Hello Sarah! I was wondering if you could help me with a blogging question. For the past few months, I’ve been toying with the decision to start a personal/music blog. I know free blogs that end in .wordpress.com or something similar don’t bring as much visitors or traffic or even publicity, but I’m hesitant to pay for a custom domain and hosting without knowing how successful my site will become. Is it better to start with a free domain until I get my blog running and see how things go? Or should I jump right in with a custom domain and get noticed more quickly?
Thanks for your question Allison! Since there are no steadfast rules in blogging, it can be difficult to decide when to get serious and put money toward your blog. When I started the previous version of XO Sarah, SillyGrrl, I began with a WordPress.com site. After a year or so I was writing on a regular basis and was ready to start designing my own templates, so I decided to buy hosting and a domain.
Here are eight reasons to help you decide if you should buy a domain now or not…
Buy a domain if…
- Your blog is going to be a business or will be attached to a business - a domain gives you credibility
- You want more control over your design – WordPress.org opens your site up to a ton of new design and customization possibilities
- You have a blog title you love or you’re using your name and you’re worried someone else might grab it first
- If you’re on Blogger, terms of service state you don’t actually own your blog - violate their terms of service and your blog may disappear without warning
Skip the domain for now if…
- You aren’t really sure what you want to blog about
- You haven’t found a name you love
- You only blogged three times this month
- You’re still figuring out basic things like adding images and hyperlinks
Since it’s fairly easy to transfer content to WordPress.org, there’s no harm in using Wordpress.com until you get a feel for what blogging is all about. And if you’re worried about losing a specific domain name you can always buy it and direct it to your Wordpress.com site until you’re ready to invest a little most in hosting.