Let me do a side by side comparison to help you understand the similarities along with major differences between blog and forum
Do you want to know the difference between a blog and a forum? Moreover, which one is a more natural choice for a web portal?
In the past decade, I have managed to start a forum and then make it popular to be reasonably large, along with working for hundreds of my forum clients. Also, I have been able to grow coupe of my blogs to a good readership as well. So let me help you understand the critical differences between a forum and a blog.
What’s a Forum?
According to Wikipedia,
A forum, or message board, is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages.
According to Google.
A medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged.
In other words, A forum provides an easy to use interface for members to interact with each other on a topic. The discussions are arranged in forums and sub-forums for categorization. Members share their thoughts, ideas, and interest. Besides, a forum is a valuable resource to connect with other members to get help with queries.
Do not confuse forums with chat rooms. Forums are a little different because they archive the discussions for search and reference.
What is a Blog?
According to Wikipedia,
A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries. Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page.
According to Google.
A regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.
A blog is a website that logs views and opinions shared by an individual (or in case of multi-authors – individuals) and displays them in reverse chronological order (newer content appear first).
Difference between Blogs and Forums
Both of them are religiously different from each other. So, let’s see the major difference between a forum and a blog on a side by side comparison.
|Forum is User Generated Content.||Blog is an Author Generated Content.|
|Members participate in the discussion to share views and ideas.||Author share views and ideas on the blog topic.|
|The discussions are more real-time provided member content doesn’t need to pass the moderation queue.||Apart from comments, interaction with the blogger can have a lag depending on the availability of the blogger.|
|Can take the form of question and answers.||For questions, one has to ask the blogger, and he may answer readers’ questions.|
|Any user can ask a question and other experts in the area can answer the question,||Only the author (or in case of a multi-author blog – authors) responds to readers’ questions.|
|The responses in the forum may not be from an expert in the field and often is the case.||As a blog author, one tends to reply to questions with thorough research.|
|Forum answers aren’t from an authority in the domain.||Blog authors who get a lot of questions from readers are considered an authority in the subject matter.|
|One can’t trust the worthiness of the forum replies.||Bloggers tend to build the trust of the readers and share views and ideas that are trustworthy.|
|Forums are a many-to-many discussion platform. Any member can create a discussion, and others can reply.||Blogs are one-to-many discussion platforms, even if you consider guest article contribution. Readers express views on the article in comments only.|
|Forums are tough to manage. One may need to monitor for spam, content, reply to topics to make it look active, etc.||Blogs, on the other hand, are much easier to manage.|
|Forums are much easier to generate content.||Blogs need a lot of time on research before an author can write about the topic.|
|Forums are tough to get rolling. Members will be interested in creating discussions only when they see an active community. In short, members will create content when they see the others getting their reply or having fruitful discussions.||Blogs, on the other hand, are much easier to start rolling. Even if you don’t have an active reader-base, all one needs is a motivation to keep blogging.|
|Forums contain user-generated queries, which means there are chances others will have the same questions. Archives will serve the purpose of SEO traffic.||Blog authors need to answer readers’ queries and generate the blog archives to be able to rank well in Google.|
|Google doesn’t make forum discussion as authoritative content. The trustworthiness of the content is also questionable.||Blog authors have an edge when it comes to the authoritativeness and trustworthiness of the content.|
|Forums support social media features like membership, private messages, visitor messages, friends and followers, social groups, member birthdays, etc||Blog lack social media features.|
|You always need to monitor the forum for moderation.||You don’t always need to be blogging.|
|In forums, members are all equal. Anyone can start a discussion on a topic.||For a blog, it is the blogger who starts the topic, and discussion may continue in comments.|
Common FAQ’s on Forums Vs. Blogs
Let me answer some of the common questions on forums vs. blogs, as well.
Which one is easier to grow – a blog or a forum?
Easier to grow from zero, my vote will be with the blog as compared to a forum. But once there are members, the forum is much easier to grow as compared to a blog. The question is, at which point you want to know if it is easier to grow a forum or a blog.
So, if you start a forum, one may need discussions to pull members, and one may need members to create discussions — an exact chicken hen problem.
Reddit is undoubtedly the largest forum online now, and it used to create discussions using multiple accounts.
Blogs, on the other hand, starting now are much easier to start rolling. Even if you don’t have an active reader-base, all one needs is a motivation to keep blogging.
My view is, why not have a blog, build a reader-base, and then get them over to a forum.
I did the same for my Investment blog, and the DIY Technical Analysis forum has many discussions flowing now on its own along with members joining even when there is a one time fee to become a member.
What is the difference between a chat room and a forum?
Chat rooms are for discussions in real-time, but the chats aren’t archived for future reference.
Moreover, the chat rooms are discussions on a topic without any categorization of the question itself. So if there is a chat room for PHP programming, one can discuss anything on PHP without any definition of sub-topic.
On the other hand, chat rooms are more like Facebook groups where a topic is in chronological order, and no one cares about the content shared in the past.
Whereas in forums, the topics and discussions are arranged under a forum and sub-forum along with an option to search and reference older topics.
How forums admins and moderators earn money?
Forum admins are often the forum owners. So they make money using ads or membership. I have an article on how forum owners can make money.
As a moderator, one may be hired by the administrators for moderating the forum. To become a moderator, one may need to contribute to the community before an admin or forum owner wants to hire a member to become a moderator.
Also, forum owners may hire forum admins to overlook the day to day activity in the forum.
What are the primary uses of a forum as compared to a blog?
Forums are generally for customer service and support.
As an example, Amazon India has seller forums where new members can ask questions. The support staff can respond, but moreover, the other participating members can make the job of the team much more manageable.
Moreover, customers can search the forums for similar questions that are already answered and kept as an archive.
A blog can help establish authors as thought leaders and influential. However, blogs heavily depend on the expertise of the author. On the other hand, forums can have millions of authors, but it relies heavily on member’s interactions.
Both forums and blogs are an excellent way to communicate. So, my view is why to choose one over the other. Furthermore, as we know the difference between blogs and forums, start a blog and as things move along, add a forum to get the discussions flowing. Take the advantages of both the world.