Standalone Blog vs. Integrated Blog
When utilized correctly, a blog can really help your business’s search engine optimization (SEO), especially if you keep it alive with consistent, fresh content. However to get your blog setup you need to decide where your blog will live. While some businesses keep their blog on the company website (see: http://www.vertmob.com/blog/), others opt for a standalone blog with its own URL. There are benefits to both, depending on your brand and the type of content you want to publish.
Pros: A standalone blog is great if you want to focus on a specific topic or an area of expertise that your business specializes in. Not only will you get added SEO benefits from the use and repetition of certain relevant keywords, but your blog will gain authority in the blogosphere if it is more focused (assuming, of course, that there is interesting, well-written content). Furthermore, as blogging expert Jennifer Bourn points out, a separate blogsite allows you to optimize content for two website listings with your brand name on them, both of which can show up in search engine results and strengthen brand awareness. However, maintaining two sites is doubly time consuming and often doubly expensive; which brings me to the cons…
Cons: It’s more difficult and expensive to manage two websites. It can be confusing for people who want to interact with you, but aren’t sure which website is best to reach you at. Internally, it can be confusing for you to have to maintain and renew two domains on top of all of the other items on your to-do list.
Adding a blog to your website (Integrated blog):
Pros: It’s neat and easy for users to find and interact with you on one site. The creation of the blog is simple as the design of your website is already complete. One site keeps readers focused and allows for more direct sales action points and brand exposure. Furthermore, when you update your blog with fresh content, you are getting SEO benefits to your company’s site, which you probably don’t update on a regular basis. The more visitors you attract to your blog/company website, the higher your site will place in search rankings. Lastly, the URL of each of your blog posts will match the URL of your website and will probably have your brand’s name somewhere in there. This helps build backlinks to your site when other people share your content, and is therefore better for search rankings.
Cons: see “Pros” of standalone blogs above.
So which is better?
In response to typical small business owners we would most likely recommend adding a blog to your website rather than creating a standalone blog. Visitors to the blog articles will boost the core website’s analytics and cause your site to move up in search results. An integrated blog matches the goal of most small businesses, which is to get more brand exposure and sell their product/service. Plus, it is simply much easier (and cheaper) to manage one site instead of two.
For a larger, more established organization that wants to break into a niche market, we might recommend creating a standalone blog. This blog can focus on specialized keywords to reach the top of search results in a specific topic more quickly. Backlinks from this standalone blog to the main site would help move up the main site in the search results for those keywords.
While there are advantages and disadvantages to both standalone blogs and integrated blogs, ultimately you have to decide what works best for you and your company. Remember to take into consideration how much money you want to shell out, along with the amount of time and resources you can dedicate to the blog.
Good luck with your blogging, and feel free to let us know if you have any questions or blog-related tips to add by tweeting @vertmob!
DISCLAIMER: Yes this is a blog post about blogs, don’t worry, the irony was not lost on me.