With G+ being no longer available to the public/dead it highlights again a trend of rented services, entering the marketplace with a bang then fizzling out a few years later. Leaving publishers without a platform and wondering what to do next.
The real impact of G+ was felt when eBlogger users lost 5+ years of comments on their blog posts. But this is not a new trend, rented websites, blogs or general rented platforms are as old as the internet and online publishing itself. When the web was young they were made by good folks to help with complexity and teach a merchantable skill set. Today they have evolved into controlled, limiting and very misleading bebo profiles from the late 1990s.
What is a rented platform, why are they so bad?
Facebook, twitter and now Wix, SquareSpace etc are all micro platforms/blog models which have evolved over time. Some like facebook are not trying to replace websites, but many users can use them for the same ideas. The newer breed are positioning themselves as a CMS, they are not and in ways are hosting with a website builder ala GoDaddy.
But as a business your focus should be to share already created and owned content and not to publish directly on social media.
There has been the idea of rented sites ever since geocities, they all seem to fail longer term. I personally feel they are all some sort of cash grab and here is why:
- You don’t own the content
- You are filling in a template the same as all your competition, there is no scope for any change or flair
- AI is now driving the feed on nearly every social platform, this will not help you as a small business like it did 5 years ago
- Most are now pay to display, any real traffic or numbers comes from Ad models not the general free usage of social
- You can still in 2020 with very little effort organically share on social, this speaks more to your brand, service and general customer interactions, not the platforms
- When rented platforms die/or become towards end of life they disappear of the search engine, Google+ is unique but you will see little to no reference online now, which amounts to wasted time by all who published on it.
- There is never a replacement in the publishing world, tools and plugins will change hands, Smush and WPMUDev is the prime example there, as Yahoo started it and they perfected it.
- The last and most important part is the rent or payment you make, over time any rented site, be it wix, squarespace, etc which replaces a CMS and hosts itself for you. These are all not true websites or CMS setups as you pay to use them, you are part of one huge multi site install of the same CMS, all hosted in the same data center etc. Overtime what you pay for vs what you get becomes very lob sided. The sliding payment models are very steep.
- ECommerce using these models may be enticing and seem like a its so simple to setup, there is a reason, I would use an Amazon marketplace model over this for your own web presence. Selling online is about trust and returned visitors, keeping your margins low and delivering online and offline. Rented US based platforms rarely work for EU business and if they do consume 10x the cost and do not scale up well at all.
- Rented platforms for publishing are bad
- Conversely sharing on these platforms is a great idea as it increases reach
- Own your own content – Use a CMS or HTML template you control
- Keep your activities linked to a Domain and Google maps pin