As a blog designer, a question many clients ask me is, do I need a blog or a website. As a professional blog designer, of course my first instinct is to answer both! But I pride myself on not overselling our custom blog design packages, I really don’t want a client to order anything extra if they don’t need it. That’s one reason we break up our packages into custom blog design, custom website design and logo design packages, that can each be ordered a la carte. And sometimes clients order a custom website design, and they really don’t need it. So, if you are torn between a custom blog design or a custom website design, here are some tips to help you determine what blog design template or web design template that you need.
At Little Blue Deer, we define a blog design template as a layout that has the latest blog posts on the homepage. The blog design template can be set up so that the posts appear as post excerpts (this means that the featured image from the blog post as well as a text excerpt and “read more” link will appear on the homepage), or as full posts, with tags and comments at the bottom of each post on the homepage, but a blog design template from Little Blue Deer will have the latest blog posts appear on the homepage of the blog (eg. www.mydomain.com).
Blog Design Template
A custom blog design will also generally include sidebar widgets, as displayed above, and sometimes widgets in the footer as well. At Little Blue Deer, we also include, with the custom blog design package, a static (meaning the content remains the same) About and Contact page. This gives you a spot to showcase perhaps a photo and a little bit about yourself, as well as a contact form where readers can reach you. Additional static pages (photo galleries, shopping, etc.) are not included in our blog design template package, so definitely, if you want to have more pages than just an About and Contact page, you will want to consider a custom website design package. The custom blog design package is a great choice if you are blogging for fun, to connect with other people who share your interests, and if you want to keep your homepage fresh and interesting (tip: Google loves blog design templates because the homepage content is updated every time you post, constantly keeping your content new). Also, blog designs are great if you want to have a lot of control over the look of your blog, because, with the blog posts being front and center, the look of the blog will change slightly with every new image that you post.
Custom Website Design
Now, blog designs are not for everyone. People are busy and not everyone has time to create a blog post on a daily (or at least weekly) basis. And there’s nothing worse than an untended blog, so definitely consider your commitment to blogging before perusing blog designs. If you have a brand or business, and you need a web presence (everyone does!) but you already know that you won’t be able to commit to creating blog posts on a regular basis, then a custom website design is for you. A custom website design features a static homepage, which is often a photo gallery or other graphic element as well as descriptive text and other information. It will probably also include about and contact pages, as well as perhaps a description of services offered, testimonials and perhaps other galleries or elements. The good thing about a custom website design is that once you have your design installed and the website is built, outside of perhaps occasionally updating photos or adding/editing text, the website runs itself. So, if you have invested in a custom website design, it’s going to look great, will not need a lot of your time or attention, and your brand or business will have a consistent, attractive web presence. So a custom website design is definitely a great choice if you are a businessperson and already know that you won’t be blogging on a daily basis.
What about both? At Little Blue Deer, we offer the option of incorporating a blog design template into your custom website design, so that you can have both a website AND a blog. The blog page will appear at www.mydomain.com/blog, and our custom blog design can include a different header (eg, your logo and site header but with “Blog” added, so readers will know that they are on the blog page). The blog design template will also include sidebar widgets and all of our optional add-ons are available for a blog and custom website design package combined. If you think that you will be posting with medium frequency (eg. once a week to a few times a month), adding blog designs into your custom website design is a great idea. The blog posts will not be front and center, but it will give you an opportunity to post about things like new projects, sales, etc. or other topics that may interest your clients. Blog designs also allow to interact with your clients through comments.
Ordering a custom blog design or custom website design is definitely an investment, both in resources and time, so you want to be sure that you choose the package that is right for you. Fortunately, there are three great options that can accommodate almost any casual blogger or business owner. And I don’t mean to make it sound like it’s all a horrible chore, because blogging is fun! But you don’t want to be a slave to your blog either, so just take a moment to think about how important posting is to you, how much interaction you want with users, and how much time you want to spend on your website or blog. There’s definitely a right fit for everyone!