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.
13 replies on “Why You Must Own Your Blog”
This is an area where I invest a lot of time helping entrepreneurs and small business owners. Most people are really busy doing what it is they do so they don’t have a clue. They get taken in by people who aren’t as honest as you about what they need for a website these days.
I do however make allowances for people who use blogger or wordpress.com as their first step toward blogging. You never really know what may happen in business. One day all is well and then the next day you may be gasping for air. So, going with google or WP dot com is still better than other companies that charge a high monthly fee and hold their domain name hostage and don’t provide anything near what you get with self hosting.
As soon as a business can support it, going with self hosting is the best way even if a trainer has to be retained to teach how to use it properly.
Thanks for this article. You’ve explained it so well I can just share this article.
You’re right – a lot of small businesses owners don’t know the difference so they do whatever’s cheapest/easiest. I will say, however, that I think a business should start own their own domain. They can use WordPress or Blogger to power their site, but they should host it at their own .com address. I think the monthly hosting fee is a small price to pay to establish your brand on your own domain from the get go.
I hate to hear that some companies hold domains hostage! I’ve heard horror stories about that. NOT COOL! Even if you hire someone to help build your site, the business should purchase the domain so it is in THEIR name, not the design firm’s.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lori!
Very strong advice Laura! There really is so much you can do now with WordPress and self hosting that there is simply no reason for any business to give up that control. For most small businesses, owning their own domain is one of the highest ROI marketing investments they will ever make.
Amen! I love that last line – “one of the highest RO marketing investments they will ever make”! YES! 🙂
Laura, you are starting with an assumption that they don’t own their own domain and with Blogger it costs nothing to re-direct.
I’ve gotten my name plastered all over the web, and despite the attention I pay to EVERY other site, my own domain (hosted on blogger) is ALWAYS top of the heap…
I can’t attest to a generic site ie toddlyden.blogspot.com, but I doubt it hurts.
Nor can I attest to wordpress or the other freebies… but you hear all the time that the SEO is poorer and I’d love to see the how and why on that…
I’ve also heard the you don’t own argument, but that’s poor- you don’t own Facebook stuff, but people still go there in droves. Do a simple push to a source that allows you to store your posts and you will be fine… heck even a dedicated dropbox, google drive would probably suffice…
You will always own your own domain- I think the key is own that no matter what because you can switch sites any time you want and people will hardly ever know the difference (and I am glad I read through and saw that you said as much…)
Hi Todd – Good to see you! You’re right. You can absolutely use Blogger or WordPress.com and re-direct to your own domain. I think that can be a great option. I’m not sure if that makes a difference from an SEO perspective.
What I’m talking about are businesses that don’t do that. They blog at yourbiz.blogspot.com and it’s not connected in any way to their business website. So, their blog is getting all of the SEO juice while their website sits stale. I’m suggesting that the blog and the website be combined. Make sense?
You’re right – we don’t own our Facebook content either. I think it’s fine to use Facebook, but I still think you need you’re own home base for content.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!
This is some very insightful information. Laura, as a first time visitor your site looks professional, clean and it gets right to the point! It also looks like you own it 🙂
I am in the process of getting my own blog going and I can’t stress the importance of the title of this post. It is so important to represent your business and your personal brand with the same level of professionalism that you would at work.. This post also validates my decision to develop my blog. Thanks again for the great info!
Hi Geoff – Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words about my site. I appreciate it!
You made an excellent point – if you’re blogging for business, it needs to look like it. And, I would argue owning your blog on your own domain means you’re serious about what you’re doing. If blogging is a hobby, that’s a different issue entirely.
Good luck developing your blog! You’ll have to let us know when it launches.
Thanks for sharing this Laura. Couldn’t agree more!
Glad you liked it, Joseph! Thanks for stopping by.
Great advice! WordPress is simply the best for blogging, but we’ve done sites for clients in Drupal, Joomla and other CMS platforms. All great and easy to use, but with a self-hosted WordPress site you have so many options with all the amazing custom themes out there. And it really is not that hard to setup any longer.
Content Management Systems are one of the best things to happen for the small business owner. Great advice and yes, own your own domain 🙂
I’ve used Drupal and Joomla also. Any CMS can work, but you’re right, WordPress is easier and gives you a lot of options for customization. And I agree – CMS makes website maintenance so much easier for small businesses! Thanks for your thoughts, Craig!
If I set up hosting with Yahoo! can I sell ad space on my website and get the revenue?