If you’ve got a website that ends in .blogspot.com, .wordpress.com, or .squarespace.com, or anything other than yourwebsite.com/.ca/.info/.net – you need to read this post.
There’s nothing wrong with using any of these free blogs or websites. They’re a great way to quickly and easily get online and establish your online presence. Free is a very good thing, and there’s no reason for you to change if you don’t want to. The challenge with any of these services is that they are branding themselves – not you. So if they ever make a change, you do too. Whether you want to or not.
Why drive traffic to a space that’s not yours?
If you’ve set up your blog/website, you know how hard it can be to drive traffic to your site. Compelling content, reasonable self-promotion, and regular updates are essential to creating an audience, so why risk losing them when you want to upgrade in the future? If you train your audience to go to www.IamanAmazingBlogger.wordpress.com and you fall out of love with wordpress.com, or they go out of business, or something newer and shinier get’s created, you’re going to have a hard time retraining your audience to go to your new site, whatever it’s called, because it’s a new address to remember, a new bookmark to update.
So why not start with your own domain – and build your own brand instead of another?
In the signup process for your new wordpress.com blog, you’ve got the option of buying your own domain (if available) for about $17 per year. $1.42 per month. But you don’t have to buy it from them – you can but it from any registrar (www.godaddy.com, www.namecheap.com, www.netfirms.com, etc) MSRP on your domain can range from $7.88 – ~$20 per year, but with some of the discount coupon sites (like retailmenot.com) you can sometimes get your domain for less than $5 per year. Hard to find a better deal than that – but let me know if you do. The nice thing about buying the domain via wordpress is they will take care of setting it up for you.
This is the easies myth to bust – you can still use your blogspot or wordpress.com space for your site – letting google or wordpress take care of the hosting for you. You’re just changing the name so it’s easy for anyone to find you, even if you make changes to the domain host in the future. If you want to bounce around to find the best domain choice, you can (though I highly do NOT recommend this. If you’re going to make changes to your site, make sure you’ve got a great reason to do it – people are a little bit averse to change. Just think about how much bitching and whining there is anytime Facebook changes how your profile and news feed looks.) You can forward your new domain to pretty much any site you want.
Firstly – yes you can. Secondly – you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Let google be your friend, and ask simple questions – like, “How do I forward my domain name?” You’ll probably see that there are almost 42 million results – with the top responses coming from the actual registrars. Simple, step by step instructions to enable you to forward IamanAmazingBlogger.com to www.IamanAmazingBlogger.wordpress.com – so your audience only has to remember one domain, no matter who is hosting your site.
The place you’re creating on the internet is going to take a lot of hard work to get the traffic you want to see – so make it easy on your audience to find you through a single domain, and you’ll be rewarded with a regular increase in your audience, as long as you’re providing relevant and useful content, regularly.
If you’ve got questions about getting your own domain name, or configuring it for your site, leave a comment and I will be happy to find an answer for you.