The Danger of Free Blogs

The news that the free blog service Yahoo! 360 will be shutting down by July 12, 2009 isn’t coming as a surprise to anyone in the blogging community.

If you’re serious about blogging – especially if you’re blogging to promote or market your business – it is CRUCIAL that you not rely upon a free blogging service for your blog.

If you’re reading this blog post – chances are good that you’re not a user of the Yahoo! 350 blog service.  However, it may come as a surprise that it is the number one blogging platform in Vietnam.

According to a post at the Blog Herald:

The shutters go up for good on July 13 and Yahoo is urging 360 users to rely on the standard Yahoo profile. You may also migrate your blog to several other platforms.

Ah- blog migration.

If you thought learning how to build a successfulblog is difficult, try migrating your blog to a new platform!

I’m trying to come up with a “word picture” to effectively illustrate what the experience is like.  Somehow  “a full IRS audit” and “root canal” don’t fully capture the experience -because while painful – they are both relatively short lived.

Blog migration is hell – there’s no doubt about it.

There’s almost no easy to way to migrate from one platform to another and even if you do achieve complete data transfer – there’s still that pesky issue of readership.

When you migrate your blog – you will lose readership.

When you migrate your blog – you’ll not only lose readers – you’ll also lose all the incoming links you spent weeks/months/years building.

It’s like starting all over again.

Which is why, when most business owners decide to make the difficult decision to move their blogs- it’s frequently from a “free” blog platform such as WordPress.com to a “self hosted blog” where THEY have control over the domain name and the WordPress installation.

By the way, if your business website is currently “living” on MySpace.com, Facebook.com or one of the many free blog hosting platforms such as WordPress, Blogger or LiveJournal – you might want to begin making plans to migrate your web presence BEFORE you HAVE to make the switch.

Fortunately for 360 users,  Yahoo did provide plenty of “warning”.   (They quit offering support for the service back in 2007.)  There was once a popular image hosting site which shut down with absolutely no notice a few years back and unfortunately, that’s a much more common scenario.

Have you built your business on “free” blog hosting?

If you have – it’s time to put “plan B” into action – because the only thing WORSE than migrating a blog is having to do so in 45 days or less.

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Kathy

Kathy Hendershot-Hurd is a digital dinosaur who's been playing on the web since 1994 - and working here since she founded Virtual Impax where she shares many resources you can use to create a successful blog.

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