Blogging is probably the most important tool for inbound marketing success in a wired world. In fact, the recent 2010 State of the Blogosphere report revealed that the top ways blogging has helped individuals with a business are:
- greater industry visibility (64%)
- acquired new customers, made sales (58%)
- built thought leadership (54%)
- asked to speak at conferences (32%)
- helped recruit employees (17%)
Hubspot, a leader in small business inbound marketing, conducted a study of over 1500 small companies and concluded that businesses with blogs get 55% more online visitors.
Bottom line, if you’re not blogging, you are missing a tremendous opportunity to educate your niche markets and capture leads. Blogging is a modern-day educational marketing tool with client development built in. But let me warn you ahead of time, if you want to be successful with blogging, you need to make a commitment to spending time on your blog, and you need to make an investment in the design and development of your blog.
Free blogging solutions are not the answer
WordPress is the leading blogging platform, hands down. It’s power and flexibility are truly unmatched. You should understand that there are TWO versions of WordPress…a free, hosted version and the self-hosted version. The self-hosted requires some technical and design knowledge and help, but it is well worth the investment in order to maintain ownership of your content.
With any free solution, you get what you pay for. The free WordPress solution may seem attractive, but you will not own any of the content you publish on your blog. Who owns it? Wordpress! In fact, the company just announced that they were launching an aggregate food blog to bring together the very best articles from all of the foodie bloggers who have “WordPress.com” blogs! They are aggregating these articles to capture traffic and build equity for the WordPress brand, and each individual blogger will most likely lose visibility. In addition, all of those links that you’ve worked hard to acquire for your blog (people link to quality content and help increase your authority) will not belong to you either. In a nutshell, you won’t be building equity in your investment.
In order to maintain ownership and control over your content, the self-hosted version of WordPress is definitely the way to go.
Advantages of building your blog on the self-hosted version of WordPress:
- Ownership; Choosing your own url address for your blog (for example, my personal blog address is www.stephaniesammons.com, and www.smartsocialpro.com). Being able to choose your own url is a huge opportunity to differentiate your blog with unique keywords and build equity for your brand. With a free, hosted blog, you will not have this ability. (wordpress.com will be a part of your domain name)
- Design flexibility – On the WordPress self-hosted platform, you can choose from thousands of pre-designed themes and simply have a graphic designer help you tweak that theme. Or you can deploy a completely unique and original design with the right help! You need a professional design in order to attract visitors. Don’t try to cheap out on this!
- Plug-ins – The self-hosted version of WordPress has thousands of plug-ins which take your blog to an entirely different level. From integrating your social profiles such as Twitter and Facebook, to adding a full-blown commenting system and form builder, and integrating tons of extended functionality, there are unlimited opportunities to expand your presence with plug-ins.
Because the self-hosted version of WordPress is so powerful and flexible, developers are constantly coming up with great plug-ins that continue to evolve the platform to new heights.
What if you’ve already started blogging on a hosted platform such as WordPress.com?
It’s not difficult to move your content to the self-hosted version, and in the long run will be worth the effort! If you don’t move your content, you risk your digital identity, without a doubt, and everything you’ve contributed toward that digital identity.
A Turnkey Blogging Platform for Financial Advisors
At Wired Advisor, we bundle blog development, design, hosting, social media integration, SEO, maintenance, support and training for financial advisors. Not only can you get a professionally designed blog, but you can learn how to grow and promote your blog to your target markets and capture leads for your practice. We do all of the heavy lifting and provide you with all of the resources.
Believe me, I learned the hard way on my own when I first began blogging. I had to find a reliable host and sign up for an account, install the WordPress software myself, find an appropriate theme (and subsequently a graphic designer to customize my theme), learn how to operate my WordPress Blog site to upload and optimize content, educate myself on exactly how to blog effectively, educate myself on search engine optimization, blog promotion, blog and social media integration, blog tracking and analytics and blog lead capture! It’s a lot to learn and it took many hours.
This is why I decided to develop a turn-key blogging solution for financial advisors, because I knew it would save you time and money and allow you to focus on what you do best…building relationships, managing assets, and providing great service to your clients!
Learn more about our turn-key financial advisor blogging solution by reading the 7 Facts about Wired Advisor Blogs.
Compliance concerns? Check with your firm about creating a blog site separate from your website. FINRA requires that all blog content be pre-approved, just like any website content that you publish. Once that content is pre-approved, it can be posted to your blog and syndicated to your social profiles seamlessly!
Additional Reading: My friend Jay Palter has written a valuable article about why to utilize WordPress to grow your digital presence.