With the explosion of social networking and free blog sites, it is easier than ever to create your own blogs with just a few clicks of the mouse. The questions that don’t get asked are, do I own the content I create? If I upload images, are they still mine? What happens if this service goes away?
Where as social networking sites are great, ultimately they are at the hands of other companies. What they choose to do with their services, you have no choice but to go along with it, or delete your account.
Here are 13 reasons why you should purchase hosting and own your own blog.
Whether you like it or not, MySpace, Facebook and Blogger all have rules and limitations that you have to abide to. It may not seem like a big deal at first, but as you decide to grow your blog, and expand your brand, they’ll soon become apparent.
Not all services allow you to make the site your own. Tumblr, Facebook and WordPress.org all have some sort of customization abilities, but is it enough? Just adding your logo or picture in the sidebar can be outside the limits of some free services.
3. Changing Social Networks
Remember when MySpace was huge? Then Facebook came along. Now people are just Twittering away. All the content that gets built up at individual social network doesn’t transfer over to new ones and ends up becoming lost on a service you no longer use.
4. Social Networks Go Way
What happens if Blogger or MySpace decides to go away? I doubt that will happen anytime soon, but free online services come and go. Look at AOL Hometown or Yahoo Mash. Everyone that had spent time building up those sites and profiles have all had all their hard work disappear. Sometimes with little to no notice.
Making money with a blog is a great way to pay your hosting costs or make a few additional dollars on the side. However placing ads is not always a possibility on all free services. Sites like MySpace have their own ads to make their own money and you, as a content creator, have to have them displayed on your profile without seeing a dime.
“The MySpace Services are for the personal use of Members and may be used for promotional purposes as well, but direct commercial endeavors may only be used if they are specifically endorsed or authorized by MySpace. MySpace reserves the right to remove commercial content in its sole discretion. Illegal and/or unauthorized use of the MySpace Services, including collecting usernames, user id numbers, and/or email addresses of Members by electronic or other means for the purpose of sending unsolicited email or unauthorized framing of or linking to the MySpace Website, or employing third party promotional sites or software to promote profiles for money, is prohibited. Commercial advertisements, affiliate links, and other forms of unauthorized solicitation may be removed from Member profiles without notice or explanation and may result in termination of Membership privileges. MySpace reserves the right to take appropriate legal action for any illegal or unauthorized use of the MySpace Services.”
“Facebook may use information in your profile without identifying you as an individual to third parties. We do this for purposes such as aggregating how many people in a network like a band or movie and personalizing advertisements and promotions so that we can provide you Facebook. We believe this benefits you.”
Sure sites like Bebo and Friendster are easy to setup, but if you want to build your own brand, or market yourself, you need to prove that you are creative, talented and put forth the effort to do what it takes. An OK website, at your own domain, is much better than a decent site with Geocities in the URL.
Understanding what posts you’re creating are good traffic drivers, how your visitors are getting to your site, and how they use your site, are all important factors in marketing a successful blog. With social services like Facebook, analytics information is not available.
Social networks visibility is often limited to those that you connect to and who are participating in that particular service. Buy running your own blog, don’t have to connect with people to get feedback. A great Hi5 scrapbook (aka blog) post may get good visibility within the Hi5 network, but what about the rest of the internet?
Most hosts now have the ability to do one click-installs of WordPress and WordPress has the ability to do one-click installs of plugins. In no time you can setup, customize and start creating your own unique blog. Even for as little as $25 a year.
Between adding your blog feed to your social networks, and adding social network widgets to your blog, you can integrate all your services and create a central hub to market and promote yourself.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t network in some of the many social sites, but direct those users back to your blog for good posts, reviews or additional conversation.
Use social sites for networking and research and use your own, hosted, blog for content generation and as a place to market yourself. In the long run, the benefits of owing your own blog will outweigh and out last any social networking site.