Starting your own blog is incredibly easy and inexpensive today. Many free services exist where you can go, sign up for an account, and abracadabra, you’ve got a blog. And what you typically end up with is a URL that reads something like this: http://dragonwidgets.blogspot.com (of course, Dragon Widgets being our imaginary company name).
This is one of the BIGGEST ONLINE MISTAKES I’m seeing being made by individuals and businesses alike.
Let me back up here for a bit. Blogs come in two flavors:
- Blog as a Service – this is where an organization provides blogs from a central code base. Quite often, these are limited in functionality compared to a self-hosted blog. Usually, as mentioned above, your blog address is a prefix to a larger domain. Usually, however, you can get your own custom domain, so that you’d have something more like “http://www.dragonwidgets.com”
- Self-Hosted Blog – this is where blog software is installed on your hosting.
IF you need to go the route of Blog-as-a-Service, get your own custom domain name. At least later, if you decide to migrate your blog to your own hosting, all of the search engine indexing you’ve attained can be kept in place.
There are a lot of reasons why it is so much better to host your own blog, many of which relate to search engine optimization. For the sake of this post, I’m not going to go into the details. What I can tell you, is that from a professional’s perspective, the advice, above, is REALLY IMPORTANT.
But how can I install my own blog?
After all, it’s a job for someone with experience, right? Nope; it’s actually easy-peasy. Many hosting companies today have a system whereby you click on a button, and your blog will be installed. Click on a couple of more buttons, and you’ve installed one of the freely available themes.
I’d be talking about the blog platform WordPress, here. And WordPress, like the examples above, come in both the ‘as a service’ version, and as downloadable software for your website (wordpress.com is the hosted version, wordpress.org is the software – both provided by the same group). If you go to Bluehost.com (currently my favorite inexpensive hosting for small websites), you can have the situation that I describe where you just click a few buttons.
Of course, you might opt to hire someone to help you out. But anyone with a modest bit of computer experience can do what I’ve described.
You might not have your site optimized for search engines right away, but at least when that does become a more important issue for you, you’ll be ready.
And for Established Websites, Too
Established companies make this mistake, too. Often, it’s because their established website is hosted on Windows – and installing WordPress, a PHP software, onto Windows, while not impossible, can be tricky. Or the established website is a site that comes from some content management system that won’t support WordPress. I’ve seen both of these scenarios often enough. And what the solution becomes is having a URL that looks like this: http://blog.dragonwidgets.com. Google treats this as a succinctly separate URL than www.dragonwidgets.com – so the site owner doesn’t get the benefit of a larger digital footprint.
Moral of the story; whenever possible, install your blog as a folder on your website.
Do you have any thoughts or questions on where you put your blog? We’d love to hear from you. For the sake of this blog, I actually shelled out the 10 bucks for dragonwidgets.com. Any ideas on what we can do with it?