Blogging service Posterous closes.
It's taking 15 million blogs with 63 million pages down with it.
Any service, any business, can fail at any time. Yours can too – but only you have your best interest in mind. Others will throw you under the bus, and drive it, as long as that serves their business interests.
You have to own your content and you have to own the publication.
It's real simple: your blog, your site.
Brand Equity, Ranking Loss
Forget the "generous" option that Posterous bloggers can download their own content. What are they going to do with it?
They can upload it elsewhere, maybe on their own site this time, but Posterous won't setup the crucial web server status code "301 This Page Is Permanently Available Elsewhere" that tells search engines to take all their ranking information for the old URL and use it for the new URL.
To Google that newly published old content may look stolen; they'll think that your former content thieves are the older, more original source.
New old content, no historical ranking information, and possibly a "that's content theft" flag. How's that for breakfast?
If you're not sick to your stomach yet, consider this: what about the years of building content brand equity as yourbrand.theirbrand.com?
Where are people going to look? When they see you're gone will they think "oh, that service must have shut down of course!" or will they assume you have shut down?
The Hosted Brand Content Apocalypse
At least 30,000 moved from their own blog to one serviced by Posterous.
But that's nothing yet.
And with the new blogging/publishing tool in town, guess what's starting to happen?
Do the searches. Read the reasons. "Safer", "reach", "SaaS", "lower cost".
I can sum it up in two words: yeah right.
What You Have To Do To Do It Right
- Have a blog.
You need a place to call home. That's your blog.
You need a place where you can drop the corp speak and tell it like it is. That's your blog.
You need a place where you have the flexibility to target any search phrase without having to come up or wait for a marketing process.
- Host it on your own domain.
If you're at http://example.com have your blog at http://example.com/blog.
Don't even go for a subdomain like http://blog.example.com — that's my personal opinion; take it or leave it.
Oh, and stick with blog in the URL. Don't be cute and call it example.com/content-garden or whatever. Blog is what the Internet has grown to know and expect. Work with us, not against us.
- Power it with self-hosted blogging software.
Don't use Blogger, Posterous (closing), Pownce (closed), Tumblr, Yahoo's Geocities (closed), or any other service to publish your content. Not even if they let you use your own domain name.
If ever when the service shuts down, adds advertisement, or changes its terms and conditions, moving your content out of their system into another is not fun, often painful, and frequently costly.
Installing takes literally just 5 minutes. Here's how.
If you can't or won't do it yourself, pay someone to do it. It's 5 minutes of work, 10 if they have to invent a database, 15 if they also take a coffee break; you figure out how much they should charge max.
- Builds inroads to your home base.
Establish your presence on social networks you really should be at.
Make a connection in its profile between the social account (someone else's business interest) and your site and blog (your business interest).
It's good to just talk with people along the path; don't be a freak and try to invite everyone back home all the time.
It's kind to be a Mensch and help people out without shoving your business card in their face or telling them you have just the thing they should buy in order to solve the problem.
Be a presence and just make sure people know the road to your door.
What You Shouldn't Do
Simple: don't make your brand and another's a singularity.
It should never just be otherbrand.com/yourbrand.
It should never just be yourbrand.otherbrand.com.
People should think of it as your brand having a presence on the other site.
- Have a blog
- Host it on your own site
- With your own software
- Build your brand
- Don't be fooled