Each of these writing styles has a different use, but many businesses are not sure which to use for what or how often. This post will discuss the differences and primary uses of each, and relate it to the type of website you have. Although freelance writers can utilize any of the three, if you want to use one style more than another you’ll look for that particular type of writer.
Articles – You’ll generally hire technical writers to write articles. These are 200-500 words or longer that are somewhat formal and convey information that a reader takes time to absorb. They provide the meat of most websites and convey their legal backbone. Online newspapers and magazines, nonprofit organizations, customer service sites, and writers sites (like Hubpages.com) consist almost entirely of articles.
On a business website articles can be used for:
- Descriptions of the company and/or its practices and policies
- Histories of the development of a product or how to use it
- DIY project instructions
- News articles or newsletters
- Legal terms & conditions
Blogs – The term “blog” is a contraction of “web log.” Blogs are like an ongoing diary that you can keep yourself. They are short, personalized articles from 250-500 words of informal language that help your website stay active. Editing is not as strict as with articles and use of idioms is common. Blogs often have a section for comments, inviting social interaction with readers, i.e. a way to get to know your customers. As of February 2011 the Internet hosted 156 million blogs, according to Wikipedia.
Here are some of the things blogs can be used for:
- News excerpts and comments
- Personal experiences & updates
- Opinions about any topic
- How-to’s and ideas (like this one)
Blurbs – These are basic summaries of 100-250 words long, generally written by content writers. The term originated in 1907 with descriptions found on dust jackets of published books. They are a static bit of writing that search engines like to use for identifying content on websites. Here are some of their most common uses on the Internet:
- Brief descriptions of products or services
- Announcements of sales
- Introductions to articles
- Summaries of webpages intended to show up on search results
Each of these types of texts can serve a useful purpose on a business website, but how often you use them will depend on the major purpose of the site. If its main purpose is to inform, you will use a lot of articles and few of the others. If your website is for selling, you will use a lot of blurbs. If your website is for interaction, you will use blogs and comments, with a few provocative articles and blurbs. Feel free to look around the Internet to see how different websites use each of them to get ideas for your own.