it’s more for current issues, latest promotions, etc. Yet again, you should always build a list if you want to start a blog.

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Share your thoughts

  1. Alex Yeo

    I guess different people have different preference. I would prefer wordpress blog to a static website. Because, for me, it’s easier to add new content. The more content I have (with link-building as well), the more traffic I received. At least it works for me so far. :)

    Nevertheless, building static sites have its benefits as you mentioned. As long as it works, anything is fine! :)

    Reply
  2. LA Hunter

    I believe that a website and blog go hand in hand. You have a website to display your goods and sell your products, but you also need a blog in order to drive traffic to your site.

    Thanks for your article Ken, I appreciate your point of view.

    Reply
  3. Bill Masson

    When it comes down to profit it doesn’t matter which you choose, as long as you have a good PPC campaign. For organic there’s no competition as far as WordPress is concerned, its quick and easy to build up a network.

    Building the two together is a good policy for any small business or individual.

    Reply
  4. Stan Smith

    I prefer to use both, but if I were forced to use only one it would be a WordPress blog. I can easily update and add content everyday which can be bookmarked in a flash to create backlinks. WordPress also has the “press this” button so I can add content that is related to my blog without having to write all my content daily.

    Reply
  5. Baby

    Hello,

    In Building a website there so much many responsibilities like making all the details fresh especially if you are selling a product. Thank you for your informative post. This information will help other people on deciding if they still want to create a website.

    Reply
  6. Greg - Hits-A-Million

    Great advice indeed. Utilizing the PHPINCLUDE function was one of the best decisions I made when “streamlining” my online activities. Being able to edit simple individual html templates makes changes, editing and updating a breeze.

    Reply
    1. Claire

      I’ve got a lot of websites with anywhere from 20 – 70 pages. I use the HEREDOC string creation tool, which does away with using quotation marks in PHP pages.

      For a tutorial on how to do this, click on my name.

      Great post, Kenneth. I have always used websites as business and blogs to complement the websites.

      Reply
  7. Claire

    I agree about the PHP templating. I have websites that have 20-30 and some up to 70 pages. The HEREDOC string creation tool allows the programmer to create multi-line strings without using quotation marks.

    There’s a tutorial on my site about how this works. I have some blogs, but I just keep adding content pages to my tutorial site at http://kiosk-tutorials.com

    Reply
  8. Rebecca Beasley

    Awesome blog Kenneth,

    You mentioned tools we recommend, well I’ve found a really great tool for managing all your sites and blogs. It’s called the rotate my links toolbar and you can get it by clicking on my name. I use it to manage all my sites and I can switch from one toolbar to the other and listen to the radio and do all sorts of things with it. Best of all it’s free to use. I highly recommend it for anyone who has multiple sites they need to manage all from one place.

    Rebecca Beasley
    Home Earners

    Reply
  9. Lynne Gordon

    Another GREAT post, Kenneth. Thanks. Looking back I believe I already had about 30 websites before I started my first blog.

    Since starting the blog though, I am amazed at the amount of traffic I have been able to generate for my website.

    Reply
  10. Franklin Banker

    I agree for many of the same reasons. The top level domain is the way to begin, then add blogs to each niche involved. I have done it that way, and it has worked for me very well.

    Building a list in one of the things I have never done. However, that does not mean it is not good advice. I have always used my static sites in conjunction with the blogs. I even have a blog that is 11 years old now, with many hundreds of thousands of visits over the years.

    I have tutored several new marketers and I always try to get them to start with a top level domain of some kind. Then after a website and blog are up, the next step is getting into Social Media, and linking everything up. It becomes a reliable method to generate traffic and quicker indexing of new pages in search.

    All this comes from a non-ppc plan from day one. I hate ppc, so everything I do is for organic content and free traffic. Free of direct cost of course, not free of the cost of my time doing it.

    Reply
    1. Lynne Gordon

      lol I hate PPC as well. I do sometimes wonder how much money, traffic and sales I am missing without it – but then I remember that by not paying $50 – $100 a day for PPC, everything I make is just more profit.

      There are many, many ways to generate free, organic, and even targeted traffic to your blog and website.

      Reply
  11. Oldbuddy

    I read this and understand completely, but it mostly fits people who are trying to build a business online. I don’t want a business, I just want the money, so I use a website focused on the user name I normally choose for most communities I frequent and maintain a #1 in Google so they can find me. I only use my blogs as trolling bait and hardly even update them, so I was glad to see the suggestion about not having a post date.

    Reply
  12. Lo

    Hey Folks

    I totally agreed with Ken. Do you find it much easier to upload the salesletter of a product with your order link using frontpage or any other editor instead of using the blend editor of wordpress faster and more efficient?

    Just try to do it using wordpress and you know what I mean.

    For me, my blog is another alternative way of communication with my lists if they just wish to visit my blog and find out what is my latest offer if they are too lazy to read their emails.

    So to speak,update your latest offers using both your static site and blog and you will not go wrong.

    Well, of course if you just use automatic blog to monetize your income, that’s another income stream.

    Reply
  13. free acne care tips

    This is a great article for newbie to ponder what is the best option to choose before embarking into the internet world. I’ve read success stories about blogging and especially the traffics that it attracts.

    BTW just wondering which is better? Using free wordpress platform or get it hosted on your own website?

    Reply
  14. Claire

    If you use the free WordPress Blog:
    No Advertisements are allowed. That includes Amazon, Google Adsense, Pay Per Post, and other advertising methods.
    You can’t use javascript on your site. If you try to do it, your code gets filtered by their system automatically.
    You can’t use your own Macromedia Flash videos (except converting it into GIF Format), or other objects except a trusted provider such as YouTube.
    No Custom Plugins/Themes Allowed.

    If you have a self-hosted blog:
    You can have ads on your blog, like Amazon, and Adsense.
    You can have custom plugins/themes installed on your blog.
    You can add your own videos.
    You CAN use javascript on self-hosted blogs, so you can add special effects, special ads and other features.

    The perception by visitors/customers that a self-hosted blog is more professional, in that the blogger is more serious about his/her business.

    That being said, there is more technical skill/knowledge required to self-host your blog. You can begin with the free WordPress Blog, and when you feel more comfortable with hosting your own blog, you can move it to your own domain.

    Reply
  15. Eunice

    Great post, Ken. However, I don’t think you should wait to have 1000 people on your list to start a blog because you need to start somewhere. It’s better to make mistakes when no one’s watching then to have 1000 pairs of eyes on you as you learn the ropes of blogging.

    Also, there are so many WordPress plug-ins that enable you to have a product store now that it’s not necessary for you to have a website to sell your products.

    Reply
  16. Rich

    Hi Kenneth,

    I’m going to have to disagree with you, here’s why.
    When first starting out (newbie) online you need to learn some basic marketing skills html, ftp, cpanel. Trying to edit and manage a website can be overwhelming. I would recommend a Word Press blog with your own hosting. Having support is key for the problems that occur having your own website, this can be very discouraging. I don’t know of any webhost that will give support for eg. broken lines of script, you’re on your own.

    At least with Word Press support is available. As far as managing numerous blogs and updates this can be easily done using a Word Press Direct account. They are SEO ready to help you get a better quality score when you are ready to do some PPC.

    Bottom line for anybody serious about making money is to learn some basic skills. Here is a free resource for anybody that wants to learn some basic html.

    http://www.w3schools.com/html/default.asp

    Thanks Kenneth for the tip on leaving out the posting dates as I do get busy somtimes and don,t regularly post like I should.

    Reply
    1. Claire

      When I started on the internet almost 8 years ago, my experience consisited of using Windows offline. I didn’t even know how to copy and paste, let alone create websites.

      I used a lot of free website builders to create pages, but never published any of them because they looked tacky and unprofessional. In total frustration, I basically taught myself HTML, CSS and PHP and when I joined Kiosk Hosting in March of 2003 I found a friend.

      I’ve been an online moderator and teacher for HTML and website design since June 2005 for Kiosk Hosting (Now GoGVO.com). FrontPage is NOT the way to go for creating websites. It is NOT SEO friendly and creates a lot of unnecessary bloated code that anyone can recognize as a cheap unprofessional website. W3schools is great if you have basic understanding, but if you are new, it is confusing and basically assumes that you know what they are talking about.

      My tutorial website, on the other hand, assumes that you know nothing at http://kiosk-tutorials.com because I’ve been there, done that, and I even have the T-Shirt to prove it.

      Thanks, Ken for this great blog, the MYOB Script (that you helped install months ago due to PHP conflicts), and the other great tools such as the bottom slide up script.

      Claire Poulton
      http://kiosk-tutorials.com

      Reply
      1. jimisan

        Hi Clare,

        Just visited your site. It looks great. Good for newbies interested to learn how to build websites themselves. Will start learning php from your site. Keep up the good work.

        Reply
    2. Kenneth Koh Post author

      You have a point, Rich. But for those who wish to learn about html, learning html starting with WordPress may not be a good idea. It’s like going to the university without going preschool. Thanks for the recommendation on WordPress Direct.

      Reply
  17. Niranjan Ranade

    Websites are still good I feel for selling some product/service. Blogs are preferred mostly where content needs to be regularly updated and added. Fantasico wordpress installs have security bugs. I never use single-click WordPress installer visible in Cpanel. Have mentioned the hyper-link to my favorite blog wordpress installer software in my name above. You can download and start using it for free to create a Secure, SEO and Profit making Blog empire.

    Reply
  18. Randall Miller

    Thank you for the interesting article. It is very helpful in a general way speaking. I have actially learned something new. The comments others have made have also taught me a litte more about creating websites and blogs. I have not tried a WordPress, but I think that I’ll give it a try.I will be back and I hope to learn more. Thanks to you and everyone else who posted comments I am a little closer to understanding what it takes to stay alive on this internet and what we call a world wide web.

    Reply
  19. Angel

    I’m a newbie in this field of online earnings or business and I’m seriously thinking of exploring internet marketing. This post of whether to start a blog or a website first answered many questions in my mind. The comments of your readers are very useful, too. I’ve started a blog, a non business one. I’ll try my first website soon. Thanks to you all.

    Reply
  20. Onlinewritingexpert

    It is preferable to have both a blog and a website, as the two can complement one another. If the small initial cost of buying and hosting a domain name for a website is a constraint, then a free blog is quite fine to start off with. The essential part is to “get a presence on the web” and let others now about your goods and services.

    Reply
  21. aimstar4u

    Thanks for sharing useful info. For me I started from Blogging because it ‘s free and easy.

    Blog is more suitable for SEO than website. I used blog for writing many articles about How to make Online home based business without any selling.

    Reply
  22. Lori

    Great blog – and great comments!

    I agree you have to decide – but more about which order you’ll do things in.

    If you’re going to keep traffic/leads/sales flowing, you’ve got to use every avenue available – blogs, websites, articles etc.

    In my opinion, it’s not so much a question of “which” – it’s more a question of “when”.

    Thanks for letting me add my 2cents. :)

    Reply
  23. Paul

    Hi Ken,

    I’d have to say I’m strongly in the corner of those who favor a combination of both. The way SEO companies seem to be dominating rankings these days even a modest online business has to remain fresh and vibrant just to compete. This is not to say that you can’t succeed without a blog component to your webste, it just puts you farther down the list – not the ideal business choice. And if it is business that is bringing newbies forward to ask these questions than undoubtedly, were it me, I’d say that both are a necessity at this point in time.

    Reply
  24. Katie Dawson

    I would say in time to definitely have both. However, in my opinion in answering your question i have a website first as there are other internet marketing tools and social media sites out there to utilise to drive traffic, raise awareness and create a buzz for appearing as experts and so on.

    Reply
  25. The EXEcutor101

    I prefer starting with some kind of microblogging platform like Daileez.com.
    It will take off the stress like:”What if I write something dumb” and stuff like that. Maybe it’s a tiny step forward, but it will make you be more expressive.

    Reply
  26. Franklin Banker

    Blogs are also websites, but with different functionality. I started out with a static website, and added a blog later. That was the usual way we all did it way back in th 90s. Later it became evident that RSS was capable of achieving a much bigger reach, finding different audiences. Now days, many new entrepreneurs begin with a Blog/Website Combination right from the beginning.

    WordPress blogs that are hosted on your domain can virtually eliminate the use of static pages, and in fact may be all you need. The Blog is the website in that case, especially for developing traffic to a niche product or group of products. WP is what most new affiliate marketing start ups are using. Another way is to combine a WP with a forum, in the same site.

    I still use the static pages, and the blogs to direct traffic to them. If you do continue to use them, you have to integrate social media functionality in some form, and it can be simple. It does have to be updated often and I can tell ya, it is a hassle that way. Start with a functional WP blog/website, and be more modern than me!

    Reply
  27. Lynnne Gordon

    I have always believed that blogs are easier for newbies to start and upkeep… but I have recently changed my mind and believe that definitely a static website is easier to maintain.

    Please check out the FREE FOOD being given away on my link. Just in case.

    Reply

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