If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know that I’m a big proponent of blogging to help grow your business.
After all, blogging is a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your niche, build relationships with prospects and customers and increase your chances of getting found on Google.
I’m thrilled to see more and more businesses blogging. But sadly, many are choosing to set up a free blog on Blogger (yourbusiness.blogspot.com) or WordPress (yourbusiness.wordpress.com) and then link it to their website.
I can see why so many businesses decide to go this route.
You do not have to pay for hosting.
You don’t have to hire a web designer to build it.
And, you can easily set it up yourself.
This sounds like a simple answer that will save your business time and money. But, unfortunately, this approach is fraught with issues.
Here are a few reasons why this is a problem:
You lose search benefits.
When you host your blog on Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, or other similar blogging platforms, you lose any search engine benefits of having a blog on your website. In fact, you’re giving it away to the sites that host your free blog.
Simply linking to your non-hosted blog to your website does not help you from a search standpoint. So, all of that content you’re creating only increases the search engine value of the blog itself — not your main website.
You send people away from your website.
When your blog is hosted elsewhere, you’re sending people to another domain to read your content.
Not only does this look unprofessional, it’s also inconvenient and confusing for the visitor. If they want to get back to your website, it takes an extra step or two for them to find it.
And, perhaps more importantly, visitors are missing out on the calls-to-action (i.e. contact page, email sign-ups, etc.) on your website. If you want to generate business from your website (and who doesn’t?), this is clearly a problem.
You lose control.
Although you technically own the content on a free-hosted blog, you don’t own the site. In other words, it’s like renting a house — the furniture is all yours, but the house isn’t.
That means you could be booted at any time if your blog doesn’t follow the terms of service. You don’t have complete control over how everything looks. And, if their site ever shuts down, you’re sunk.
Adding a Blog to Your Hosted Website the Right Way
If you already have a website and you would like to add blog functionality to it, talk to your technical team to find out how your website was built. If your site was built on a content management system (CMS), you may already have blogging functionality built into it that can be easily activated for you.
If your site wasn’t built on a CMS, there still might be ways you can build a blog on a blogging platform and integrate it — and host it — on your site. Again, this is a question for your technical staff.
If neither of those are options will work for you, it might be time to consider a website overhaul. I recommend using a platform like WordPress to build your website with a blog included.
For instance, my website is built on WordPress. It looks and functions like a regular website, but gives me the flexibility to edit pages and add blog posts without requiring a developer to make changes for me.
If you’re going to spend time blogging for your business, you should invest in setting up your blog the right way so you can get all of the benefits out of it. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time. And who can afford to do that?
Does this help? What questions do you still have?
Image credit: Abbey Hendrickson
UPDATE: My friend, John Ellis, wrote a fantastic follow up post about this issue – Why Search Engines Love Blogs. If you need further convincing about why a blog is integral to your website, you should definitely give it a read. He gives a lot more of the technical reasons behind why this approach is so valuable.