The wannabe computer geek in me is excited to see more members of blogville buying or otherwise obtaining their own domain names. Instead of writing from http://crazynaijachick.blogspot.com for example, the blogger is writing from http://crazynaijachick.com. A couple of bloggers have asked me about my domain http://goodnaijagirl.com so I thought I’d put this up.
So why would you decide to buy your own domain?
Well, to be honest, unless you plan to take over the world with your blog, creating an empire like Dooce has (she earns an estimated FORTY THOUSAND US DOLLARS PER MONTH (source) through ads on her site, not that I’m impressed by that whatsoever) or diversifying into a website offering a plethora of services and information, there may not be any real value to owning your own space. One main advantage is having complete control over how your site looks (as long as you can afford to pay someone to implement your vision, or if you have the skills to do so on your own).
There are some cons to having your own domain name though, most of them related to the expense. First, you have to pay annually to own the domain (the website address, crazynaijachick.com in my above example). The cost is actually not too prohibitive, but the fact that you have to pay each year makes it seem more like you’re renting it than owning it. All you own at this point is the website address. You don’t actually have a place to store information.
And that’s where the more expensive part comes in: if you decide to run an actual website from your own domain, you have to pay a hosting company monthly or annually to rent server space to hold your entries, images and whatnot (unless you have a friend who will let you host your site on his or her server…I need to find a friend like this). So, if you’re an occasional blogger or just starting out and not sure if blogging is for you, you can see how buying your own domain and paying for hosting can be a waste of money.
HOWEVER, let’s say you are writing a book, and you want a place to send your readers once you’re published or even before you get published. You want a place to provide updates on the progress of the book, write about other parts of your life or even about the book writing process and create lots of buzz about the book and its author. In that case, it may make sense to for you to buy a domain name that is either your name, your book’s name or any combination thereof. For all the budding writers out there, it might be a good idea to check and see if your desired domain name is still available to be bought when the time is right. To be honest, you don’t need your own domain to do any of the above, but if you’re trying to build a brand or an identity, it might be a good idea to go in this direction. This is because when people hear you’re published, they’ll be likely to search for you online at Yourname.com rather than trying to figure out if it’s Yourname.blogspot.com or Yourname.wordpress.com. Of course, if they use google they won’t have that problem at all!
I personally have a habit of buying domains because I like to own things. I started this blog at a free site (http://goodnaijagirl.wordpress.com) but quickly felt limited by what I could do. I think domains to me are what tattoos are to some: apparently the latter can be addictive. With your own domain you have more flexibility. If you have a flair for web design, or you know exactly what you want and you want the power to design every inch of your site, then you must look into owning your own domain.
So who on blogville has their own domain? Off the top of my head in alphabetical order we have:
There are many others!
And let me not kid you: once you own the domain and are paying for hosting, the fun begins as you are faced with the learning curve of actually developing a website, using a CMS or building something from scratch, all of the stuff that keeps me up until the wee hours of the night trying to figure out. I’m praying God sends me a webgeek for a boyfriend or husband :).
(Oh: if you want to check if a particular domain name is up for grabs, there are countless places to check online. If you’re stuck, try Whois.net. If you want to know if a particular domain is available, just type the desired address (example crazynaijachick) into the third box, click Go! and all will be revealed.)