I wanted to follow up on my earlier point, about bloggers who are missing the point. It seems to me that the reason I’m thinking about this in such different terms is that I just don’t see blogging as a business. Sure, it’s very possible to make money with your blog, but the simple fact of making money doesn’t make you a business (even if the IRS want’s to tax you as one).
A business is something that becomes an entity upon its own. Small or large, the businesses we grow, if successful, will continue whether we’re present or not. The best businesses are the ones that develop to the point where the people that operate them are interchangable. If a business depends on any one person, it will fail as soon as that one person is no longer available. Blogs are the complete opposite of a business. A blog is all about the person who does the blogging. This is why I think that having your blog on your own domain, as opposed to a subdomain of a blogging service is not a major issue.
It’s not an issue that just occurred to me yesterday either. Over a year ago, I thought it would be a novel idea to buy someone’s blog. It was a novel idea. Maybe too novel of an idea. I think people still struggle with the idea, even when the blog isn’t as personal as the one I bought. After a couple of months, the blogger of the blog I bought and I decided the best thing for both of us was to transfer ownership of the blog back to him. The lesson learned was the blog is such a personal thing it’s difficult to separate it from yourself. In other words, it’s about the blogger, not the domain.
Moving a blog from a service’s subdomain to a domain of your own need not be a major undertaking either. Even with thousands of blog posts, with modern day technology the content can be readily enough moved. Naturally, I always recommend keeping current backups in case anything should go awry. If the people who read your blog don’t follow along to the new url, they really weren’t paying attention anyway. That leaves only the SEO questions. Those are the questions you should be asking when you want to move from a subdomain to your own domain. How long will you be in the sandbox? How will you get all those backlinks to switch over to your new url? But, really, how much were you depending on search engine traffic anyway?
That brings me back to is it a business? The search engine traffic may be very valuable to you if you depend on your blog for your source of income. In that case, a slower transition to your new url is in order. But, I’d urge you to take time to reflect on the vulnerability of your income source at this point. If you think that moving your url might compromise your ability to earn revenue on your blog, how would a major illness hit it? A true business would continue to operate while you’re in the hospital, or even if your on the beach on a tropical island. For those of you with successful blogs, what pace do you make yourself sustain to maintain that success? How long do you envision yourself working at that pace? And what do you plan to do when you’re done blogging?
On a side note, I do think that the success of a blog network has inspired some others to begin the transition from blogging to running a business. Good luck guys!