At least once a year, various people declare that blogs are dead… usually killed by some platform that we label as “social media”.
Some marketing consultants tell small businesses that they can do fine just having a Facebook page. Bad advice in my opinion. Over the years we’ve seen otherwise smart people making the same mistake over and over throughout the brief history of the Internet.
- The website is dead: AOL rules (1997)
- The website is dead: MySpace rules (2005)
- The website is dead: Facebook rules (2011)
Wrong, wrong, and wrong.
The website is here to stay. That’s analysis you can count on. Your own website is simply the best way to publish new media content. Social media news and networking sites are the ways that your content gets exposure. Social media can be used in conjunction with your website and other online and offline marketing techniques.
Here’s why you should own your own blog rather than post via social media:
You become a digital sharecropper*
Instagram. Facebook. Twitter. Medium. LinkedIn. Tumblr. Google+. All of them — electronic plantations. Their users, their sharecroppers.
The social sites build the tools of production and give them away for free. You, the user, provide the content and do all the work while the company reaps the benefits.
If the only place you can connect with customers is on your Facebook page, you essentially work for Facebook.
And they can (and do) change their terms of service whenever they want, without asking you, in a way that can create massive tumult for you. They can also delete your page just because they feel like it. They owe you nothing. And they’re too big to care about your problems.
If the only place you get traffic is Google (either through organic search or pay-per-click), you work for Google.
If 80% of your new customers find you on Pinterest or LinkedIn, you work for Pinterest or LinkedIn.
You have a much better option. You can rely on yourself, and use Facebook and Google and Pinterest as outposts to support your business.
The conventional model of social media sites is to monetize the content and they use advertising to do this. Companies will always seek ways to make more money, and this usually means more and bigger ads.
In the past, contributors have revolted en masse and quit using their platforms, which drains the equity of a site. Wikia was one such project.
Facebook’s effort to monetize its traffic on the web and mobile seems to be having the same impact. Facebook is losing its core audience.
In other circumstances, there has been utter collapse. When Twitter shut the doors on five year old Posterous it also shut down more than 15 million blogs and 63 million pages.
You can’t (easily) monetize a social media blog
If your goal is simply to dash off your thoughts, share popular images, or hang out and socialize in the comments or video chat, that’s fine.
But if you have a mind to earn a living from your ideas, then your tactics should change. You are going to need traffic, an audience, and a way to turn that traffic and audience into paying customers.
A website gives you the ability to create product pages, or landing pages to promote your products.
No effective archive
On social media sites how do you keep track and manage posts?
In WordPress you have the option to scroll through or search your archive inside the admin panel, and you can easily share your posts in various ways within any page of your website.
No control over design
Sorry, but Facebook and Google+ are ugly. So are all the other social networks.
This is why each one tries to give you some design customization options to personalize your account. There was a time when MySpace did this the best (showing that sometimes too much control is not a good thing).
On the other hand, WordPress offer a variety of options to decorate and personalize your site and pages, which can then be customized as much or little as you want. With a good design, people can pick up your brand in seconds.
Social media platforms change, wither, and die
No social media site is too big to fail.
It could be an expiring business model. Conflict among the upper ranks. A buyout — and the consequent changes — that drive loyal fans away.
Of course, nothing guarantees that anything will last forever. Your blog, hosting providers, or even the Internet. But when you have control over the tools of production and the content, you put yourself in the best position to control the economic rewards as well.
Your customer’s perception
If you want to build a reputation that extends across the web, whether you are publishing on your own site or on a guest blog, then you need a verifiable identity and an external website.
Your content and reputation should belong to you. Not Facebook. Not Google. Not Tumblr. But you. You should own the content and the platform it’s displayed on.
Lastly, why require the people in your community to sign up for a social platform they may not want? Why not provide a better communications solution?
Here’s what to do instead:
Have a well-designed website with your own domain name.
Drive people to your site via advertising, print media, mail-outs, word of mouth, and social media.
Now you’re in control, and you will reap the benefits. You’ve put a lot of time and effort into your business — don’t risk it by building your business on someone else’s land.
*Sharecropping is a system of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on the land.
Thanks to copyblogger.com for some of the useful information provided in the above post.