Blog vs. Website.

Posted on: Friday, 14 September 2012

This week I've been trying to develop a website. I've tried it lots of times before, but I can never make up my mind. For the last 6 months or so I've been using my domain (www.isabelknowles.com) to take people straight to this blog. I've invested most time & effort into this blog & I like the fact that I can change it & update it easily & regularly. However, I sometimes worry that to someone who isn't 'bloggy' it may be confusing to be directed straight to a blog. I once emailed someone about buying fabric & they emailed me back saying "lovely cookery website" as the last post I had done happened to contain a picture of a cake I'd baked - to be fair, I probably shouldn't upload things like that on here as it is a strictly business blog... hmmm, perhaps not :)

Anyway, it got me thinking, what is better blog or website? As with most things in life, I expect the answer is a little bit of both. It's just how to go about it which is proving more difficult than I first anticipated.

When it comes to online shops/fashion websites & all that sort of thing, I really do like the way they first appear. Professional, changeable, interactive but with the emphasis on buying the clothing.
(above ASOS website - below TOPSHOP website)
I've noticed that they are all pretty similar too. Not in a bad way but they all incorporate a large image in the center followed by some smaller articles about fashion. With clearly stated categories of items down one side or above. Now, don't get me wrong, there is no way I am comparing myself to these massive brands, but, there must be something in their web design that is key when people are looking at buying clothing.

I found this lovely website, which I feel is simple & easy to navigate, without feeling confusing & being bombarded with information.
Kate Miss Jewlery is run by Kate of For Me, For You. Her blog is so so beautiful, & she's carried on her talent for design to her shop. Also, this website is a Big Cartel one, which is what I am trying to create at the moment. Big Cartel gives you great freedom when it comes to design & layout & I'm very excited to go further with it to create something I am happy with.

But I don't want to lose the personal vibe of the blog! This is where I really get confused. I know my mind when it comes to graphics & aesthetic style, & I love being a geek & learning CSS & that sort of thing. But, I'm confused that if I create a website my blog will become obsolete. In a way, I don't want to look toooo businessy (I'm sure that will be difficult for me anyway), I like the personal side of the blog, & the fact it allows you to interact with people. I'm not a big business & I want people visiting my website to see that it is a little home run thing by me, as well as being professional.

Here are the beginnings of my website (using Big Cartel). I'm liking the simplicity at the moment. But I want it to lose the template vibe it's got a the mo, it needs a lot more customising.

I've created a check list of things I want my website to include:
  • Large clear images of my garments.
  • A clear link back to my blog.
  • Professional 'About' page - not too personal, strictly business.
  • Large 'lifestyle' shots. & look book gallery - the problem with the blog is that my photo shoot images get lost after a few posts.
  • Easily to update home page, so I can write personal messages, say if there is a sale on & all that jazz.
Phew, I think just writing this post has made me feel more confident about where I'm going with it.

How do you feel about the blog/website thing? Do you feel more confident buying from a faceless brand or do you enjoy a more personal side to things? I'd love to hear some thoughts, I'm obviously a bit of a muddle about it...

15 comments:

  1. I can relate to everything that you've written! I have my shop as my main website and a link that goes to my blog. I want my website to be the professional page that people visit when they type in my web address, but it's important to have a blog too, to cultivate the more personal side of the business that you mention. Big Cartel is a great option for a shop and there are lots of premium templates that you can download and tweak to get something that suits your needs!

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    1. Your blog & website combo is great! Simple & effective. Defo going to have another play around with Big Cartel templates.

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  2. Id like a website, but I love my blog and I feel I can be much more personal with it, maybe Il try to link the two so they complement each other rather then compromise, but I realy enjoy your blog, as it has elements of being both professional and 'businessy' and personal and friendly.

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    1. Thanks :) Yes, I think the important thing is that they compliment each other & show different aspects of one thing.

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  3. I prefer a bit of personality - a design with personality rather than formula; maybe odd notes here and there about why you love a fabric or why you did such and such a design. I think blogs can fit into more laidback retail sites, but they stand out jarringly on the big name, slick brand sites. But maybe that's just me? Hope you figure out what works best for you!

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    1. I know what you mean! They can seem a little odd on the big names & it's good to keep it on a personal side & to show a reason for actions & designs :)

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  4. I love your blog and having that as an option to view, whether it contains ramblings about food, dresses or anything, is a great side to your wonderful creations. I guess the .com page can have links to your shop, your blog and anything else you wish- don't de-personlise (is that a word?!?) your blog though, that's what's made us stay and start following you!

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    1. Thanks so much! I would never want to 'de-personalise' (I like that word) but want to cater for everyone, but I'm sure that's probably impossible. I don't think I could stop the ramblings even if I tried.

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  5. When it comes to finding gorgeous clothing I am definitely more likely to get tempted via a blog than a website (I'll keep away from clothing websites when I am not actively looking for an item, but I'll stuble across something lovely I can't resist via a blog any old time).

    I enjoy the personal touch, it's nice to know who has made a piece and I definitely feel happier buying from "a person" rather than "a brand".

    Still, once I am looking for something specific it's nice to have an easy to navigate website to go to, where you can view a whole collection rather than having to look through the archives of a blog.

    So I guess a combination of both is ideal. A "professional" (clutter free, easy to navigate, to the point) website and a "personal" (anything goes) blog.

    As for your cake comment: I think these sort of comments can't be helped. Clearly somebody was trying to appear to be making an effort but didn't really have the time to do more than look at the top image. I often smile to myself when I write an in depth post on some topic, but the post title is somewhat misleading and of course many commenters read the title, looked at the pictures and got the wrong idea. That's blogging, hey? ;) Sometimes readers are just not up for reading but they still come back for the images. Horses for courses.

    Well, that was a 2 AM motherload.. good luck with the website design!
    Have a good weekend :)

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    1. Thanks for all this feedback Stef - I think you're right! A combination is best I am sure. I love being able to get this feedback from real people which you can't get if you have a cold & formulated website.

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  6. the good differences. thanks for sharing the information. web design bangalore

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  7. thanks for sharing.

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  8. PLEASE TELL ME how you got the images to appear bigger! I can only get them to stay the same size...

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    1. Hello, what images do you mean? Let me know and I'll see if I can help.

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