What is the Difference Between a Blog and Author Website, and Do I Need Both?

Whenever I am out and about the first question people ask: “Do you have a website?” So I thought I’d talk briefly about the difference between a blog and an author website and if you need both.

First, no. You don’t necessarily need both, though I do recommend it for authors with several published books. But, first, let’s get into the major differences.

Website vs. Blog (No, they are not the same) 

Though both are referred to as “websites” a website differs from the blog because it is something that is static and unchanging. It focuses on the author and his/her work without the distraction of other elements (like new posts). Sometimes websites just have one page and that’s okay.

The purpose of the website is to give immediate information about who the person is, what they do and how you can stay in touch with them and their work. These things must be understood immediately upon visiting the author’s website.

A blog is a platform where the author can connect with readers consistently by introducing them to who they are and their writing style through the kinds of posts they publish. Derived from the word weblog, blogs are technically also websites but the differences are important. A blog is constantly changing and presents the opportunity for readers to learn more about you as a person and become familiar with your work through your posts. They can get to know you as you are writing your book, not just by reading your published work. A blog is always changing as the writer is always posting new content and is much more interactive than a website. Because blogs are so interactive (comments, sharing options) they are better indexed by Google than static websites.

  • Website- Static, to the point, unchanging (except from updates here and there)

  • Blog – Constantly changing, interactive, easily indexed by Google

The question is: When should you invest in a website or blog?

If you have no books out yet, I recommend starting with a blog. My recommendation is to use WordPress. Blogs that are integrated into Website builders like Wix just doesn’t pick up the same traffic. (Consider that WordPress powers 30% of the web). You can use the free blog to get a feel for blogging and writing publicly, and to introduce yourself to your potential audience and then upgrade from there. Don’t just talk about your writing, talk about your life. Who are you? Let us in a little.

Use blogging as an opportunity to be social, make new friends, and network with professionals. Blogs are interactive and a great way to keep your readers updated. It’s also the easiest way for you to get to know your audience on a level beyond the basics. You can tell by likes, comments or social shares what kind of content people like. This will help you produce valuable content.

So, website? Blog? Both?

If you have several books published I recommend both a website and a blog, with the blog accessible through your website.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a website, but it should be part of your budget strategy when you are ready to begin. Publishing books, my dearest Indie Authors, is not free. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to publish a book, but it will cost something. Create a budget for that something and don’t publish the book until you can afford to do so. If you want to become a Self-Publisher, you will need to be just as financially responsible as if you were starting any other business. Let’s take ourselves seriously as authors! And if you’re serious about publishing, you must consider thinking like a businessperson and the basics of all businesses are having a website where people can learn more about that business. If you’re a serious author, you should have a website. Period.

Yes, your blog can certainly act as your website….with a few changes.

Because the blog and the website still have major differences, if you do this (have your WordPress blog act as your website) consider making a few changes to your blog:

  • Use your author name as your blog name…

…and purchase a domain name. If you intend to use your blog as an author blog you will want it to be something like: www dot yournamehere dot com, and not www dot tanyaforeverlove dot wordpress dot com. Yes, this blog is not named after me but consider that I have an author website that is named after me already and this blog is linked to that site. I can send people to yecheilyahysrayl.com and they can still access this blog and that’s what you want: a place where people can access all of you in one place.

 

  • If your blog is also your website (and you blog using WordPress), consider setting up a static or landing page.

I can tell people to go to yecheilyahysrayl.com and they will find everything they need on me (including this blog), but if you are using your blog as your website, remember, the major differences between the website and blog is that the website is static and gets straight to the point. There is no long list of posts to sift through and what the person does and who they are is immediately available. An author website focuses ONLY on you, the author, and your work. It’s unchanging and provides everything someone would need to learn more about you without the added commentary, widgets, theme changes and constantly updated articles. This means that if your blog is your website, change your blog name to reflect your author name, create a domain name of that name and then create a static page. While I no longer use a static page (I have a website for that), it worked really well for me in the beginning.

To create a static page on your blog, first, create a new page.

Dashboard > Pages > Add New

Make this a landing page. A landing page is a single web page used to promote a business or product. Click on my Stella Trilogy Page Here for an example. It was once the static page for this blog. Notice the number of comments. I also sold books through that page. By focusing on books with no other distractions, people could focus on the work. That’s what you want, and that’s what author websites provide. If your blog is your author website, you can provide that same focus by adding a static page.

After you’ve published your new page you’d want to make it your static page.

Go to your dashboard

Setting > Reading >

Under Your Homepage Displays, check static and then check the landing page you just created

Now, when you tell people about your website they won’t be distracted by your recent blog posts, sidebar widgets, comments, etc. It will act as an author website but also a blog.

Cons:

There are pros and cons to everything. One con of having a static page on your blog is that sometimes it can be harder for people to access your blog posts and follow you. If people have to look for stuff, they usually leave. This is one reason I took down my static page. Depending on your theme of choice, people won’t be able to access your blog posts or follow you with the static page up. With this theme I am using (2017) the static page doesn’t even show my follow button. Not good.

Which comes back around to why I think, if you have several books out and have established yourself, it’s easier to have both.

  • If you have no books out and are just getting started, create a free WordPress blog and be sure to name your blog after your author’s name as it will, for now at least, also act as your author website and people will try finding you first by your name so it’s easier. (You can also consider creating a one-page website if you don’t want to blog.)

 

  • If you have several books out, have both an author website and a blog. I suggest using either WordPress to create your author website or Squarespace and then making sure that your blog is accessible through your website. You can create a blog through your website platform (i.e. through Squarespace) or you can create a blog on WordPress separately and then just link it to your website. Either way, you want people to access the blog through the website.

Published by

Yecheilyah

I write Black Historical Fiction, Poetry, and Inspirational Non-Fiction for the Freedom of all People. Visit me on the web at yecheilyahysrayl.com/

35 thoughts on “What is the Difference Between a Blog and Author Website, and Do I Need Both?”

  1. Great post!
    I used to think I would never have a blog because I don’t have anything interestign to say, but when I was forced to open mine (because you know, all authors need a blog) I discovered a truly love it. My blog is my main home online, the place where I have the most intersting conversations and where I get to know my readers as well as they get to know me. In fact, it’s often they who iniciate the ideas for my articles.
    I also have a website, by the way, but it’s two different things.

    You know, I think that many authors think self-publishign is free because there are a few self-publishing platform that have spread this legend around over the years. And since many authors won’t do any money by self-publishing, it’s nice to think it’s free. I’m often surprised at how many people actually believe this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that Sarah, thanks so much for sharing. Sounds like you are using your blog the way it is to be used, to be build relationships! I love that about blogging and you’re right, once you dive into it and get your groove you’ll love it.

      I think that it’s sad that we have applied so less value to Independent Publishing. Didn’t our mothers teach us nothing in this world is free? Lol

      Like

  2. A good description of what each is and why…

    I discovered as I went on that while my blog was good, the book series needed their own websites to look professional and give readers better information. These sites also have ‘news’ pages, although they don’t have much news unless a new book or a sale is imminent. So they use the blogging software, just slightly differently.
    Then someone else recommended that all one’s linked sites should tie together for branding, so mine all use the same theme, in different colours (related to the series covers). It does make sense, and readers know how to navigate them all.
    But blogging, that’s on my author blog 🙂

    Incidentally, your point on writing not being blogging made me think of someone who writes good short stories, so I decided to follow her. Then I realised she had no Share buttons or Comments forms, and I felt I was somehow wasting my time if I couldn’t react to her story. So I don’t go there any more, even though I haven’t stopped the email notifications yet. Sad but true.

    Keep up the good work!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing Jemima! And that’s precisely why I think writers who choose to blog should learn the basics of how to do so effectively on their platform of choice. The purpose is to build relationships so if people can’t connect with you it’s kinda irrelevant.

      Like

  3. Great tips. I plan to change the landing page of my blog to something static, setting the blog in a tab once I’m published, whenever that day may come.

    One point though – your website tag display overlays 2/5ths of your page and makes reading your articles a bit frustrating on Google Chrome. I understand you want people to be able to find/use your tags, but with the right-hand side bar, that leaves maybe a quarter of your screen real estate for the content. Maybe a smaller font would shrink it, at least a little?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for leaving a comment on the table! Thanks also for the tag heads up. I have recently changed my theme so that may have something to do with the way the tags are displayed. I don’t care all that much for people being able to use or access tags so I didn’t do this intentionally, it’s just the way it looks on the particular theme I’ve chosen. I have no control over decreasing the size of the font but I will consider switching up my theme to make the articles easier to read.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for your enlightening tips. As a newbie author, I’m still stumped on how to set up my site; I do want and have only a static page at this point, but even that is driving me nuts. (I admit that I am a complete computard). If it’s not a lot of $, I’m considering paying someone to create my site. Any suggestions? Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. How did I miss this comment? OMG. I am soo sorry! Just seeing this. As to your question, I do offer blog coaching services and I’d be happy to help you. Visit me at yecheilyahysrayl.com and visit the services page.

      Like

    1. Domain names usually last for about a year and after that you can change it to whatever you like and then just let your followers know it’s changed. I’ve done it several times.

      Do you think you need to change it because you lost followers?

      Are you using WordPress?

      Like

      1. I have lost followers, I only have, I believe 100 followers. I wanted to separate my Blog name from my website, which is our ministry’s name. It bite confusing because the only difference between the names in my blog and website is .net .com.

        So if I change my name will I lost my followers. Yes, I am using WordPress.com

        Liked by 1 person

            1. Oh okay. No, you’re not self-hosting so this should be easy.

              To answer your question, no. If you change your name on the blog you should not lose followers. Changing your name shouldn’t affect your numbers. If you have lost followers it could be for a different reason.

              If you were self-hosted it may be connected as I have heard stories of people having difficulty with that but since you are not self-hosted you’ll be fine.

              When it’s time to renew your domain on the blog just change it to the name you want. Since your website is on Weebly you can create a linked page on your Weebly site and name it blog. Then, copy and paste the link to your blog and add it to that page. In that way, people can access your blog through your website. What you want to promote is your website with the ability to access the blog from there. Make it as simple as possible.

              If you go to my author website (yecheilyahysrayl dot com) you can see what I mean. I am with Squarespace and my blog is on WordPress so I have a page on my website called Blog. If you click on that it will take you here, to my blog. It’s easier to have your website and blog on the same platform but I had my blog first so this is what I’ve had to do.

              Like

              1. Thank you so very much. I just renewed my WordPress.com Blog, so I guess I have to wait until next year to change it. My blog is journeythroughlifeministries.com
                I will checkout your website. All this time I thought I was self’-hosting. So what is self-hosting??

                Liked by 1 person

            1. A Self-Hosted WordPress site is when you sign up for a hosting service to host your site on the Internet (i.e. Bluehost). The difference is that with Self-Hosted you own your website so instead of having everything laid out for you like on the free site, you get to download your own copy of the WordPress content management system (CMS), more storage space, e.g. Technically, self-hosted is best when creating a website if you can get someone to design the site for you. Transitioning from a free blog to self-hosted is challenging though (or so I’ve read) because many bloggers lose a lot of stuff and have just had problems with it. I am not interested in self-hosted because my main website is not on WP so I just bought a domain name for my free blog and that’s that. if I were to self-host I would buy a domain name and then purchase a host service.

              Like

                1. Even though you’re paying to keep your domain name, it is considered a free site if not self-hosted (paying for the yearly domain but not the host and space usage is limited).

                  That’s just how it’s identified to separate the two. I don’t really care lol. I don’t consider my WP site free either 🤷🏾‍♀️

                  Like

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