Why It Is Still A Great Time To Start A Blog

The marketing and technology categories continue to buzz about Google+, Facebook, Twitter and other social outposts. Outposts are popular because they’re easy. Easy to setup because they don’t require any specialized skills, easy to make look nice since you’re coloring within the lines.

They’re all valuable and exciting networks. The social web as a whole continues to expand with more of them.

And yet…

Stream-based platforms are basically a problem in search of a solution. Everyone within them wants something to point at. Something unique, useful, interesting or creative that exists outside the stream. The stream’s purpose isn’t to talk about itself, rather to find things to talk about, comment on, amplify and share.

We talk a lot about the notion that every company is a media company. That’s still the opportunity that is staring you in the face and precisely why it is still a great time to start a blog. As social outposts grow in popularity, the ease of spreading new content and ideas just continues to increase. In fact, as the average user decides to forgo a self-hosted platform in favor of yielding their presence to the stream, this spells opportunity for the company or individual who is above average and willing to vest the effort to build a real web community.

Something else we’ve talked about is that stream based platform simply don’t foster the same type of community as one that is platform agnostic. To use networks you don’t own without having your own self-hosted destination that is updated with frequency and priority is to act tactically. You’re not building any momentum or an independent community this way.

Further, platforms are also exclusionary by nature. Not everyone uses every platform and that’s something a lot of people seem to miss. If you seek to penetrate an entire category and not simply a single network, then becoming a publisher is the answer.

Other benefits having a self-hosted blog has over any network you don’t own / self-host:

  • Your own domain with clean URLs is still the most accessible, find-able and share-able asset on the web.
  • Blog content can be shared across the web, in any way a user prefers.
  • Media have become very comfortable directly reacting and linking to blog content, far more than any microcontent like a Tweet (ephemeral) or a Facebook status update (tough to link to).
  • Self-installed analytics packages like Google Analytics or Omniture offer far more detailed and meaningful reports than any data from social sites and provide the full picture – all the way to conversion.
  • Once sustainable traffic is build, you can point the firehose of traffic at any outpost and grow it.
  • Three words: search engine traffic.
  • With a blog, you can develop a truly creative, personalized design that is as you define it, not constrained by someone else’s rules.
  • You can build opt in at the source, bypassing the noise of the real-time web and distribute content directly to high value (but unloved) email and RSS readers.
  • On blogs, archives are valuable and continue to be re-shared and used to thread the past with the future. In stream-based platforms page 2 might as well be page 90.
  • You can run calls to action next to your content and get to an outcome (leads generated, talent solicited, ads clicked – up to you!).
  • Traffic is distributed with a self-hosted blog: if one source dies up, there are many more.

Don’t be shocked that the early adopters will continue to raise the “blogs are dead” meme into the future. And you’ll notice the most popular place they do this is on …you guessed it, other blogs. It’s an absurd conversation. You should ignore this and instead focus on reality: that the single best place to build a voice for you or your brand and dominate your category remains blogging.

Remember, you are not just another web user. As someone reading this site: whether a marketer, an artist or an entrepreneur, you’re hardly average. Rather you’re looking for the most potent approach to share ideas. I know it requires work, but to think doing so does not is naive.

The waves of change on the web don’t knock over the past unless your equity is tied up in a single network. A distributed presence not only provides accessibility, it provides security.

It’s still a great time to start a blog, but every day you wait is another day you fall behind savvy competitors who haven’t been taken in by hype or snake-oil types. If you have one already and it’s suffering because of other networks, why are you paying yourself last?

image credit: Shutterstock