Back with us as content sponsor from last week, Chris Baskind and I thought it would be fun to talk about the importance of having your own site — and within that, of blogs.
As publishers, we both believe that having a home base on your URL is a better strategy than giving up your best content to social networks — not just for search purposes, as good as those are.
WordPress is a better tool to have the best of both worlds. Which is why Chris offers Web development using WordPress. Those of you who have written blogs off, you may want to rethink your position.
Chris offers five reasons why
Maybe it's because I was a web publisher before I ever started building sites for other people. But I'm frequently asked if I'm concerned that blogs seem to be going the way of the Age of Sail, steam locomotives, and the Dodo bird.
Blogs — and by this term, I mean any small content-focused, web-based publishing organ — have never been static affairs. Hit the Wayback machine, and you'll see that blogs have always adapted themselves to technology and the audience landscape.
These days, even solo publishers can produce an online product which rivals the graphic sophistication and feature set of major, corporate-run portals. That's a far cry from the stark, text-based personal journals of even a few years ago.
It's argued, though, that the atomization of time and attention resulting from the growth of Facebook, Twitter, and dozens of other media channels has rendered the blog obsolete.
I think precisely the opposite is the case, especially for business and professional publishers. It's this very proliferation which will drive the growth of blogs through the coming decade.
Here are five factors I think are at play:
(1.) You can't keep up with the explosion of new media channels.
It's great that companies see the value of online media, and are staffing a response. But this is a bottomless pit, and there are limits to the number of channels and outposts and company or individual can cover. There's always some Shiny Object in the wings, but not usually a line item in the budget to match.
(2.) Blogs are the natural hub of a media channel strategy.
You may not have the resources to be heard on even a portion of the media landscape, but you can certainly be the Master of Your Own Domain. Viewing media channels as outposts and driving attention back to your own community is a far more efficient strategy than growing mature communities everywhere.
(3.) Blogs are not subject to the terms of service and continuity of external sites.
Today's hot destination may be tomorrow's Deadpool floater. Months of engagement, resources, and community building can be annihilated (without anything resembling die process) by a single spurious copyright infringement claim. Media channels are disposable. Your brand is not.
(4.) Blogs provide a better environment for sales-facing conversations.
If you can engage potential customers on your own turf, rather than on external channels, everything you need for a sales conversion can be close at hand: Product details, community recommendations, and the e-commerce nuts and bolts of making an actual purchase. While this isn't every publisher's goal, vertical integration of resources can drive a conversation towards action.
(5.) Blogs provide enduring value.
It's true that media channels lend search ranking of your brand name, and additionally serves to contextualize the nature of your brand to search engines. But there is no substitute for a well-defined content destination, and nothing which better describes your company and services to human beings — rather than just search bots.
Every book deserves a cover, and that's the function of a mature blog. It's where you tell your story.
I expect blogs will continue to evolve, both from the perspective of visitors and publishers. The automatic customization of content — based on user behavior, identity, and preference — is already underway.
On the backend, Content Management Systems will become more modular and role-oriented, allowing publishers to train and maintain for their particular needs. It's an exciting time.
Blogs are here to stay. Those who say otherwise might not be.
Rather than being carried away by the stream, they continue to live with the content they were intended to build upon and enrich.
If you've been sitting on the fence about whether to develop a blog or a site, do both. Check out June's special offer — a one-time WordPress start up package for Conversation Agent readers.