The best way to get your content online: Own website or third-party website?
You’re undoubtedly reading this because you’re trying to find an answer to the question about where to post your content. Among other things, you want the best possible reach, and want your reputation to be credible. The choice of where to post your content can be difficult and, sometimes, downright stressful.
Try not to waste your time listening to other people. Not everyone’s needs are the same. Spend some time reading up on facts and different strategies. Different methods suit different people; you may want to boost your content with SEO, link directly to your audience by following analytics, or even find numerous other ways to meet your target.
The benefits of posting on your own site
I am going to talk about my favourite feature: Analytics. Analytics give you detailed insights into what’s going on in your domain. You can check who viewed your content, how long they viewed it for, where it led them afterwards etc. Not only that, but you can fine tune your site to reach the target audience and directly see if your methods work. The ability to be on the ball and interact on a personal basis with your online customers is pretty revolutionary. With the advantages that Analytics offer, posting content on your own website should be at the top of your pros list.
When you post on your own site you also have full moderation access. You can view and edit your own posts, manage links and comments, and generally make changes that posting offsite doesn’t grant you. If you like to be in control then this is another bold ‘pro’ on your list.
Marketing expert AJ Kohn has a theory on audience mentality. In his opinion readers only digest only two of the three key facts about an article posted online; the site and the topic, the author and the topic, or the author and the site, almost never all three. If you post off-site and the viewer only remembers the site and the topic, then your chances of being remembered are slim. On the other hand, if you post on-site and the viewer only remembers the site and the topic, it’s okay because it’s your site. If they only remember your name and the topic, it’s still good news because they’ll link directly back to your site with a simple online search.
The benefits of posting on a third party site
Considering all of the above, let’s discuss some of the reasons why you could consider posting offsite. The most important advantage of posting on a third-party website is (and I am not ashamed to say it out loud) leaching. When you post on someone else’s site you have the ability to leach their audience, this means that if you post your article on a reputable and popular website, you can get access to the all their traffic. The site’s usual traffic becomes your usual traffic and it can open a huge demographic that you might not otherwise get exposure to.
If your business or publication is small, then posting on someone else’s site could add the much needed promotion at a fraction of the cost. Think about it, a reputable publication spends time, money and resources on advertising their site. If your post is also on their site during the campaign, then it’s in line for the extra traffic, it makes sense.
Posting on a reputable website naturally helps you boost your reputation as well. If you want that professional edge, or get more brand recall for your business or product, then posting with a respected and popular publication gives you that stamp of approval that you need. Taking into account Kohn’s words though, there’s is a likelihood that readers aren’t going to remember you as the producer if they know the site and like the topic. It is a fine gamble that you’ll have to put your bets on. However, I would say that, initially, you should at least give it a try; especially if your online reputation some help.
Image source: Fast Company
Let’s realistically assume that your online profile doesn’t get as many views as the likes of The Times or Forbes. Think of you and your content as being in a circle, and the size of the circle represents organic reach. Each circle surrounding you is larger and therefore has more potential. The problem is that each step of the way your content is further away from your inner circle; meaning results are going to take more work to reach you. If you post your content on someone else’s site you’re placing it in the outer circle, potentially reaching more viewers but also making it harder for you to benefit. The long term goal is to make your circle as large as the outer footprint, but that’s obviously no easy feat.
Does Posting on Third Party Sites Really Build Traffic?
According to Sharon Hall’s personal case study she saw a noticeable increase in her visitor numbers, visitor actions and a 15% reduction in bounce rate in a period of 2.5 months.
While the numbers are certainly encouraging its also important to not lose sight of the fact that posting on third party sites allows you to build relationships and influence. There are numerous other case studies you can refer to where authors have successfully published a quality post which has lead to increased traffic back to their site, business opportunities and sales. Here are just a few to browse through (once you’ve read this post):
– Jon Cooper: My Guest Post on the SEOmoz Blog
– Oli Gardner: How & Why You Should be Guest Blogging [With Case Study]
So, What’s the Way Forward?
I know that’s why you’re here. It depends on how large your online reputation already is and what your desired results are. Posting on a third-party does little to help your own boom, but the potential organic reach is usually much higher. You also look very professional if you post through a respected publication. If you don’t have an established site then you should post with large publications because then it makes sense to reach as many people as possible and drive up your rankings. I’m not saying publish offsite exclusively though. You could always build your own site too, but it won’t hurt to get your name out there first. If you have an established site with a good reach or you wish to be solely in charge of moderation, then you should predominantly post on your own site.
It’s about which option is best for you, not which option is best in general. That being said, I find that a mix of both works best. Build your home first and then set out to show others how good it really is 🙂