// Internet Duct Tape

The Biggest Mistake a Blog Can Make is Not Owning Its Own Name

Posted in Group Writing Projects, Technology by engtech on April 02, 2007

Daniel of DailyBlogTips is doing a group writing project on mistakes bloggers make. Four months ago I wrote a post outlining all of the mistakes I’ve made in blogging and there’s one that still sticks with me: not buying my own domain name.

There are many reasons why you’d want your own domain name:

  • Ability to move with no hassles.
  • More professional to have your own name.
  • Building a recognizable brand identity.

cat on a hot tin phone
(photo by gliko)

Think of your domain name like a telephone number. When people want to contact you they give you a call if they know the number. But it isn’t something convenient like a cellphone number, it goes to a landline plugged into a wall in the apartment you live in with your roommates. Mike and Jim are great guys, but eventually you’re going to want to get a place of your own (if only because of that time your girlfriend caught Mike listening outside of the door — Mike’s kind of a creepy guy).

If you had your own phone number moving wouldn’t be such a pain in the butt. You could call the phone company and have the phone number transferred to your new address. But that phone number belongs to Mike, Jim and the apartment you used to share with them. Now when people want to contact you they’re going to try the old apartment and have to get referred to the new number by your old roommates.

That can either be smooth process or very difficult depending on your relationships with your old roommates and the number of hoops they’re willing to go through for your convenience. Jim’s a good guy but a pothead. Chances are Mike’s not going to be willing to do that much for you after your girlfriend threw her drink in his face (even if he deserved it). If only you’d had your own phone number from the start. Now you’re stuck trying to call every person who you’ve ever given your phone number to and try to get them to update their phone book with your new number. Good luck.

Just like how the phone company can rewire your phone number if you change addresses, the domain registrar can remap your domain name to somewhere else if you move hosting providers. But only if the phone number is in your name.

The time to buy a domain name is when you first start blogging. Even if you can get your old hosting provider to do a 301 or 302 redirect from your old blog name to your new blog name, there are always some small issues that prevent it from going completely smoothly (like Technorati’s incredible inability to handle any change in blog URL). The time to do it is as-soon-as-possible and the longer you wait the more links you’ll have going to your old address instead of the new one.

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  1. Elaine Vigneault said, on April 02, 2007 at 6:26 am

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been very happy with my name :)

  2. K said, on April 02, 2007 at 9:07 am

    Same here. But been there. I once had it but realized, I only blog as a “hobby” or the fun of it, I think a free blog (from wordpress) is not bad at all as to how you make your blog a name. I think, blogging honestly and fun is what makes us blog (worry-free of paying the annual domain fees).

  3. scientaestubique said, on April 02, 2007 at 10:25 am

    If you want to migrate from a hosted blog to one with your own name, make “migration” posts in your new blog, linking back to your old blog posts, edit the old post to remove the article and post a message like “this post has relocated to here [link] and close off comments on your old blog. Also create trackbacks to mesh the blogs together.

    It’s not perfect, but it transfers more hits than you’d think.
    I still get lots of incoming traffic from my old blog posts.

  4. Kian Ann said, on April 02, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Hey Engtech,

    WordPress.com does allow you to map a domain to its blog, and it does it well. When the domain mapping is in effect, even people heading to http://engtech.wordpress.com will be redirected to your new domain.

    Might want to consider this as a way to slowly move traffic to the new URL.

  5. [...] Why you Should Own your Domain Name by Engtech [...]

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  8. Blogging Mistakes To Avoid said, on April 02, 2007 at 5:07 pm

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  10. engtech said, on April 02, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    Yup, I really should consider getting a new domain. I use the wordpress.com domain mapping on one of my other blogs and it does a great job (except for minor things like all the image urls having to be manually changed to prevent extra overhead with loading images because of the redirect).

    What’s been holding me back is purely vanity issues:

    – Worrying about losing traffic (even though I most likely won’t).

    – Worrying about hitting the Google sandbox on the new domain (I have no idea if that’s still an issue if you’re 302ing from an old domain).

    – There are no available engtech.* domains so I’d have to rebrand my blog to the new domain name (engtech.com is a domain squatter specifically targeted at my blog).

    – Losing my Technorati rank of ~2,000. Although if I’d just done the domain mapping last October when I was first considering it then I’d be back at the same rank by now.

    But this post wasn’t meant to be all about me and my domain, but rather as .

  11. Blogging Mistakes: Final List said, on April 02, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    [...] Why you Should Own your Domain Name by Engtech Subscribe to the RSS feed! 2 Apr, 2007 | Blog Projects [...]

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  26. Jan said, on April 03, 2007 at 5:12 am

    I’ve been blogging for 3 months now, and I’ve acquired a few regular readers. I switched from blogger to wordpress and lost a few readers. I realize the importance of buying a domain but fear losing the few readers I have. what to do?

  27. [...] Why you Should Own your Domain Name by Engtech [...]

  28. engtech said, on April 03, 2007 at 6:16 am

    @jan: just go for it.

    As time goes by it will only be harder and harder to do the switch.

  29. faithfulweb said, on April 03, 2007 at 7:19 am

    Engtech — I’m struggling with the same dilemma on my blog, but I think I’m getting closer to making the switch. Thanks for sharing.

    Regarding the domain squatter issue, I’ll email you some ideas privately.

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  31. Greyhawk said, on April 03, 2007 at 11:22 am

    Hey, I checked out engtech.com/ and engtech.net, looks like a net squatters got both. :( Bad luck.

  32. engtech said, on April 03, 2007 at 11:26 am

    engtech.ca was there first, so they don’t count as squatters. :)

  33. Greyhawk said, on April 03, 2007 at 11:34 am

    lol, damn. Well, can I call them squatters anyway?

  34. [...] Why you Should Own your Domain Name by Engtech [...]

  35. engtech said, on April 03, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    engtech.com is a squatter. Now that I think about it engtech.net was there first as well. :)

  36. Friedbeef said, on April 04, 2007 at 3:15 am

    Tis the truth man… well perhaps you could try buying em off the squatters if it ain’t too expensive

  37. [...] Why you Should Own your Domain Name by Engtech [...]

  38. Greyhawk said, on April 04, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    Net squatter are usually tight. They’ll squeez all the cash they can from you, maybe you should try engtechblog.com?

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  45. Paul E. Coughlin said, on April 16, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    Maybe my other comments went to the wrong page because I can’t see them here. So let me just say that I am currently answering this problem in my blog here:

  46. Paul E. Coughlin said, on April 16, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    My full explanation in answer to this problem is now complete and on my blog for today 16th April 2007 (Keep clicking previous blog until you get there if it’s after the 16th). The short answer is that there is no problem really.

  47. engtech said, on April 16, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    @Paul: You should consider switching to a more advanced blogging software that supports things like trackbacks and pingbacks.

    Usually when people are following up to a post they read else where they link to it and their blogging software automatically creates a connection.

  48. Craig said, on April 28, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    interesting blog dude

    http://money-maker-1.blogspot.com

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  56. Jamaipanese said, on July 03, 2007 at 11:10 am

    owning my own domain for my blog is the best thing I could have done when I just started blogging

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  59. justin said, on November 16, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Where do you suggest getting a domain. I am wanting to do a blog with direct links to music, video, pictures etc. without using a secondary site for storage. I don’t want people to have to upload from data storage sites. Is dreamhost.com any good? Thanx.

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  61. DespairsRae said, on February 22, 2008 at 1:20 am

    When I finally bought the domain for my blog, I smiled and never turned back. :)

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  63. Yin Teing said, on October 04, 2008 at 7:21 am

    Yes, I totally agreed. I started blog using blogspot and spend months convincing myself that I don’t need the extra headache of domain name and figuring out how to get my site up. In the end, I just couldn’t put up with the limitation, bought my domain name and hosting, suffered for about a week to manually redirect every post from my own site to the exact post in my new blog. I would prefer to manually redirect instead of using a software because you get to direct to the exact post instead of just your website. But I was sure glad I made the move.

  64. yourproperty said, on January 17, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Hello guys.. I have a problem please help me. I already registered my old blog’s url (gramercycondo.blogspot.com) in google url submission. So far the PR of that blog is doing good with the keyword “The Gamercy Residences.” Right now since i bough a domain name, my old blog’s ul has changed from gramercycondo.blogspot.com to http://www.gramercycondo.com. My question is, should i still register my new url to google url submission? Of course I want my new blog url to be displayed on the serch results instead of my old one with the blogspot.com. Help please =)

  65. NBurman said, on January 29, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    As you can see from my blog (click my name!), the url is a redirect. I own the domain nburmandesign.com, and use a subdomain to point to a folder within the domain (nburmandesign.com/blog).
    Is it wiser to have my OWN domain for the blog – say, nburmanblog.com?

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  67. How to Get Six Pack Fast said, on April 15, 2009 at 8:53 am

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  68. donny said, on January 16, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    great tips.. i have my own domain name 3 month ago and im happy with my blog.

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