Business Blog Dilemma

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Recently we were having a business blog dilemma and we asked for help and advice from our followers!

Our blog had been hosted on WordPress.com since the start but I felt that the time had come to refresh and update the blog.  Once I started considering the options I realised that there were a few different choices open to us and lots of conflicting advice out there.  I thought that other corporate bloggers may also be puzzling over the direction to take with their blog (particularly UK business bloggers) and so I decided to create a post about it in the hope that people may be willing to share their expertise and advice and this would help both me and others that were unsure!  I had so many questions about this I found it cathartic to create a post and I included a poll and the opportunity for people to comment at the end of the post (huge thank you to everyone who took the time to vote and give their expertise).  This post sets the scene and (future posts will share more information about our final decision making process and our journey)….

The Original Blog

Our original blog was hosted on wordpress.com and independent to our Events Northern Ltd company website, albeit linked via the blog tab from our website to the blog.  I love blogging and through blogging I hope to raise my profile and increase SEO and business for my company, Events Northern Ltd.  However it is a passion for me and blogging is something I really enjoy so I anticipate this will continue regardless of any business opportunities that may or may not arise from it.  By this I mean that I would never want to blog with the single aim of increasing SEO, losing the quality and soul of what I want to write about just to increase rankings.  Generally I do not use my blog too often to promote our own projects and events (rightly or wrongly), I see it more as a way to share my thoughts and expertise on event and conference management and other topics that interest me.

eventsnortherncogsnew1.jpgI wanted to have a shiny new look for the blog and there were several magazine style themes that I was interested in using.  I had also bought two exciting domain names: eventandconference.co.uk and eventandconference.management.

Business Blog Dilemmas!

The main dilemmas were:

  • Should I go self hosted?
  • Should I change the look and theme of my blog?
  • Should my blog move within my company website or use one of my new domain names (and if so which one?!)
  • Or realistically did I need to consider having 2 blogs – one within my website for more company specific posts and another for my usual posts – event management top tips/comment/etc.  Note: I preferred to avoid having two blogs unless it was absolutely essential as my time for blogging is limited!

Secondary questions:

  • Will it be harmful if people arrive on my blog and it looks completely different to the blog they have visited in the past?
  • Can a magazine theme be incorporated within the blog section of my company website if I wanted to go down that route (I actually like the appeal of my blog looking different to our other website pages if I move the blog within the site although the website may be built on WordPress too?)
  • Is there any SEO merit of the other domain(s) pointing to my website or the blog if not used to host the blog?
  • If I go self hosted what would happen if people typed in my previous blog address – would they automatically be redirected to the new blog site or would there just be broken links?  Is this easy to rectify?
  • What is the best way to make the change to self-hosted and what will be the ongoing charges and other things to think about?
  • Is there a way to back up and edit the blog to ensure I am happy with everything before deleting the old blog/making the change and publishing my new look self hosted blog?
  • Would there be a way to keep the blog separate to the website but link every post/perhaps post the introduction to the full post and then link through if people want to continue reading so the website gets some SEO benefit (so long as the website and blog are not penalized for this as there may be a small amount of duplicated content?)

I understand that the downsides of moving to self hosted are potentially losing some SEO benefit in terms of having a wordpress.com blog (which I understand Google loves!) but the SEO plug ins I will be able to access via wordpress.org may counteract this?

Arguments for Keeping Our Blog Separate to Our Company Website?

Becki Cross, MD, Events Northern Ltd

New Events Northern website

You may think that I was crazy/stupid for even considering keeping my blog separate to the company website, due to the SEO benefits we will not take advantage of.  Some of my reasons for considering keeping the blog separate to the website are outlined below.  Thank you to Andrew Percey Founder at Prometheus Internet Marketing for this excellent post verbalising the advantages of keeping a separate blog much better than I could have done!  The reasons which particularly resonated with me are:

  • If you want to promote your blog as its own brand.
  • If you want to promote yourself as a more objective industry expert.
  • If you might want to someday sell the blog but keep the company website.
  • If you might want to someday leave or sell the company but keep the blog.

I am unsure whether either of the last two scenarios will ever materialize as my company and my blog are both my “babies” however “never say never!” I would also add that I would hope to have more guest posting opportunities in the future too which I feel would perhaps be better suited to an independent blog to give an independent voice. Whether someone comes to a blog post and clicks onto a separate page within the website to find out more about Events Northern/the author or from a blog hosted independently to the company website surely that doesn’t make much different to the visitor?

I would also add to this:

  • I wanted to have a beautiful new look and magazine theme and I was unsure if that would be possible if housed within the company website
  • I saw benefits of using one of the domain names we have purchased which will also allow links back to our company website
  • I hoped that that there may be some benefits of hopefully having a website and a blog listed highly in terms of page ranking?
  • Perhaps in the future I may want to monetise the blog and again I feel that this would be more suited to keeping it separate to the company website

I appreciate however that the best thing in terms of SEO would be for the blog to be fully integrated within my website (e.g. www.eventsnorthern.co.uk/blog) which was obviously an appealing prospect, however I am also interested in the weight my new domain names could provide in hosting the blog.

I appealed for the advice of others knowledgeable in these areas as I didn’t know where to turn and seemed to read conflicting advice. I didn’t want to delay too long on the decision but I was happy to take on board all advice and completely revise my way of thinking if necessary based on expert opinion!

The results of the poll is shown below, as well as the comments received!  Thank you to everyone that contributed!  

UPDATE!
As you may have noticed I now have a self-hosted blog, with a magazine theme on the eventandconference.co.uk domain.  I am still working on the finishing touches and learning the ropes at WordPress.org but I hope you like our new look?  More information about our rationale and this process of moving from wordpress.com to self hosted will follow in future blog posts.

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