Creating a Blog: Should Register Your Own Domain Name or Use a Free Blogging Platform?
Blogging for Dollars? Then You Need to Know This
With free blogging platforms like Blogger (Blogger.com) and Wordpress (Wordpress.com) on the market, creating a blog is so simple, even a child can do it. Really! One of the initial questions you should ask – and answer – is . . .
When creating a blog, should I register my own domain name, or should I use a free blogging platform like Blogger or Wordpress?
Hands down, you should register your own domain name. Why? I’ll share with you my story.
Creating a Blog: The Big Mistake I Made & How You Can Avoid It
In 2008, I decided to move my blog from blogger to Wordpress. I’d been with blogger since I started my blog in February of 2005. I wanted to do this because, in my opinion, Wordpress is more professional-looking than Blogger. So, I went about creating a blog in the new, slicker-looking, free Wordpress them.
Then, after about a week or two of writing there, I log on one day and get the nasty little message . . .
This blog has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service.
So, I frantically contact Wordpress’ customer service to find out why. After days – I think close to a week went by – I was told that I was basically booted because of SEO content issues, as in, they didn’t allow it.
I tried to get them to see that I was an SEO copywriter and discussed issues like private label rights (PLR) content, seo articles, etc. and that I wasn’t using any blackhat SEO tactics (this concept is defined below).
But, that wasn’t enough. I still lost my brand new wordpress site. To be honest, I don’t think anyone even looked at the site to assess it. If they had, they would have seen my point.
I didn’t lose too much content, as my posts was still live on blogger. But, what a disappointment. Even when you type in my old wordpress blog name, inkwelleditorial.wordpress.com, you get that offensive message listed above.
And to top this off, I still haven't migrated all of the pages from my old blog on blogspot to the new wordpress design InkwellEditorial.com. And this is a full year and a half later!
Perhaps the Most Important Starting a Blog Tip: If you started with a free blog platform like Wordpress or Blogger, don’t stop blogging at your old spot until your new blog is completely up and running. And, back up everything you do – everything!
Blogging Tips: Free vs Paid Blogging Platforms
Search Engine Optimization Marketing: What is Blackhat SEO?
Blackhat SEO strategies -- as opposed to white hat SEO strategies -- are practices that run afoul of most search engine guidelines. The purpose is get sites to rank high in search engine results. It can be anything from keyword stuffing to search engine spamming. Learn more about blackhat SEO strategies.
And, this is why it is my professional opinion that you should stay away from free blogging platforms and register your own domain for the purposes of creating a blog. Following are some more reasons.
When Creating a Blog, It’s Easy to Add On to Your Existing Website
In most cases, if you already have a website, you can simply add your blog to it. For example, if your company is ZYXCompany.com, your company’s blog could be at ZYXCompany.com /blog.
Why should you go this route? Two reasons: image and cost, which brings us to the next sections.
When Creating a Blog, Image Is Important
When creating a blog, free blogging platforms don’t give your blog the right image. Although there are many professional-looking outlets from which to choose, a free blogging platform can make you appear unprofessional.
Look at my old blog on blogger at InkwellEditorial.blogspot.com and compare it to my new blog/website, InkwellEditorial.com. Which one do you think looks more professional?
“But, you may be thinking, “when I look at your sites, I see that one is a website and the other is a blog.” They’re really one and the same. Learn more on the difference between a website and a blog.
Now, back to the question at hand.
Even having the term blogspot as part of your blog's name is unprofessional and amateurish, because it's a dead giveaway that you're not investing in your site. Everyone knows that your blog is free. And, while that's not detrimental in and of itself, can you imagine "successful" businesses doing business -- and making money blogging -- on a free blogging platform.
I know, I know, there are exceptions to every rule. I know that some people do quite well by staying on these free blog platforms. But, over the long haul, it's just not a good idea when creating a blog to plan to stay that way.
When Creating a Blog, Cost Is Relative
As for cost, it’s relative. What I mean is, at some point in the future, you’re going to want/have to move your blog to your own hosted domain. You’re just going to have to trust me on this; it happens to every serious business/entrepreneur at some point.
This is especially true if your blog really starts to grow and you begin to make money with it.
This means you’re probably going to have to pay a blog designer, web design firm or other type of internet marketing services firm to move it for you. This can be labor intensive (ie, expensive), as it involves dealing with your old host company, your new host company; changing and renaming links/URLs and upgrading the design – and this is just for starters.
Trrruuussssstttt me, you don’t want to go through this. It’s a rip-roaring, royal pain in the butt!
So, just get your own domain name from jump when creating a blog. You can do a redesign later, but you’ll avoid a host of other issues by already being on your own hosted domain site.
When You Transfer a Blog You Create, You Lose Page Rank
When you transfer a blog from a free blogging platform to your own hosted domain, you can quickly lose its rank in search engines, and is just an all-around hassle. You worked hard to attain that. It can take months, or a year or more to get it back.
And, with things being so competitive on the web in search engine marketing and optimization, you may never get back to where you were.
Creating a Blog: Final Thought By a Problogger
Darren Rowse at Problogger.net, the foremost site on the web for all things blogging, addresses this last point here in the post Choosing a Blog Platform. He writes:
One of the issues of starting out with a hosted [free] platform is that if there comes a day when you want to go with a standalone one that you have some work cut out for you in retaining any traffic that you’ve built up. . . . there are implications of changing domains later in terms of taking regular readers with you, having to climb the search engine rankings all over again and redirecting traffic from one blog to another.
How to Start a Blog the Right Way
If you have the foresight to start out the right way when creating a blog, ie on your own hosted domain, you will be so glad you did down the road.
Freelance writers: learn how to start a successful freelance writing blog.