Blogging can be loosely defined as creating written content for others to view, with consistent updates to issues and new additions as the author sees fit. A blog domain name is the unique web address of your blog that directs readers to it.
There are different techniques used by bloggers to attract viewers, many different topics bloggers write about, and many different reasons people blog. The reason you blog might be a determining factor in whether you choose to purchase your blog domain name, or have it hosted and keep the sub-domain name. You should understand the impact each action has on your success as a blogger.
What Is a Blog Domain Name?
A web host is a service that provides the hardware and software necessary to display your content. Your web host will store all the files that make up your web site.
The domain name—or uniform resource locator (URL)—of your website is the address people type into their browser to get to your website, such as www.mysite.com. This makes having a memorable, unique, search-optimized blog name important—it will help people remember you.
How Does a Blog Domain Name Work?
Your domain name serves as the address of your website. Your readers will find your blog in a few ways: they might have known your domain name already and entered into it their browser address bar, or have found it in a web search on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP)—the page that is displayed with results on it after a search.
Your domain is where all of your content is stored, and it's the place where all your information (web pages, photos, videos, etc.) will be located and displayed for the entire world to see.
A blog domain name should reflect your topic—such as TipsForMom if that is what your focus is. This helps search engines find your blog.
To understand how a domain name works, picture yours as the name of a folder on your host's server. If you name the folder "mysite," it is located at mysite.yourwebhost.com. Each webpage is stored inside that folder as a folder with content specific for that page. If you had a page called "Favorite Foods," the address to that page (name of the folder) would become mysite.yourwebhost.com/favoritefoods.
The main factors to consider when choosing a name are finding a hosting company and deciding whether you are going to use a free or paid domain and hosting plan. Which option is most appropriate for you depends on the goals for your blog or website.
Choosing a Hosting Company
A rule of thumb for domains is that sub-domains are usually free, and top-level domains are not. Sub-domains keep the name of the web host you're using, such as myblog.wordpress.com. Top-level domains don't keep the web host name—your domain would be myblog.com. Blogging platforms (companies that offer free blogging tools) provide free sub-domains to all of their users. Some of the free blogging platforms include:
These domain providers offer very easy start-up options. They are free (at first) and many offer basic themes that allow you to personalize your blog/site with your own graphics. In addition to giving you a free domain, they also allow you to set up and host your website on their platform at no cost.
You don't necessarily have to get your domain name and web hosting from the same company. As an example, you might purchase your domain name from a registrar like GoDaddy.com, but then choose to host your website with a hosting company, like SiteGround.
Even though you don't have to have your domain name and hosting with the same company, many hosting companies will include a domain name for free.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Blog Domain Names
There are advantages and disadvantages to both owning and having your blog domain hosted. It's important to know them all so that you can make a decision based on your needs.
Hosted Blog Domain
While the idea of a free domain name and free website hosting may sound attractive, there are many pitfalls to be aware of. Having your blog hosted comes with more drawbacks than benefits.
Monetization is not an option.
There's no ability to customize beyond provided templates.
Sub-domains appear cheap to readers and lowers brand value.
You have no control over ads and other intrusive measures.
It's not as professional as an owned domain.
Besides a sub-domain name, another drawback is that you don't have total control over your website. In many cases, these platforms will put advertisements on your website which you have no control over (and don't receive compensation for). Also, you are more limited in what options you have as far as the look and feel of your website goes.
The single biggest disadvantage is that many free blogging platforms don't allow you to have a website for commercial purposes, so if your intent is to make money with your blog, then you'll want to avoid them.
If you want to blog professionally and make money, you will be better equipped to do so if you own your domain.
Owning Your Domain
If you decide to buy your own domain, you can purchase one from a domain registrar that will register your name and host it on their server. After registering your domain, you can choose and install a content management system.
Customization is available, letting you create and share your brand.
The domain name is all about your blog—no sub-domain is added to the address.
Monetization is available.
Functionality enhancements can be used for better experiences.
It can be costly.
You're spending money before your blog begins to generate income.
By choosing your own domain and installing a blogging platform, you will end up with a clean URL, such as tipsbymom.com. A clean URL means that you will get better search rankings with Google, allowing more people to find your blog.
You also have the freedom to host your site where you want—you won't be stuck with just one hosting option. This can be important if your site grows and you need to scale your business.
Most paid hosting services come with the options of third party tools and enhancements to create better experiences for readers. Along with monetization, this can be an attractive feature as reader experience can be as important as content.
- A blog domain name is the name of your blog and the web address that users will find it at. It helps to have one that is unique, memorable, and optimized for internet searches.
- Paid and free domains are available.
- There are different features available in purchased vs. free domains.
- If you want to make money blogging, you'll have to purchase your domain.