2 - Getting started

Web site or blog?

Venice for Visitors 

Venice Travel Blog
ABOVE: Our Venice for Visitors travel-planning site, and our Venice Travel Blog.

by Durant Imboden, Europe for Visitors

First-time online publishers often ask, "Should I have a Web site or a blog?" Let's ignore the fact that a blog is simply a type of Web site and focus on the publisher's two basic options:

  • A traditional Web site where articles or pages are organized by topic and subtopic, or....
  • A blog where recent "posts" (which often are time-sensitive) typically are published in reverse chronological order, with older posts organized by category, month of publication, or both.

Either approach is legitimate, but there's one clear-cut advantage to the "traditional Web site" architecture unless you're publishing a news site:

  • A "topic and subtopic" structure is better suited to the active traveler who's planning a trip. If John Doe and Jane Buck are researching their Helsinki vacation at your Helsinki for Honeymooners site, navigation menus that read "Hotels," "Transportation," "Sights," "Museums," "Shopping," etc. will be more useful than having to search the archives for tourist information.

It's possible to make a blog function like a traditonal Web site, if your needs are relatively simple. For example, Travelwritten.com is hosted by TypePad Pro on the Movable Type blogging platform, which makes it easy to set up categories (see the left-hand navigation menu), hide monthly archives, and publish within categories in "new posts first" or "old posts first" order.

Still, if your goal is to build a travel-planning site with thousands of "evergreen" pages on hundreds of topics, subtopics, and sub-subtopics, you'll find it easier to work with a purely topic-based site architecture that you can reorganize and tweak as your site grows.

My advice: 

Unless you're dead-set on being a "blogger," as opposed to a "Web publisher," focus your energy on building a travel-planning site. Later on, you can add a blog for news items, user comments, and other material that's time-sensitive or doesn't justify longer "evergreen" articles.

Next article: "Static site or CMS?"