October 27, 2010 | Alyson Stanfield

Yes, You Still Need a Blog

Q: With everything that Facebook offers, why do I still need a blog?
A: Whoa, cowboy/cowgirl!
Yes, Facebook is a robust site that helps you engage with others in powerful ways, but it cannot replace the need for your own Web presence.
Both your blog and Facebook allow you to update your followers. They give people a place to comment and for you to respond in turn.
Both your blog and Facebook allow you to share images of your art. 
So far, they sound the same.

Linda Billet, Not So Pretty Now
Linda Billet, Not So Pretty Now. Fused glass, 14 x 17 inches. ©The Artist

But . . . and this is critical . . . Facebook can never replace your brand. Facebook is its own brand and cares only about promoting itself.
Facebook has all kinds of diversions on every page, and they can change anything whenever they please. As we've discovered, it pleases them to change things frequently and often without notice!
Your blog is built around your artist world. On it, you share your images exactly the way you want readers to see them. You have items in your sidebar that relate to your art or are of interest to your readers.
You control many aspects of your blog including the design, the colors, the titles of each page, the navigation, the names of your JPGs (Facebook renames everything you upload), where your credit line appears, and much more. You can even – on WordPress blogs – control the format of your URLs.
Get it?
Facebook = Little Control
Blog = You’re in Charge

How do you see the difference between how you use Facebook and how you use your blog?

31 comments add a comment
  • Tammy Vitale

    Not struggling – I find that the blog (twice a week these days, plus a new Poetry page on Saturdays just started) is my long term, anyone can find it by googling topics, base. Facebook is ephemeral. It isn’t easy to go back and find post/thoughts. But FB is a great driver to my blog and has a bigger reach than my blog. I don’t know how I’d do without either. Twitter, eh.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Tammy: This is a great point that I didn’t even mention. It IS nearly impossible to find older stuff on Facebook. It wouldn’t be possible to send people to a particular post there.
      Glad you pointed this out!

  • I guess that it all comes down to the control factor.
    I see my blog as the end result, a destination. Facebook, however, is one of the parts of the marketing that gets people to come to the destination. That marketing might involve seeing posts from the blog, interacting with me, or just seeing my name as I comment on other peoples’ statuses.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Yes, a destination. I like how you’re always speaking in terms of “adventuring” and journeys.

  • I find that I enjoy blogging more than Facebook…
    Most think I do more on Facebook than I really do – it is just so easy for me to post to FB whatever random thought I want.
    A downer to having FB is that some people will comment on a blog post on FB instead of the blog. Encouraging them to post on my blog turns some off…so I just enjoy how the blog feeds to FB and saves me some trouble.
    The up of the blog is how easy it is to search, have it translated into many languages for the readers, to upload a photo, video, etc. and have it STAY there. It is so easy to update and pre-date.
    The up of having FB is how I can update where I am (gallery, art walk, etc.) and send it out to people. Then, I blog about the event with photos. =)
    I agree, BOTH are needed.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Don’t think of it as a downside, Angeline Marie. I used to think that, too. But now I believe that the people who comment on my FB posts aren’t the same ones who come here. So I look at them as bonuses.

  • I use Facebook more for social purposes and my blogs are for business. Of course, there;s some overlap, but I like having that control over my content. Both my blogs (ShinyDesigns and TheArtfulBusiness) are self hosted on my own .com domain as well. I originally started the Shiny Designs blog on Blogger and now wish I’d been self-hosting all along.
    For me: LOVE Twitter! I don’t have a ton of followers/followees but the ones I have are great and very interactive.

  • I am a facebook junky but I would never give up my blog for fb or one of the all-inclusive social media sites. I try to keep facebook for friends and while I do link to posts sometimes I don’t want my friends to feel like I’m pushing my work on them. Inform but not annoy as it were.
    Sites like artreview I find handy for getting traffic. I add a short synopsis of each post to my artreview blog and link it to my personal site. Since every one there is either trying to push their work or there to see art the self-promotion is fitting. I much prefer using these artist sites over face book – at least till I have enough of a following to have a fan page.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Stacey: Why are you waiting to start a fan page? You can “move” (invite) your friends over there and start right away.

    • I’m not 100% sure why I’m waiting to before starting a facebook like/fan page. I only started bloging a little over 6 months ago and am still trying to establish my onilne voice/groove or what ever you want to call it. Maybe its time reconsider FB fan/like page.
      thanks,

  • I’ll confirm that Facebook pages can be problematic. All my status updates and my blog posts to my Facebook page suddenly disappeared. I haven’t a clue where they went. I like having both, but at the moment I’m frustrated with Facebook. I really like my blog and blogging with other artists.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Peggy: I have a hard time getting the posts to appear in the first place. FB seems to read the feeds whenever it wants to. Then, suddenly 3 posts appear simultaneously. Go figure.

  • Andy Mathis

    Facebook is hot right now. One day though, it might be un-cool.
    And if you don’t have your own site/blog , you’ll be up the creek. :)

  • Another point I would add – if you put content on your own blog you can (potentially) gain new clients from people finding you from search engines. Google loves blogs and a lot of your content could rank in google searches – there’s no guarantee of that with Facebook – use other sites to send people back to your site (or blog) – we use Google, Bing, Facebook and Twitter and Email (the most important) – to drive people to sites we control. Anyway that’s may $.02

    • Alyson Stanfield

      You’re right, as usual, Clint. Business pages on FB do appear high in search engines, but only for the main wall. As far as I can tell, they don’t (can’t) link to specific posts on a business page. (see Tammy’s note at top)

  • Since I attended your Art Marketing on the Internet workshop in Estes Park, in May of 2009, I have had a little voice in my head that says “What would Alyson do?”, when it comes to my internet presence.
    I blog 5 days a week (I just passed the 500 post mark) and it posts to Facebook and Twitter automatically. I recently started a fan page. I’d love some advice about discontinuing the personal page or finding a way to get more people to go to the fan page for the SEO benefits you mentioned in an earlier post. I keep the personal page professional, but I’d like the biggest bang for my buck, so to speak.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Sorry about that voice, Beth. I hear it’s a common affliction.
      Have you invited your friends to become fans?

    • Yes, I did, Alyson. I have 80 people who “like” the Fan Page. Maybe I am just impatient. (I have 193 “friends”.) I just added the Fan Page widget to my website and my newsletter, too.
      Blogging as often as I do really does help my Google ranking. Thanks for all your great advice!

    • Beth, after having done this recently, I’ve found that straggling friends are still drifting in from my invite a few weeks ago. Some just take longer than others. Keep the faith!

  • Providing a link on my FB page to my latest blog post works well for me. I do post paintings-in-progress on FB too. But “Trawlers and Tugs” art blog is my main outreach activity: linking up modern maritime artists around the country with those who love their work! Starting this about 18 months ago has become the most exciting art move I have made in a long time.

  • Laura Trevey

    I definitely agree! You should not rely on Facebook as your sole marketing. there is nothing unique about it… It doesn’t represent YOU.

  • I enjoy the freedom to design my posts on my blog as I want to – guess I like to be in control.
    A Facebook Fan page is a useful way to grow visitors to both blog and website, as long as you don’t rely too much on FB – as you say it changes things at will.

  • […] Now you understand why Facebook can never replace your blog. […]

  • I try to post on the blog 1-2x/week. When I do, I’ll always put the image up on FB page, and sometimes add a teaser link back to the blog post (if it’s a ‘meaty’ one).
    I haven’t linked an auto feed to the blog because I’d rather folks read the post on the blog and not on FB. Turns out that FB does ok for me to keep a catalog of all my painting images.

  • […] In case you’re torn between time spent on your blog and time spent on Facebook, check out Alyson’s recent article on why you should not be spending all your creative energy on […]

  • Having just recently set up my blog and a facebook fan page, I’m still struggling to get traffic to either. With the little experience that I have with facebook, I completely agree that the blog is absolutely essential to the control of your content. Thanks for a great article.

  • […] can do the same for your blog—a critical component of your Web […]

  • I have taken several of your classes and follow all of your advice and came OH SO CLOSE to signing up for the class you are giving now. I have had a lot of success right out of the box without doing a bunch of promotions. My studio space is under construction and will be done in a month. I have been doing my art in my dining room and kitchen in the meantime. I am preparing to launch my work and business and want some things in place and worked out to be ready. After reading all of these comments, I will add a blog to my new website which is almost done. I will be able to do a weekly blog and enjoy it. My website will have an email list sign up link and I have created my MailChimp account and am putting my email lists into that as we speak. I have never emailed my people so I feel funny starting – thank you for the sample letters you sent a month ago. I will be back in classes with you soon. Redoing my home and studio has been a part time job in and of itself!

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