Q: I’m interested in beginning a blog. Can I just use one of the free tools and host my blog at WordPress or Blogger?

A: You certainly can, but in the long run, you are much better off integrating the blog into your website. Let me explain…

WordPress and Blogger are two publishing platforms that make it easy for just about anyone to create and update a blog. With each platform, you can create a free account at WordPress.com or Blogger.com and begin writing your blog today. In doing so, your blog’s URL would look something like one of these:

http://YourCompanyName.wordpress.com
http://YourCompanyName.blogger.com

Once your blog is setup, people can visit your blog, see your posts, and interact and leave comments. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, from a strategic marketing standpoint, using a free hosting service is a BIG mistake. Here’s why:

  1. Inconsistent branding – If you use one of the free templates from WordPress or Blogger, you’re most likely not carrying through the same look and feel you have on your corporate website. The disconnect between the blog and the website can make your firm look less sophisticated and have a negative impact on people’s perception of you.
  2. Traffic isn’t going to your website – When you host at WordPress.com or Blogger.com, all of your blog traffic doesn’t count as traffic to your website (you’re driving people to WordPress or Blogger). On the flipside, if your blog is housed under your domain, such as http://blog.yourcompanyname.com, then all of the additional traffic is coming to your website and people can then easily navigate to other areas to learn more about your services.
  3. You’re losing out on great SEO value – With Search Engine Optimization, content is king. In order to get more people to your website from Google and other search engines, you need to rank highly. And the best way to improve your ranking is to regularly add fresh, relevant content to your site. A blog is the easiest and fastest way to build a library of this great content. But to get the SEO value of your content, it has to reside on your website, not at Blogger.com or WordPress.com.

Personally, I feel that a blog is one of the easiest ways to add value to your website, engage your audience and drive more traffic through search engines. The key, though, is setting things up properly to begin with–carrying through your corporate branding and ensuring you drive traffic to your domain, not WordPress or Blogger.  And if you need help, just call!

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