JC Tech: What Every Blogger Should Know About Domain Names
Domain names. Those words in the address bar up there. When I first started my blog, my address was: www.jasmincharlottelifestyle.wordpress.com, if that wasn’t a mouthful then I don’t know what is. So I decided to buy my own domain name, now all you have to type in is jasmincharlotte.com. Nifty right? Domain names are something which I think are so essential for a blog. Buuut a lot of people confuse domain names with self-hosting and think they are complicated and tricky to implement. So I thought I would run through what even is a domain name, and then how easy it is to buy your own!
What is a domain name?
Remember a few weeks ago, we chatted about self-hosting? We learnt that our blog sits on a server (in summary think of it as your blogs ‘house’), and that server belongs to whoever you blog through (google if you’re on blogger or WordPress). Now your little bit of that big server needs an address, right? So you can find it! So your server will have what’s known as an IP address. To find out more about your IP address, check out Modem Friendly as they go into more depth on how to access your admin login and find your address.
Essentially a domain name is just a variety of letters, which directs your internet browser to the IP address where your blog sits. Think of your website address as a giant signpost to your house. When you get a new signpost, you aren’t getting a new house right? And as we all know, it’s much easier to get a new signpost than a whole new house.
So when you get a new domain name, you are just changing what points at your IP address. When you set up your blog with blogger or wordpress, your domain will have the endings of .blogspot.com, or .wordpress.com. These domains are owned by the company you are buying them from. And google/wordpress like you to keep them as it is an advertisement right in your blog address for their company! Your own domain name lets you get rid of these in favour of ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’.
Why do I need my own domain name?
Personalised domain names are essential for your blog because:
- You aren’t giving someone else a free advertisement in your blog address
- It looks more professional
- They are usually easier to remember, so people can find your blog easier!
- Most people assume website addresses are .com, so will try and search for that first
- It will help with your SEO
- So no one else steals your domain and blog name
- It makes you unique!
Right, you’ve convinced me – now how do I get my own?
Buying your own domain is quick and easy. I recommend using an independent site such as godaddy.com, though I purchased mine through wordpress.
Simply go to the page and search for the domain you want. Different domains are different prices – .com is the most valuable so they are the most expensive but are usually less than 10 pounds. You can also buy, .co.uk, .biz, .org – whatever you fancy! ‘Premium’ domains are domains which are popular and will be more expensive.
When you have found your domain, add it to your cart and purchase.
Now we need to swap your domains over. You will now need to dive (only slightly, I promise), into the world of DNS settings. I won’t go too far into DNS, but essentially this is your settings where you tell your domain what IP address to point as. So obviously you want your new domain to point to your existing blog IP address.
When you purchase your domain you will need to go to your DNS settings and create an A record, where you say point ‘jasmincharlotte.com’ at ‘IP address’. Then you will need to log into blogger, and edit your ‘publishing’ section to put your new address in, and on wordpress you do this under settings>site address.
When you purchase your domain, you will get easy step by step instructions on how to set it up and where to add the details about your existing IP addresses. In total, it usually takes about 10 minutes to set up. But keep in mind it takes a little while for the whole of the internet to figure out that you have a new sign post. Give it 48 hours for it to be applied for everyone.
If you need a tutorial with screenshots walking you through this process then I recommend:
Branded Short links
Something else to consider is that you can create your own shortlink domain. Such as when you share something on twitter and you shrink your URL down to something like ‘bit.lyxxxx’, you can customise this to reflect your blog name like ‘jaschar.xxxx’. These URLs can then be used on things like buffer, hootesuite or bit ly. If you are interested in that then there is a good tutorial here.
Do you have a custom domain? Any resources you recommend?