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
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My old professional site is an example of this method (it’s outdated and not currently used, so excuse anything out of sorts – it’ll eventually be turned into a portal for my products and services).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.