I spent two years publishing the same blog content on two websites, my own blog and Irish Tech News. I know there are plenty of articles out there analysing SEO on this topic for answers but I’m going to skip past much of that and just tackle it head on from the experience I gained – is this a good idea?
When you start up your own blog you are looking to extend reach as far and fast as possible and that is an ongoing battle. There are always more and new people to reach and one of the popular ways of doing it is posting your content onto different blogging platforms.
I feel there are two sides to this topic and that there are both good and bad reasons to posting your content on different platforms. So ultimately my final answer hits a grey area and for me it was good but I knew there was going to be a limit in what I gained from it and in all honesty I feel like I may have benefitted if I stopped sooner, but that is just my personal gut feeling and each individual has to gauge how they feel in situations like this
I know an answer in a grey area is not what you want to hear but what I can do is lay out the positives of my experience and also some things you should take into consideration which may help you to make a balanced and informed decision if you find yourself in such as situation.
Positives of posting to another blogging platform
Note, I am not talking about the occasional guest post here, I am talking about working for a blog where almost every piece of content goes on that blog as well as your own. That is what I did for two years, guest blogging occasionally does not really apply to what I am talking about here.
The positive side of taking on my role at Irish Tech News was the exposure to a new and massive audience as well as incredible experience – and you can’t buy that. What I gained from doing it in general is invaluable and helped me to grow as a blogger and content creator and for that reason alone I would recommend that anyone who receives an offer like this should take it up and try doing it themselves.
It opened up a massive new social circle to me, particularly on Twitter and helped grow my networking circle online at a fast rate which is not something I was able to do alone.
It got me access to a massive range of events all over the country and further. Sadly I was far too busy to take up offer on these events and I struggled to ever free up the time essentially juggling two jobs but the offer was always there none the less should I want to go to an event or conference.
Another pro is working with a fantastic group of people, you get to learn from them and learn from their content. There is a huge amount to be gained if you get offered to do something like this for a large website. So what could possibly be wrong then? What are some of the things you should take into consideration if you do something like this?
What you need to consider when posting to another blogging platform
This is something I am going to dive deep into because there is much more to be said about what you need to think about when posting your content to another blogging platform. When I started it wasn’t something I gave much of a thought to, at the time the readership on my blog was small enough to not really matter.
I mean we are talking a very very small number of readers at the time when ITN reached out to me. So there was no doubt that the benefit of exposure to a new audience and the opportunity to have my content seen by that audience was the big appeal.
The big question though for many people centres around the issue of duplicate content, are you going to be penalised by Google and will your SEO suffer. There are two sides to this, people who advocate that duplicate content will destroy your SEO and those who say it won’t damage your SEO.
For me, I think that duplicate content won’t damage your SEO as much as some people may think but it is also not as harmless as others may think. I definitely saw an impact on my SEO as my reader numbers naturally picked up over time and I tried to mitigate the damage.
What we would try to do was publish blog content to my own blog and then publish the same piece to ITN around 16 hours later. So I would publish my blog post on my blog at 8pm to allow for indexing and then promote it early the next morning. It would not go live on ITN until around midday.
I started doing this a little over a year into my time at ITN and I continued to do it for the following year I was there before leaving but looking back now the reality is that I should have left when I made this adjustment to the article timing. I knew that I needed to give my blog as much of a chance over that post going up on ITN as I could because of course I knew that my blog was the baby in comparison and of course still is.
It took me the guts of the following year to realise that I needed to go all in on my own content and my own thing and leave behind the awesome experience ITN was giving me. I actually held back for a number of months thinking to myself, “I should leave now and focus on my own thing” but then also thinking “what if a great opportunity crops up right after I leave and I miss it…”
Finally I woke up one morning and it all clicked and I understood that even if some magical opportunity was to come then I couldn’t hang around waiting on it and decided to leave so I could focus on my own content and having my own original library of my content in a single place because that is what is of ultimate value to me right now.
I understood the value I was losing, not in terms of SEO but just in eyeballs. Every single piece of content I wrote for two years appeared on the two sites and having it on a big site like ITN removes the value from my own blog because you have already consumed it elsewhere. I need to make clear, the decision to leave ITN ultimately came down to one thing and one thing alone. I wanted to go all in on my own thing and my own content and I wanted it all in one place that was of value to me. It was simply a business decision on my end.
Could I have made it work regardless?
Are there things I could have done to make my content work on both? Of course there are, I could have varied the body of content somewhat, I could have changed the headlines of articles for both sites but leading to the same piece, I could have changed the visuals.
The reality is I didn’t do that at the start because I was taking the lazy cut and paste option and by the time I thought to myself that it may be beneficial to do these things I was no longer being lazy but I was flat out busy.
Should you do it?
Remember, what I am talking about applies to a situation where you are effectively duplicating all that content for a sustained period of time. This is not guest posting and duplicates in guest posting is not something you should fear because you are only posting certain pieces of content at staggering intervals. It is not a regular thing where everything you post goes up there and if it is then that is not guest posting – that is being part of the team.
If an opportunity like this arises should you take it? Honestly that is up to you, I would absolutely recommend it but what I would suggest is either coming up with a system where you can optimise content and reduce all duplicate risk or if the offer is really good you could consider going all in on writing for another publication or website.
At one point that is what I thought I wanted to do but then realised what a big mistake I had made right after I had done it. I have zero regrets and I loved the experience and how much I was able to learn.
However, if I could do it all again I would probably leave a year earlier than what I did to focus 100% on my own hustle.