So you want to start blogging?
This is awesome.
This is actually the most exciting thing that anyone can say to me.
Ok maybe you won the lotto would be slightly better!
But only because I could then blog even more and more.
But I digress.
What is the first thing that you should do to start blogging?
Are you curious?
I hate to say this but you need to spend a bit of money. The truth is, blogging the right way costs a bit.
Don't worry. It is not going to cost you much.
Heck, if you start blogging on a holiday weekend it could be crazy cheap.
The most important tip that I can ever give you about blogging is to own your blog.
If you are wondering what the heck that means, read on….
If there is one thing that I would like to recommend to all bloggers above all it is that you must own your url (domain name).
I have run across so many people that started their blog on www.yourcompanyname.wordpress.com or on yourcompanyname.tumblr.com or yourcompanyname.blogspot.com or even on weebly.com and now realize that they need to move it.
Let me say up front that I am a huge fan of these companies and they have a wonderful place in the world and serve us all really well. They just do not serve the business owner or professional blogger well. Authors, do not forget you are a business owner. The art of selling your book is a business.
- It makes you look like the professional that you are.
- You will own your content
- You will have a professional email account.
- You can use a premium theme.
- If you want to be a professional blogger people most likely will not want to pay you for ads.
- You do not want to spend time building great SEO on a website that you do not own.
- They can turn it off at anytime for any reason that they choose.
- Sometimes you need https:// for secure shopping purposes.
- You don’t want to be limited with WordPress plugins.
- If a better platform comes along you can change with the times.
Owning your domain makes you serious about blogging
If you are a business owner and you are blogging with another business name in your url it can come across as though you are not serious enough about your business. Essentially it says that either you do not believe in your business enough to purchase hosting and a domain name or that you are unsure of your business and are just testing the water. These are subtle or subconscious issues but considering how cheap hosting and domains names are there is just no good reason to take that path.
When you are in a professional setting and you mention your blog it is far easier to say: FunCityStuff.com than it is to say www.funcitystuff.wordpress.com. If someone remembers your blog url at all they will likely remember one part of the url and not the entire thing. As professional business owners it is vital to not make it even more difficult for the potential client.
Are you serious and stable?
Having your own url makes your business concrete in nature. Handing over money is a difficult thing for people to do and it is even more difficult for people to trust a business these days. If you do not have a permanent url you appear like a business that may go away soon. As consumers we want to know that if something goes wrong, we have questions or need to return something that the business is going to be there for a long time. When do not have a concrete/permanent domain name then this comes into question. Small business owners can not afford even the smallest seed of doubt to be planted about our business. We need to be seen as the professionals that we are.
Own it before it is popular
Sometimes people think to themselves that if their blog really takes off they will then switch it to a domain that they own and this is really bad. It is bad because if it takes off under another name you will loose all of that SEO if you can not create a forward to your new domain.
The premium WordPress Plugins
You need to have a self-hosted WordPress blog if you want to run premium plugins such as Thrive Content Builder. Also, premium themes such as the Genesis Theme by Studio Press will only run on a self-hosted WordPress blog.
Are you doing SEO work for another company or your own?
If you are blogging under a domain name that you do not own and you spend the outrageous amount of man hours required to properly SEO it you are essentially SEOing that company first. For example, if you blog under yourcompanyname.wordpress.com then you will always be SEOing wordpress as well as you. It is great that WordPress, a company that I love very much, provides this free access but I would suggest to you that this free is for the casual blogger and not the business blogger. I would never suggest to my best friend that she blog about dolls under a paid domain because she is just doing this for fun and for something to do with her daughter. She is not planning to make a full time professional business out of it.
However, if you are a professional such as Attorney Debbie Cunningham it is important to blog under your domain name. Odds are good that Debbie is a lawyer for the long haul and so she needs to build SEO that is purely for her.
Do you want someone else to be able to change their mind and turn you off?
Companies change things all of the time. If something is not working for them then they will just cancel the service. For example, odds are not good that Google will get rid of their blogging platform but if they so decided they are fully within their right to do so. If they did this then all of your SEO and content would be gone with it.
For example in 2010 there was a platform called Squidoo. It was extremely popular and people were creating content on it. It was a great looking platform and it seemed like a wonderful way to start blogging without needing to own your domain name.
Then in 2014 it went away. Hubpages bought it and now it is something completely different. This is just one example of platforms changing. If you had grown a brand around Squidoo, you would have had no say in the changes that took place.
What if something better comes along?
Finally, there are always new blogging platforms coming on the market. Yes, I am a WordPress junkie but I have also signed up for The Grid. The Grid is a new platform that is currently under development.
I do not know how awesome it will be or if it will suck. However, it looks promising and the beautiful part is that code will not be required.
It is new. It is fascinating. You will need to own your domain name to use it.
In this blog post we have touched on 10 reasons why you should own your domain name. We have discussed examples of how platforms can disappear out from under you and how better platforms are in development.
In the end, you should own your domain name and host your blog so that you have full control. If you really want to start blogging and you hope to profit from that blog, then own your domain name and pay for hosting.
This will give you absolute control over your brand.