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Do You Own Your Internet?

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Remember Friendster, Myspace, Google+ or Vine? There were and still are a myriad of smaller niche platforms as well. They all went the way of the dodo or melted down into disuse.

The Nature of The Internet

Whether it is a product of the current global state of affairs, the mindset of people on the Internet, the number of automated bots scouring and building the web, or simply the inevitable fate of the communication system, social media will come and go like dance clubs. They are venues for courting, personal expression or validation, and social influence. Not much has changed about human nature. It’s just that our actions are now carried out mostly on websites or apps on phones. But unlike physical clubs, bars or restaurants, venues can pop up faster and dissolve just as quickly. In terms of longevity, Facebook is an outlier for now, but its existence is looking very tenuous these days.

Website Services Come and Go Too

Cheap or free website hosting and CMS (Content Management Systems) like Squarespace or other “free” blogging platforms come and go too. When they go away, what happens to your content and all that time you invested in it?

Search Engines as Well

Search engines come and go too. Like Facebook having a little extra longevity in the social media arena, Google too is outlasting the history of all other search engines. Google definitely has a monopoly for now, but may get broken up and new generations of more technically proficient people are making the echo-chamber of personalized search results less appealing or essential. What happens when Google fades? Do you have good content on your website that does well on search engines that rely more on good content and less on how much you use other Google products like Analytics, Google My Business, and Adwords? Is your business listed in other mapping services like Apple Maps (DucDuckGo), Bing (MSN) or the ‘ol Mapquest?

How to Own Your Internet?

Like we’ve said, everything on the Internet comes and goes. The reality is that tangible businesses do the same, but the problem with Internet-based services and venues (website providers, social media, web portals, etc.) is that you can simply loose everything. In contrast, if you close the location of a physical business, you can move elsewhere and/or sell the land or building. You retain those assets.

So what happens when those social media platforms, portals and services go away? You can’t sell the real estate and just as easily change locations (i.e. port the website or all of your social media posts over to another hosting environment). Yikes! You not only lose that marketing asset, but you also loose ALL that time, effort, and money that you put into it.

First, you need to own your website

Own it wholly and outright… that includes the domain. It should be backed up just in case it crashes or you need to move it to another hosting company. Maybe your company will have it’s own web-server and email-server soon. Who knows? But would you want to spend all the cumulative time and money you spent on the website again? $10K to design and build it, another $3K-$5K for the hosting, and 1-5 years of building it out. Let’s say $60K. Want to do that all over again? NOPE!

The point is that owning your website is essential for growth and longevity. Content that you initiate, own and control is most important. And given what we all know now about how search results can be bought or manipulated, it makes it a critical marketing resource going forward.

Second, Own your content (posts, updates, news, promotions, blogs, etc.)

Of course, we all should participate in social media. It expands reach and supports SEO, but do not put many eggs in any one basket. Use social media as ancillary/supplemental marketing channel. These days, much of the work we do managing reputations makes them feel simply more like customer service channels every day.

What this means is that your marketing, communications, and promotions need to start on your own website. We’re talking about your updates, news, promotions, blogs, or whatever you want to call them. It is important for your brand AND your SEO that you post them on your website first and then embed/post a link to it in your online profiles and on your social media.

You control how your company or brand is presented and if you need to made an edit, update or change, you can correct it from the inside out.