If blogs are free, why should I buy one?

How much does a blog cost?

Blogs are easy to get for free. The easiest and most popular site for hosting your blog is Blogger. If you want advanced functionality, use WordPress.com. Both of these are free. There are actually a ton of free blog sites that add more social features as well.

Why would anyone pay for a blog when you can get one free?

The downside of the free sites is that they will not give you all the benefits of search engine optimization and thus will not optimize the amount of traffic to your site.

A paid blog with your own domain will give you better search engine traffic and thus be better at increasing your customer base and your income. This blog site is written using the open source WordPress.org blog software and self-hosted at Godaddy.com. I chose this because I liked the blog philosophy of WordPress. It is easy to use, is extensible and there are thousands of free plug-ins to support it. I have over 15 active plug-ins at the time of this post. They help with everything from search engine optimization to blog monetization. And, it only costs $5 per month.

Blogging is an easy and inexpensive way to create a web presence, and a blog is easy to keep fresh and up-to-date without the expense of a web developer. If you want to make money at blogging, use a hosted solution where you own the domain name and the content resides on a server you can control.

Why do I need a Blog?

Why do I need a blog?

Blogs can be a free or low cost way to gain more visibility for your business. It can establish credibility in your field. It helps you to be recognized as an expert and thus people will turn to you for advice in your field. This also helps you to build your brand and communicate with your customer. It creates a face to the customer and builds the personality of your brand.

Your customer can subscribe to your blog which enables them to stay in contact with you and strengthen your relationship.  Blogs make it easier for your customer to give you feedback. They simply need to leave a comment after a post.

Blog Values

  • Free
  • Credibility
  • Branding
  • Communications
  • Sales
  • Feedback
  • SEO
  • Links

Blogs can be monetized to increase your sales and add supplementary income to your bottom line. A blog is also a useful tool to increase traffic to your site because the blog format is naturally search engine friendly. It is optimized for search engines. Blogs make it easy for you and customers to get links back to your blog or website which enhances search engine optimization and traffic.

FTC Internet Advertising Guidelines for Bloggers, Internet & Affiliate Marketers

Testimonial Advertisements & Celebrity Endorsements

The Federal Trade Commission has finally issued an update to their guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials as used on the internet and social media. The last update was in 1980, well before the influence of websites, blogs and social media.

If you are a blogger, affiliate marketer or internet marketer, you need to be aware of how these revisions affect you and your business. You may want discuss these changes with your attorney and make adjustments to your web site, blog or social media campaigns.

The full text of the press release is available here.

The full text of the Act is available here.

In summary, the clarifications to the FTC Act are:

1) Advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect.

2) “Material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. So, Bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.

3) Celebrities have a duty to disclose their relationships with advertisers when making endorsements outside the context of traditional ads, such as on talk shows or in social media.

It’s a good idea to ensure your web site, blog and social media strategy are following these new guidelines for the use of testimonial advertising and endorsements.

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