A Note for Aspiring Professional Bloggers

Saturday, November 05, 2011

A web company has been soliciting bloggers recently and asking them to blog on their site instead of the bloggers' respective sites. Their goal is to increase traffic and then split advertising revenue with the content providers. So far, totally legit. Maybe not a good fit for your business, but nothing wrong with what they are doing.

The problem arises with some of their claims. They are pitching this as a benefit to your SEO, claiming that blogging on their domain instead of your own would help YOUR search engine rank and send your SEO "through the roof." This is false. Your content will only provide SEO benefits for the domain it is published on. (Note: links and anchor text do provide SEO benefit for other domains, but that doesn't apply to the claims of this particular pitch.) Giving up your domain to blog on someone else's site will provide SEO benefits for THEIR site, NOT for yours.

Now, if you don't receive a lot of traffic, are not interested in building your own brand and are just wanting to blog solely to make money, then yes, providing content for another site in order to share ad revenue is totally fine. In this case, you are basically a freelance writer/blogger except that instead of being paid per post or article or even on salary, your revenue is completely performance-driven, based on traffic brought in through the combined efforts of you and the website company.

If you are going to give up your own domain and invest your efforts in providing someone else content to help their SEO in exchange for shared advertising revenue, then it is totally fair -- not to mention smart business -- to ask to see proof of their traffic claims. Ask for a screenshot of the past 12 months for both unique visitors and pageviews. They should be able to provide this easily from Google Analytics (and they can also grant you view only access to their Google Analytics depending on how involved they are asking you to be in their site). If someone is asking you to be financially involved in their website, either as an advertiser or revenue partner, then they should have no problem being transparent with these numbers.

If you are an aspiring professional blogger and received this pitch, or a similar one, and are considering joining forces, ask yourself a few questions before committing:

What are my end goals for my blog? Do I want to build a brand or name for myself? 
If the answer to the second question is yes, stick to your own domain. The days of building a highly-trafficked blog are far from being over. It may seem daunting, but with hard work and smart strategy, you can build a following that generates the revenue you want. If you are blogging for someone else, you may have your own name, but you are first and foremost promoting their brand, not your own.

Do I want to sell my blog at some point? 
Blogging on someone else's domain will not allow you to sell unless you negotiate an ownership stake.

I don't care about building a brand nor do I want to own a business, I just want to pay my bills and have fun doing it. 
Then by all means, combining your blog with another site may be a smart solution for you.

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