Should Google Blogger off?

Google recently announced a major upgrade to its free blogging platform Blogger.

Does this represent a real leap forward in personalised communication or just another Google Application with little appeal outside the casual blogger?

Blogging killed the DIY home page
Free blogging services have been around for many years now and offer a great way to get that latest irritation off your chest.

Many blogs are now used instead of personal websites, this comes down to many reasons but for most non technical users the power of a blog comes from being able to add new content in minutes and at the click of a button give the site a makeover.

Although there are many of hosted blogs to choose from Blogger from Google is extremely popular.

Blogger offers for free a way for users to create blog websites in a very short period of time, add functionality and the ability to change the look very quickly and easily.

But it is important to realise that free is never really free, and with Google it’s never hidden.

Google’s free lunch
With Blogger although you free to construct your blog anyway you wish, there is always an acknowledgement that Google is hosting the blog, and you are encourage to plant Google AdSense advertising on your blog so you can make money.

Although not compulsory, it’s a tempting carrot not to ignore, which many take.

For Google offering this service, it is a way of expanding its publisher network and increasing it profits. By getting people to create unique and interesting content for nothing, not only does it generate vast sums of advertising revenue, but it ensures Blogger pages always rank well in its own and other search engines.

Mixing Pleasure with business
With personal blogging taking Google advertising is fine, but when you are in business, do you really want to be advertising a competitor’s service?

For many businesses who want to get on the social networking bandwagon Blogger does not represent their company’s best option.

WordPress is just one of a number of blogging options out there that are open source and allow you to host the platform yourself.

Hosting your own blog has many benefits but the main ones come from the idea that you have ownership from the information that is contained on the blog. This will be the driving force for traffic coming to your site.

Going beyond the blog.
While Blogger accounts are squarely aimed at blogger, the open source WordPress software, when installed on your own server can turn a simple blog is to a full CMS which is easy to develop and customise.

Many companies have realised the power of blogs and social networks, they have real advertising and referral power and they want to harness it.  With plug-ins available for WordPress it allows business to tap into this every growing market in easy and natural ways.

But it’s not just social network integration and marketing, with blogging in general, articles can often follow a theme, and will naturally increase the inherent On page SEO for any website adopting this approach.

Bloggers missed opportunity
Google’s Blogger could have so easily been the next big thing, but has missed by a mile. Due to its closed architecture, it means that it has a very limited application.

For many people a blog is more than just the latest ranting but an integral way of promoting their websites and business, until this changes a self hosted CMS will always represent the best way forward.

The next time Google offers you a free lunch, why not check who is paying for dessert…..