Why You Must Own Your Name

by Lain Ehmann on June 12, 2012

via aroom.org

When I started out online about five years ago, I did what everyone did — I started a blog on Typepad. And I left it there — for several years! I went through several iterations of that blog before I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up… and then I realized I needed to avoid the whole www.fivethings.typepad.com blah blah blah and OWN MY OWN DOMAIN.

It’s like the ole’ “Room of Her Own.” You gotta have your own space!

Here are five reasons why you need to own your own domain:

1. It’s easier to remember. Which is easier, “http://fivethings.typepad.com” or “www.layoutaday.com?” Kind of rhetorical. Getting rid of those extra characters is easier on the ole’ brain cells.

2. It’s more professional. Using a hosted domain just makes you look like an amateur. And if you’re courting brands, manufacturers, partners, or just plain ole’ RESPECT, you have to look like a professional – even if you’re operating out of the corner of your basement. If you’re squatting on Tumblr or Blogger, it’s like trying to run a dentist office out of the corner of your aunt’s shoe store. Doesn’t inspire confidence, does it?

3. You own it. If you leave your blog or website on someone else’s server, what happens if they change the terms of service? Or change their privacy policy? Or, heaven forbid, fold up shop? (This actually happened to me with my first podcast. I had dozens of episodes hosted on a free site, and they disappeared… taking my podcast episodes with them. Sad, so sad!)

4. It’s safer. Have your read your terms of service lately on Blogger or some of the other hosted sites? Most, if not all, say that you cannot use their service for commercial purposes. That means they can close you down if they don’t like what you’re doing. Eeek!

5. It’s fun. I so love having a WordPress blog (WordPress is the platform I use to bring my blog to life… the “domain” is the actual URL, and the hosting is the servers where it’s all stored. WordPress is the software I use to blog and share pictures and make my blog dance. It’s very, very simple and lots of fun, with tons of customization options.

So now you have it — if you want to be taken seriously and actually run a Business-with-a-capital-B, you’ve got to do three things:

1. Buy your domain. I use Namecheap (affiliate link) where I get names for (guess!) CHEAP. I recommend getting a .com rather than a .org or .biz suffix, just because it’s the standard. COUPON: Use “DEDOMAIN” to get a new .com for only $9.61 a year!)

2. Get hosting. Don’t host at the same place you buy your domain. It’s good to spread things out. I use Hostgator (affiliate link). My plan is the “Baby Plan” and I pay $6.36 a month (that’s much less than the $89/year I was paying Typepad!). Once you get hosting, you’ll need to transfer your domain over which is easy and painless. Here’s a video on how to do it. 

3. Install WordPress. WordPress is a free installation that takes about five minutes, once you know how. It can be a little tricky at first, but I’ll make you a deal – if you get your hosting and domain through my links above, I’ll do this step for you! Just email me at support@layoutaday.com and we’ll help you out.).

Once you’ve done those three steps, you can select a theme (tens of thousands of possibilities) and go to town. Pretty soon, you’ll be a WordPress pro. :)

simple scrapbooking layouts

P.S. I’m serious about installing WordPress for you! I’d be glad to help you out… just get your domain name and hosting via the links above, and email support@layoutaday.com. We’ll take it from there!


  • carol in seattle :)

    I did step one about six months ago and wasn’t sure how to do step two, thanks for a push!

  • Lainehmann

    Email me! I’ll help!

  • Waldenbunch

    Same here. I bought my domain name and blogger redirects traffic there. I want to take the next step but I haven’t made a penny yet on my blog and don’t know whether do go to hosting and wordpress or not. Thanks for the post.

  • Lainehmann

    I’m going to be doing a class on this topic soon.
    Stay tuned!!!

  • http://profiles.google.com/traciy2 Traci Tracy

    I had already purchased my domain name, but did take the coupon and used it to secure a domain name for each of my kids. I had a tech friend recommend  doing that. Hope it was okay to use the coupon for that, it saved me over $4! Thanks Lain :)

  • Lainehmann

    Totally okay! Lucky kids. :)

  • Eallred56

    I’m completely in the dark on this and I hav e a lot of questions.  All are not about the web site. some are on digital scrapbooking and I need advice before I think about the web site.  Would you be willing to email me  and let me know if you can help me.  I have PSE10 and I have learned a lot off of you tube.

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  • Jess

    So… are you saying it is better to do WordPress.ORG and purchase your domain name elsewhere (like GoDaddy) rather than to just use WordPress.COM for the whole shabang???

  • LainEhmann

    WordPress.org is the software you can use for ANY URL and host combo (I register through Namecheap and host at Hostgator). WordPress.com hosts for you and is the same, in my mind, as Typepad or Blogger. Hope this helps!

  • LainEhmann

    Hi Eallred – you can post your questions to our Facebook wall at Facebook.com/layoutaday or email me at lain@layoutaday.com.

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