If you want your blog to sit on it’s own personalised URL or web address you will need to buy yourself a domain from a domain name reseller. Perhaps it’s cutesteverstuff.com or worldofthings.com that you have your heart set on. Good for you. You need to buy that domain.
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First, check if your much-hoped-for domain name is available:
Most domain name sellers have a search option on the first page of their site. You can do a search for your name there and see if it’s available. I like to go for the .com name. Perhaps you like to do that too? The thing with .coms is that they are often the most sought after domain. You might have your heart set on a name and then GAH! Someone else has already registered. In this case you might consider another extension, like .net or .me or you might want to tweak your name a touch. The more personalised or quirky the better if you’re after the .com – for instance I tried for blogwithpip.com instead of blogwithme.com.
Choose an extension:
The .com version is usually preferred for blogs that want to grow, but if you are a local business setting up a blog, the local domain name extension (like .com.au in Australia) could be a good idea too. More localised domain names let people know where you are based and send a local yokel message.
In Australia, .com.au domain names have legislation covering their use, to protect businesses/brands from cybersquatters. If you are after some protection over ownership of your name/domain name, a local extension MAY offer that. Totally worth checking out.
Host + Domain package:
It’s a good idea to have your hosting package and domain name with the same provider, so make sure you do your research in the hosting department and then buy your domain at with your chosen host. Sometimes you can get a discount on a domain and hosting package too, so go here and read this before you register your name.
For existing registered domains:
If you’ve already registered a domain name, that’s okay too. You just need to let the domain name provider know where your hosting is by updating the name servers for that domain. They’ll be set for the domain name providers own servers and you will need to change them over to your new hosts’s servers before you build your blog.
(NB: To move an existing blog from one host to another, you don’t just change the name servers – you need to move all your data too! Your new host can help you do that. Just ask them.)
It’s important to note that there are domain thieves out there who buy up domain names they anticipate demand for. They also wait for registered domains to expire and buy them up, hoping that you’ll pay a premium for your much sought after, slightly forgotten favourite domain. This happened to me. Someone in Russia registered piplincolne.com when it expired (I forgot all about renewing it and missed the email reminders from the domain name seller!) They hung onto it for a year and then I bought it back for $6. I think if I’d approached them and asked to buy it when they owned it, it would have cost a lot more than $6! Moral: Keep your domains up to date! File your domain and hosting info carefully, update your contact details regularly with your host or domain reseller and diarise any renewals too.
Which domain name reseller?
Here’s a list of hosting providers my readers recommended. It’s a good idea to register your domain with your hosting provider so things are nice and streamlined.