Blog vs Social media
There is a huge amount of discussions whether you need a blog or not in the time where there are a lot of social platforms that focus on different forms of content, like photos, videos, micro posts, stories. So I decided to dig deeper into the topic and understand what's happening. Is the blogging soon will be dead? Where to invest your time and energy? What outcomes can we have from Blog vs. Social media?
Benefits Of Having A Blog
You have full control of your content and rules
You can have very long articles, and they'll be seen in a way you want. Alternatively, you can have short daily updates similar to what Seth Godin does on his blog.
However, if you're starting out, I've heard from many valuable sources that 1000-2000 words are the optimal length of a blog post. It's good enough for Google to find your content and see value in it. Meaning more people will see it in search results.
You can have direct relationships with your audience by getting them on your email list or newsletter
If someone opens up your article and read it, then you have a good chance that he'll subscribe to updates from you.
You can interact with your subscribers as you want, like using simple emails or email sequences that will be sent automatically with a specific time interval. You can customize all of it. So you have full control of how do you speak to your audience.
You have full access to data that you collect about your audience. It's like a customer base, and you can be creative with it.
What would you do if your favorite social platform will go down as Vine did?
It's no longer a secret that social networks users are products of these platforms. Nothing is given for free, and you can't just create an account and start posting about your business and instantly get a massive engagement, fans, and customers. This is just not real. Moreover, well established social networks will suggest you pay for advertisement of your content so more people will see it. It's a game by their rules. So if you don't pay for your posts, then it's a tiny chance that someone from your target audience will see it.
How do you have ownership of relationships you built on a platform?
The worst part of it is that all the results of the work you do on 3rd party platforms belong to them. So if you create groups, pages or accounts where you build your audience, there is a chance the platform can be changed or even closed for good, and you'll lose everything.
I've heard stories of people who lost around 30k customer base because of this reason.
You can have multiple formats of content on your website rather than one form that a social media is focusing.
You can post photos, write short updates or long stories, make and videos, podcasts, music and all of it can be on your blog.
The best part of it that you can mix everything on one site. For example, you can write a post then make a video and use the audio track as a podcast episode. All of it can be on your site and even as one blog post.
You can reach a broader audience. Because some people like to read, some prefer to watch a video, and some don't have time on visual stuff, and they prefer to listen. I can say for myself that as a designer my eyes often busy with visual work and listening podcasts on the background help me to be more productive than working on something and then watching the video or the other way around.
You can have interactive sections like Portfolio or even Products that you want to sell.
There are multiple things that you can do with the website that you canâ€™t do with many of the social media platforms. Yeah, some of them have functionality that you can actually post items that are for sale, but again, you don't have full control of the way how it appears to your potential customers, you don't have full control of the selling process.
This is something that could be critical for the type of business you do. You can customize it as you want on your website.
You can build your brand and be more creative with your own website.
Branding tools are quite limited on 3rd party platforms. You can change cover photo, avatar, description and maybe pin a post to the top. Which is not enough for building a brand that will stand out from the crowd.
So-called business gurus and influencers say that you should do everything. Meaning, post your content on every social platform possible. Write blog posts, tweet, post on Instagram, Pinterest, shoot and edit video... But, come on, if we talk about artists, indie makers, designers, writers, musicians... we donâ€™t have that much time and focus in a day to do all this stuff.
I still have a hope that there is a better way to do things more organically. Even if it takes more time to grow the perception, audience, get more customers and clients.
Nobody changes algorithms on your website, but this is something that happens all the time in the social media world.
This is what I've heard what Facebook did in its lifetime. It used to publish your posts to your followers. Then they started only publishing to 10% of your audience and just showing it to more people if the post drives a lot of likes, comments, and shares. Then they started promoting they feature to boost posts. So if you want your whole audience to get the message, you have to pay Facebook for more reach and more fans. The more people you want to reach, the more you pay. However, when you pay Facebook for more fans, they give you useless click farm accounts, so in your future posts that 10% of your audience that sees the message will mostly be people with zero genuine interest in what you have to offer, vastly reducing engagement to all future posts, requiring you to pay again, and spend more.
All of this will not be going to happen with your website. Maximum what will happen is that your site will be down for several minutes, but most of the hosting companies are keeping their servers up 99% time or even more.
You're investing in your future if you write evergreen content and post it consistently. Because some of the articles will be popular for years and it's not about algorithms and engagement.
Downsides Of Building Your Own Blog
The main question of most people that are considering to start a blog is...
How do you promote your blog posts once you've written them?
Just because you blog something doesn't mean anybody will find it or care for that matter. Your blog is precious to you, but nobody else gives a shit (yet.) And before they care, you must get them to your content. So how do we do this?
Building traffic and getting eyes on your content is the biggest challenge bloggers face. I know I struggled with it and still do.
The best thing I ever did to build traffic to my website was networking with other bloggers and publishers. Connecting with others enabled me to start building relationships. Suddenly they would share my content and link to my site. That was a huge turning point for my blog and me. Since I understood how all of this works.
It's harder to set up a website than create a social media account
You can use ready solutions that are very easy to set up, but you still need to buy hosting and domain name. Then to configure and customize everything for your own needs, even if it's basics like adding your logo, description, choosing a font, template, etc. There are many things to do, and sometimes it's easier to hire a web developer or a designer who can customize certain things in code.
With social platforms all you need is email, and you need to complete a couple of steps before your account is ready.
You rely on website or blog constructors, but you can't choose any of it to cover your needs and wants
Yeah, that's a problem. I tried a bunch of ready solutions myself, but since I'm a designer, it was always not enough for me to use out of the box solutions. Because, hmm... it's from the box. So I usually find restrictions and boundaries at some point that is hard to push without advanced knowledge of coding.
Most of the ready solutions are difficult in use and also difficult in customization. Some are too simple and lack of essential things that make you content appealing for Google.
Anyway, I'll be writing more on this topic. I plan to do a review on different out of the box solutions.
Benefits Of Social Media
You don't need to build anything. , and all you need to do is to create an account and start posting your content. Sounds great, right? However, at the end of the day the easier something to do the fewer results it will bring you.
I do use social media myself, and I see benefits in it. I see traffic from it in analytics, even tho it's less than organic traffic. Because right now I don't have a comments section on my site I speak to my audience on Instagram.
I like the fact that billions of people use social media on a daily basis and this means that I have a small chance to get much attention to my content and then to all other stuff I share on the Internet, my products, etc.
It's convenient to have an easy to use interface that gives me access to my audience on Instagram.
However, I always have a feeling that this is all a temporary solution.
However, I feel the opposite about my blog. I see the way of how it can be better. Moreover, I have a list of improvements. Which is not something that depends on me in the social media world.