8 Reasons You Should Never Give Up Your Own Blog for Google+

8 Reasons You Should Never Give Up Your Own Blog for Google+

Reader Comments (82)

    • I should probably add to that there are quite a few people who started from scratch with Google+ … meaning they really didn’t have a serious online identity … and built up a huge audience inside Google+. Denis Labelle, Jaana Nystrom are a few.

    • Elliot., I’ve never seen any blogger make this type of transition before. I think it’s lame to want to make a blog out of a social media outlet… You still remember those that did it with “MySpace”? Yeah, it was really glorious, they had a good time blogging on a social media site . . . and boom! Facebook came out . . . And boom! Twitter came out . . . and boom! MySpace went down! Including the so called MySpace bloggers.

      So you see? Having a blog is far better than having one on a social site which literally doesn’t belong to you; since it can go down any moment.
      I also quite agree with Farnworth, you can really leverage it enough to make a 5 figure income from it more than you can do with a blog. Heck, you can’t even schedule post for crying out loud. ….
      I’ll advise everyone out there to stick with blogging with a blog and not with a social site…

      My 25cents…

  1. Google+ is a lion cub. I love lion cubs. Who doesn’t?

    I want to be around it while it’s young, so we know each other well when it’s a full-on beast.

    But you won’t see me leaving my cave to be a part of its pack. That pack could go hungry and die before it’s grown.

    The cave will always be mine as long as I stay.

    Stay in your cave. And be sure to roast some marshmallows on the campfire while you’re there … the metaphor’s ended now … I’m just craving a smore.

    This was a champ’s post again, Demian – such a solid package of arguments against G+ as a blog substitute. I agree with every point.

    I tried using Do Share a few times but it felt like too much work for a social media post. Personally, I think social posts should be a little less tame – like thoughts you say out loud.

    Sometimes, treating them like blogs (refining and scheduling) can sap from their natural flavour.

    What do you reckon?

  2. I agree Demian wholeheartedly.

    Don’t farm where do don’t own the land. I always see social media as part of the marketing tree. Branches, twigs and leaves fall off and new ones grow but the trunk and roots are constant.

    Leaves : Engagement by yourself and fans.

    Twigs : Links and content you share.

    Branches : Social networks your’e on.

    Trunk : Your Blog and/or your Website. (The funnel)

    Roots: Fantastic Service & Great Products

    A crude example I know, But i think it works. 🙂

  3. Nice post.
    As publishers, we also understand that even external blogs / sites are somehow defined by Google Webmaster rules. You do this and that and your blog will rank. You don’t and you’re good to explore the deep seo sea.

    And what is true for blogs is also true for businesses. An unexpected seo backfire means less revenue, with sometimes jobs at risk.

    If Google becomes obsolete in the future, another big gun will take the place, and act the same way, with higher efficiency. This is how we humans do business: annihilating competition.

    So having a stand alone digital property can make you feel you’re in the drivers sit. You think you control the direction, but Google controls your wheels anyway. 🙂

    • True, we can’t control every external factor, but the more that risk is spread out the less chances that when one fails the whole model won’t go down. I think we saw last week that even a giant entity like Google can blink out unexpectedly. As you say, this is why competition and choices are good.

  4. I used to be very sensitive about digital sharecropping.

    I’m the guy who built a community around my own recorded music at MP3.com, and made a little money off it, until the site changed its business model and deleted all of my files. I’m also the guy who has a site stuck on Typepad, a service that’s no longer worth paying for.

    I thought I ended my sharecropping and started “owning the farm” wen I transitioned into self-hosted WordPress and to collecting email. But it wasn’t so.

    My email provider shut down my account once. So did Paypal. My WordPress host went down last week.

    I could get a merchant account, but it’s expensive. I could run my own server but it will be insecure. I could send emails direct from me to my list, but I won’t get analytics.

    So I make tradeoffs. I play on other people’s platforms because the potential risk is less than the potential reward.

    The key is to focus on what the platform is good for, and not ask it to do everything!

    No, Google+ isn’t good for making money directly. But can you reach a lot of people quickly? Yes.

    Can you build authority there, in the eyes of your market and Google? Yes.

    Will that authority carry on with you after you move to another site? Yes, at least among the people you’ve impacted.

    (All of the above sure sounds like what 95% of people want from blogging!)

    I never heard of Mike Elgan before Google+. And now, even after Plus is done and finished, I’ll never forget him.

    • I think the difference is recovery time. If Google kills G+ (and at one time, no one could have imagined they would kill Reader), you’d have to re-create everything on your own platform anyway.

      I don’t believe “set it and forget it” exists for real businesses, but we can set ourselves up for prompt recovery when glitches happen, and pick the tools that are least likely to have problems.

  5. Demian,

    You make some fine points why serious bloggers and authors should avoid the lure of the temptress … Google +.

    But there will be those who might not want to invest the time and money and energy to learn all the tools and techniques needed to succeed in online publishing in their chosen niche.

    Seeing someone like Mike Elgan, an experienced blogger, abandon the “standalone” digital publishing model for a simpler approach does pique my attention (especially since he still using email to nurture deeper relationships with his readers).

    Do you think this could be a wake up call to all service and software providers in the WordPress Eco system to “Bundle” services for a turnkey, value added benefit to present an future digital publishers?

    • I think it is a very tempting opportunity, but as I pointed out above, there is no way in the world that Google+ is the best blogging platform. That’s hyperbole.

    • Do you think this could be a wake up call to all service and software providers in the WordPress Eco system to “Bundle” services for a turnkey, value added benefit to present an future digital publishers

      One market leader in the WP ecosystem has been thinking about this for a long time and are actively making it a reality.

      (Guess who that is ;))

      • I couldn’t help but lob that across the plate for an “out the park” swing.

        I’m a happy StudioPress customer, Premise landing page software owner and ScribeSEO plan subscriber for over 2 years and grateful for the value it’s addd to my business.

        (Now if I can convince Mr. Clark that AgentPress is missing content marketing techniques that can be made into templates I’ve found beneficial as a broker, I might be swayed to consider it as well :-))

    • It is a great question, and the answer is, definitely.

      Once WordPress is up and running, it’s as easy as any “turnkey” system to publish content to every day. Now it’s time for the setup to become simpler and more streamlined.

  6. Wow. I can’t believe anyone would make an argument FOR quitting a blog and working from Google+. Maybe they were hired by Google? I agree with all of your reasons to not do such foolishness. I know I won’t. My blog is me. Google is google. Simple enough.

    • He’s not in their pocket. Funny that you say that because during my Google+/Author Rank series earlier this year someone asked me if I was getting paid by Google. I was not. Just like talk about products I love AND hate. 😀

  7. Very interesting read and your arguments are solid and convincing. Above all else, it’s point 7 that really clinches it. Who knows what’s going to happen in the future and while google seems to be investing a lot in g+ at the moment, things could be dramatically different in 2/3 years time.

    Eggs and baskets spring to mind.

    The satellite analogy is a good one too.

    • I doubt Google+ is going anywhere any time soon, but still. It just sounds alien to have a good time on someone else’s property. It’s like that high school party you threw at your grandparent’s house … a mind blower until they showed.

    • It’s Google, David. They are not going anywhere except ruling the world and enslaving human beings using Terminator Pandas.

      But yeah, your own domain; your own blog; your rules and your style. I consider my blog to be a reflection of my own ego, i.e. me, as a human being. I try to match everything in it to who I am as an individual. That can’t be done on Google+, any social network or Web 2.0. This is why WordPress is so popular and what blogging should really be about: Having a platform that is flexible enough to suit any user’s personality.

  8. Solid advice. This should also be shared with a lot of small businesses who continue to depend on “free” social media to market rather than build their own websites.

  9. “Do you want to swim in a backyard swimming pool where you’re in control of every variable? Or do you want to swim in the ocean? That’s the choice you make as a blogger.” I like this analogy, it’s fresh.

    Social media can be used in conjunction with your blog and other online and offline marketing techniques. You own your blog and marketing materials; however, you don’t own Google+. Google owns Google+. If it disappears tomorrow, what would you do?

    Whether you use social media or start a blog, you’ll have to do some work. So… You may was put your heart and soul into your blog, and sprinkle your joy on Google+ and other social media networks.

    • It’s an interesting analogy, but for me it doesn’t point where he thinks it points.

      The swimming pool would be something more like Facebook, where content is sheltered from the open web. The ocean would be publishing on the open web — able to encounter anyone and everyone.

      G+, even though it’s discoverable with search, is only “the ocean” if the analogy extends to a private ocean that the rich owner can fill with lime Jell-o if the whim should take them. 🙂

      • I have to agree. Which is why I said it was a “peculiar” argument.

        You mean you want to swim in someone else’s backyard? For the more adventurous, leaving the harbour for the sea sounds more appealing.

        And like I stated, you don’t control every variable.

  10. While Google will not be shutting down Google Plus anytime soon, you run the risk of losing all your work if they do at some point in the future.

    Listen, it’s about control. When you choose a third party to set up shop your hands are tied on freedom, creativity, design, etc.

    It’s not to say you can’t be successful implementing this process, but you really cut yourself off at the feet.

  11. For the low cost of hosting, I would always own my space. I published 160 posts so far this year. I can’t imagine not having control of that work. The platforms are good but you are not in control. I know several platforms have shut down accounts without any advanced warning.
    If you are blogging, you believe that your work has some value, so make the small investment and own your blog. You’ll will be happy you did in the long run.

    • Yes. Even if G+ doesn’t go away (and that would be very unlikely in the near term), the rules can change overnight.

      I think that’s a particular problem because Google doesn’t intend for its platform to be used this way. But in any event, depending on a giant corporate overlord to stick to today’s set of rules is a sucker bet.

    • Which I have to say, I find entirely unconvincing.

      You can get all of the benefits he mentions (or, um, the one benefit he mentions) by having a strong presence on G+ but hosting all the original content on your own site.

      More power to him, it’s a strategy that will probably be fine for him, but for general readers (especially those using content to support a business) it’s a truly awful idea.

    • You could have made precisely his argument (and many did) for Facebook. And then overnight, they changed their rules (go figure) and tens of thousands of businesses got burned.

      • His argument is compelling because he basically says “get all the followers you want, go viral” in exchange for x, y, and z. But a little bit like a devil’s deal.

        What I don’t understand is why you can’t split the difference, like you said, and use both.

  12. Thank you Demian.

    Well, maybe thank you. It’s like you snuck over to my house while I was sleeping and looked around inside my thoughts. 😉

    I think its kind of like degrees of ownership. Unless we are coders working on our own stuff, we don’t own any of applications or programs we use on a daily basis. We pay rent for a license or sometimes get the license for free.

    But all those terms can be changed anytime the owner wants – not when the user wants. I finally moved to LastPass after being so irritated with RoboForm and their reneging on the lifetime license as an example.

    We own our ideas, for the most part anyway. But we might not own the expression of those ideas online, depending on how we express them.

    But, we are a lot closer to controlling our own work when we use our own sites. Sure, we need to elase our domain name, and get hosting and software to create a site, but we own that in a much more direct fashion than if we go through all that to post on Google+ or Facebook.

    Use those things as ancillary publishing platforms, that sounds good to me. But truthfully, anytime I see anyone publishing how many friends they have or contacts or how many circles they are in, I wonder why someone would brag about this. I know sometimes those stats are automatically displayed, but not all the time.

    I still miss my Xanga page. ;-D

  13. I totally agree. To further a thought, social media sites are also always changing. So a certain platform may lose some of its edge, or Google may reformat or design its products to fit better with an audience. I love using Google+ to share my ideas, but I haven’t found a way to blog on it.

  14. Thanks for article and also for sharing Mike Elgan’s less than elegant ‘rebuttal’ (I use the word lightly). His narcissistic bully-like response reminds me of an old approach to telemarketing: keep repeating your demands over and over until you get what you want no matter what the other person says. Don’t let the other person distract you with excuses or questions that aren’t on your script. When in doubt, repeat. Lastly, his waving the word ‘obscurity’ around as a fear tactic pretty much assumes that the average blogger is a dupe … which is what I would expect from Google (See: SkyNet).

  15. As a digital marketer I’m surprised it’s a debate at all. Well laid out arguments Demian. For me personally I think it is very clear that G+ falls into the social platform group. These platforms IMO are to amplify your content and connect with your readers on the platform they prefer. But in both cases whether you’re a full time blogger, e-commerce store, or bricks and mortar location I think the end goal is to drive users to the website itself and then have them take a specific action. So while I can see G+ working for some in certain situations I think the advantages of having an actual blog/website far outweigh using a social platform as your only touch point.

  16. Nice post. I never thought of making the switch, but theres no doubt that users that post more content on G+ have significantly higher interaction than those who just post links to their latest blog post. I try to make a G+ version of my blog posts (not sure how that looks for SEO) so that I can take advantage of the interactivity that G+ offers but still build a presence on my blog as well.

    • Whatever I post on my blog I can guarantee some sort of response … comments (in the 40s at times, for a blog with only a 1,000 subscribers, not’s not bad), shares, etc.

      On Google+ it is hit or miss.

      Yes, you can grow a huge audience on Google+ … but does it matter? What’s the percentage of people interacting with you? Low is what I’ve discovered.

  17. Here’s what I posted on the +Mike Elgan article:

    I used to track about 150 blogs on subjects I was specifically interested and read perhaps ten or fifteen daily. Since the demise of Google Reader, I have stopped reading most of them any more and haven’t missed them.

    I occasionally read G+ but find it quite unsatisfying. G+ is no substitute for a good blog with the kind of in-depth coverage of technical topics I’m interested in.

    In fact, if a subject or post has gone viral then it is likely on a subject of little interest to me.

    Twitter and Facebook are completely uninteresting to me as well. I’ve never read anything on Twitter that was remotely interesting.

    Now that my Android phone can download webcasts directly, listing to audio blogs is my number one way to get much of the information I’m looking for.

    +Mike Elgan is an interesting guy when he’s on a TWiT webcast but I seldom find his posts here of any interest.

    “You can never be too rich or have too many followers” seems to be the new motto. Sounds shallow, but that’s just me.

    Peace, Love, Laughter,


    p.s. Now that I’ve read the +Demian Farnworth article, I have to agree with him. In fact, reading his article was a much better reading experience and the comments, while perhaps fewer, were much more cogent. rs

  18. Google+ and other social networks are great for forging relationships and promotions, but that’s it. It is a lot easier to weather the storms of big social media sites changing and/or falling if your digital home is elsewhere. There will always be new places to put up digital billboards and chat with prospective clients.

  19. Thank you SO much for writing this. Mike Elgan’s “The Google+ Diet” was about the worst advice I have ever heard anywhere. He was rewarded with a Google SUL )suggested users list) slot for that terrible advice, and unfortunately many people got suckered by it. He also wrote a post called “the joy of blocking” where he described how wonderful it is to block anyone on social media who annoys you. He really should get out of the “advice giving” business. This was an insightful and rigorously logical post. Not much else needs to be said on this topic.

  20. That about sums it up. I’m sure that like many, I too have the Google+ account. I seldom use it for more than a post or two every once-in-a-while. I agree that one should grow their own crops on their own parcel of land and sell them for profits. After all, if one crop doesn’t grow, buy another piece of more fertile land.

    Good points indeed.

  21. I added Google+ comments to my blogs because it expanded my reach and I have seen traffic and activity steadily increase but I would never give up control of my content.

    It is like going without insurance, feels great until something happens and you need it. The problem is that when that happens it is usually tied into some sort of major event that wouldn’t have been as painful if you had prepared for it.

    • That’s a great analogy … exactly my feeling if you invest everything in a social site. That’s scary and stupid. Build the media asset, use Google+ to amplify your voice.

  22. Thanks for sharing your Google+ knowledge. I personally feel the design is sucks for slow internet connection and the hangout feature isn’t cool, I miss the old gtalk chat feature.

    Good luck.

  23. As always, I go to your posts when I’m curious to learn more about G+, Demian. Thanks for the thorough analysis about how your own blog is still home.

    I’m wondering if this “blog only on G+” mentality is coming directly from those digital sharecropper pasts. How many of the people who really want to blog on G+ have only ever blogged on Livejournal, Tumblr, etc., instead of making their own blogs? Do you think they maybe see making your own blog as more of a pain than using a “simple” tool like G+ (even though you claim it’s the lazier way)?

    Also, I think you could also say all these exact same things about Tumblr. To me, it’s a cheap way of blogging, even worse than G+.

  24. Fantastic blog post. Been saying this since 2006. Seems like whatever new social platform comes along, many are eager to shift their home to the flavor of the year.

    Big, naive mistake.

    Google, Facebook, etc… are concerned about themselves. That’s all. They want to make money.

    Facebook is a great example. SO MANY marketers were preaching to build your fan base, build your fan base.

    They didn’t realize that 80% of fans weren’t seeing their statuses anyway. Then, as “promoted posts” came along, a lot were stunned. It became pay to reach your followers.

    Your blog and email list should be #1. No question. Social platforms are great tools to get people on your email list and back to your home.

    Never put all your eggs in a basket you don’t own.

  25. Demian, I applaud you for making such a compelling argument about this matter. Google+ is enticing and attractive indeed but in my personal opinion, there is no way I’m going to leave my own blog for Google+. It just doesn’t make any sense. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter run their sites for their own gains and I’d like to believe that Google+ is the same.

    It’s too big of a risk to leave your own blog and move to a new blogging platform/social media site without any assurance. Although a few success stories here and there brings out some positivity, I don’t think bloggers should make the move. Anyhow, thank you for the red light. I’m sure bloggers appreciate it.

  26. I’d have to agree Demian, stick to a blog for the sake of a blog and stick to Google Plus for the sake of using Google Plus. They are both very different tools and there’s plenty to be gained from each one. There’s no harm in what Mike Elgan has done and it’s certainly an interesting take on social, however it’s not one that I would recommend personally.

    Not everyone will want to make money from their blog, although with Google Plus there will be more constraints because of how the platform operates, point six in your article for example. Essentially, if you’re a keen blogger, you should stick to maintaining a decent blog. Good post though!

  27. All valid points for or against using Google Plus, a blogging platform & social network combined – sounds like a win! Everyone have a great weekend on purpose…

  28. Very well written! I think this is a great reminder to never relinquish ownership of your content, even in the face of a new exciting platform.

  29. No, No, NO. People should never do this! I agree with your article. We found out the hard way that any third party platform can delete your content at any time. I’d been an early adopter of g+, used it heavily to build communities, and had thousands of connections. Then last summer, they just deleted our pages. GONE. poof. I asked, and asked, and no one answered, and then a few months ago someone finally replied that it was a “bug” – UGH.

    Takeaway – whatever you put anywhere, if you don’t own the platform, they control all of your content and presence.

  30. Interesting post, but I believe hootsuite allows posting to Google+ pages (not profiles, though) and that would allow you to schedule posts accurately. Unless I am mistaken. I haven’t actually been inspired enough to use Google+ till I read this post, so … maybe I’ll find out now and update if it won’t work. Dead sure it will.

  31. Not sure any serious blogger would actually move to Google+ ever, but for what its worth, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I didn’t control the server my most important content was on.

    Knowing that Google *can* shut down accounts without warning is a superb reason to not even bother with the other reasons. And I’m not joking. They have done it. I once met someone who lost all his emails, contacts and what not and he doesn’t know why.

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