If you are considering starting a blog or a website, you should buy a domain name and hosting package before you begin. Like most bloggers, I learned this lesson the hard way. I started an experimental blog on Blogspot.com to “test the blogging waters”. It didn’t take long before I started getting visitors and I discovered the limitations of using someone else’s resources. I knew I needed my own domain and hosting but kept putting it off because of the uncertainty and inconvenience of moving. This hesitation simply delayed the inevitable and just made the problem worse. After 9 months of lollygagging, I finally got my blog moved and though it was inconvenient the payoff was worth it. In the years since, I have started several new blogs the right way and seen much success. I only wish I had seen this list before I started the first one.
13 Reasons to Buy Your Own Domain Name and Hosting Before You Start Your First Blog
1. It’s Cheap - Most people use free blogging platforms because, well… they’re free. However you can get a domain name for less than 10 bucks for a year and a good starter hosting package that automatically installs everything you need for less than 5 bucks a month. If you quit after a month you’re out less than $15. If you succeed, you’ll find that free costs more than you think.
2. It’s Motivational - When you put money on the line, it is like saying you plan to succeed. You are far less likely to quit after a month because you believe you have a good shot at success and have built the foundation to profit from your efforts.
3. It’s Easy – Web Hosts have gotten the process of setting up WordPress (and other open source website scripts) down to an art. It literally takes a couple of clicks and you have a fully working website. Security and feature updates are just as easy.
4. Image – Owning your own unique domain name carries a certain prestige, professionalism, and respect. It says you’re serious (even if your website is not). Many/most free blogs are spammy at best. Do you really want to be associated with them?
5. Ownership – Hosting your own blog gives you ownership of your success, your brand, your content, and your files. When people link to something you wrote they are linking to your domain. The more you create, the more you create value for yourself.
6. Brand Identity – With your own domain name you are building brand value and identity for yourself or your organization not Blogger or WordPress. Do not underestimate the tangible and intangible value of a good brand.
7. Earn More Money – When you own your own domain and website you have more opportunity to earn more money. Some free hosted platforms (like WordPress.com) don’t allow commercial use. Other platforms put their advertising on your blog. And finally there are more money earning programs (advertising and affiliate) available for people with their own domain and host.
8. Freedom of Design– Many free hosting platforms provide limited design choices. On your own host you have unlimited possibilities.
9. Power – Free hosted blogs limit what you can do. They choose the features. They choose the plugins. They block access to functionality according to their whims. You are left with generic wimpy features and can’t be distinguished from anyone else.
10. Flexibility – Do you want to add your unique plugins, special scripts, or a forum? Do you want to add additional pages or sub-domains? Do you want to switch to a whole new platform but keep the same address? You can’t do that on a hosted platform.
11. Control – Hosting your site and owning your domain gives you more control over your identity and your files. One invaluable aspect of this is the ability to backup your files. With free hosts you simply have to trust some stranger to do the right thing. With paid hosting you are buying a certain amount of support and accountability.
12. Value – Websites have value. When your blog or website becomes popular, you want to own that value. You can’t sell a Blogger or WordPress.com hosted blog. Popular self hosted, uniquely identifiable blogs and websites have been known to sell for nice sums.
13. Moving After You’re Successful Is Not Fun – Moving a blog from a free host is not impossible. It is inconvenient, can be tricky, and may be time consuming. But there are many people that have done it in the past and there are many resources to help you. However, you will take several frustrating steps backwards in terms of links, popularity, and audience when you decide to move. The moment you realize you want to get your own domain and host your own blog, take action. Don’t procrastinate. Or better yet, plan for your success and start off right.