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.
Have a question?
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Friday 29th of January 2016
Hi! I know this is somewhat off toppic but I was wolndering if you knew here I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!
Friday 29th of January 2016
Rowena- I don't use Captcha, so I am unable to direct you to an appropriate plugin. Sorry. -Jamie
Monday 26th of August 2013
An excellent resource, Amber! I like the series you and Jamie have put together. I'd like to add a little bit of perspective based on my experience designing websites and working in SEO.
On the subject of domain names, it's especially important to have one from the beginning because once your site gains recognition, you'll almost certainly want to switch to a domain. Unfortunately, free blog hosting services aren't very good at making it easy to redirect all your links to the new domain (a 301 redirect in tech speak). This often causes a decline in search engine traffic.
On another note, Google actually treats yourblog.wordpress.com as if it were a domain just like yourblog.com. Subdomains are always handled like domains. However, Google will treat sub-level directories wordpress.com/yourblog/ with less authority than main-level directories (yourblog.com). As far as rankings are concerned there is no immediate disadvantage to using yourblog.wordpress.com instead of yourblog.com.
This is an important topic and I'm glad you addressed it!
Monday 12th of September 2011
If I start a blog on Blogspot.com, can I still register a domain name? I'm new at blogging and figured blogspot would be great for starters. Also, for any of you that may know, can I build my new blog on blogspot and add recipes to it without going live all at once? Thanks!
Tuesday 11th of October 2011
If I may try to answer this: You can buy a domain name from Google, furthermore, the advantage of Blogger over Wordpress (self-hosted), and one of the few, is that Google will redirect all your links so there will not be loss of traffic or ranking.
Of course if you are web-savvy, or can pay someone you can still have everything redirected to your new host if you ever move, but trust me, it can be a pain. After 10 years and several moves my redirect list is enormous.
Thursday 11th of August 2011
Such great information. Thank you for sharing.
Monday 27th of June 2011
Thanks for the tips. I've been contemplating switching and after reading your tips, it is a definite yes. But any tips on how to do the switch smoothly without losing or confusing the readers ?
Monday 27th of June 2011
Hey Phoebe-- Your domain company should be able to assist you with the redirection for the url. Thanks so much for visiting. Have a great day. --Jamie