I am often asked if a company should start a blog, to which I am always the first to excitedly proclaim “Yes”! But, as I explain further about how blogging requires not only a content strategy, but should be added to a company’s domain, I am sometimes met with resistance. I don’t say these things because we happen to own a company that designs websites using WordPress blogging platform, I say this because, we have seen the success that blogging can bring when added to a company’s domain. When done offsite, you are wasting valuable time by building equity on someone else’s domain.
First, a comparison of the two:
Off-site blog (this includes the free services like Blogger and industry free-blogs such as active rain for real estate):
- Easy to setup and start writing
- Not much control over look or (more importantly) site structure
- Articles written on some blogging services may not be owned by you (or very hard to migrate away from)
- No control over hosting environment (if the server is slow, deal with it – it’s free after all)
- Content added to the blog adds value to the domain (or sub-domain) it’s hosted on (ie: blogger, not your company)
Onsite (self hosted) blog:
- Takes a decent amount of time and effort to get started
- Need to hire a web design firm or have an in-house developer / designer
- Company has control over design and functionality
- You own your content – self hosting means you also own and control the database where content is stored
- You pay for hosting – however, this also means you can make changes to the server or move your website to a new host if needed
- Content added to the blog adds value to YOUR domain (ie: your company website)
Did you notice the subtle differences in the last line of the comparisons? That one line, is the most important of all.
When you add content to your website, search engines attribute the content and any incoming links to the overall value of the domain where it’s hosted. As you blog and gain links to your content, the value is passed throughout the website where the blog is hosted. So, I’ll use our company as an example. If I’ve got a blog hosted at pixsym.blogger.com, I am mainly building equity over time in pixsym.blogger.com and not pixsym.com. Since, in fact, our blog is located at pixsym.com/blog the value of incoming links are added to the overall value of the pixsym.com domain. The more value our main domain, pixsym.com has, the more likely we will rank for keywords in search engines.
So, while in the beginning you might be thinking about taking the easy road with a free blog, in the long run it’s extremely important to weigh the benefit vs. the cost. Would you prefer to build equity in your own website or someone else’s? In the end, it’s really as simple as that.