With so many well-designed free and easy blog hosting services out there (Blogger (BlogSpot), TypePad, etc.), it can be easy to be lured into using a network-hosted site instead of self-hosting your own. But, especially if you are promoting your business, the benefits of a self-hosted blog are numerous and important.
Using a self-hosted blog versus one that is network-hosted is roughly analogous to owning versus renting a house. When everything is going smoothly it doesn’t much matter if you rent or own, but if something goes wrong or you want to make a change, being a homeowner allows you much greater flexibility and security. Specific to blogs, a network host has the ability to censor your content and may shut down your site and delete its contents without warning if they see fit. More likely, if a network host experiences technical problems or terminates their service, your content may be lost and unable to be restored. You are also always at the mercy of your network’s policies and terms of conditions. Even if you find them agreeable now, they may change in the future and content you stored on their site may be very difficult or impossible to retrieve and move elsewhere. A self-hosted blog allows you to moderate your own content indefinitely and back-up your entries much more reliably.
Aside from these fundamentally important differences, self-hosted blogs also provide several benefits specifically relevant to business use. Simply put, a self-hosted blog projects a much more professional image, plus allows you the additional punch of getting the traffic directly to your site. You have the ability to use a relevant personal domain name (ideally, the same as your website) to support your brand, and thus further legitimize your business. You can build your blog to reflect your brand and make it stand out from your competitors. And, perhaps most importantly, because blogs’ contents are so varied and often updated, they tend to be found more easily than standard web-pages by search engines. If you produce a highly optimized self-hosted blog that is linked to your website, you can automatically generate traffic for both.
The customizable nature of self-hosted blogs is their other major asset. They allow virtually unlimited design options, so you can accurately represent your brand, display your logo and create a unique presentation to help you stand out from the pack. They can support much more media than network-hosted blogs and power it with some pretty powerful plugins to help manage, link and promote your blog. Specific to business use, SEO’s, contact forms, spam blockers, subscription services, and social network bookmarking can be particularly advantageous and give you added ways to interact with your readership.
If you are currently using a network-hosted blog for your business consider making the change today. Feel free to get in touch with us if you need help or want to discuss the advantages of a self-hosted blog for your business. We work with several people that can even help you move your content over to your own hosting service.