It is inevitable that if you are working online in the current day and age you will end up using several third party websites/applications throughout your day. Online marketers will often write articles for EzineArticles, create viral videos for YouTube and even create fan pages on Facebook. Not only is it mostly unavoidable but often these things are necessary to get the competitive edge in any of your business ventures.
One thing that occasionally gets overlooked by people new to marketing however is the importance of having your own website. The truth is when you create work for these third party websites you are leaving yourself at the mercy of the company. This is even more true if a single company is responsible for the majority of your income.
It is not unusual for a free service to suddenly require payment of some sort, to shut down on short notice or for an overnight change to the terms of service. You may think you are invincible or it will always happen to somebody else but if your main source of revenue gets shut down overnight you will be wishing you'd had your own website live and backed up as insurance a lot earlier.
There was quite a high profile case on the BBC recently of a Ronaldo fan having his Facebook fan page being shut down. A few questions were raised over the copyright issues of his posting a video to the page which ended in the 3 million strong fan page, with 500,000 monthly hits being shut down overnight. Over a year of his life dedicated to this one information stream and it's gone in an instant. The truth is that it wasn't even a commercial venture for him but he still felt the pain. I'm sure you don't need to imagine the distress if you'd spent a year building up to 3 million readers of anything and for it to be gone overnight.
If he'd only created his own blog or website alongside this fan page and posted nothing more than the updates he'd added to Facebook his story could have been quite different. Not only would he have been able to promote his website through the fan page but he would have had tangible online real estate when his page was closed down and retained much of the hours of work that had gone into building his readership. This can happen to anyone at all, including myself and even you, it pays to be prepared with your own self-hosted content.
At the very least you should have your own self hosted blog or basic website. When you take this step you start to build your online real estate and even in the unlikely event that all of your third party websites turn around and close tomorrow you will still have your home project.
Setting up a blog can be as simple or as difficult as you like. You can aim for the leading blog in your industry or you can simply use one as a place to congregate your marketing messages. The main thing you will want to ensure is that you are using your own hosting account along and you have full power over your content.
Without a doubt WordPress is one of the most powerful solutions today to create your own blog but if you need assistance it may be worth having your blog installed and set up professionally especially if you plan on it becoming your biggest source of clients/income. Whether you decide to follow these important steps or not, just remember, whenever you post any information to a third party website you face the possibility of losing it all without your own self hosted content.