Let me preface this post by saying I’m a big fan of Google and their online applications. Even Blogger, their online blogging software has its benefits, to some extent. Also, although my company offers business blogs as a service, this post is not about my company or our services, it’s about making the right business decision when it comes to implementing a business blog. An online business deserves every opportunity to become as successful as possible, and Blogspot.com just doesn’t offer the kind of support, services and features that are necessary to get the most out of this marketing device. I’m also not stating these reasons because I have studied other people’s experiences. I myself blogged for over three years using the Blogger service starting back in 2003, before it was even popular. That’s before I found WordPress and became a 100% advocate of their open-source platform and content management system. So when you’re reading these opinions, rest assured it’s from someone familiar with the complete Blogger experience.
On another note, this post was inspired by Dharmesh Shah’s great post on the same topic over at HubSpot’s Internet Marketing Blog. I can definitely relate to the same kind of headaches he experienced when trying to work with clients who are on Blogger and Blogspot.com.
Top 5 Reasons Why Blogspot.com Won’t Work for Your Business Blog:
- Image is Everything: Users are as savvy as they come these days, and they aren’t impressed by a free blog on a sub-domain. The design and customization features of the hosted version of Blogger are for lack of a better word, limited. Not to say with some heavy tweaking and redirection it isn’t possible to get a professional, polished looking blog, but why not just start with the right software to begin with? Also, as far as consumers are concerned, a business isn’t taking itself very seriously if they aren’t going to take the few extra steps and set up an external, hosted blog. Blogspot.com blogs are really a soundboard for the personal bloggers, the diarists and individual voices. Businesses need to look elsewhere if they don’t want to be lost in a sea of soccer moms and emo teens with bad haircuts.
- SEO Suicide: When you setup a blog on Blogspot, you’re basically throwing your SEO out the window. Because it’s a sub-domain (yourbusiness.blogspot.com), all those incoming links you build to your blog are benefiting Google, and let’s face it, they don’t need the help ranking in their own search engine. I’m not even going to bring up the fact that Google won’t allow a 301 redirect to be placed on the blog so you can properly forward the SEO love to your company website, essentially locking your domain up and forcing you to start over when you eventually figure out Blogspot wasn’t the best choice.
- Naughty Neighbors: Think the Blogspot.com community can do no wrong? The neighborhood is worse than you thought. Search Engine Land recently highlighted an article from News.com that stated Blogspot.com hosts 2% of all malware on the net, the single most abundant source online. And because Blogspot accounts can easily comment on each other’s blogs without the filters of other services, it’s very common to have a malicious link injected into your blog without your knowledge. A recent case of this found a blogger’s entire website and blog removed from the Google index because of this feature, simply because the link led to a malware and spam site. Guilt by association has never been so ironic.
- Poor Integration & Features: The hosted Blogger is essentially a bubble-gum blog service. The feature set is extremely limited, with no support for article tagging, comment subscriptions and integration into blog tracking services like Technorati. The whole point of putting together a blog is to participate in the blog community, and having a blog on Blogspot.com really limits that interaction outside of Blogspot.com. It’s certainly something to consider when trying to start conversations about your market and build a reputation in the industry, let alone driving traffic to your site through those blog directories.
- Data Transfer Nightmares: Google is known for easy migration of information, but it’s important to remember that Blogger was not developed originally by Google, it was purchased and developed from previously existing software. This is the only explanation for the hardships I endured when attempting to export my data once I was ready to make the switch. Comments wouldn’t transfer and I was only able to process a few articles at a time. Having blogged for over three years, it’s an understatement to say that it took forever. I had well over 500 posts and had to backup all the data to ensure it wasn’t lost or deleted during the migration. You’d think this would be a priority with Blogger since it’s very often the place blogs are born and not made, but it seems that stranglehold on your data isn’t getting loosened any time soon.
To summarize, I don’t want to completely write off Blogger as a valuable tool; it might be just what the millions of main-stream bloggers need; a bare-bones service that makes blogging extremely easy. But Blogspot.com, the hosted version of Blogger is not really worth the work that needs to go into it. Like everything free, it comes with a catch, and in this case it’s the deal-breaker when it comes to professional business blogs. At the very least, if you’re on Blogspot.com right now, purchase your own domain and hosting. Make the transfer before it gets any more difficult and you’re locked into something you can’t get out of. I fully recommend WordPress for every aspect of blogging and have tried pretty much every platform on the market. If you need help with a transfer, let us know. Even if you don’t work with us, we can point you in the right direction.