Object Lesson on Blogging for your Business

Previously, every time someone has posed the question “Should I make my blog part of my business domain, on a subdomain, or as a different domain altogether?”, I have said “Put it on your main domain, this will allow you to share pagerank between your blog and your business”. What can I say, I really wish that circa June, 2007 I had known enough about my own advice to take it. :)

Steph of real estate software fame recently posted a link to a tool which will tell you your pagerank for different domains after the currently-in-progress PageRank update gets pushed to all the Google clusters. At present, it seems that Bingo Card Creator is a PR4, which is neither terrible nor anything to write home about after I’ve spent a good deal of time trying to build up some links for it. This blog, on the other hand, is PR5 — solely due to people deciding what is here has value and linking it from their blogs (and other content aggregators which are spiderable, such as Slashdot or the WordPress front page).

The difference between PR4 and PR5 is a whole lot of searches, particularly for low-competition niches like, well, Dolch sight words. I now get an absolutely insane number of people who search for my very favorite search terms and come *here* first, then follow the link to my actual product site. This is utterly insane not because of the magnitude, but because I know I must be losing a huge percentage of the potential traffic there. Ah well, lesson learned. Don’t let it happen to you!

No Responses to “Object Lesson on Blogging for your Business”

  1. Ali October 2, 2006 at 7:21 am #

    Thanks for sharing Pat. Although my blog is on my domain name, I was considering to move it to a seperate domain name. Now I know better!

    Do you think you could move this blog over to your actual domain name? I did a little search for you and came across this link:
    http://faq.wordpress.com/2006/05/07/can-i-migrate-my-blog-from-here-to-another-blog-somewhere-else/

    You could move all the posts over to the new domain name, delete all posts from here and make a single post which says “Sorry, this blog has moved to….” alongwith a link to the new blog. What do you think?

  2. Patrick October 2, 2006 at 8:56 am #

    I think that is a truly excellent way to suddenly make every link I’ve ever gotten worthless :)

  3. Eric D. Burdo October 2, 2006 at 3:01 pm #

    Does WP.Com let you do 301 redirects? That would push your PR over to your new site….

    Of course, you’d still have links coming to this site… but you might be able to get them to update the links. :)

  4. Stephane Grenier October 2, 2006 at 3:38 pm #

    Hi Pat,

    First, I wanted to say thank you for the link in your article!

    Second, in regards to your comment about sub-domaining your blog and your company site, I have to disagree with you. I think you did it right the first time! And here’s why. You want your company website to be found for the keywords you believe are important (targeted traffic). You want to optimize your website for those keywords using SEO techniques (Search Engine Optimization). Google, for example, doesn’t just look at your index page to determine what your site is about, it looks at your whole site.

    Now this has far reaching consequences. If you put your blog as a subdomain, which as I understand Google assumes is part of your main domain, it will interpret that content as part of the whole domain. Therefore although you’ll have a lot more relevant content to your topic, you’ll also have a lot more off-topic content to your main company domain.

    To explain a little more, if you have a company site about dog grooming, you’ll probably have a high percentage of your content about dog grooming. Also, most of the inbound links to your domain will be about dog grooming, or at least in the same ballpark.

    Now if you have a blog on this same domain, chances are this topic concentration will be diluted. I know that on my personal blog I keep it fairly focussed, but it’s not 100% about my keyword(s), nor do I want it to be. For example the article you refered to my blog is not related in any way to my company’s keywords, nor is it to yours! This would therefore dilute our search engine potency for our main company, because in essence Google (and other search engines) would find that we’re not necessarily just about what we’re about. As the blog grows, for many people, this will outsize the company website. At some point you’re blog content will be the main traffic generator. A great example of this is JoelOnSoftware.com

    Now, as you mentioned, this often does generate more traffic, but the traffic is not very targeted. A perfect example is the entry you linked in the article above. Both of us are generating traffic through this topic to our blogs but the odds are much lower that it will generate any sales of our products, other than by the sheer number of people who come through the door. Some posts definiitely do generate targetted traffic, but definitely not all.

    Therefore, because of this, I suggest to people to split their company and blog website into two seperate domains and entities. It gives you a lot more leeway in terms of what you can do with your blog for search engines purposes. It also gives you more leeway in what you can say (its often better to express your opinions as an individual rather than as a company). And as an added bonus, remember that each link from your blog to your website, in the eyes of Google, is from another website.

  5. Boofus McGoofus October 2, 2006 at 4:02 pm #

    I generally just read your blog in Bloglines, but came over here today to see if you were doing the one obvious thing that your post today suggests to me. You’re not.

    You need a MASSIVE (no, bigger than that) button linking to Bingo Card Creator. The link is there, but it’s certainly not the first thing you see on the page, and if this blog might be generating potential sales, you need a HUGE button to help convert those.

    (At least, that’s what someone who has never made a dime from software sales thinks.)

  6. Patrick October 2, 2006 at 4:10 pm #

    Thanks for that perspective. I’m not sure I agree with it. The first reason is that, supposing Google were to penalize you for having a variety of subjects, the calculations required to determine this would be combinatorially explosive. It would also be possible to abuse this system, by Googlebombing someone with anchor text unrelated to their actual field. Given that “poor asymptotic performance” and “critically abusable” are not generally features of core Google algorithms, I’m going to go out on a limb and say your interpretation is not entirely accurate. Or, to phrase it another way, “There is no such thing as a bad incoming link”. It is known, of course, that there are such things as bad outgoing links — “linking to a bad neighborhood”.

    The second is that empirically this does not happen with many domains — Wikipedia, for example, covers just about every field of human endeavor and is virtually guaranteed to be in the top 4 for most generic searches. I just banged out some generic queries: “polar bears” (#5), “iced tea” (#5), “Battle of Sekigahara” (#1), or “bingo” (#7!).

    To my understanding Google treats subdomains as seperate websites currently, although this may change in the future. microisvjournal.wordpress.com and http://www.wordpress.com are as related as http://www.bingocardcreator.com and http://www.wordpress.com.

  7. Patrick October 2, 2006 at 4:28 pm #

    Boofus — good idea. I intend for this blog to help me more by contributing PR juice than by actually sending leads, but hey, why pass up free money.

  8. Ali October 3, 2006 at 6:51 am #

    Pat,

    All right, so don’t delete the posts already made, but you can put up a message on top of each page saying “This blog has moved to…” and start blogging on your new, hosted blog.

    This way, at least the posts you write and get links for in the future would be from your own domain name and you wouldn’t miss up more PR/links than you already have.

  9. Eric D. Burdo October 3, 2006 at 4:03 pm #

    I think the same domain/new domain blog depends on what you plan on blogging about.

    If your blogging about the specific business, then having it as a sub-domain (or a subdirectory) is good.

    If your topics are similar, but not specific to your product, make them seperate.

    In your case, this blog is about you and your learning experiences with Bingo Creator. NOT about Bingo itself. So having the seperate would be preferred.

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