First, let me preface this article by saying that I’m not choosing sides here. As one who has invested a considerable amount of time and energy in blogging on both the ActiveRain Network and my own Wordpress blogs, I have found value in both platforms. I know some wonderfully successful real estate professionals who have utilitzed ActiveRain, and have derived tremendous value & benefit from their involvement there. Conversely, I know of many other RE bloggers who enjoy significant enhanced business through their ‘stand-alone’ Wordpress or Typepad blog. My point here is not to elevate one over the other, but to simply dispel some misunderstandings or misconceptions as they relate to the ownership of content.
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There are those who purport the belief that publishing blog content on ActiveRain somehow causes you to ‘lose’ your right of ownership to said content. Evidently, during the wee hours of the morning, the ActiveRain Content Fairies come out and steal your precious literary gems, and sell them to lead generation companies or exchange them for blackmarket Google juice.
Many times, these Wordpress junkie 'purists' make it sound as though any measure of participation in the Rain is a complete waste of time, and should only be reserved for the technology-challenged or simple-minded. It should also be mentioned that these same critics usually have had little or no experience as an actual vested member of ActiveRain.
One of the most common criticisms levied towards ActiveRain is conveyed in this recent comment by a popular RE blogger:
"To me, the main reason you wouldn’t blog on ActiveRain– you don’t own the content. When you don’t own the content, bad things can happen."
'Bad' things happen? Sounds like one of those ghost stories you told as a kid to scare all your friends.
These same folks go on to tell you that if you want to be a ‘real’ RE blogger, that you owe to yourself to have your own domain, your own host, and your own blog platform, so you can ‘own’ all of your own content. Typically, they recommend that you create your own blog using Wordpress.
Well, let's face it, not everyone has the time or the skillset necessary to venture off onto their own WordPress blog. It requires a significant investment of time and patience to create and maintain an effective site that ranks well.
And the last time I checked, the content you publish on ActiveRain is yours. If you ever want to leave the Network, and wish to migrate your content over to some other location, they will compile your blog archive in whatever format you wish, and you take it with you. It's yours.
There is, however, some rather heated debates going on in various blogging circles, with regards to employee content. As an employee with a blog, does your content belong to you, or to your employer? Who has final say and control? Would that apply to real estate agents, even though we are technically sub-contractors, and not true employees?
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Now some will say, "But what if ActiveRain goes out of business? Or their servers blow up? What happens to your content then?"
Well, the same could be said of Wordpress.com, Typepad, or whatever host server you're using. What would happen if Wordpress.org suddenly disappeared?
My advice? Back up everything you write. Create a folder on an external hard drive, and place a copy there of every post you write.
There are inherent risks associated with whatever platform you elect to use. Each has their own unique advantages and disadvantages. In the end, it's simply a matter of personal preference, what best supports/achieves your specific business/marketing goals, and provides the best search engine traction.
There is no right or wrong, better or worse. Use what works best for you, and results in greater searchability and success!
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Rich Jacobson is a licensed real estate professional providing empowerment and relentless representation for his clients of residential properties and vacant land throughout all of Kitsap County WA and portions of Pierce, Mason, and Jefferson Counties. You can also find him at KitsapLife.com, SOUNDBITEBLOG, and Crabbing in the Hood.