Free VS Self Hosted Blogs for Business: What should you do?

The follow blog post is a response to Self Hosted Blogs for Business which is paraphrased in the quote below, taken directly from the site. Do you agree? Where is your business blog hosted? Please weigh-in with your thoughts in the comments!

WordPress.com and Blogger Blogs

WordPress.com and Blogger Blogs are hosted and essentially controlled by WordPress and Blogger web sites. They are free to use and very quick to set up, you can be Blogging in minutes. However, from a business perspective that is where the benefits end.

My response

Wow. While there are some very GOOD reasons for businesses to use self hosted blogs here, I strongly disagree with your this stand on using self vs free blogs for business.

Especially considering small to medium sized businesses, your very short list of benefits is not at all where the benefits end. There are many more good reasons for businesses to consider using free community blogs including: cost effectiveness (from so many areas), content testing, free SEO (yes SEO) and free relevant promotion within passionate blogging communities, just to name a few. Big or small, if you don’t need to serve ads and your primary reason for blogging is organic SEO, a free blog may be ideal. A self hosted blog may be overkill.

Design? Yes, self hosted blogs offer more and better options, but most business only need to be sharp, functional and professional looking with basic stats for tweaking content. With a little time and effort… and maybe a little help, coaching and finesse, you can absolutely achieve this via Worpress.com (for example). Your going to need a log more time and resources available to deal with a self hosted blog.

Stats? Yes, there is absolutely better information available on self hosted blogs but that doesn’t mean you need them or you’re going to use them. If you’re driving traffic to your website, in many cases the stats supplied by the free blog combined with your website stats, that are hopefully provided by Google Analytics or better, will suffice.

You CAN move to a self hosted blog later.

Choice between free and self hosted should be based on what’s appropriate for your strategy and not based on bells and whistles.

More often than not, bells and whistles just create more noise.

Thanks,
@richardbouchez

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Richard A. Bouchez | Social Media Specialist | New Media Production Richard Bouchez is a certified Inbound Marketing professional specializing in Social Media Marketing & New Media content development. Richard’s web, audio & video work has been honored with Emmy, Promax & CBA awards.

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How to: Make Facts and Figures Fascinating and Friendly! Web, Broadcast, Print, Powerpoint

A better way to showcase stats
Better ways to show off stats!
*updated 6/15/10 scroll all the way down for bonus links to infographics including 40 fantastic infographics!

Ok, you’re excited! You’ve done the research to turn up sales figures that will turn heads but what the heck are you going to do with a list of arbitrary numbers on a spreadsheet?!? How do you turn a dry static stat riddled excel sheet into a sea of emotional sizzle??? Well, if you haven’t met already, let me introduce you to the “Infographic” and it’s video partner.

Below you’ll find examples of entertaining, fascinating and powerful visuals that were surely, at one point, completely boring piles of facts & figures!

The INFOGRAPHIC VIDEO: This is a great example of how to shape research into a series of powerful examples everyone can relate.

The INFOGRAPHIC: Without a doubt the combination of rapid growth & the “measurement factor” of online advertising is driving the buzz surrounding social networking but, even still, there are few LESS interesting things than web stats! Here’s a great way to showcase figures that would be otherwise eye glazing. Click for a larger view.

Facebook: What You Probably Didn't Know
Infographic Facebook: What You Probably Didn't Know

[Source: Online PhD Programs for MashableMashableMashable.com]

Infographic The Tiger Woods Economy
Infographic The Tiger Woods Economy

 

Amazing way to showcase stats
Great infographic on match making

 

 

5 More Infographics

The Truth About Impulse Shopping [Infographic]

How Are Teens Using Their Cell Phones? [infographic]

The 20 Best Companies to Work for in 2010 [Infographic]

Everything You Need To Know About Twitter (Infographic)

The Facebook Story In An Infographic

Got great examples for ways to showcase stats in pics or videos? Love to see them! Please share in the comments!

Bonus “how to” link: The Anatomy of an Infographic: 5 Steps to creating a powerful visual

BONUS #2: @GuyKawasaki: 40 fantastic infographics http://is.gd/cPz2W

Good luck!

@richardbouchez

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Check out Social Media Profile Business Cards>>>

Social Profile Card > "We're @" on front &  Twitter, Facebook & Linkedin on back!

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Richard Bouchez is a certified Inbound Marketing professional specializing in Social Media Marketing & New Media content development. Richard’s web, audio & video work has been honored with Emmy, Promax & CBA awards.

How can we help you?

Inovedia Marketing provides the following services, how can we help you?

Social Media Marketing

  • We provide training, monitoring, blogging & copy writing services which means we can just get you started or manage and build your social networking efforts!

Multimedia Production

  • Let us create your web videos! We have Emmy award winning talent and the know how to create high quality videos & podcasts on a budget. For bigger projects, our access and established relationships with full service facilities means the sky is the limit!

Web Design & New Media Development

  • Put the web to work for you! From tweaks to complete redesigns, we’ll transform your website into an engaging resource your ideal customers will frequent! Ask how we can deliver highly target-able audiences to your door through new media product development! We can extend your brand, drive traffic and multiply your reach!

General Creative Services

  • Copy-writing, design services, online and traditional marketing campaign development, contest creation & management. Ad creation including banner ads, print, radio, television, newspaper and direct mail.

Email: InovediaMarketing at gmail dot com

Twitter: @inovedia

 

Richard Bouchez is a certified Inbound Marketing professional specializing in Social Media Marketing & New Media content development. Richard’s web, audio & video work has been honored with Emmy, Promax & CBA awards.

Create your own edge! Build your own community!

You have a store front, so does your competition. You have a website, so does the competition. You might even have a blog, a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account but if your competition doesn’t already, they will soon. So, how can you stay ahead in the marketing game? How can you stand out from the pack, ensure growth and make a difference that will really matter?

Build a community.

What does that mean? It means create a market place where you can provide a product or service to draw like minded individuals or folks with common interests. This could be anything, a blog, a tip newsletter, quote or photo of the day, whatever you can come up with and, if successful, your new market place will provide you a growing community filled with those who need and/or want your service.

Where do you begin?

  1. Identify your ideal customer.
  2. Identify your ideal customer’s needs or wants.
  3. Identify new products that can deliver that content.
  4. Experiment and test your ideas without breaking the bank.
  5. Set expectations and deliver on promises!
  6. Commit to the long term!

Ideal Customers: These aren’t your favorite customers or even your best customers. These are the ones who want or need your product the most. If you make baseball bats you are probably interested in reaching kids who play baseball, their parents or perhaps schools who outfit entire teams.

Identifying Needs & Wants: This can get a bit tricky so ask them! Social media is great for this! If you’re not active on Twitter or Linkedin, start now! Linkedin groups are a great place to ask questions and get feedback but start now so you can get comfortable using the site.

New Products Brainstorming:
Successful new products can be as simple as a branded e-newsletter, a blog or podcast and as complicated as an un-branded video sharing site. If you’re an electronics store, avoid creating a gadget blog because there are already so many out there. Your going to have to be much more creative! Investigate hobbiests and other niches, perhaps there’s an opportunity for that electronic store to blog about installing or tweaking car stereo systems. Look at your staff for hobbies and passion to tap into!

Testing:
If your new product resembles a blog, newsletter or other niche website take advantage of WordPress.com’s free blogs to create test sites. If you’re considering a podcast build a free channel on youtube, if it works you may just end up sticking with it anyway! If you have an idea that’s not working toss it right away! With proper benchmarking steps in place, failing strategies can be quickly eliminated.

Set Expectations & Deliver on Promises: Trust is, with out a doubt, the key ingredient for any community and once you lose it there no telling if you can regain it! It’s very important to be as transparent as possible! If you’re creating a new unbranded product don’t deny or hide the fact that your company is supporting it. If the product is good and solid there’s no reason to hide. If you plan on serving ads begin doing so early-on to set the expectation of how many ads there will be and try to stick to a posting schedule.

Set your own expectation, this is not an overnight process! While marketing costs can often be curbed with good social marketing plans and by utilizing resources and databases you already have, such as lists of email newsletter subscribers, vendors, trade inventory, etc., this is a process that will take time to build and cost you time to maintain!

Commit to the long term:
Depending on the community, you may have to moderate or provide content for as long as the product is in place. Understand that to keep a community going you have to be actively involved!

The possibilities are endless! With an ideal community at your fingertips you can speak to folks who are actually listening whether your strategic goals are brand building, product positioning, increasing press coverage, educating new customers, re-educating existing customers, driving traffic, creating buzz or creating new revenue streams. Even more importantly, you can reach folks who are actually interested and that’s an amazing thing!

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Good luck!

Richard (@richardbouchez)

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*Test photo by Sidelong on flickr here

Creative New Marketing Tips for Small Business
Creative New Marketing Tips for Small Business

Direction & Registration Link: Chicago Small Business Expo July 17th

*Reposted from Chicago City Treasurer.com

Friday, July 17, 2009

8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Register Now

UIC Forum

725 West Roosevelt Road (directions)

Entrance on Roosevelt and Union Street

UIC Parking Map UIC Parking Map (417 KB)

Parking Voucher Parking Voucher (52 KB)

Attendees – ample parking is located two blocks west of the UIC Forum at 1135 S. Morgan St. Lot 5. – at a discounted price of $6.75. The discount is for Lot 5 only.

For additional information, call (312) 744-EXPO (3976)

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*Information from:

Office of the City Treasurer

Stephanie Neely Treasurer Contact: Public Affairs

July 02, 2008 (312) 744-8122

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