Why You Should Always Buy a Custom Domain

Invest in a professional blog. Readers will judge a blog by its domain name. Make a good impression.

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.
Thanks.

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.

Did you decide to buy a custom domain name?

Why or why not?

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I'm a 28 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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39 comments

  1. I’ve always preferred having a custom domain name. I feel like it’s slicing out MY space on the Internet, and no one can take that from me. The problem with blogspot.com domains or wordpress.com domains is that at any time you could have your domain taken from you! It could be for no reason at all. But the beauty of having my very own domain name, one that is entirely in my control, is just that: it’s mine. Only my host can shut it down, and even then it has to be my fault, not just some random reason.

    I don’t know why more people don’t invest in domain names. They’re so cheap (unless you buy a .nu or .me, but most book bloggers don’t need those anyway), and there’s professionalism to consider. I love .com, .net, and .org extensions. They just say “I’m a professional, look at my website.” But that’s just me. šŸ˜›

    1. You’re totally right, Sydney! It’s like claiming your spot and once you have it, no one else can take it. Imagine if you started a blog, turned it into something really successful after 5 years of work but only used a free subdomain, then you finally decided to invest and your name was already taken!

      Domains are like real estate. They go. FAST.

      If you get a custom domain on a free platform (like a custom domain on Blogger) then Blogger does still control your CONTENT. They could shut down your blog so that your custom domain just leads to a “blog deleted” page or whatever. So if you want that full control and ownership, you have to go all out and get a custom domain AND a self-hosted platform.

    1. That’s an excellent point, Rosie! It is a good motivator. šŸ™‚ And I love your domain name—rosiereads.com. I feel like there’s something about the letter arrangements that makes it very visually appealing. You know, some names look kind of awkward because of how the letters align, but yours looks great!

    1. Be careful, you’ll get addicted to buying domains! šŸ˜€ I’m TOTALLY addicted. I have…. 28 domains on NameCheap. Eeks!

    1. Nope, nothing will get messed up. šŸ™‚ I believe it’s very easy to buy a custom domain through WordPress.com, then they should automatically take care of all the URL changing/redirecting for you. It should be very seamless! Go for it!

  2. The first year or so I blogged on blogger and didn’t have a custom domain, I strongly disliked that .blogspot.com part in the url as it made it feel less professional indeed. But shortly after I started my busines Lola’s Blog Tours and had to invest in a domain name for that anyway I also decided to made the step and buy a domain name for Lola’s Reviews as well and eventually switched both sites to self hosted as well. Still one of the best descisions I ever made. I agree that buying your own domain name is important and like you said it’s pretty cheap.

    I think it’s great you also emphasize the difference between being a domain name and self hosted and explain everything so well. As back when I started blogging I never realized how easy and cheap it was just to get a custom domain.

    1. Congratulations on your domain names, Lola!! You made a great decision of upgrading both your sites. šŸ˜‰

      I do think there’s A LOT of confusion around domain names vs hosting. I commonly see people believe that buying a domain makes them “self hosted”, or that you can’t have a custom domain unless you are self hosted. But the two are completely different!

      I think the saddest part is when I see someone on Blogger buy a custom domain (go them!) and then they suddenly think they’re on “self hosted WordPress” or something because they have a custom name. It makes me want to give them a hug and quietly explain that’s not quite how it works. šŸ™

    1. Some web hosting companies offer a free domain with the purchase of a hosting package, but that’s not a standard thing. It’s just an offer that some companies do.

    1. WordPress only shuts down sites that violate their terms, so you have to read those carefully. The top ways book bloggers get shut down is if:

      1. They use affiliate links.
      2. They participate in blog tours.

      Although technically “review blog tours” are okay, WordPress.com states that they don’t allow blog tour blogs because they’re all about promo posts and basically advertisements for authors (and WP.com doesn’t allow advertisements).

      1. You can export your content by going to Tools > Export and downloading the XML file to your computer.

        However, that only backs up your posts, comments, and pages. Your images may not transfer over if WordPress.com deletes them.

    1. Congratulations, Kel! You made an awesome choice. šŸ˜€ And you’ll feel so much better about yourself if you have a custom domain name on your business cards instead of a free one.

        1. Oh yes! I’m a huge fan of short and sweet URLs. šŸ™‚ By getting rid of the “blogspot”, you trimmed yours down a lot!

  3. This makes a lot of sense. When I first started I didn’t have a custom domain, but I figured out within 1 month that blogging was something that would definitely stick. So I invested in the domain and then right after that, I switched from blogger to WordPress. If I couldn’t afford WordPress, I’d definitely keep the domain.

    Berls recently posted: My TBR List | April 2015 Results
  4. Hii!!
    Domain names are not just the names, they are as important as your business or brand name; they are your key to the online world and thus need to be chosen with care. One of my friends has just started his business the information you described here would really help him alot.Thank you for the great sharing.

  5. Totally agree on buying a custom domain. Not only is it cheap, but it also gives a feel of professionalism to your blog and can provide audiences an initial idea about the site. It gives your site a brand and it also gives the blogger a lot of motivation to make quality posts. Thanks for the share!

    Ashley Nicole recently posted: Portable Standing Desk

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