How To Turn Your Blog Into A Website
Who’d have thought that your little blog about baking cookies would have turned into people begging for your sugary treats?
But now, your blog has grown. Your posts no longer read like the ramblings of a teenage diarist and you’re bursting to offer your audience something more.
Whether that’s intuitive design or faster access to the content they desire, it might be time to say goodbye to the familiar world of blogging, and hello to a dazzling new website that fulfills your needs and those of your audience.
What’s The Difference Between Blogs & Websites?
First off let’s start by clarifying that yes, blogs are a type of website, but it’s the way in which the content is presented that makes them two very different beasts.
A blog is made up of posts, updated frequently, and shown in reverse chronological order. The written language is usually more informal, friendly in tone, and encourages an open dialogue between blogger and reader in the comment section (usually found at the bottom of the page).
In comparison, a website includes a homepage that acts as a shop window, features static content that rarely changes, and is ordered in a way that (hopefully) helps the audience to find what they’re looking for, fast. The language used is often more formal than a blog, transactional, and should communicate clearly what’s on offer, whether you’re selling a product or providing a service.
Why Do I Need A Website?
Perhaps you’ve made money from your blog and want to create a website specifically designed to help you make more. Or maybe you’re sick of the need to provide regular fresh content and want to try a less-pressured platform.
A website will help your brand to look professional and the content can be presented in a way that’s streamlined and informative, rather than long-winded and easily lost within a blog timeline.
If you’re looking to attract consumers in a more focussed way, think of your website as a handy pamphlet telling the audience what you have to offer.
Want to get started? You can start by searching for the perfect domain name…
Find A Domain Name
A domain is like an address, a way for your audience to find you, and your content and is made up of two parts. Take namecheap.com for example — ‘.com’ is the top-level domain (TLD) and ‘namecheap’ is the second-level domain (SLD).
There are hundreds of top-level domains available, ranging from country-specific ones like .co.uk for the United Kingdom and .us for the United States, to general ones like .org and .club. As there are so many, it’s easy to find one that fits.
Deciding on a second-level domain is slightly trickier. Your aim is to find one that suits your business and says something about what you do.
If you’re building an online brand that’s built around you and your skills, it might be wise to choose a personal domain, which is your name followed by a TLD like .com, .me, .guru or .biz. This puts you in the spotlight and will let potential visitors know that you’re a professional.
The important thing is not to panic. There is so much information out there to help you arrive at a good name.
Here are some posts to help you get started:
Once you’ve landed on a name that fits, head to our Domain Name Search to find out if it’s available. Congratulations, you’re on your way to a website!
Choose Web Hosting
Now you’ve ticked off your domain name it’s time to find a hosting plan, effectively you are purchasing a space to house your website.
There are lots of different hosting plans to choose from depending on your needs, for example, Shared Hosting is suitable for small businesses just starting out who want to keep an eye on their cash flow.
Here are some posts to help you learn more about hosting:
- How to choose the best hosting for your website
- How to choose the right hosting option for your business
Or Get Both Together & Save Money
Here at Namecheap, we offer a handy all-in-one package consisting of everything you need to make a website.
There are lots of totally free domains, like .site, .online, and .store, which are great options to choose from, as well as 38% off a .com domain when you choose Stellar Plus and Stellar Business as your hosting plan.
You can also save on hosting plans when you buy a package deal — get 49% off Stellar, 49% off Stellar Plus, and 50% off Stellar Business.
If you’re watching the purse strings, a web hosting and domain package is the ideal option.
Right now you can save up to 86% when you buy a .host domain name with Stellar Hosting. If you bought them separately, you’d pay $119.44 in total, but in a package deal, you can grab them for only $17.28. What a bargain!
Plus when you buy a package, you’ll also get free WhoisGuard privacy protection, to keep your contact information hidden from potential internet nasties. And you’ll get the chance to use our Free Website Builder, which makes web design simple, even if you’re woefully uncreative! There are over 200 templates to choose from and drag-and-drop functionality to make designing simple.
Identify Your Audience & What They Need
Now you’ve got everything you need to get started, it’s time to look at the online audience you want to attract.
Has your cooking blog become so successful that you started selling baking merchandise? Or has your blog about your life as an actor led to people asking for improv classes? Whatever the reason you’ve decided you want to start a website, you have an advantage — you know exactly what they want.
Use those needs to shape your content. Perhaps you want your readers to have a simple way to sign up for pie-making classes or to view your mixing bowl selection. Whatever they need from you, make sure it’s easily accessible on your homepage and throughout the rest of your website.
Do some research into similar websites to yours. What do they offer? Could you offer the same?
You can find the key pages that every website needs in our website architecture article.
Interestingly, it’s been discovered that you have just 50 milliseconds for your visitors to form an opinion on how visually appealing your website is. With great design, enticing copy, and a basic understanding of user experience, you can create a useful and easy-to-use website that captures the interest of anyone that lands on it.
Think About Design
Design can make or break a website. Banners, headers, social media assets — there is so much to consider when it comes to keeping the design consistent and attractive.
Whether that’s by using our handy Website Builder templates, building assets on Canva, or splashing out on a designer, the way it looks is important.
Rita Carvalho, Namecheap graphic designer says:
“When faced with the visual composition of a website, we have to consider the best approach for the type of content that we plan to share.
From original images, color palettes, types of font, organization and page flow, all these decisions will influence the user, so everything should be thought out into the smallest detail and always with the vision that it must be an enriching, simple and pleasurable experience for the user.
Visually everything is allowed, depending on who your target is.”
In other words, the world is your oyster… just make sure it’s pretty!
The tone of voice, what order the copy goes in, how it’s organized — the words matter, and their aim is to help the user complete the action you want.
Website copywriting is a skill. It’s different from print and it’s different from blog writing. There’s no room for long diary entries using flowery language.
A website’s copy should be uncomplicated and simple. The visiting reader expects to be told something, given something, or come away with something. The quicker they understand what it is you’re offering, the more successful your website is. It’s all about writing copy that converts.
Define your aims and organize your content in a way that makes sense. Test on as many people as possible and make sure they understand what it is you’re offering, and how to get it.
Understand User Experience
User experience (UX) is the marrying of both design and copy to provide the optimum experience for your customer. It focuses on the usability of the site and examines how a reader interacts with the content from start to finish.
If you have financial backing for your project, it might be worth investing in a UX designer, or if you’re keeping down the costs, there are plenty of resources out there to help you learn the basics of user experience.
Take a look at our blog post on how to design a website with your users in mind to further understand the planning that goes into building a site.
You Can Have It All
If it all seems overwhelming, and you’re still not sure you want to say goodbye to your blog, you can have both. Add your blog onto a new website, or keep your blog, but be sure to include plenty of links to your site so your readers know where to find the type of content they want.
Right here at Namecheap, you can get the best of both worlds by using EasyWP. It’s an affordable and fast way to create a website (or a blog) using an easy-to-manage dashboard. Check it out today!
Ultimately, a blog is a brilliant place for diary-type entries, but it won’t serve every purpose, such as a suitable platform for selling, or having a designated space to describe the services you offer. If you’re ready to make that leap, take a look at our extensive tutorial on how to build a website.