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