As a Blogger, when ever we start our Blogger journey, most of us pick BlogSpot.com or WordPress.com, as they are free and our blogging investment is zero. This is always a safe way to start, but as a starter who is looking forward to create a career in Blogging, this is a huge mistake. No doubt, self hosted blogs are the best options for bloggers, who is looking forward to take Blogging as a profession in future. Though, in this post I’m not going to emphasize on benefits of self hosted WordPress, but we will talk about custom domains.
Now, let me give you example from basics, so all newbie can follow and understand why instead of using .blogspot or .WordPress.com domains or any other free domain name providers like .co.cc, .tk, they should invest minimum $2.51 (.in) to $11/year (.com, .org) for a domain name.
Many bloggers who blog using free blogging platforms especially blogger or WordPress usually don’t like to go for a custom domain rather they keep on blogging for years on the same sub-domain. They feel they are going to get good amount of traffic or exposure and if everything goes well then plan for a custom-domain but it will be too late. In this post I have mentioned few effects of not choosing a custom domain and few benefits of choosing a domain name early.
When I talk about choosing a domain, I meant have a top level domain name like ShoutMeLoud.com, ShoutMeLoud.org, ShoutMeLoud.in and so on. I hope, by now you are clear about sub domains which you get from BlogSpot or WordPress and a TLD (Top level domain name).
Effects of delaying custom domain name:
- If you blog for say one year and are able to draw handsome traffic then your blog will have its own Alexa rank and page rank. So when you switch to custom domain you would not have the same page rank or same Alexa rank but you have to start from the beginning. Your new domain name, will be treated as complete new start and despite of search engine friendly migration from Blogger to WordPress, your Alexa stats and PR will start from ground 0.
- When you search with your blog title, search engines would not index your newly added custom domain but for few days it would index your old blog address. It takes time for Google to pass on the link juice (after 301 redirection), from old sub-domain to new domain you have moved.
- Have you got a feed at feed burner now if you want it for you new domain you need to have one more so you will have duplicates of your feed so definitely your subscribers would split into two groups.
- Are you having accounts with Google analytics and webmaster tools then you need to update them too. Though, you can always use old analytic codes in new domain, but as a Webmaster, I would not like to see the stats of new domain under old name.
- Even if you have submitted your sitemap, for brand new domain, you need to submit sitemap to all search engines again.
- Need to update your blog address in all social networking sites and all profile, where you have listed your Domain name.
- Sometimes we don’t get a custom domain of our choice as someone else would already have registered it. This is a headache, when you plan to shift from sub-domain to custom domain under your brand, and then you need to work on re-branding from ground level zero.
Benefits of having a custom domain:
- You have a good exposure in search engines, which often like to index domains rather than sub domains like blogspot.com, blogspot.in or a WordPress.com
- You can also increase your chances of getting an approval for your Adsense account. Check out, how Ankit got Adsense account approval with 1 month old domain..
- You can have your contact email like [email protected] rather than gmail or yahoo. This is free using Google apps and here is a complete guide on how to create Email ID for domain name using Google apps.
- You can publicize your domain name with ease rather than saying a long domain with blogspot.com or WordPress.com in the end.
How to choose a custom domain.
- See that you always choose smaller domain names rather than longer ones because people often remember smaller names and not long names.
- Never choose a hard spelled domain name as it makes users to land in someone else page. So see that you choose easily spelled domain names.
- When changing your sub domain to a custom domain never change the entire blog name see that you choose exactly the same name which your blog has if at all it is not available then go for small alterations but not large ones, you may have chances of loosing your regular branded traffic.
- If you move your Blogging platform (Blogger to WordPress) (WordPress.com to Self hosted WordPress), make sure you go with 301 perma-redirection, so you can change name and don’t lose any search engine traffic.
Recommended reading for starters:
And once you have understood science of picking the best name for your domain, here are domain name suggestion tools, which will help you in mind-mapping and picking up best name for your domain.
Similarly, you can add domain from WordPress.com admin dashboard, though I would always suggest to use self hosted WordPress instead of free WordPress.com blogs. You can refer to WordPress guide to get started with it.
Now I think you might have got an idea of why a newbie blogger should start of his blog journey with a custom domain rather than free sub domains given by the blogging platforms.