By Laura Christianson
I clipped on my lapel mic, pressed “Play” on the digital recorder and took a deep breath. “Welcome to How to Create a Dynamite Website.”
I noticed a few stragglers slipping in the door with worried looks on their faces.
“What’s wrong?” I queried.
One woman spoke up. “I just came from a blogging workshop, and the instructor told us that Blogger.com is ‘the slum of the Internet.’ The instructor said that if we’re serious about our business, we shouldn’t use Blogger. Is that true?”
What’s so great about Blogger.com?
What is true is that Blogger.com, commonly known as Blogspot, is the most popular free blogging platform in the universe. It’s a breeze to set up and use, particularly for novice, non-techie bloggers.
Blogspot offers the option to create a custom design. If you’re skilled at HTML or CSS, you can customize a look that coordinates with your website’s design.
You can buy a custom domain (web address) and redirect your Blogspot address to it. That way, when people click on your blog, they’ll assume they’re at www.yourwebsitename.com, rather than www.yourblog.blogspot.com.
You can add an unlimited number of pages to your Blogspot blog (such as About, Speaking, Contact, etc.), which transforms your blog into a full-fledged website.
This all sounds good. And it is good for hobbyist-bloggers who want to dabble with blogging, but haven’t decided whether they’re willing to make a long-term commitment.
Google as slumlord
But you’re not a hobbyist-blogger anymore. You’re shifting to professional author-speaker. As I mentioned in “When Does a Pre-Author, Pre-Speaker Need a Website and Blog,” your blog needs to show that you mean business.
As such, you never want to send readers away from your website to a third-party blogging platform such as Blogspot, WordPress.com, Typepad, Squarespace or Wix.
Let’s say you build a new, self-hosted WordPress.org website (which is a separate entity than the WordPress.com blogging platform… I’ll explain the differences in a future post). You’ve been blogging for years at Blogspot (or one of the other blogging platforms), and you’re worried about whether you’ll be able to export your blog’s content to your new WordPress site.
“I’ll just create a tab in my website’s navigation that redirects people to my Blogspot blog,” you decide. “I’ll customize the design of my Blogspot blog, disguise the domain, and no one will know the difference.”
Yes, they will. No matter how well you think you’ve disguised the domain and the design, an astute visitor can instantly spot a Blogspot blog. While I wouldn’t go so far as to peg Blogspot “the slum of the Internet,” people do perceive Blogspot blogs to be the realm of amateur bloggers.
Sending the wrong message
Housing your blog somewhere other than on your website sends a loud message to readers. It tells them,
“Thanks for stopping by my lovely home. But I’m not here. I spend most of my time at my cheap rental property. Go visit me there.”
It shows readers (including prospective agents and editors) that you aren’t “all in” on investing time and monetary resources to develop a professional online presence. In our highly competitive industry, a professional online presence can make or break a potential contract.
When you blog on someone else’s property, it makes your business dependent on that company and their ever-changing whims.
Hosting your blog on a platform other than the website you own means traffic to your website gets diluted. Instead of getting 1,000 page views per day on your website/blog combo, your stand-alone website (sans blog) might get only 10 page views per day. The other 990 page views get credited to Blogspot.
A blog that is built into your website, however, is like a giant magnet that pulls in traffic. Search engines index every blog post. As you consistently publish insightful, engaging articles on your blog, you increase the chances of getting discovered by people searching for information on your topic.
Sure, Google owns Blogspot, so they’ll index your Blogspot posts. But Google owns the traffic to your Blogspot blog, not you.
The choice is yours.
Do you want your writing and speaking business to live in a shabby rental property? Or would you rather base your business in a website/blog property you own?
Your blogging business plan
Get an action plan to help you build a strategy for your blog and social media marketing. Visit http://bit.ly/1PsnvZC or text BIZPLAN to 44222.
About the author
Laura Christianson helps non-techies transform into savvy online marketers. She owns Blogging Bistro, a business that builds custom websites/blogs and provides blog coaching. Laura has authored several books and thousands of articles. She serves as Marketing Director for West Coast Christian Writers.