Blog Site Or Publishing Site: When To Use One Over The Other?

Posted by Asif Rehmani

Another common question we always get from SharePoint administrators is on the choice between a Blog Site and a Publishing Site: “Should I go for the first or the later?”

The answer to this question is not simple; it is layered with multiple variables.

Let’s quickly explain the factors on which this decision depends. Some quick steps to help you decide are included.

First, there is a mistake to avoid. Many SharePoint administrators go for an option just for the sake of saving time and energy. Well, if you are looking for shortcuts, this is fine; but, if you need a solution, this is not an advisable approach.

Usually, Blog Sites are good for a small team with fewer contributors; but, Publishing Sites are ideal for large scalable teams and multiple flexible purposes. Blog Sites are quick to setup but Publishing Sites take time.

It really pays off to take the time to build a site that fulfils your needs. To get started, find answers to the following 4 simple questions:

  • What are our needs at present time?
  • What may we need in the near future?
  • What will be the impact of the learning curve on our productivity?
  • What are the capabilities native in each of the two options?

You may already know your current and future needs but it helps to write them down and examine them closely.

The learning curve impact on productivity is inevitable. This is the case for any adoption of a new technology or new feature. If the adoption process is slower, the setback may even amplify. Generally, a Blog Site may turn out familiar to your users and easy to use; whereas, a Publishing Site may need a little discovery journey.

To help your users easily find their way around your new Publishing Site and actually be able to use it, you may deploy the VisualSP In-Context Self-Help for SharePoint Site Collections. It’s free.

The real task is on finding out what each option can do for you. Let’s first look at the Blog Site capabilities.

Review the Blog Site capabilities

A Blog Site gives you a simple solution: quick to configure and easy to manage. What it does well is serving a small group of users with few contributors.

  • The quick deployment saves you time;
  • The native templates work like out-of-the-box solutions;
  • The basic commenting feature gets ready in no time;
  • The simple category structure saves you management efforts;
  • The integration with Microsoft Word allows you to publish posts to the Blog Site right from within your word processor interface.

The ability to publish posts using your Word interface has proven to be very convenient. When you’re done writing your post in Word, just go to "Save & Send" and select "Publish as Blog Post". All the images are also automatically posted. Among other popular supported blog platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, and TypePad, SharePoint Blog is listed.

Review the Publishing Site capabilities

If you need a complete, scalable, and robust collaboration and publishing hub for your team, a Publishing Site is the best option. It enables you to do more than you may need:

  • Build a community site that can contains multiple blogs;
  • Have control over layouts and functionalities;
  • Enjoy the freedom to accommodate more users and contributors;
  • And more.

The most appreciated feature of Publishing Sites is the ability to have more control and more flexibility. The solution just gives you so much you can customize to meet your team’s current and future needs.

Select the best option

If the steps above are completed diligently, the decision will be easy.

Review the problems you want to solve and go for the option that best fit what you want to accomplish at present and potentially in the future.

If you don't have much time and just need a content hub for a small team, a Blog Site will do the work. If you need more control and freedom to customize, put in the time to set up a Publishing Site.

The short video below shows you steps in setting up both a Blog Site and a Publishing Site.

If you need more insights on the subject, video tutorials at VisualSP.com are very helpful.

Topics: SharePoint, Blog, SharePoint Admin, SharePoint Administrator, Publishing Site, Blog Site

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