Whether you upgrade your WordPress plan or go self-hosted, there are several perks and benefits of owning a custom domain. In this post, I’ll be sharing several reasons why you need to have a custom domain, benefits of owning your domain and how to get one for your blog/brand. This applies to all websites and not just blogs.
What is a Custom Domain?
A custom domain is a domain or URL that belongs to you and only you; like your own unique space on the internet. It’s a unique web address/URL created of your own choice, a typical example is my blog’s URL: https://www.khairahscorner.com.
A lot of us usually start blogging for free on platforms like WordPress or Blogspot but these free plans only provide subdomains. Subdomains are basically domains/URLs created from another domain like wordpress.com.
The last example is actually one of the perks of owning your own custom domain and we’ll get to it later in this post.
Benefits of Having a Custom Domain
There are several reasons why getting your own domain is the best step to take for your brand:
1. It makes you appear more “Professional”
Whether you’re blogging full time or as a side business, no one will ever really take you seriously if you don’t have your own domain. There are few exceptions but generally, using a free domain to blog “professionally” gives off the vibes that you’re not willing to invest in your blog. If you don’t invest in your blog, how do you expect a brand/business to invest in you and your content?
Hence, owning a custom domain shows your committment to blogging. It also helps to build your brand and this is very important in getting paid opportunities.
If you’re serious about committing to blogging, I have an eBook which contains all you need to know about domains, hosting services and how to build your blog/website. You can get it here.
2. Easier to remember
The lengthy “.wordpress.com” can be very annoying to your readers and may even dissuade them from visiting your blog. A custom domain means your users can easily get to your blog without stress. They can also easily remember your blog link and share it amongst their friends.
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3. It increases your Google search rankings
Having a custom domain is not really a criteria for showing up in search results but it’s a major factor. Search engines prefer to link to root domains rather than subdomains. Hence, it’s highly unlikely your posts will ever show up in search results if you don’t have your domain.
Simply put; Why would Google rank posts from a blog using a subdomain when there are millions of other blogs with custom domains that have the same quality content on the same topics?
3. You can create your own subdomains
You can also have your own subdomains. This means that you get the ability to create secondary domains where you can host different websites; the same way WordPress.com creates a subdomain for you to host your free WordPress blog.
You can use a different hosting plan to host your subdomains or use the same hosting plan your custom domain runs on. However, this all depends on whether your service provider allows hosting subdomains with the same plan.
4. Create custom email addresses
You can create and configure custom email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org when you own a custom domain. These email addresses can be used as brand emails for enquiries, customer support, promotions, etc.
The limit on the number of emails that can be created per domain is usually dependent on the domain provider and the selected hosting plan. Qservers allows up to 1000 custom email addresses on any of their plans.
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5. Access to features your free WordPress plan doesn’t have
There are a lot of options you don’t have access to when using a free WordPress plan. A great example is the “Additional CSS” feature that allows you to completely customise your website.
With CSS, you can change the look of a theme completely without having to edit the theme’s original files. You can basically transform a free theme into your own unique theme with the power of CSS. This is exactly what I did for my current blog theme.
Another feature you get access to is the ability to install and download plugins for your blog/website. Plugins are basically tools that give your site more functionality. You also get access to unlimited themes and the ability to download and install custom themes.
You can get my eBook on building self-hosted blogs/websites; it dives deep into plugins, how they are used and the best plugins for your blog/website.
6. Monetisation and Advertising
With a custom domain, you can place ads on your website with platforms like Google Adsense, wordAds, Buysellads, etc. This gives you the ability to generate some little income from blogging.
However, I’m not a fan of ad platforms so I don’t use them. With these platforms, you have no control over the kind of ads that get placed on your website.
Also, most users don’t trust these ads so no one actually ever clicks on them, except by mistake.
This is why I create and use my own custom ads for my blog and place them on my sidebar. They’re safer, users are more likely to be interested in them and they align with my blog’s image.
Update: I now run Google ads on my site! Turns out you actually can restrict and block certain categories from ever showing up on your platform!
I have blocked quite a number of categories and although that limits the tiny revenue that should be generated, I’m much more comfortable.
If you’d love to learn how to create custom ads on your blog/website, join me on Instagram where I run a series to teach bloggers how to use HTML and CSS. The tips can be applied to any website, even blogs with free WordPress plans!
7. You’re in complete control
Your blog is truly yours.
A free WordPress blog is great if you’re just trying out blogging. However, you need to keep in mind that it is not fully yours and you have very limited options. With a custom domain, you can do absolutely anything you want, without restrictions.
Although some paid WordPress plans have limited options compared to a self-hosted website, it’s still a far better option than using a free blog.
How to Get a Custom Domain
If you’re convinced about getting a custom domain for your brand, the next step is to decide on your domain name and where to buy one.
I have a free copy of my eBook on building self-hosted websites and it uses a detailed step-by-step approach to explain how to get your custom domain. It also gives you a prequel knowledge on the factors to consider when choosing your domain name and how to decide if you really need one. You can download the free copy here.
Thank you for reading and I hope I’ve been able to explain why you need to take a step further and have your own domain for your brand/business.
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