Websites and Digital Web Footprint Ownership
DO I CONTROL MY CURRENT AND FUTURE MARKETING VISIBILITY ONLINE?
Your website and its accumulated references (inbound links to website page URLs) should never, ever be trapped. If you cannot move your website from host to host, do not chose the website solution! So many solution providers say “No you cannot take the website off our server” and that’s a problem when you consider the value of a website’s accumulated ‘Digital Web Footprint’ including:
- What have you been trying to accomplish with a website? = findability and presentation
- What is the long term picture? = greater findability via more and more references
- What happens to all my keyword search engine indexing, linked direct to my individual URLs?
- What about bookmarks to my page URLs?
- What about back links from other websites to my page URLs?
- How about all social shares, likes, pins and Plus 1’s with links to my website pages?
- What happens to all the potential resulting traffic, leads and new business?
If you don’t own anything, it’s gone and you start over. All of the above relates directly to records of your page URLs or ‘permalinks’ in places where anybody, anywhere, at any time can discover you! Time, effort and (past & future) money is always at stake SO before investing be sure to understand the consequences of not owning; be sure to understand the long term value lost and what’s at stake when you lose not only a website, but its footprint!
WHAT IS AT STAKE WITH YOUR DIGITAL WEB FOOTPRINT?
What is the technical definition of a ‘digital footprint’ (click here)? It is a forever growing record of digital interactions recorded via page URLs or permalinks. A cumulative record, for instance, used by search engines to rank a site and its content versus the competition. It’s a page URL that maybe several people have bookmarked (or linked too, shared and/or liked) possibly to recommend it to others or to save as a reference for when they are ‘ready to buy’. Its a lot of potential new business opportunities … assuming those URL records can stand the test of time.
WHEN IS A WEBSITE AND DIGITAL FOOTPRINT NOT MINE?
You see the ads for curiously cheap or even free websites. Ever wonder how or even why it’s free? It is a classic ‘bait & switch’ for the unsuspecting! Logic serves that virtually no business can afford to offer anything for free!
Maybe free suits an immediate need versus building your own site at a cost. Free or cheap is nice, but not if the marketer wants to grow and protect its digital records.
FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION
An architect might tell you that the shape or FORM of a building should be based upon its intended FUNCTION or purpose. Let’s parallel a ‘digital footprint’ in a way that defines what a website’s purpose SHOULD be.
The data trail left by interactions in a digital environment or, better yet, the size of a company’s “online presence” measured by its history of interactions is its ‘digital footprint’. Inputs to a ‘digital footprint’ may include location, search engine crawls, keyword use and indexing, links, content amount, bookmarks, recommendations, social network activity, direct subscriptions and many more ‘signals’ that lend themselves to visibility (or a website’s function) over time.
Why does a company build a website in the first place? Hopefully not only to own a website, but to be ever more visible online; to drive traffic, capture leads and generate business. For perspective, disregard all the signals a marketer’s website can accumulate in its ‘footprint’ over time. Rather, look solely at one – the time a business begins hosting its website on a particular URL. Time or ‘date stamp’ is a signal and it counts toward a search engine’s definition of authority in a competitive environment. Depending on the level of competition for visibility and traffic, for instance maybe in a less competitive geographic region, ‘date stamp’ for when a business arrived with some content at its URL can be enough to outrank the competition. And to outrank is, in theory, to drive traffic and potential new business. But remember, the time record is URL based! Worthless if you don’t own it!
Most subjects and geographic regions are a great deal more competitive for traffic, but using the one signal demonstrates the larger value proposition and what’s at stake. The big picture is not just that a business should own its website, but it should be in control of an entire history of interactions and the means to grow its visibility forever and ever!
WORDPRESS.ORG AND PORTABILITY
WordPress.org is open source software available under the ‘General Public License’ or GPL, which *generally* (within GPL scope) gives its user the right to do with it what they wish. Open source software might loosely be defined as base software code one can manage, develop, advance and/or launch applications (like themes and plugins) from, without having to rewrite that base code. With WordPress.org and a little knowledge or help, a business can change hosts and never concern themselves with whether or not it’s all theirs. What’s more, there is nothing that compares when it comes to support. Whether for people that can pick it up and support generally or virtually any imaginable application need, already built and ready for plugging in. There’s more support for WordPress than any other solution at any time. Ever. Period.