You might be asking yourself what the point of having your own domain name is. There are a lot of merits to registering your own domain name, and you can do that whether you pay for hosting or use a free service like Blogger. The domain name can be pointed at any “spot” on the web, whether you pay for it or it is free.
The first thing to note is that having your own domain name lends a certain amount of credibility to your blog. Who do you take more seriously: bluebonnetsandbrownies.com or bluebonnetsandbrownies.blogspot.com?
Secondly, it is easier to remember a straight domain name, rather than a subhosted blog name like what I mentioned above. There are lots of different free services out there. Someone might remember the name of your blog, but asking them to remember who hosts your blog as well might be too much for them to remember. So you lose out on the visit they might have made. Worse, you frustrate them as they try to remember your blog name and can’t find it on the services they think of.
When you have your own domain name, you can set up email address aliases for yourself. You don’t have to change the email account you use day to day. What it means is that you can set up addresses like “firstname.lastname@example.org”, and have the webservice automatically forward it to your personal mailbox. It looks far more professional on a business card too.
Credibility goes a long way in any kind of business. Whether you consider blogging a hobby or a potential business, having your own domain name means giving the impression that you are 100% in charge, involved, and responsible for your website. If your website is mybakingaddiction.blogspot.com, it’s blogspot that gets that recognition, not you.
Search engines are another thing to consider. Some search engines give the index page of the domain priority over anything else. When you have your own domain name, “mybakingaddiction.com” is the index page. On a free hosting site, “mybakingaddiction.wordpress.org”, the search engine would consider “wordpress.org” as the index page, thus always ranking it before your own blog.
Also, some search engines are now refusing to spider websites on free hosting services. StumbleUpon considers all blogs on free hosting services as part of the same service. When a Stumbler “likes” your free hosted blog, they are much more likely to then get blacklisted by SU. That alone has me not ‘liking’ anything that is free hosted.
When you think of a domain name you like, REGISTER IT! (You can pay sites like godaddy.com or networksolutions.com to *just* register domain names for you, without required hosting.) Or, if you decide to go self hosted, most hosts will offer you the registration of one domain name as part of your package.
Domain names are a single use commodity. You might think of a *great* domain name that describes you perfectly. If you don’t register it when you think of it, someone else could do so. Then, you’d have to buy it from them, at a price they set, to have it. I remember stories of Microsoft paying people thousands of dollars for domain names relating to Windows. You don’t want to end up in a price war with someone who snagged your domain name when you didn’t.
Plus, domains are pretty inexpensive, typically going for under $20 a year. When registering your domain, it may also be wise to do so for longer than just one year because you will usually get a discount on the per-year break down if you do so. Also, to prevent possible loss of your domain, make sure you set it up with an auto-renew feature that bills to PayPal, or a credit card that doesn’t expire for a long time.
Your blog is who you are on the web. The bottom line is that registering a domain name and using it with your blog makes you more you.
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Amber Bracegirdle spends her days as the managing editor for Food Fanatic and mama. She started Bluebonnets & Brownies as a way to connect to her Texas roots and pay homage to her grandmother, Nanny. She's traveled all over with her Brit husband, James, and now lives in NJ with him, baby Evan, and their two giant Maine Coons, Milo and Connor. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.