I want to build a blog through weebly.com, and I was wondering if there were any major cons of using the “.weebly.com” domain that they provide, because it is much cheaper than using a normal domain through their website. I want to have a successful blog and I would like to know if this would hold it back.
I think you should always purchase a custom domain name.
A custom domain is super cheap
Buying a custom domain is only about $11 – $17 per year (depending on where you buy it). That’s $0.90 – $1.50 per month. That’s $0.03 – $0.05 per day. That’s LITERALLY pennies.
Money-wise, a custom domain is extremely cheap.
Blogging-wise, it’s one of the best (and easiest) things you can do for your site.
A custom domain gives you a huge dose of professionalism
People judge books by their covers. People judge blogs by their design. People also judge blogs by their URL. What do your URL say about your blog?
A free subdomain ( yourname.wordpress.com ) says…
- I use a free platform.
- I’m not sure how long I’ll be doing this for.
- I’m not ready to commit.
- I’m a new blogger.
A custom domain ( yourname.com ) says…
- I’ve invested in my site.
- I’ve established a brand.
- I’ve made a yearly commitment.
- I’m professional.
It’s all about perception
I know some of those points may seem unfair. There are a lot of bloggers who use a free subdomain but have been blogging for 5 years. That’s commitment! It is! I’m not doubting that.
But the fact is, people do judge sites. They make assumptions. If you buy a custom domain, you’re investing in your blog, and that fact alone will make people take it more seriously.
A custom domain is more future-proof
Let’s say you’re on WordPress.com without a custom domain and you want to move to self-hosted WordPress. You make the move, get a custom domain, but your old site doesn’t redirect to the new one. The only way to do this is to purchase a redirect from WordPress.com for $13 per year. You have no control over the .wordpress.com subdomain, so there’s nothing you can do on your own. You have to pay WordPress.com to do something for you.
Let’s say you’re on WordPress.com with a custom domain and you move to self-hosted WordPress. Since your domain hasn’t changed, you don’t lose any traffic. You also have full control over redirecting your old site to your new one if any part of your URLs change (like if you change your permalink structure. You controlled the domain in BOTH places, so you control the flow of traffic. You can set up redirects that keep every single piece of your SEO in tact.
Having a custom domain prepares you for the future. If there’s the slightest possibility that you will move to a new platform somewhere down the line, having a custom domain will give you the power to ensure that you don’t lose any SEO or traffic.
Using a free platform? That’s okay! But invest in a custom domain.
A domain and your platform are two different things. You can use a free platform like Blogger or WordPress, but buy a custom domain for only $11 – $17 per year. That means you’ll stay on Blogger (or WordPress.com) but instead of having yourname.blogpost.com, you can change that URL to just be yourname.com.
I understand that blogging on self-hosted WordPress isn’t for everyone. There’s a big difference between $10 per month (hosting costs) and $10 per year (domain costs). For some people, that $10 per month is too much. I get that. But domain costs are a very cheap yearly fee, and if your blog is important to you, I think it’s well worth the money. You’re investing in your blog, in yourself, in your readers, and you’re better protecting your blog for the future.