Which do a better job of bringing in new clients – websites or blogs?
As I explain in detail in How to Create a Big, Fat Pipeline of New Clients, I recommend that you have a mix of blogs and websites.
I love WordPress blogs. WordPress blogs are so easy to create and look very professional. My only issue with blogs is that they are content black holes. When a search takes me to a blog, and I see that the most recent article is years old, my own feeling, and I’m sure others feel the same way, is that this blog has been abandoned. The article may not contain the most recent information. If the blog is by an attorney, that then creates the impression that the attorney is not staying current in his or her own field, or has moved onto other practice areas. So rule number one is, don’t create a blog if you can’t keep adding fresh content.
So is there any difference with SEO results between blogs and websites? Blog proponents will tell you they are the end-all-be-all of search engine optimization, but that is not my experience. The very broad and often proven wrong concept I suggest you keep in mind is that blogs provide short term hits, and websites provide long term hits.
Here is an example of what I mean. Searching just now for one of my practice areas, one of my static websites occupies the number one position, and my blog comes up as number ten. That’s counterintuitive since the blog contains an amazing amount of content, and if both were viewed the same the blog should be number one. But Google clearly views blogs and websites differently, as evidenced by the fact that it has a separate blog search function.
However, I find that if I post an article to one of my blogs, it will immediately appear in the number one position if a matching search string is used. But search using that same search string a few weeks later, and that same blog post is nowhere to be found, unless I perform a blog search.
This all makes perfect sense. Blogs are intended to be news sources, or at least the latest musings of the owner, so in order to provide its users with the most up to date information, Google places a high value on recent blog posts and moves them to page one of the results. After a certain period of time, the post is no longer given that boost, and it drifts down to lower rankings.
“But I posted an article on my blog three years ago, and it still consistently comes up number one”, I hear someone say. I did not say that a blog post loses all value after its newsworthiness has passed. It will still be subject to all the normal SEO realities, and if it returns the best keyword combination for a given search, it will still appear on the first page long after it has become stale. But based on my many years of experience, all things being equal, if Google sees the same keywords and all other factors on a static website and a blog post, it will prefer the website.
Note, though, that this reality is partially offset by all the search advantages offered by a blog. With a website, you can use the power of the Trifecta I outline in Big, Fat Pipeline to elevate your website to number one on certain keywords. With a blog, you have the same power, but Google also indexes the tags and categories you assign to the article. You will have people finding your blog posts with search terms you would never use as keywords for one of your websites.
Here is the bottom line on the websites versus blogs decision. You can realistically only maintain so many blogs, so the blog versus website decision is not one you really need to make. Just put as many blogs into the mix that you and your support staff can maintain with unique, informative content, and use websites and web pages for all the practice area keywords you want to dominate.
My favorite hosting service for websites is HostGator. I'm a big fan of Bluehost for WordPress blogs because that service makes it so crazy easy, but I prefer the website builder offered by HostGator for static websites. It's a good idea in any event not to put all your eggs in one basket in terms of your hosting services. I put up my first website in the late 90s, and have kept the same hosting service for that one website every since. I recently learned first hand that hosting services really do go down. For days, any potential clients trying to visit that site were met with an error message. Not very professional. Thankfully, the moment I discovered the problem I was able to redirect that URL to one of my other sites. I shudder to think of the loss of business I would have suffered if all of my websites had been with that same hosting service.
Hosting your blogs on Bluehost and your websites on HostGator is a very good approach from a security standpoint (although I doubt either of these huge services will ever go down). Additionally, there are SEO benefits to having websites posted on different services.
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If right about now you are saying, “why don't I just hire someone to create my sites?”, that is a valid question. It's great to farm out that work, but only after you know how to do it. This is crucial, because you need to be able to make quick changes to your website to capitalize on changes in your practice areas. You will be behind the competition if you hire a service to create your sites, and must wait until they get around to it to make any changes. You must pick the platform YOU want, and then find someone to build sites on that platform if you want to farm out the work.
I used to recommend GoDaddy, and most of my sites were created with their Website Builder. GoDaddy is still a good choice, but they appear to be building on an older technology, making the websites less customizable than HostGator's drag and drop approach. With a single click you can add a blog page to your static website, which is a really nice option. Forget even trying in GoDaddy's Website Builder. I also love the huge number of website themes offered by HostGator.
Notice: I provide affiliate links in this website that pay me a few shekels if you click through and buy the product. However, in all cases these were products that I use and recommend. There are obviously other hosting companies available, but again this is my recommendation based on my own experience. If you do purchase through my affiliate link, thank you so much for your support!