Five years ago I did a presentation describing how a website was essential for every business’ online strategy.
The Business Cornerstone was delivered at the time when many advisers proclaiming Google Places and Facebook as adequate for building an internet presence.
Over time, the importance of having your own domain and website has been proved as different platforms have messed users around with changing terms, arbitrary rulings and often simply closing down services.
For businesses, the risks of having an account being shut down due to arbitrary enforcement of vague terms and conditions are real and increasingly companies are finding their social media pages are getting poor, if any, reach.
The importance of doing things your own way was underlined last week with the announcement by Medium, and Twitter, founder Ev Williams that the company is restructuring and shouldn’t be considered a publishing platform.
For those who’ve published pieces on Medium that the service is not a publishing platform would have come as a surprise given the company has spent the last 18 months encouraging people to contribute to their site.
That Medium is pivoting into something else – a Facebook, an Instagram or a Google Plus – shouldn’t be surprising but once again it illustrates the interests of this services are not necessarily the same as yours and when they conflict it’s your interests that will come off second best.
While platforms like Medium, Facebook and LinkedIn are useful for distributing your message, the best long-term online presence you can have is your own website. It’s a lesson those who rely on free third party services keep having to learn.