By: Marilyn L. Davis
What is the Difference in a Blog and an Article?
While there are subtle differences in blogs and articles, what primarily distinguishes them are:
- The ability for readers and the writer to comment
Structure of a Blog
A blog is website containing a writer’s experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often have images and links to other websites. Blogs typically allow readers to comment on the post.
- Conversational as well as informative
- Opinions of the writer
- Open to comments and interactions with readers
Structure of an Article
An article is a written composition in prose, often nonfiction, on a specific topic, forming an independent part of a book or other publication, like a newspaper or magazine.
- Generally written using more formal language
- Factual, with cited or linked verifiable information
- Not open to comments or interactions with readers
Pros and Cons of the Blog
There are several advantages to having a blog. They allow you to write about your passion, sell products, promote causes, and offer helpful advice and tips on any subject. Whether a person purchases a WordPress site or starts out with a free blog site doesn’t matter, either. You can start a blog.
However, there were over 2,654,000 blogs written today – I stopped watching the numbers pile up, but for the data, I used Worldmeters.info/blogs. That means there is a lot of competition for the blog owner.
Blogging is also not for the faint of heart. As the old saying goes, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” With all of that competition, there are days that no one is reading your blog. Do you pack up your toys and go home? Some do.
Keep Writing – the Readers are There!
But when you realize how many potential readers there are for just WordPress sites, there is a market for your information.When people read blogs that interest them, they are more inclined to comment. The upside of this is that it opens up communication. The down side? If the topics are controversial, this exposes the writer to criticism as well as compliments.
When the Subjects are Controversial
Writing about controversial subjects means that there will be debate and disagreement for both sides of the argument or issue. When I’m writing for my other site, From Addict 2 Advocate, the topics are addiction, recovery, and families and children impacted by addiction. Most people will have opinions about the drug problem, the devastation caused by addiction, or the toll on the family created by the addict.
However, I advocate for treatment and recovery and offer solutions for the individual who does want to change. Therefore, there have been those readers who assumed, incorrectly, that I am some “bleeding heart liberal who thinks that addicts should not be held accountable for their actions.”
I initially got irritated when I was called a bleeding heart liberal specific to accountability because that’s not my stance on the issue. I think accountability is a critical element in recovery, and their assessment of me via my writing, is nothing like me, nor my opinions.
Correcting the Impressions via Comments
The benefit of ongoing dialogue in a blog is that you have an opportunity to correct their misinterpretation or false perception of what you meant versus what they read. I was tempted to say, “I know you thought you knew what I meant, however, what you read into what I wrote was not what I meant and let me correct it here”, but decided that might be a little harsh.
Then I had to ask myself if they just skimmed the post and made assumptions, or was I unclear in my opinion on accountability.
With the benefit of comments, I could determine which answer was correct. The reader was gracious and came back to the site and acknowledged that they had made assumptions because they skimmed the post.
Complimentary Comments on the Blog
If someone compliments on your blog, for heaven’s sake, thank them for taking the time to do this. They didn’t have to, you know. I asked a writer to be more responsive to comments on their post. I got what I considered a narrow-minded response. In an email, the writer stated, “I know the writing is good, and since they didn’t ask me any questions, I saw no need to respond.”
Even when a person comments that they like the post, besides thanking them, we have an opportunity to ask the reader exactly what they liked about the blog. I’ve gotten the following responses to that question:
- The links
- The images
- The quote
In those cases, the readers didn’t necessarily like or dislike the writing, but some other aspect of the post. Hmm. Now perhaps you understand why I found that writer’s comment short-sighted.
Readers Add to the Value of the Blog
The other upside of a blog is that readers add value to the article with their comments. This type of exchange doesn’t typically happen in article writing.
I have been fortunate to have reader responses encourage me to write an additional page about specific aspects of my original page after seeing that there was further interest from readers.
Furthermore, readers have knowledge or other resources that will add value to a blog when they comment. We should always appreciate this addition to our blog.
Pros and Cons of Articles
Articles allow the writer to more fully explore a subject, adding interesting sidebars or different aspects or views of the same theme, showing tables, videos, or graphs to emphasize the content of the article. These present the author’s opinions without mere words from the writer.
Articles typically start at 1000 words up to 5,000. For instance, the average word-count for a New York Times article is 1200 words. Magazines like Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and New York Times Magazine typically average 3000 words.
Writers and editors at these publications understand the reading habits of their readers. These articles have merit or they wouldn’t be published. Whether it’s over lunch, at the doctor’s office, or coming to your mailbox, we still read long-form material.
Yet we still buy into the notion that our attention span has shrunk to less that a goldfish’s. Google Analytics refute this.
But the Editor Understood!
While you and the editor knew exactly what you meant, if readers are unclear in your message, there’s not usually an opportunity to correct an article via comments. Even if your language is commonplace for your industry, some phrases often need explaining for those of us not familiar with the terminology.
Since you wrote it for the reader, there’s a problem with communication if they struggle to understand your meaning.
This is where succinct, concise writing comes into play. In many cases, the “five-cent” word makes your message clearer. If you had to use a Thesaurus to write it, you can’t assume your reader has one, or that they are willing to stumble through the unfamiliar words. Don’t dumb it down, but write to your respective audiences.
Make Your Corrections Before You Submit
Making corrections after publishing an article is difficult if not impossible. If you wrote it and it was approved, it is sometimes “written in stone.” Therefore, one crucial thing for either a blog or an article is to Proof It B4 You Publish It.
If your article has typos, poor grammar, or misinformation, if it’s not rejected outright, what you submitted is what gets published and you’ll lose readers, not because of length, but careless writing.
Guest Write for a Site to Test the Waters
Many people haven’t taken the “leap of faith” and created their blog site, or felt comfortable submitting to traditional paper publications. They may not have the financial resources to develop a website, or they may not think that they have enough writing authority or time to maintain an active blog with regular entries. Some writers feel intimidated by the submission process at traditional publications.
When we started Two Drops of Ink, one of our goals was to provide a platform for new and seasoned writers, and so far, we have published over 100 writers of fiction, poetry, prose, how-to, and grammar shorts. Click To Tweet
I’m proud of this number.
Combine Your Blog with an Article for the “Blarticle”
Blarticle is not my original word. However, I think that Blarticle sums up what most of us are writing on this site, a short article on a literary subject designed to inform and stimulate reflection and comments from readers.
More than just shorter pages, Blarticles combine the best practices of a blog coupled with correct article writing. Rob Jolles sums it up as, “the personal touch of a blog combined with the informative nature of an article.”
I’d like to think that many of our posts combine the best of blog posts and articles. They are full of information, storytelling, problem-solving for the writer and blogger, added value links, and an active community who comments. Click To Tweet
A good blarticle gives a writer the opportunity to write about topics or subjects that they are passionate about or have knowledge about, do research, and find value-added links. It may be a longer post, but it still allows readers to comment.
I am sure many who visit the Two Drops of Ink site will have an opinion on blogs, articles, and blarticles. I would welcome your comments, as I have an opportunity to correct any misinformation on my part, get inspiration for another post, appreciate your time and effort, and I’m sure that some of you will add value to this blarticle.
We’re Waiting on your Blarticle
Each person has a unique voice. It’s these differences that attract a larger following. Two Drops of Ink is a place for you to share your wisdom, humor, insight, and knowledge. We accept short fiction, memoir as it relates to writing or a writer, problem-solving for the blogger and writer, poetry, or how-to about grammar.
Stay tuned for an upcoming image prompted writing contest. In the meantime, if you are interested in writing, and want to expand your audience, consider sending a guest post. Thank you.