Thursday, March 1, 2007

Authority Issues: Part One

The Whore answers questions raised from the last Marketing Whore Newsletter. (If you haven't, you really should subscribe now.)

Do websites have more authority than blogs?

To me, there is no real difference in authority between blogs and websites. I see a blog as software; merely a method of publishing.

Many would disagree and say that blogging isn't just the mechanism, that blogging is understood to be more personal than websites or ezines. These folks would likely point to short blog posts, links to other content elsewhere and contrast these to the longer, more thorough articles found on websites.

In truth, shorter and more frequent 'posts' are a hallmark of many blogs as compared to websites ~ and shorter more frequent posts certainly do seem less formal. But that doesn't mean less credible. There are many sites which use blogging software to publish their zines or websites. And I could easily point to several 'bloggers' who write and research more thoroughly than any website or even print publications.

Some might argue that blogs are less formal that websites, both in terms of the attitude or tone of the writing as well as the 'most recent first' format of blogs (as opposed to the traditional organization of websites with navigation for the usual 'home page,' 'links page' etc.) But with sidebars replacing the 'links' page, and the majority of the site's content being in each post (and tagged for easy reference) do you really need a full website with such navigation?

A casual tone is representative of the author's voice; it's a choice that can be used as desired by the author, be it at a website, a blog, a magazine, or a letter to the editor in your local newspaper. Many corporate year end reports have a more casual tone reflecting the company's image. Tone has more to do with your audience than it does with the 'blog vs. website' question. If the tone fits the topic and the author's intent, it doesn't necessarily mean there's a loss in credibility.

What would be a more appropriate question is what format or style is more appropriate for you and your message.

If you'd like the ease of a blogging format, if you'd prefer the quick and timely publication aspect, and you have no need for sitemaps, navigation or otherwise organize your published content so that a person can go 'deeper inside' your site than using tags, then maybe a blog is the better choice for you. You can always get a domain name and host your blog so that you have more control against outages, over content -- and feel more professional.

But it's what you do and say at your site which has more authority than mechanism by which you publish it.

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