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by Benjamin Niaulin
Benjamin Niaulin

SharePoint Blog Site vs Publishing Site

I wanted to start an online blog recently on a SharePoint site. Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is to use the Blog Site in SharePoint. Then I started thinking about that site… and man it wasn’t pretty.



Lots of work

Whether I use a Blog Site or a Publishing Site, there is going to be a lot of work in front of me. The design is definitely not, what I am looking for. But let’s look at features available.

Feature comparison

Blog:

Out of the Box Ready – Provides all you need to get going
Blog Program integrated with Word – Word transforms into a tool to post your blogs, automatically manages picture upload, very cool for that.
Comments – Commenting is ready to go, although very basic
Categories – Easy to manage categories and include directly in the blog post
Archiving – Automatically archive by month your articles.
Views – Views by categories with comments rollup already configured

Publishing:



Content Type – Manage your own “Blog Page” content type and control the page fields
Page Layouts – Create your own Page Layout and control which fields will be available where and design it yourself.
Build it yourself – Starting from scratch, build everything tailored to your need for presentation

Tough decision

Both serve a different purpose, which makes it very tough to make a decision. The blog’s biggest asset is the integration  with Word. Using Microsoft Office Word, you can publish directly to your Blog site. What’s really cool about it, is that it will take all the images in your Word document and automatically upload them to your Blog Post when you publish.



On the down side, the blog post comes with a commenting system that’s not necessarily the best in it’s class.

Now the Publishing site allows you to define a page layout and control a lot more of what’s going on. An example is https://www.nothingbutsharepoint.com/Pages/default.aspx a site that publishing SharePoint articles. We can guess that they used a Page Content Type with a page layout to define how an article will look like. So you have a lot more control on the content and how it is displayed compared to the Blog Site.

I tried to make metaweblog work with sites other than the Blog site to no avail. If you are wondering what metaweblog is, well it’s something that’s on our SharePoint Server to which Word sends our document and gets it published directly in the blog site. Of course one way could be to use SharePoint Document Converters but I haven’t had the greatest experience with them.

Final thoughts

I have to say the Blog Site grew on me, it uses lists and libraries to cover our needs and the home page makes use of the DataView Web Part to display the posts. Essentially, we are writing our content in a Multiple Lines of Text column, so there are some limitations. Cannot add a web part in there for example, videos to be precise. It’s perfect for a one person or small team blog site.

If you are looking to build a community site, multiple blogs into one site, then you might want to look at the publishing site to get better control over what’s going on and tailor it to your business need.

I am going to start on a Blog Site because the Word to SharePoint publishing I can’t do without. If you have some expertise in Designer and Data View Web Parts you will be able to add columns to the Posts list and display them the way that you. Of course there is always the Content Query Web Part, but because they separated the Blog into multiple lists that interact with each other, it will be tougher than it seems to get the same result.

by Benjamin Niaulin
Benjamin Niaulin
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