So last week I promised that I would tell you all about my trials and tribulations of buying my own domain name.
Not to be too basic here, but instead of using the freebie domain that blogspot allows you to use, you can have your very own domain that you own (instead of the www.mycatisfat.blogspot.com domain you can have a www.mycatisfat.com domain).
The reasons to buy your own domain name are:
- It makes your blog look more professional and gives it more street cred.
- Blogger owns your .blogspot.com domain currently, you do not own it. If you become the next Dooce or Pioneer Woman you would not be able to sell your blogspot.com blog someday for a zillion dollars - because again, you don't own it.
- Also since Blogger owns your .blogspot.com domain they have control over your content.
- You can easily switch to any other blogging platform (WordPress, etc) whenever you want if you have your own domain.
- The rumor is that you rank higher in search engines if you do not have the blogspot in your domain name.
You can either buy the domain directly from GoDaddy.com or another similar domain registration site or buy it straight through Google Blogger.
Reasons why I bought my domain name through Blogger:
- It's only $10.00 a year through Blogger. GoDaddy was $11.99 a year. I can buy 8 pieces of vintage silverware with the $1.99 I saved.
- GoDaddy charges an extra $9.99 for a privacy setting for your domain ownership. A privacy setting protects you from spam and keeps people from knowing exactly who owns the domain - ie, your full name, address and phone number. Blogger does this for free!
- Blogger uses either GoDaddy or eNom to register it anyhow, so it's the same difference as going through GoDaddy except less steps involved in the switch (see #4).
- Basically you buy your domain through the Blogger site and then it's done. Sit back and wait for it to fully kick into effect (2-3 days). Your followers, blog tracking, feed burner, etc goes with you. They map your old domain (the blogspot one to automatically redirect to the new one) so no need to tell your followers and readers that they need to update to your new domain.
None of this happens automatically when you buy it from GoDaddy. With GoDaddy you get into doing something with parking a domain name, editing your CNAME record (huh?)and forwarding your domain name. Not that it's impossible to do, but it seemed like a lot of work when Blogger can do it all for me.
- You get a Google Apps account for your domain where you can set up your own email that has your .com in the address (ie, firstname.lastname@example.org instead of email@example.com).
It is really, really, really simple to buy your own domain from Blogger. So simple you will kick yourself!
Step 1 - from your Dashboard go into Settings and then into Publishing. It should say You Are Publishing On Blogspot.com.
Click on Switch to Custom Domain.
Step 2 - You will want to type in what domain you want to buy in the box. Note - it already has the www. part and the .com at the end so I just typed in the houseofhawthornes part. Then you click on Check Availability.
If that domain is available you can have it. If someone else already has it you can either try to buy it from them (no idea how to do that) or pick something close to what you wanted.
Step 3 - click on Continue to Registration. Oh, and make sure you have a credit card handy to pay for it.
Step 4 - you will be taken to a page where you input your name, address and phone number.
If you want to keep your information private then make sure you keep the Keep My Registration Information Private box checked (having it checked is the default).
There is another box toward the bottom that asks if you want to automatically renew it every year. After that, you just accept the terms of service and pay for it.
In a few seconds or minutes you'll get an email from Google saying that your domain has been registered with GoDaddy (or eNom) and that your Google Apps account is up and running.
Done. Finitto. Go take a bubble bath now!
For 2-3 days you will be able to still access your blog through the blogspot address and also through your new domain name. And you (not your readers) will get messages saying that your blog is in transition. No big deal, doesn't stop you from doing anything.
OK, now onto the problems I have had.
- I didn't take them seriously when they said it could take 2-3 days for the whole transfer to be completed. Once, I saw that my new domain appeared to be working (10 seconds after buying it) I thought everything should be working fine.
Immediately after I bought the domain I checked out my blog and I had NO FOLLOWERS! Eeek! They came back within the hour.
My photos on the sidebar that had linked to some old posts (dog links to a post on the dog, etc) did not work anymore. Photos there, but links were gone. They started working again within 3 hours.
Really, save yourself a headache and take them seriously about the 2-3 day thing.
- The only problem I had that never got fixed (or I fixed it before it was going to get fixed) is the favorite blogs spot on my sidebar. They went away immediately after the switch and I had to eventually put them back in. Not a biggy, just annoying.
I have heard that this is a common problem though. So if you want to make sure you keep the exact same blogs on your favorites list on the sidebar, then print them out or write them down. And it's not like all the blogs you follow disappear, it just the sidebar list gadget that gets wonky.
- My Sitemeter worked from minute one. Never had a moments worry about that.
- I have a little problem in that my FeedBurner feeds are delayed by about an hour after I post. And if someone has me as one of their favorite blogs on their sidebar (doesn't everyone have me as a favorite?), it doesn't automatically update until about an hour after I post.
I am working on these feed related problems because I would like them fixed, but they aren't killing me right now. Who knows, maybe if I give it a day or two they will fix themselves. If not, I will figure it out. Oh, and neither of these appear to be common problems.
So although it's not been totally a cake walk, it's really pretty easy and I would definitely do it again. And again, I would take them seriously about the 2-3 day thing. Tattoo it on your hand if you need to.
The great thing is that now people can access my blog by typing in any of the following:
houseofhawthornes.com (without the www).
They all take you to my www.houseofhawthornes.com site. I feel like a business owner now!
Now go visit some blogs with pretty pictures and fun stories! I promise to try not to bore you to death tomorrow.