So you’ve read all about how great blogging is for business. It can help with things like SEO, customer/client communication and building a community that trusts your brand. The problem is, your website is old school html, so adding new content, never mind a blog, is a pain in the butt. Somewhere you hear about how easy it is to start a blog on Blogger or WordPress.com and link to it from your current website. It seems like the perfect solution. But is it?
Plain and simple? No.
The first rule of business blogging is making sure all of the great content you’re creating is actually a part of your business website. Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress.com, LinkedIn blogs and others like them are “plantation” blogging platforms, meaning that when you create and post it’s not only associated with their domain/business, it’s also living on their service and servers. For personal or hobby bloggers that might not be so bad. But for a business? Not so much. Let’s talk about why.
- Using a blogging platform is essentially digital sharecropping. These platforms give you a space to blog for free, but in actually you’re paying by giving them the benefit of your content. They are the ones getting the traffic and the SEO value, not you. Like plantation owners providing the land and sharecroppers doing all the work. They explain it much better over at Copyblogger. Let’s face it, you want to be the farmer in the case of your business blog. You want to own the land and be the one to reap the benefits of what you plant.
- Blogging in someone else’s ‘garden’ means they control your access to the fruits of your labor. All that ripe juicy content goodness that you’ve worked so hard to grow is under the control of someone else. And what happens if they sell their garden plot? Or worse, just choose to close it down? Thinking that platforms like Blogger have been around too long and are too big to do something like that? Think again. Google Reader had been around a long time too, but Google chose to close down that section of their ‘garden’. Twitter closed the gates on Posterous. If you’ve been around the Internet for any length of time you know these things happen. And if the gates don’t close, sometimes the garden owner decides it’s time to start charging you for using the land. Like Ning did after lots and lots of people had built free communities there.
So if you’re not going to use one of the platforms does that mean you’re going to have to try to deal with the nightmare of adding blog content via html? Absolutely not. Thankfully, SEO value for your domain is not depreciated by having your blog url appear something like this: blog. Yourbizaddress.com. That, dear reader, is what it looks like when you create your blog in a subdomain of your business domain name. The really cool thing is, you can create this subdomain (or have a girly girl geek do it) and install WordPress (the .org one, not the .com platform) and enjoy the great SEO and marketing value of a business blog built on WordPress. You can even style it so that the branding is consistent with your main website.
Of course you could just have your entire website rebuilt on WordPress. But if you’re not ready for that big step yet, you can take advantage of a business blog without reducing yourself to being a digital sharecropper.