The benefits of nonprofit blogging
are clear. A frequently-updated blog can bring visitors back regularly
to see what’s new with your organization, and engage your supporters in
an active online community around your cause. And we know that web
pages with fresh content tend to be favoured in search engines’ results
pages. But which is better — to integrate a blog as a part of your
nonprofit’s main website, or to host it remotely on a third-party
For a variety of reasons, I believe it makes goood sense for a nonprofit
organization to consolidate its original web content (static web pages,
interactive features, and blog content) on one main website that
becomes “information central” for your organization, and the hub of
your online community.
Web Traffic and SEO
Hosting your blog with another site (such as Wordpress.com, Blogger,
or the like), separate from your organization’s main website, could
have a few benefits:
- Remote blogs will be on a different domain from your main website,
so links from that blog may add some “authority” to your website in the
eyes of the search engines.
- Remote blogs may benefit from a network effect — bringing new
visitors to your blog when people browse Wordpress.com by tags for
related content, or click “next blog” on the navigation bar at the top
of Blogger (blogspot.com) blogs.
On the other hand, “authority” from incoming links to your website
can be acquired in other ways — such as networking with related
organizations, setting up social media “outposts,” and so on — without having to set up your blog on a remote site.
The chance of getting a random click-by visitor through the hosting
service’s network may not balance out the disadvantages of passing
search engine “juice” to the blogging platform’s domain rather than to
An integrated blog helps to keep your website content “fresh” in
the eyes of search engines and readers alike, with long-term benefits
for your entire website. And when people search for your organization’s
name or cause-related keywords, you’re more likely to show well in
search results if the “juice” is not divided between two different
Content and Control
An integrated blog brings the readers right onto your website —
where they have easy access to all of your online information in one
place, and to interactive features that a third-party blogging platform
may not offfer.
Most free and low-cost blogging services have strict Terms of
Service that restrict how your organization can use its remote-hosted
blog, especially in terms of the Web 2.0 widgets and multimedia content
you are able to add to it.
Who would you prefer to control your nonprofit’s blog — your own organization or a third-party service?
Copyright for content you publish on a remote blog will remain with
in practical terms it may be difficult or time-consuming to transfer
all that content to another service, should you decide to move. And if
someone takes exception to something posted on your blog (your
organization’s position on a controversial issue, perhaps), their
complaint to the hosting company may get your blog suspended without
notice until the complaint has been investigated and the matter
Branding and Consistency
Quite simply, there’s a risk of confusing your readers if you
separate your website and your blog in different locations. It’s a
matter of diluting the focus.
When a supporter wants to share your link with a friend, how will
they know whether to give the link to your blog or to your main website?
Integrated blogs, on the other hand, tend to be easier to “brand” as
your own, sharing the same look and feel as your main site — and, most
importantly, consolidating your organization’s primary web presence
under one distinctive domain name, at one web location.
By all means, branch out to Facebook and MySpace and wherever else
your supporters gather, setting up the online outposts that help to
draw eyes to your site. But it’s your main website that should be at
the hub of those online outreach efforts — not a blog here and some web
pages there, but one central easy-to-find clearing-house for
information about your organization and your cause.
But that's just one opinion, so let's hear what you think — an integrated blog, or a blog that's separate from the organization's main website? Which one does your experience say would be the better choice?