Free blogging platforms (like Blogger) are for “I want to tell you the funny things my kids did this weekend” bloggers. They’re not for people who sell stuff or who use their blog to promote their services. They’re not for people who make money online. And they’re certainly not for businesses, full-time or part-time.
There’s lots of reasons for this, but here’s the most important one:
As soon as you use a service like Blogger, you give the owner a license to use, modify or otherwise muck with your stuff. They can use it to promote their services, which means they can use anything you post to help them make a profit.
Your photos? That sample chapter you posted? Yeah. They can use any of it, because of what’s on the “terms of service” page you click “I Agree” to.
Here’s what Google has on that page:
When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps).
In other words, by using Blogger, you have automatically given Google – and anyone they work with – the right to use, reproduce, modify or create derivative works of anything you post for promotional purposes. And, even if you stop using their service, it doesn’t matter – they still have a license to use it!
If You’ve Been Skimming, Stop and Read This:
It’s so important I’m going to say it again, and I especially want the creative types to take note:
If you’re a photographer, writer, illustrator, etc. – or anyone using Blogger – you have given Google a license to make money off your work.
No, you can’t take that permission back – but you’re far better off to stop now than to keep using the service and post more and more of your valuable stuff.
The Advantages of Going Self-Hosted
Obviously, controlling your stuff is a good reason to get off these services. But moving to your own “self-hosted” blog (one where you control all of it) has other benefits too.
When you stick with a freebie service, you are stuck with incredible limitations: limited templates, limited customization, and limited upgradeability. Heaven forbid you ever want to migrate from Blogger to a full-fledged website – getting your ‘stuff’ out is time consuming and awful. And of course, the more there is, the more work it is to fix (but if you do want to do that, you may want to consider hiring me, so I can go through the pain, for you).
When you go self-hosted, you get complete control over your blog, and everything in it. You can:
- customize it however you like
- give it its own domain name (www.yourblognamehere.com, not yourblogname.blogspot.com or whatever)
- easily move to a more full-fledged website if and when you want
- choose exactly how your stuff is being used
And, last but not least, it’s just plain more professional. You wouldn’t want your logo designed in Microsoft Paint, right? Or a featured piece of artwork in your living room to be ClipArt? That’s what using a freebie service to host your business blog looks like to the outside world.
It Can Still Be Cheap
Now, I know what you’re thinking: But those services are quick and easy! They’re cheap (can’t beat free!) They’re convenient!
But here’s the truth of the matter:
So is hosting your own blog.
For $10 a month, you can get your very own self-hosted blog, completely in your control. Eat one less lunch out, or have a couple less drinks when out with friends, and you’ll have it paid for. Plus, you get all the benefits of self-hosting: your own domain name (remember, that’s your own “www address”), and a more professional, customizable, flexible, and upgradable site.
And it’ll still be ridiculously simple to use.
Cheap, easy and effective. Everything you could want for your small-business blog.
Psssst. Remember that new service launch I was talking about yesterday? Well, let’s just say that it might just have something to do with helping you solve this problem.
Quick and Painless Blog Set-Up
So you’re convinced that you need a self-hosted blog – but aren’t sure about the technical details, or just don’t have the time? Let me do it for you.
Photo credit: dlritter