When it comes to your physical residence, you probably know the differences of property ownership versus renting. There are some pros of each.
Some of the pros of ownership are:
· Each month you put money into your asset instead of someone else’s pocket.
· Once you finish paying off your mortgage, you have a very significant asset.
· As long as you make your payments, no one can take your home away from you. When renting, you can get kicked out at the end of your lease.
Some of the pros of renting are:
· Renting is less expensive than ownership.
· If something breaks, it is someone else’s problem.
Your online residence is similar to your physical residence
What most small businesses don’t realize is that the same thing applies to the online world. Everyone knows that for a business to survive in today’s world it needs to be online, however they don’t consider the difference between buying and renting their online residence.
Owning your online residence
Owning your online residence means having your own domain, something that you own and can do whatever you’d like with.
Renting your online residence
Renting is using someone else’s services to host your residence. For example, having an email address from Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail or any of the other fine online email sites. It also includes having a blog on blogger.com, blogspot.com, wordpress.com, typepad.com, etc…
Social networks are also rentals
Using social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace and Twitter, which are all great tools, to recruit an audience is something I strongly suggest however, by building a presence on them, you are once again renting.
You should recruit on the above networks because that is where your customers reside. You need to visit their primary residence and let them know you exist. You may even want to open up a branch on one of the sites by building a group or fan page and inviting everyone to join. Just beware that if anything ever happens to the network you are using, all of your work and contacts will be lost. Your goal with any social network should be to recruit an audience and then bring them back to your site.
The main advantages to owning your online presence are:
· You look much more professional and are more likely to be taken seriously.
· Nobody can change the rules on you and make you alter or take down your site (as long as you aren’t breaking any laws of course).
· You don’t have to worry about a site shutting down for any reason causing you to lose all the information you have saved on their system.
The advantages to renting your online presence are:
· It is significantly easier to set up.
· If something isn’t working properly, it is someone else’s headache. You may lose some service uptime but ultimately, the site owner will fix the problem.
There are benefits to renting and owning your online presence but for maximum results in the long run, you should own your presence but recruit new audience members through rented space such as social networks.