Should I have an on-site or off-site blog?
This age old question has been revisited, dissected and criticized! Let’s take a look and the positive benefits and potentially negative effects of having an on-site versus an off-site blog:
+ Update new, relevant content. On-site blogs are an efficient way of adding fresh content to an otherwise static site. Google will crawl your site more often because blogs are crawled more frequently than regular web pages. (Google Freshness update, anyone?)
+ Benefit from social media signals. If you have Facebook, Twitter or even Share functions on your blog, your site will get to benefit as a whole every time a reader interacts.
+ Attract relevant traffic and bring clicks to your site. More traffic and time spent on site means more clicks and that will hopefully translate into more conversions. The argument here is why would you want to take that away by diverting that traffic off-site?
+ Talk about your business. Hopefully, you’ll talk about more than just yourself on your on-site business blog but this is the perfect platform to link to your content, social media profiles, awards, new videos/commercials and anything else that’s relevant to your company. If this is your plan on an off-site blog, it could be perceived as suspicious to visitors, as well as search engines. If you’re blogging about something relevant to your site, why is it hosted on another site and not the same one?
– More content to manage. Depending on how often you update, your website could grow at an alarming rate. Remember that quality matters over quantity and old or over-optimized linking practices on an on-site blog can come back to haunt you.
– Writer’s block. Writing for your on-site blog might be hard if you run out of relevant things to write about. It can be difficult to maintain a professional tone if you start posting about off-topic subjects. Of course this depends on your your industry but if you want to post about personal topics, an on-site blog might not be the place for it.
+ Leaves from for off-topic posts. An off-site blog means that you’re not expected to talk about just one certain topic or business all the time. You have more creative freedom and can use it to leverage the content on your main site.
+ Diversify search results. Since search engines are more interested in providing a variety of results, an off-site blog can help you target the same keywords/phrases while not coming from the same domain.
+/– Linking opportunities to your main site. Remember, this is a benefit but it can quickly diminish. Incoming links from off-site blogs can look suspicious or spammy if your posts are over optimized and always link to the same exact match anchor text. This is also the case if your off-site blogs are the only place that your main site is getting back links.
– Divert traffics from main site. Like we mentioned above, blogs are a great way to attract attention but it’s no good if that traffic isn’t harnessed to your main page.
– Reputation management. Even though off-site blogs aren’t directly affiliated with your main site, it’s important to be in control and aware of how your professional image is portrayed. This isn’t the place to go way astray and post pictures of hot girls in bikinis just because you want to.
Either way you choose to do things, blogging is a great strategy for a small business. There’s great potential to grow your brand while increasing SEO visibility. Let us know your take on on-site vs off-site blogs.
Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.