I can’t tell you how many times last week the question – where to host a company blog? – came up in my conversations with potential clients. Besides being free, I really don’t see what the draw is to Blogger, Typepad, WordPress or any of the free hosted blogging sites. If you already own a website, and have hosting space somewhere, then getting a blog set up on your own server is just as free. I use the free WordPress blogging software for all of my blogs (including this one) and love it. You can completely customize it and make it look exactly like your existing website.
Most owners of major businesses that I have talked to just don’t understand the reasons (or benefits) for having a blog hosted on their own site, and that is why the explore the only options they have heard of. I hope to better explain some of those reasons here with this post, and provide the insight you may need to make better corporate choices – or convince the people that may be making it harder on your to make a decision.
Having a blog hosted on your own server under your own domain is going to have more benefits then anything a free one could provide. There are several reasons for this, but the main benefit you will see from a self hosted blog is the search engine love it will bring. If you are running a blog that is faithfully updated, and sharing good information that people are actually looking for (value) then the search engines will keep coming back to your site more often to get an updated index of your entire site. You are giving them reasons to keep coming back and getting that fresh cache of your site.
Think about it this way – Lets say you have identified 10 competitors (real competitiors) that you found on Google, and you think will be hard to compete against. Now out of those 10 competitors only 2 of them have blogs that are self-hosted (on their own domain). The other 8 have no blogs at all, no updated content and no reason for the search engines to keep coming back to them. If you have a blog that is regularly updated then it will be much easier to compete against those other 8. SO by doing that you already have eliminated 80% of your competition. That leaves you needing to do a better job at blogging and providing information then the other two that do blog. I have also seen from most major company blogs that they are not updating very often – maybe a few times a month, and all they are posting about is boring press or official stuff that should never be on a blog. If that is the case with these other two blogs, then it is going to be very easy to compete…
IF YOU DO IT RIGHT
If you could find a way to update your blog about 5 times a week (at the least) then you will have elimiated most of the competition and you will (in time) become a trusted source if not the most trusted source depending on your niche. It also depends on the content you provide, and I am hoping and assuming you will be providing good content – remember my post the other day about blogging ideas for a boring industry.
The Nuts and Bolts Of It:
short version -
- bad – mynextpicnic.blogspot.com, mynextpicnic.wordpress.com
- good – mynextpicnic.com/blog
long version -
Let me spell it out for you. If you have a site selling picnic baskets and are thinking about setting up a blog on a free blogging site, your URL will be (I am just using these as examples only) picnicbaskets.blogspot.com or picnicbaskets.wordpress.com (and so on) and any marketing you do of that blog will be providing more trust and love for the blogspot or wordpress domain – and believe me – they don’t need anymore love then they already are getting from the search engines. If you are wanting to set it up right – Lets say your domain name is mynextpicnic.com it would be best to create a directory (not subdomain – my preference) called “blog” so it would look like this – mynextpicnic.com/blog (not blog.mynextpicnic.com) – By doing this, you are hosting the blog on your own site, and any marketing you do for you blog, or any of your content that go hot on social networks will be credited to you and not the other free hosted blogging services. Setting up the directory is just my presonal preference, but even setting up the blog under a sub domain would do more for you then a free hosted blog somewhere else. I have run a few of my own tests that show I can gain additional brand rankings for directories easier then additional rankings and spots for sub-domains.
With all the (blah blah blah) talk about no more buying links, you still need links to rank well, so how are you going to get more? Here’s an idea – If you are pushing good content and stories that could go viral, and do well on social networks – you will get links. You will get people talking about your stories, and linking to you as reference. So – how much better for your company is it going to be if the links are pointing to YOUR domain, and NOT the free hosted blog domains? It is going to make all the difference in world when it comes to traffic, bounce rate, return visitors, rank etc. and the most important thing here – making more sales.