“Some storytellers and influencers are also migrating from personal sites toward individual channels on Medium, Blogger, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. But there’s a risk here — those creating and sharing unique content on these channels can lose ownership of that content. And in a world where content is king, brands need to protect their identity.”As you might expect, Morrison is keen on changing the downward trajectory for domain name registration, but he has a valid point – why would you put the fate of your business in the hands of a platform owned by someone else? Sure, use Facebook etc to engage with your customers, but why not maintain control over your own brand? It baffles me, especially as creating a website is so much easier than it used to be.
At ITP Techblog Sarah Putt sees the issue of using Facebook or another social media site as a matter of branding.
She is right. Branding is important.
Yet the issue doesn’t stop there.
A site of your own
Not owning your own domain name, your own website, means you are not master or mistress of your online destiny. It’s that simple.
If you place your trust in the big tech companies, they can pull the rug at any moment.
This isn’t scaremongering. It has happened time and again. In many cases companies have been left high and dry. Some have gone under as a result.
The big tech companies care no more about the small businesses who piggyback off their services than you care about the individual microscopic bugs living in your gut.
Media companies learned this lesson the hard way. A decade or so ago Facebook and Google have made huge efforts to woo media companies. They promised all kinds of deals.
Many of those companies that went in boots and all are now out of business. Gone. Kaput.
Pulling the plug
Google pulled the plug on services like Wave and Google+ almost overnight after persuading media companies to sign up.
Big tech companies change their rules on a whim. Some of those whims meant cutting off the ways media companies could earn revenue.
Few media companies ever made any much money from the online giants. Those who managed to survive in a fierce and hostile landscape had nowhere to go when the services eventually closed. Many sank without a trace.
Sure, you may have heard stories about people who have made money from having an online business presence on one of the tech giants’ sites. You may also have heard stories about people winning big lottery prizes. The odds are about the same.
Yes, it can be cheap, even free in some cases, to hang out your shingle on Facebook or Google. But it is never really your shingle. It’s theirs.
The case for your own domain name
On the flip side, starting your own web site is not expensive. You can buy a domain name and have a simple presence for the price of a good lunch.
It doesn’t have to be hard work. You don’t need something fancy. And let’s face it, most Facebook companies pages are nothing to write home about either.
Use WordPress. It is not expensive. There’s plenty of help around to get you started. Depending on your needs you can choose between WordPress.com or WordPress.org.
The important thing is the site is entirely your property.
I often hear one argument in favour of working with Facebook. It goes somewhere along the lines of ‘fishing where the fish swim’. It’s true, your customers probably are on Facebook. There’s nothing to stop you from going there to engage with with them… just make sure you direct them to your independent web site.