Two Ways to Add a Blog to Your Professional Website

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on February 17, 2009 in Blogging, Freelance Writing Business
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In response to one of my guest posts on my blog tour last week, (pretty sure that's where it was) someone mentioned wanting to set up a professional website to move their service listings off of their blog. In other cases, I've seen writers inquiring about how to take an existing static site and add a blog to it. In short, a combination of the two gives freelance writers the best of both worlds. And it's not difficult to have both, so why not?

Here are two of the most common, or easiest, ways you can have both a professional "static" site and a blog on the same domain name:

Blog as Add-On

If you already run a static site (think basic HTML or CSS sites edited offline, where you upload changes whenever you make them), you probably can't add a blog directly to the site.

Instead, you would install a blog platform as an add-on. You would generally do this either as a sub-domain (where the blog could be found at http://blog.yoursite.com) or as a folder (http://yoursite.com/blog).

In this case, you would set up the blog just like you would set it up on the main domain name, just uploading the files to an empty folder instead of on the root domain.

The perk is that you don't have to alter your primary, existing professional site (other than to add a link to your blog). The downside of this strategy is that, unless you're a designer or you hire one, you'll have a hard time getting the blog to match your site's design seamlessly.

Adaptable Blog Platform


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My preferred method for running a combined blog / professional site is to actually use a highly customizable blog platform (like WordPress).

You can create "page" or "posts"--pages being like a static site and posts displaying in blog format chronologically.

WordPress is great for this, because you can set any "page" as your homepage, making it look like a static site. You can also alter where your page list and blog category links appear, making the navigation appear more like a static site as well, with a link to the main blog page.

The downsides to this method are that you'll need to move your site's copy to the blog platform (if you have an existing static site), and the page / post format can take a bit of getting used to if you aren't already familiar with WordPress.

My old professional site is an example of this method (it's outdated and not currently used, so excuse anything out of sorts - it'll eventually be turned into a portal for my products and services). In this rough example, the About page was simply saved as the homepage.

As you'll see, like with a static site, there are then navigation links to things like my old services and portfolio (although they're redirected to my new site now). Then there are blog category links for the company blog (which are now redirected to this blog). What does still work there is the link in the upper right corner, which featured the latest blog post on the blog tied to the site. As you can see, this method allows you to feature your blog posts sitewide in ways that would be more difficult on a static site with attached blog. When you click that link, you'll also see that the blog posts are able to use the identical design of the static site.

You don't need a special WordPress theme to do this--any theme will do. Just format your homepage, service page, portfolio, etc. any way you like using the HTML editor for greater flexibility, set your "page" links to a prominent place in your navigation (using widgets if available to make it easier), and go into your blog settings and choose a page for your homepage. If you're familiar with WordPress already, that's all there really is to it!

Are you already running both a professional site and a blog? Did you use one of these methods or something else? Let us know what the experience was like for you, and share a link to let us see how you've integrated them both together.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.


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3 Comments

  1. Jennifer Mattern February 17, 2009 Reply

    I’ve toyed with doing it for my newer business site (ProBusinessWriter.com), but I keep opting not to. In my case, I already have other places to blog about PR, business writing, and freelancing, so it seems unnecessary (and they’ve done better for me kept separately). But I definitely understand the attraction, and think it’s something writers should consider (especially if you offer blogging services, or don’t already have a blog elsewhere). With them being so easy to setup at this point, it also seems silly not to have one.

    I actually came across another writer’s site in my comments last night. I clicked to learn more about them, thought the site looked great, but I really wanted more. I wanted to hear about what that person had to say about the topic they were specializing in (in this case, the site was to sell a product of theirs). There wasn’t one though, or a link to one off-site, so I just stopped looking. Blogs can really be valuable in turning a casual visitor into a regular or a fan of your work. It’s something I really hope to see more writers taking advantage of.

  2. Lillie Ammann February 17, 2009 Reply

    Jenn,
    Several months ago, I combined my Web site and blog using WordPress. I used the Revolution ProBusiness theme, which is great for this, but you’re right that it can be done with any theme. I really like having the site and blog together.

  3. Jean Reidy March 2, 2009 Reply

    Jennifer,
    You can see I’ve listed my blog as my URL because even though I have a website (www.jeanreidy.com) I haven’t linked them yet. I started my blog recently in Blogger and I built my site using Homestead Sitebuilder so I’m reluctant to switch to WordPress at this time. But I’ll at least try to link my blog to my site and let you know how it goes. I’m also going to hop on over to WordPress and have a look. Maybe I’ll be tempted to make the switch. Thanks for your terrific post!

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