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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blogger or Wordpress

Clay Posey of, who is helping me on developing and managing leads, shares the perspective of Hubspot that business bloggers should always host their own blog rather than rely on external services such as blogger. He outlines his reasons in his personal Marketing Fusion Blog posting. (A screenshot of my own 'holding' Wordpress blog at is on the right.)

I agree, in part, but think this issue is on the weaker side of the 80/20 rule; that is, 80 per cent of the value and business you create is in 20 per cent of your activities, or (conversely), 80 per cent of your frustrations and problems occur within the bottom 20 per cent.

Whether you place your blog on your own site with Wordpress or use something like Blogger is only vitally important, in my opinion, to the extent you don't get so cheap that your host is allowed to place or control ads for non-related businesses on your business site. If that is the case, you must take steps to find a better host or operate the blog server yourself.

(Blogger, to its credit, does not host ads on your site unless you wish to "monetize" it with Google ads, for which Google will share revenue with you. If I am using the site to promote a business or professional service unrelated to advertising, I would not worry about the modest potential revenue from this source, and just use the space for your own blog content, without third-party advertising. As my business's primary revenue source is from advertising, obviously this rule does not apply in our situation.)

Otherwise, the points made by Posey (and Hubspot), are helpful but really insignificant in comparison to the key issues: Your frequency, content, and relevance.

Too many people start blogs, and fail to update or maintain them. Others see the blog purely as a Search Engine Optimization ploy, and hope that just setting it up will significantly boost the interest and traffic to their main site. Still others crank out entries mostly by lifting material from other sources or referencing other blogs. Others hope for as many back links to their site or blog as possible without realizing that the principal of reciprocity works wonders when you simply offer your own free back links (without expecting anything in return) to truly relevant blogs or sites.

Finally, blogging success requires two other things. You need to be first within your niche, and you need lots of patience.

If you are second or third within your niche, you will have to consistently apply some of the other principals here to dislodge the first place player. I needed to wait for upwards of eight months before my blog broke through to page 1 on relevant Google search keyword listings, and it has taken another year for it to consistently be in first place (finally dislodging, at least in the U.S. and Canadian markets, a long-established British site.)

Remember, of course, that you may have less problem becoming first place if you are working within a local or highly specialized niche. Of course, you should also realize that the more focused you are, the less "traffic" you can expect -- but this won't really matter, because the people who visit your blog will be truly interested in its content, and the responses will produce relevant leads for your business.

That doesn't change the fact that I will most likely make the switch to the Wordpress site once I'm satisfied the template I elect to use is robust and ready as obviously I have the capability of setting up and running the site on my own. I can see how having the site under my own domain will ultimately be more professional and like the aspects of self-reliance and control a self-hosted site has. But I don't think these issues make or break a successful blog. You need to have your niche and content right before self-hosting becomes an issue. Focus on these issues first.

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