On Techy Tuesdays, I host a forum to discuss various technologies and applications.
The Building a Blog series discusses the steps that I am taking and have taken in establishing a blog from the ground up. While there are many other more established forums discussing how to build blogs, my forum will allow you to follow this blog as it unfolds. Hopefully, you will be able to learn from me and will have input of your own to add to the discussion.
Last week, I purchased a domain name – www.aspiretograce.com. I had thought long and hard about when the appropriate time would be to purchase a domain name. I started this blog about a month ago and am currently hosting off of WordPress.com’s free blogging application because I wanted to get acclimated to blogging on a regular basis before investing in paid hosting and purchasing a domain name. I also felt like I had a long way to go with learning the basics of coding before I could think about maintaining my own site.
After doing some research on the topic and trying to get a feel for when buying a domain name is appropriate, I concluded that now is as good a time as any. I even wrote a post about buying a domain name. Based on my research, I discovered that buying a domain name now might be a good thing to do for a number of reasons.
Owning Your Website Outright Provides More Freedom
In my Building a Blog post last week, I cited to a great video by Trish Jones in which she urges anyone that is serious about blogging to purchase a domain name. By owning your own domain name, you have the greatest liberty and control over your content and any monetization sources you want to include on your website. As Trish pointed out, many free blog hosting services have restrictions against advertising and other blog monetization sources.
At least one exception exists where you own your own domain name but are redirecting that domain name to an existing blog on the free blog host’s website. In my case, although I have purchased my domain name, I am not yet out from under the reign of WordPress.com. I have decided to temporarily forward my new domain name to my existing wordpress.com URL until I am ready to go to a paid hosting application. Therefore, I am still subject to WordPress.com’s policies and restrictions. But, I am one step closer to freedom. Once I am comfortable with going to a paid hosting service, I can host my domain name on that host’s servers and reap the full benefit of owning my own domain.
Your New Domain Name Can Be Forwarded to Your Existing URL
For those of you that are like me and are technologically challenged or are just not ready to take the plunge to hosting your own blog, you can take a half-leap by purchasing your domain name and then forwarding that domain to an existing URL. I have been able to do this with my WordPress.com URL, but you will need to double-check the policies of your own blog host to ensure that this is consistent with that host’s policies.
Forwarding my new domain name to my existing WordPress URL was simple with GoDaddy.com,the registrar from whom I purchased my domain name. They have a tutorial on their website that walks you through the process of forwarding your parked domain name. Once you purchase a domain name with Go Daddy, it is parked on their servers. The parked domain name can then be forwarded at your leisure.
Once your domain name is forwarded, anyone that types your domain name into their address bar will be redirected to the existing URL. Once redirected, the existing URL will show in the user’s address bar unless you mask the existing URL.
Mask the Existing URL and Your Domain Name Appears In the Address Bar
Once your domain name is forwarded to the existing URL, you can also mask that existing URL so that only your domain name appears in the address bar. On Go Daddy’s website, it also gave me an easy function to mask my existing domain name. I had to wait for the forwarding function to fully process and once my domain name forwarded to my existing URL, I masked that URL. Now, if you go to www.aspiretograce.com, that URL will appear in the address bar, but you have actually been redirected to www.aspiretograce.wordpress.com.
With Your Own Domain Name, You Can Start Building a Search Engine Reputation
Owning and implementing a domain name allows you to begin immediately to build a reputation for your name. If you are using various methods to market your website, including posting comments on blogs, submitting articles to directories and utilizing search engine optimization, you will be able to build a reputation for your domain name. Otherwise, if you are only using a free blog host’s URL such as wordpress.com or blogger.com, once you purchase and implement your own domain name, you will have to transition your marketing efforts to the new domain name at that time.
These are just a few of the reasons that owning a domain name is advantageous. As you can see, a domain name can have as little or as much impact on your blog situation as you desire. But, it preserves your control and liberty for a time when you are ready to take full advantage of its benefits.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with buying and owning a domain name. Do you think it is advantageous? Please share your feedback in the comments section.