If Your Are Serious About Marketing Through Blogging - Please Don't Use Blogger or Blog Spot or Adwords
(UPDATE 6/18): Jay Fleischman continues the conversation with some important points here.)
Maybe I've become a blogging snob. Or maybe it's my marketing background. But when I'm led to a purported expert in some area with services to offer and I find them on Blogger or Blogspot I'm immediately turned off. Why? If they can't spend $4.95 to get on Typepad or use Wordpress (which is free) and hire a reputable host it just doesn't sit well with me. In my opinion, it comes off as a serious business faux pas and is professionally diminishing. Bottom line: if they can't invest in themselves...why should I invest in their services?
I wouldn't recommend you use Blogger or Blospot if you are a professional service provider looking to attract clients. I can, however, see Blogger or Blogspot for individuals not engaged in business or students who are watching their pennies (but not even necessarily then because we are just talking about $5.00 per month.) But for me, Blogger or Blogspot just knocks the individual down a few pegs in credibility. They seem like novices or temporary or too new to know better so this diminishes their expert status to me regardless their own or others' claims of expert status. (Basically, And if you are still unsure about what I am saying about these particular platforms and the impression they make, check out a timely post by Kevin O'Keefe of Lexblog as to why he thinks Blogger or Blogspot just doesn't cut it as a business marketing tool. Granted, he has created a business selling legal blogs to primarily large law firms, but the sentiment is a universal one. It's not unreasonable that solos may be initially inclined to save a few dollars by blogging on a free platform. But realize 'free' doesn't mean there isn't a cost down the road.
Another issue I have, which you have probably heard or read before, is whether or not to advertise on your business blog. I have actually seen lawyers using adwords on their blogs. Imagine a divorce lawyer in Tulsa using adwords and some of the click through ads next to your educational posts meant to encourage prospective clients to contact you include your competition? Does this really make sense on any level? (I am not talking about your recreational blogs, though. If you want to monetize your site to pay for your personal blogging passion like jogging or knitting, that's different.)
Your blog is to attract prospective clients to you, an educational tool to target your ideal client. It is very unwise to divert them to the competition or have them click through for a vacuum cleaner. Yet, I see it over and over, again. Anything on your site which encourages your reader to leave your site (other than a responsible link to another blog author or article which you believe your reader should read) is not a wise move.
While blogging is extremely cost-effective and the most viral marketing tool you can have in your arsenal of marketing vehicles, if you go 'free' or look to monetize the site for a few dollars, think about the long-range impact and cost of this decision on your professional stature...and pocketbook.
I'd like to know what you think when you see your colleagues on Blogger or Blogspot and/or monetizing their site with adsense or other types of advertising?