How and why to get your own domain

Some bloggers start out on free hosted blog platforms like wordpress.com or blogspot (Blogger) on a test basis. They plan to establish traffic, purchase a domain and then to switch over to paid hosting. They are happy about their PageRank and they purchase a domain name.

image credit

Well, the Google Page Rank and Technorati authority and rank belong to the root blog ie. the original wordpress.com or blogspot sub-domain url for the blog.  If you purchase a domain name and move the blog to another URL all the links will be broken unless you also purchase domain mapping or an off-site redirect so readers are seamlessly transferred between the URLs.  The PageRank on the new blog on your domain will drop  and  in about 4 – 6 months time, all things considered you may be able to restore it.

References:
Domain Mapping
Offsite Redirect

The reasons purchasing your own domain is recommended follow:
1.   Build your own brand and credibility
The way to gain and readership and also to make money online is to build up credibility among your customers. Having your own domain name is the first step in doing that.

By having your own website with your own domain name, you can start to build your own “brand” that will eventually become recognized as uniquely yours “mybrand.com“.   Your “brand” will be more credible if it’s not associated with a free hosted subdomain like blogs on blogspot or wordpress.com.

Your readers and/or customers will feel more comfortable buying whatever it is that you are selling if you have your own domain name because it makes your customers feel that they are dealing with a large, established company, rather than with some fly by night operator.

Also note that  if  you want good sponsors (advertisers) for your website, a domain name tends to give your website an aura of respectability. And getting your own domain means you can have an email address and blog on the same domain.

2.    Easy location
If you get a domain name that describes your company’s business or name “mybrandproductor servicename.com“, then your readers can easily remember the name and return to your site without having to look it up. In fact, if you get a good name that describes your product or service, you might even get people who were searching “mybrandproductorservicename” into their browser.

3.   Your domain name is your own and it’s portable
Your domain is your own. If you ever change your web host, your domain name goes with you. Your regular visitors or customers who knew your site name as “mybrandproductorservicename.com” (for example) would not have to be informed about a change of URL. They would simply type your domain name and they’d be automatically and seamlessly routed to your new site. It’s also to your advantage to pay for 3 -5 years, as opposed to 1 year as it indicates long term intention and this is considered in your page ranking.

4.    Complete control of your template
On a sub-domain you are limited when it comes to theme selection and making template changes. In fact, on some blogging platforms bloggers cannot access their underlying template files and make any changes at all. In fact, on some blogging platforms bloggers cannot access their underlying template files and make any changes at all. For example, at WordPress.com free hosted bloggers work on a multi-user blogging platform and that means they cannot edit their templates. Any editing of one blog theme would result in all other blogs with the same theme being likewise changed.

5.    Complete control over advertising
In addition blogging on a subdomain means you have not control over the nature or advertising that your web host chooses to run on your site. Moving to a domain means you can make these decisions or even the decision to have no advertising at all.  Reference: Adsense

6.   Email
Also, by doing business under your own domain name, you can use multiple  email “aliases”  all related to your domain.

7.    Additional functions
On your domain you can use  plugins that may not be allowed on subdomains to add  functions to your site.  For example: As there is no FTP access for security reasons  free hosted blogs at WordPress.com do not have plugin tabs.  However, by moving content to self hosting a wordpress.org install you can add forums and other plugins that will render your site as a CMS (central management system). Reference: WordPress.org plugins

How to purchase a domain
Think of several domain name choices and try them out to see which one is available that suits your needs.

Try different combinations of hyphens to generate a Hyphenated Domain.
Try different extensions by selecting different Top Level Domains.
Try different words in front your name eg Premium Words, Cool Words, Business Words that reflect your branding.
Try changing individual letters of your domain using our Domain Name Mangle tool.
Try searching for common Typos to either catch typing mistakes
Try entering Multiple Choices for any of the words that make up your domain idea.
Use a Thesaurus to find alternative words for your domain name.
Try jumbling up your words to find different Word combinations.
Or try out Advanced domain Name Search  Source

Tips and Tools:
Domain Naming Tips Domain Naming Tips
Dot-o-mator Domain Name Generator
Domain Name Generator
NameBoy Domain Names
Use PayPal or your credit card to purchase the domain name.

Before starting the domain registration process, have the following in front of you:

Note: The contact information you provide during the registration process will be public information. There can be an option of Private Registration available through the registrar you use.

  • List of domain names selected as possibilites.
  • PayPal account information if you wish to pay via PayPal.
  • Credit card information. Have this handy even if you were intending to pay via PayPal, in case PayPal is not an option.
  • Your address, postal code, a phone number and fax number.
  • The name and contact information (including email addresses) for Administrative, Billing and Technical contacts for the domain name.
  • Email address of domain owner. This is important! If there is a problem with your domain name then the registrar can get a hold of you. Also, if they have this service, they can email you a notice when your domain name is about to expire.
  • Be prepared to purchase your domain name when you sit down to do this. Tomorrow, the domain name you want maybe gone.  Source

3.    Setting up a self-hosted WordPress.org install

If you are an experienced WordPress.com software user, and have the skill sets required to set up and manage your own self hosted WordPress.org install then the instructions for making the move are easy to follow. But if you are not skilled at WordPress.com  blogging, and also lack the skill sets required to self host your own WordPress.org install then acquiring those skills first is recommended.

Related posts:
Self Hosting: What’s Your Hurray?
Bloggers Get Your Own Domain

59 thoughts on “How and why to get your own domain

  1. This makes a lot of sense… discovering your post a little bit late, but I wish I had found it a while ago. You had recently answered some questions for me on the support forum about Google webmaster tools and my feed and such, but I’m beginning to think that Google has reassessed our relationship and decided that we needed some time apart.

    The likely culprit has to be mapping a domain over my site. My blog was cooking with gas last December and after almost 3 years I had established a notable footprint in the digital ether. Then I found out I was going to be interviewed, and I thought my blog domain had always been tricky and off-point. I wanted something people could remember more easily so I mapped a new domain name. Fast forward, it really is like starting from scratch. Traffic is back towards where it was starting out all over again. Alas… but, the domain does fit with the blog more now so maybe it will be worthwhile in the long run.

  2. Pingback: Do I Need a Domain? | one cool site

  3. Pingback: OMG! My Domain Name Expired | one cool site

  4. Timethief,

    I have a question related to this topic – image URLs, but first I think a quick bit of background info would be useful. I am currently hosted on wordpress.com, and all of my image links use the following URL: “blogname.files.wordpress.com/yyyy/mm/dd/postname/imagename/”.

    Although domain mapping & offsite redirect are not an issue as I have my own registered domain, my question is this: Is it of any advantage or be worth the bother to go and edit all of my existing image URL’s on wordpress.com to point to my registered domain?

    An example would be changing the wordpress links to the following which works if entered as an URL in the browser: “http://registereddomainname.com/yyyy/mm/imagename.png”

    I am concerned about page rank, etc., in a scenario in which I decided to move to wordpress.org or another host provider.

    Kindest regards,
    Stephen

    • NO don’t do that! Dont’t touch them at all. What you see when you purchase domain mapping on the Admin side of the blog and in media files is the root blog URLs. This is normal. Do not touch the URLs or you will end up with a mess of 404′s.

  5. Pingback: Thinking about self hosting and Wordpress.org « One guy, three girls…

  6. Great post! You have been an angel on my path to creating a website/blog site.

    In 30 days my site has really been growing. I’ve been having so much fun, and the support you give me really helps a thousand fold.

    I am thinking about buying a domain name. The only idea I have so far is my name: [removed by timethief]
    (because that is what I am selling, my services, writing, ideas, and work).

    What do you think?

    • Thanks for the praise and the compliment too. I removed the suggested domain name you supplied in your comment because you are new to blogging and probably don’t know about domain name squatters.

      Domain name squatters purchase domain names for a low price and then resell them to people who want them for a higher price. They have robotic programs that send bots out to forums, online groups and such to locate desired domain names and then they snap them up before the bloggers considering buying them can do so. I think your suggested domain name is a good one. Go for it! :)

  7. Pingback: New Domain « one cool site blogging tips

  8. @raindance
    I checked it out and tried to figure out how to use it but failed to understand how it was in any way helpful to me. Perhaps my readers may be able to fathom its usefulness.

  9. Check out [http:www.namecombo.com] It’s a really cool domain name generator and company name generator similar to Dotomator but with more word lists and the ability to create domain names with 1-4 words. You can find available domain names from a huge selection of word lists. You can customize lists with your own words which lets you come up with literally thousands of possible domain names incorporating your keywords if you wish. It offers bulk domain name lookup and domain registration. There is also both a three word version and four word version which are great for keyword driven domain name variations.

  10. There are some really nice tips here, I enjoyed the read and there’s plenty more to come back for…Hope you are feeling better with your injurys!

  11. Pingback: How to Become a Better Blogger 5: Your Online Presence « one cool site: wordpress blogging tips

  12. Having own domain is great advantage for me. I can edit theme, add plugin, and have control my files.

  13. @marydane
    I’ve read your post and others can locate it by clicking your username and looking for the title on your blog. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  14. Hi

    You have a great post. You’re right. Having a free website or domain is a dud. Please read my post too with regards to having a free website.:D
    getting-a-free-website

  15. Hello there,
    It’s good to hear from you and also good to hear that my post will be useful to you when you make the move. Take good care and happy blogging. :)

  16. wow is this just in time for me. I’ve bookmarked it for beginning my lonnnngggg work on migrating, or not, but in any case growing and maximizing my blog and blog enjoyment. Thank you Timethief (Washwords, here on wordpress and on blog catalog.)

  17. @Root,
    Yikes! Did your first comment ever throw me for a loop. lol :P

    Yes every comment I approved for posting here came from a blogger. Some may have “private” blogs but I do know who they are. Many are from the Blog Catalog social network.

  18. @Cooper
    Thanks for your comment. If I had known all these things when I first began blogging I would have bought a domain name and domain mapping right at the start.

  19. I agree with moving early I moved after quite some time and it was a pain. I still have posts from way back not formatted correctly due to bloggers weird formatting.

  20. @raincoaster
    I almost always have a post here http://news.wordpress.com/category/howto/ however, the flashenabled site with all the advertising on it (staff says we are negotiating with them re: VIP hosting) frequently has 3 and even 4 spots on the how to page.

    Setting that aside I don’t digg or stumble or submit my own posts to reddit and this one was dugg http://digg.com/tech_news/How_and_why_to_get_your_own_domain

    BTW when are you going “blow the popsicle stand” and join Blog Catalog? lol :P

  21. @Tommy
    The best time to do this move to a domain is when your blog is young and there aren’t many posts. If you wait you may find that your file is so large following export that you cannot import it until you go into it and break it down into smaller files. That of course leaves room for errors to occur.

    Also if your blog is image rich then wasting time when it comes to making the move to a domain will be something that you may regret. When you export your posts out of your of your blogspot blog all images will be lost. You will have to upload each and every one of them into the posts again. So waiting is not at all a good plan.

  22. @nita
    The point you raise about having the technical end taken care of you by staff is an important one. When it came to my personal blog I observed the number adsense ads being shown on my blog and nature of the advertising that wordpress.com was running on my site and it became my motivator to move to self-hosting. Remarkably, the fact that we cannot see the advertising when we are signed in has led many bloggers to believe there is no adverting on wp.com subdomains when there most assuredly is. http://wank.wordpress.com/2008/05/11/flash-aaaah/

    Here’s how to see them:
    If you log out, clear cookies and search Google using Internet Explorer, they’ll show up more often than not. The good news is that they don’t appear on your blog’s front page, only permalink pages. The idea is that only casual searchers coming in from Google will see them and not your regular readers. And people using Firefox never have to see any because it’s Matt’s favourite browser.

  23. This came at an ideal time for me, as I am thinking about branching out from wordpress.com into my own domain. Thanks for this article.

  24. Good tips TT. However I am going to say something different here. I am on free wordpress and while one of the reasons is that I have a serious problem with tech stuff another thing is that I am happy with a sub-domain. Everyone says one is not supposed to be! I have thought about this and come to the conclusion that people will read the content if its good and care less about the domain name. Maybe I am wrong.

  25. Great tips and great advice. I had a site but when I started blogging I was on the blogger platform. I finally just moved to self hosted WordPress, combining my blog on my site. Best thing I ever did! I really appreciate your user friendly advice.

  26. @onebagnation
    I think you are coming along very nicely with your blog. Don’t feel pressured. It’s more important that you enjoy what you are doing and learning things as you got than it is to race head and have all kinds of corrections to make. Happy blogging :)

  27. @K. Fields
    I’ve had only a moment or two to peek at your site yesterday and I saw all the great work you have been doing. Work and homelife here have been nuts for 2 weeks and it’s taking it’s toll on me. My time is at a premium and I’m falling behind on reading blogs … SIGH
    All my best to you Kathy :)

  28. @mariamichelle
    I think you have made the right decision . If you are happy at typepad stay there. For, as you say, if you choose to move to a domain later you can.

  29. @Susie
    Thanks for the kind words. It’s good to hear that what I write is useful to others so I really appreciate receiving your comment. :)

  30. EXCELLENT INFO! I have a friend weighing the options currently and I’ll be sending this article right over. I love the new layout too by the way.

  31. I had no idea what I was doing when I started my blog a few months ago. I think I’ll be referring to the info above quite often when I make the switch to my own domain. Thanks!

  32. Very good information, when I said I wanted my own domain, my hubby got one for me, and I have been trying to make it work with his help. Building everything from scratch, taking old posts and placing them in their new home.. Fixing things the way I have it pictured in my head to look, experimenting and implementing. It has been a lot of work, but so worth it. It is still a work in progress, but I am growing to love it more and more. Thanks for this great post!

  33. I’ve heard people talking about domains in the discussions and I didn’t understand why it was important and now I do. Thanks tt! I’m still practicing so I’ll stick with typepad for now, but who knows maybe later I’ll get my own domain.

    BTW: I wanted a new avatar, but I got to looking at the one I had on yesterday and it was almost x-rated – well not really, but I homestly didn’t see Pocohontas kissing the prince at first! I thought this one was more of a G rating.

    Thanks again!

  34. This is one of those things I have been telling peeps forver. It is very important to have your own domain name. Even if you are not going to use it immediatley – go get it and keep it – it costs practically nothing and it will save you headaches later!

    Great stuff!!!!!

  35. I wish I had this 7 months ago, when I didn’t read that fine print.. not for commercial sites… on the free blogs! Great post, but such valuable info to have. I think as a newbie, you get quite excited once you do sign up for those freebies, you go full throttle, this is excellent!

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