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We subscribe to marketing emails by Derek Halpern, successful entrepreneur and founder of Social Triggers.  In one of his recent videos, Derek talks about Building An Audience, then Selling Stuff.  Six minutes into the video, he said something that really resonated with us:

“How do you build an audience?  I believe the best way to do it is by starting and growing a blog.”

If you want to watch the video to see what he has to say, you can see it here.

While Derek’s statement in itself isn’t revolutionary, what he goes on to say makes perfect sense and is what prompted me to write this post for our “Audience”.

WordPress is one of the only platforms that allows you to build and grow an audience, yet maintain ownership (and control) of your content.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms own your information.  And if you want to advertise further, you have to pay them to do it.  TypePad, Blogger, and other blogging platforms also make it difficult to get your original content back.  Ever try to retrieve one of the original files you uploaded in TypePad?  It’s not easy, and it’s been renamed by TypePad, so good luck picking it out of a lineup.  And perish the thought, but what if a blogging service closed its doors?  Years of your hard work down the drain.  Even if you had a backup, it wouldn’t contain your images, just your posts.

That’s why, when we started our business, we chose a self-hosted WordPress blog.  Its also the only platform we support.

You might ask why I specify self-hosted WordPress blog.  Here’s a blurb I wrote a while back that explains the differences in WordPress:

If you are researching WordPress as a blogging platform, you might wonder what the differences are between WordPress.com, WordPress.org, and Self-Hosted WordPress.

  • WordPress.com is a blogging service provided by Automattic, Inc.  They offer free and paid plans to host your WordPress blog.  The happiness engineers at WordPress.com manage the server, therefore limiting what plugins and functionality can be added to your own blog.  Wordpress.com also expressly prohibits Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) based companies from using their blogging services.  Those found violating their fascinating Terms of Service will have their accounts suspended.  A forum that discusses MLM blogs on WordPress.com can be found here.  Stamin’ Up! is considered by WordPress.com to be a MLM, and some of our customers have had their accounts suspended.
  • WordPress.org is the basis of all things WordPress.  Here can be found plugins (extending functionality of your blog), plugin support, themes, etc.
  • A Self-Hosted WordPress site is owned and managed by you (or us, if you choose).  It requires you to own or obtain your own domain name (www.mysite.com), a hosting provider, and to install WordPress on your hosting provider.  While this might sound overwhelming, it really isn’t.  We can easily guide you through the process of securing a hosting provider and your own domain name.  Our Setup and Transfer services include installation of WordPress on your new site, so all the difficult work is taken care of for you!  The best part?  You own your site, can display what you want, and design it to be as simple or complex as you’d like.

With a self-hosted WordPress blog, YOU own your content.  Pictures, files, and even the words belong to you.  You can back it up, restore it, move it, and even delete it.  Upload an image and the file name stays the same, so you can find the original later if you want it back.  WordPress is extremely flexible, and has tens of thousands of addons (plugins) that extend its functionality.  If you can imagine it, there’s a way to do it.  Basic blog, photo gallery, e-Commerce store front…it’s all possible.

THAT is why we only support and recommend self-hosted WordPress.

By the way, if you’re already on another blogging platform, its not too late to move should you choose.  Your entire blog can be transferred, and I happen to know a company that does that 🙂