Web page vs Blog

I need opinions! Back in "the day" I used a web site to post my online fiction, but I gave up that domain and site a while back, and just recently made the decision to go back to web publishing my fiction.


My brilliant idea was to use the blog I had, but now that the first chapter is up, I'm finding the templates, the navigation, the general look and feel - are terrible. The blog is hard to figure out, it's not perfectly clear there's a novel there to read, and I'm finding myself torn between trying to make the (Wordpress) blog work out, or registering a domain name again and getting a site back up.


Which brings to to beg for opinions :) What do you all prefer? Do you have preferences? I appreciate any opinions I can get!


for the curious: http://www.mymidnightmuse.wordpress.com


I found that once you have your wordpress site worked out, posting and site management is really easy. Then again, I use wordpress.org, not .com


I recommend a compromise: Digital Novelists! http://www.digitalnovelists.com I may be biased because I use it, but it's really awesome, easy to use, flexible, and the webmistress rocks.


Aw, thank you, Clare! :)


If I had the money, I'd go with a personal site vs. a blog. I'm using Blogger right now, and my goodness the restrictions on design and formatting are driving me insane. I'd up and leave to greener pastures if I felt the option were available to me. I mean...I can barely pay for gas. If I ever find myself making more money, I'd probably even save up to have someone design my website.


That's just my take...


For me something like wikidot.com is the answer. Free hosting, a really easy-to-use interface, no ads (unless I want them), you can put up a blog-like thing with an RSS feed for the readers, and it's fully customizable via CSS.


Best of both worlds, blog and website :P


I tend to think a dedicated story blog is probably the best idea.


It's mostly a signal to noise ratio thing. I assume that my friends who read my blog aren't necessarily interested in the story I'm writing. Similarly, people who want to read my story probably aren't especially interested in hearing about my children, cats, or political opinions. Most of them probably aren't interested in reading about web development either.


I'm inclined to think that either group has the potential to give up if they have to ignore multiple posts before one they care about comes along.


I use weebly.com for my web page and JS. kit for the comments. So far it's working out really well. The only reason I don't use a blog is because they look really disorganized to me. Not all of them do, but the most I see do.


I've tried both before -- several years ago, I had Larkenia on a blog. It was easier for some of my blogging buddies to follow and leave comments, but it was really difficult to snag new readers with that format. After awhile, I switched to websites and haven't looked back. Then again, I've never been exactly web-savvy.


I think that either can work out great, it's just a matter of which you'd prefer to work on and experiment with. They both take time and effort to make them work, after all.


Personally, I think your blog-based site looks fine, with a few tweaks once the story grows. Perhaps also allowing comments on each chapter -- it makes readers feel more welcome, and it enhances your chances of getting comments. Other than that, it doesn't look too shabby at all. ^^


I started out with my writing blog and my story blog combined, but quickly decided that the story needed its own blog to give it a spotlight. I've never used webpages, only blogs. I don't think blogs can be multi-purpose. All the posts have to be geared toward one subject matter, whether they be personal posts or story posts. I currently have three blogs. My plan is to create a new one for each story I write. If you don't want to do that, but have it all be centralized somehow, a website would probably be your best bet.


As a rule, I intensely dislike blogs. I don't think I'd ever consider a non-website model. Too restricted and it never looks quite as good.


Regards,

Ryan


Hrmm. Tricky one, Kristine.


I'm tempted to point you to this article and leave it at that, but I think it's worth the time to revisit this question.


When you seriously think about it blogs are nothing more than a stripped down CMS (content management system). And, like all other CMSes, blogs enable you to worry about the design, the look and the feel only once (at the very beginning) after which you can ignore code and concentrate on your content. NYT online runs completely on Wordpress, and they only had to hire a designer, Khoi Vinh, once.


I suppose the 2nd thing blogs have going for them is the perception the Internet has towards blogs. Much of today's online recreational reading comes from blogs - I point to Dooce, Kottke, the hundred other online journals of friends and family that are read by a close personal circle. People come to blogs ready to read, to be entertained, and blogs are designed primarily to allow this recreational reading to happen. They have RSS feeds, for starters, making it way easier to follow updates to your blogs.


There's another argument, and this is Google related: blogs are far more search-engine-friendly than websites. Part of this is the way blogs archive your posts - the best way is according to date followed by topic title - and then there are tags. Entries with the right tags, which is really just another form of metadata, allow search engines to quickly categorize your content. I'm willing to bet you can do the exact same thing with a website, but it'll take up a lot more time and energy: apart from not needing to update every single page everytime I want to make a change, my blog has a sitemap and all I have to do is install a Wordpress plugin and click two buttons.


Granted, blogs are hard to get used to at first, and the code behind each system is unique and often hard to learn. But if you've got the time and the inclination, blogs provide unprecedented power to publish your content. And they're a lot easier in the long run as well.


Lots of good advice - I'm still pretty frustrated with my blog's visual presentation, though I can tweak the template today and see what I can fix. I think my mistake was trying to keep the same blog I had an audience for and altering it from Personal Blog to Novel, hoping to retain the viewers and not confuse or drop them in the shuffle to a new blog.


I'm still torn. I can manage HTML but not CSS - not without study and research. I like the freedom of design a web site gives me, each novel having it's own page, it's own graphics, it's own feel - while centrally located on one address. But I like blogs for their automated features.


Then again, I could be drastically overthinking this whole issue!


DigitalNovelists.com has two options: Your own domain for $15 a month and you keep all the ad spots, or free on a DN subdomain and I keep the prime ad spot. It's $15 one-time set-up fee either way, and I manage the back-end for you including all software and security updates. (If you can't invest $15 in your writing...)


There's a third competely free option, and that's DIY at your own site. I won't give you any support at all, but I will give you a list of what Drupal modules I'm using and you can look through the support materials at DN and have at it.


DN is a proven CMS for serial novels, based on what I developed at MeiLinMiranda.com. It includes a book module for multiple serials with automatic prev/next navigation, blogging capabilities for you to keep your readers up to date, a forum for your readers to interact with one another, an images gallery for commissioned or fan artwork, and customization options to differentiate your serials one from another if you're running more than one--all on one site. And, unlike a lot of free services, you can put whatever javascript widgets you want up, including ads.


Current DN serialists include Gavin Williams, Allan T. Michaels, Clare K.R. Miller, Morgan O'Friel and myself. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have.