Can anyone weigh in on the benefits of having your own website or blog, when it seems you could just post endlessly on F'book for free? For those of you who do blog, are you paying for the site? Does one have to learn much about programming in order to get text interpersed with photos and other design elements? Has anyone blogged so much that they just decided to buy a domain name and do it that way? Thanks for any tips for a newb.
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I'm not particularly qualified to answer all your questions, but I would say that if you are trying to have a web presence for a business, you'd want to have something online in addition to your Facebook page and you'd want to own a domain name.
The cheapest route would be to buy a domain name (and pay it's yearly registration renewal) and point it to a free blog. I believe both Blogger and Wordpress will host blogs with your own domain name. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong.)
To go one step further, there are a lot of WYSIWYG website templates out there that would allow you to customize a more functional website without knowing any programming, but I can't recommend one over another. At one time I used a package called SiteKreator, and actually I still maintain a site with them (for free) but I'm not particularly impressed with it. Many times the same companies that sell you these templates will also offer hosting for a fee.
Viola, buying and maintaining a website isn't very expensive. You have the added advantage of showing up in search engine results with better accuracy. For example, my restaurant has a Facebook page, as well as a regular website. If you google "grumpys" our regular website shows up, but the facebook page does not.
Depends on your purpose.
Facebook is a 'must have' for a business.
A blog is fun for personal / family uses.
A website is more for direct online sales and or personal messages taht do not want the image and branding of using a site like facebook.
I started blogging user Blogger because it was free and didn't require me to know any sort of programming language. Since then, Wordpress has become a favorite of many bloggers and both are now simple enough that basic common sense can have you up and running with your own blog pretty quickly. Adding photos, videos, and other elements is usually just a matter of a few clicks.
Domain name is a personal preference depending on your need. My personal opinion is that if you're using the blog for business purposes as a stand-alone (no other website), you'd probably want your own domain. If you're using it as a link either from Facebook or your own website, then I believe it doesn't matter so much.
I didn't do too much on Facebook when it first came out, thinking it was more for kids than anything else. However, after a blogger conference where I learned more about what is now known as 'social networking,' I linked my blog (since it was existing) to my Facebook page. I also started using Twitter.
Since then, I've found that more people read my posts through Facebook than go directly to my blog.
I do have my own domain name that I maintain, but that does cost a small fee. I first got it for my political campaigns and, at that time, such sites as GoDaddy weren't even conceived of. With GoDaddy, for instance, you can get your own domain, get a website with templates you can populate, including a blog function, and email addresses. And all that is available for much less than I originally paid for just my domain name. :)
I don't believe length of posts factors into the decision, though quantity of posting does. In case you don't already know, as it was explained to me, if you are using Facebook for a business purpose, you don't want to do more than 3-4 posts a day and you want to build the number of people who comment or like them. The more comments/likes you have on a post means it's more likely to show up under the 'top news' tab when people first open their pages. This placement is key to keeping your page prominent in the minds/attention of your FB friends.
If you're thinking of using something as a place where you can leave comments about things you come across during the day, your probably better off doing that through Twitter. Many people on Facebook don't like a constant stream of information from their FB friends, but people on Twitter expect it.
If you have any more questions, I'm happy to discuss it further with you. HistoryMike helped me when I first got into blogging so you may want to seek out his input as well.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
Just be careful with Facebook. One mistake and it could cost you a job.
Facebook is limited to your circle of friends (or friends-of-friends, depending on your settings), while a blog potentially gives you greater global exposure. Of course, you could make your FB profile entirely public, but that brings other risks.
We could probably answer your question better if we knew your larger goals, viola.
Yeah, what Wendy said.
Keep in mind that you can't really retract anything you post on your site, nor can you easily break the links from sites like facebook or twitter to your blog, whatever that may be.
Just to expand and emphasize Wendy's comment, consider the fortune of Kim du Toit after he started blogging and freely expressing his opinions under his own name. The general rule is that if you write under your own name, your essays should have all the testosterone and controversy of a vanilla milkshake.
Of course, if you're a confrontational, inflammatory gun owner with a pack of attack dogs (like HistoryMike), why then, don't hold back any. Tell it like it is and you too can get death threats and threats of a million dollar lawsuit.
::Mad Jack ducks for cover::
I have a facebook account, a blog, and a twitter. I do not have my own website anymore. My blog is for stories, and capturing memories, and socializing with people. I've actually made a lot of friends over the years. http://tracy.xanga.com is me. It's easy to post pictures, and links, and I also have many privacy options. I post a lot of protected things that the world can't see.
Facebook is for keeping in touch with people and more surface social interaction. Co-workers belong to facebook.
Twitter for me is all about marketing and entering contests. I love to win stuff. :)
Thank you for all of your advice. I forgot about the privacy settings issue on F'book.
I'm a late adopter of all kinds of technology, so when something seems really cool to me I generally find that the people in the know have long since grown tired of it ... and the youngest of them never bothered with it in the first place :-). As an example, this year the young relatives sought permission to do their Christmas thank-yous via F'book, because (as they explained with serious faces) actually composing and sending an e-mail was really a lot of work and trouble.
So if I were to pursue my dream of having some kind of "Toledo attractions/cool things to do" blog, I did not want to discover that no one bothers checking anyone's blog anymore!
Ditto for a website - it seems like people really enjoy the ability to leave comments (and that participatory feeling would perhaps drive repeat traffic), but I hesitate to get involved with policing people's comments. Some people are very negative about Toledo, and others are just trolls. My hat is off to you, jr!
And there's the question of my technical abilities. I've had a great time researching existing sites, so I know I'm not the only one who would like to highlight the benefits of living here. I'd like to be able to reach as many people as possible without devoting all of my free time to the project. Thanks again for your input.
Viola - then you need to think of the people you are trying to reach and what method would be best for them.
A blog would probably be a good way to go about highlighting your subject and would be easier to search than a Facebook page.
You might find that both would complement each other pretty well. You could use the blog to do a different post about each 'thing' and use a link to a Facebook page to highlight specials or such that are upcoming. A person doing a google search would find your blog with your details about an attraction and could then follow your facebook prior to their trip here to watch for special discounts or events (like when they do concerts at the zoo...).
I think it's a good idea, but it will probably take some work to build your ranking in searches...
I have a blog site that I utilize as my website - I use blogspot.com because it is free and then I have it linked to a facebook page and twitter. I an not necessary using it to blog - I an utilizing it as a website type page.
Hope that helps!
I had a very small blog till facebook came out, then switched to it for micro updates. Basically found it a nice way to talk to my family back home and had no intentions of it being public like a blog.
Guess it depends on your purpose. I think jmleong made a very good point. If you're a business then your own site and domain is important. It shows you're willing to make your online presence as professional and well done as your business itself.
If you have a fascinating life and feel like others might be interested or are willing to share your wisdom or at least daily life with anyone then a blog is the way to go.
As I said above I use Facebook with all security settings set to friends only, and it's been a good way to keep in touch with my family and even family /friends I hadn't seen in over 10 years.
Just my $0.02