Most bloggers start on the blogging journey with BlogSpot.com or WordPress.com because the blogging investment is zero. This is always a safe way to start, but as someone who is looking forward to creating a career in blogging, this is a huge mistake.
Self-hosted blogs are the best options for those who are looking to become professional bloggers. Though, in this post, I’m not going to talk about the benefits of a self-hosted WordPress blog.
Instead, I’m going to talk about custom domain names.
When you sign up for WordPress.com or BlogSpot, you get a domain like:
But for professional blogs, these kinds of domains are bad.
Many bloggers who blog using a free blogging platform usually don’t like to invest in a custom domain. They keep on blogging for years on the same sub-domain. They feel they can always change to a custom domain when they’re getting more traffic. But that’s not always true.
Note: When I talk about choosing a domain, I’m talking about a top-level root domain name like ShoutMeLoud.com, ShoutMeLoud.org, ShoutMeLoud.in, etc. When you sign up with BlogSpot or WordPress.com, you get a sub-domain like ShoutMeLoud.WordPress.com.
Negative Effects Of Delaying A Custom Domain Name:
- If you’re blogging for a year and can drive lots of traffic, then your blog will have built up some domain authority. But when you switch to a custom domain, you will lose all of that DA, and you’ll have to start from the beginning. Even though you can maintain your rank in SERPs, your DA will go back to 0.
- When you search for your blog in search engines, your new address won’t be visible for a while. It takes time for Google to pass on the link juice (after a 301 redirection) from an old sub-domain to your new root TLD.
- You’ll need to update your Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools accounts to reflect your new name. While you can always use the old analytics codes in a new domain, it would be odd to measure your metrics for a new domain name under the old domain name.
- You will need to submit a sitemap to all search engines again.
- You’ll need to update your blog’s address on all social media profiles
- When you shift from a sub-domain to a custom domain, you need to re-brand and re-market this new domain name.
Benefits Of Having A Custom Domain:
- You have better exposure in search engines. Search engines (especially Google) prefer to link to root domains rather than .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com domains.
- You can also increase your chances of getting approval for your AdSense account. Check out how Ankit got AdSense account approval with a one-month-old domain.
- You can have a contact email like [email protected] rather than a Gmail or Yahoo email. Check out how to create an email ID for a custom domain name using Google Apps.
- You can publicize your domain name with ease rather than having to say a long name.
- Root level domains are a lot more trustworthy in the eyes of users. If you are trying to make money blogging, you’ll have a much easier time with a custom domain than you would with a free sub-domain.
Perhaps the most important point is that you will have a brand name from day one.
Here at ShoutMeLoud, when I started blogging, I used the name “Virgintech”. I was on a BlogSpot blog and wanted to move to WordPress. But the domain Virgintech.com was taken, so I had to create a whole new brand.
Well, in your case, you are lucky enough to learn from my mistakes, and instead of waiting, you can grab a top-level root domain right from the start.
How To Choose A Custom Domain:
We’ve detailed this topic extensively at SML, but here a few quick pointers…
- Try to choose a shorter name rather than a longer name.
- Make sure the name is easy to spell.
- If you’re switching from a free sub-domain, try to keep the brand the same… ex: ShoutMeLoud.wordpress.com to ShoutMeLoud.com. If that’s not possible, try for something similar.
- How To Pick A Great Domain Name For Your Blog
- 8 Proven Steps To Creating An Unforgettable Domain Name
- Why You Need To Use A Custom Domain Name For Your BlogSpot Blog
Once you have understood the science of picking the best name for your blog, here are a few domain name suggestion tools which will help you in finding the perfect name.
You can buy the domain name from GoDaddy or get a free one from Bluehost when you go to buy hosting (which you will need when you switch to WordPress). If you are using BlogSpot, this complete DIY guide will help you add a custom domain to your blog.
Similarly, you can add a custom domain from the WordPress.com admin dashboard.
But again, I will always suggest using a self-hosted WordPress blog instead of a free WordPress.com or BlogSpot blog. You can refer to this WordPress guide to get started.
So what do you think? What are some other reasons you can think of as to why we should start blogging with a custom domain name? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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