Posterous, the free hosted blogging platform was recently acquired by Twitter (see the Posterous announcement here), and while they say the service will continue without disruption, WordPress.com has seen a 250% spike in Posterous imports – suggesting that users aren’t thinking the service will be around for the long haul. My guess is that it will continue for a year or so, and then quietly be ‘sunsetted’ as users slowly leave.
While I’m happy for Twitter and their newly acquired talent, it got me to thinking again about content – specifically about
whose who’s controlling and owning and caring for your content.
Own it – make it yours
Posterous, as well as Tumblr and other hosted platforms, host your content on their servers. While the service is usually free, most users end up with a domain such as this: http://awesomesite.tumblr.com. This is fine for casual bloggers or for dipping your toes into owning a website, but for businesses and people who have something truly great to say, there are many reasons to take ownership of your own domain, your own brand, your own content.
Own your domain
Part of branding yourself or your business is having a great domain name. You probably already know this. It’s true that many hosted blogging platforms offer the ability to pay extra to register and use your domain. This is a great step and if you choose this route then you’re at least half way there. You’ve begun to build a brand around your domain, but the content is still hosted somewhere out of your control. This may not seem like a big deal, but if Posterous goes offline, what then? Can you get your content? Most likely yes, but what about the look and feel – the brand you’ve established, the comments and other assets?
Own your content
I’m a big proponent of owning your own content (see this post on using social media the smart way). That starts with owning your own domain, and hosting it on a server that you have control of (self hosted). Going this route ensures that you’ve stuck a claim on your corner of the web – and it’s yours. The site, the content – it’s directly accessible and if you decide to pick the entire thing up and move to a different host, you can. Minimal disruption to your visitors, and minimal work getting your content back in order.
There are many hundreds of hosts to choose from (We use Media Temple) and most offer one-click installs of popular website platforms such as WordPress or Joomla. Is this the easy way to go? No, defiantly not. There will be a learning curve.
The right way to market and brand your business online is to own your own domain, and host it yourself. Then blog blog blog.