Date: Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 2:52 PM
Subject: guest blog from Michaele Lockhart
Thanks for inviting me to comment, Nan.
Your definitions of web sites vs. blogs were thought-provoking. They were good general guidelines, but often the distinction is not that clear-cut.
A web site is a first meeting, a first impression, and that encounter where we decide: "Do I want to get to know this person better?" A blog is the actual invitation to step inside, sit down, and share in a conversation. It's definitely more intimate.
A web site usually has a purpose, but sometimes graphics and trailers are so convoluted that a casual visitor might have trouble figuring out what the purpose is. The web visitor spends an average of three seconds making up her mind if she is going to stay. A precious three seconds—maybe wasted? Marketing can or may be a part of the overall site.
Here's where the distinctions get fuzzy. A good web site is designed for information sharing, but so is a blog. Are the type font and size easily read? Is the layout calming or distracting? The site or blog should contain contact information. Where can you be reached for an interview? What is your expertise? Why should we move along to your blog (if you have one)? Of course, if you're an author you'll probably be promoting your books.
Who can forget the charming movie Julie and Julia? Julie starts writing a blog about cooking and her self-challenge to create everything in Julia Child's cookbook within a year! What drew her readers in was the blog's central theme. We don't know what happened afterwards, because theoretically there would be no forward momentum.
For those who write personal blogs, ask yourself "Does my blog contain momentum?" This will ultimately help attract readers. Is there a "call to action?" No, you don't need to do anything drastic or start a revolution somewhere. In the personal journal-blog, your "call to action" will be teasers and an invitation to your readers to reflect and respond about issues that you've addressed.