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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 email@example.com. We’ll take it from there!