One thing I see in a lot of Blogger Facebook groups and on Twitter is someone asking the merits of which platform they should be blogging on and whether they should have a custom domain or not. I’ve already posted my opinions on why I think you should use WordPress self-hosted for your blog but I think I should have gone with this post first. I decided to ask some other bloggers for their opinions on why a custom domain and from the answers it all seems to fall into two categories – branding and DA score.
Creating a brand
Creating a brand is one of the most important things a blogger can do. I’ve written before about rebranding your blog and I believe that a blogger needs to create their own brand and embrace it. I agree with Leigh of Fox and Feather who says that the blog/domain name you choose gives your blog a sense of character.
The other comments about building a brand were about the URL for a blog being easier to remember. This is why when I rebranded I made sure that what I chose was shorter than ‘Wishes, Hopes and Dreams’ as I felt it was hard to remember. I also figured that if I found it hard to remember that my readers found it difficult too. This is a sentiment that That Ting Thing agrees with, she says it’s easier for her to share a shorter domain with someone and that they remember it a lot easier.
Your domain and blog name are basically the same and my advice would be to claim your domain before someone else does. You can find various sites which have them cheaply and if you need help with redirects or setting this up then pop me an email and I can give you a hand.
Building DA and Analytics
As well as creating a brand for your blog, you need to consider the metrics side of things too. Although on Blogger you can add the Google Analytics tracking code whether you have a custom domain or not, this is not the case for WordPress.com users. I have a full guide on adding Google Analytics to your blog and I’m happy to help anyone with this if you need it.
However, if you move to self hosted and use a custom domain you can add the tracking code for Google Analytics which means you can track your users, the pages that get the most views and other stats which can be beneficial for you if you wish to work with brands. Most brands ask for a custom domain as they want to know that you have a DA and can provide the sort of return on investment that they’re looking for.
Building a DA is important if you want to work with brands and while there isn’t a perfect formula for doing this a custom domain is your first step in the process. If your domain has .blogspot or .wordpress then you share the DA with those overall sites which means it’s not actually yours. Once you have your own domain you need to implement SEO strategies to build your DA and although this sounds confusing Reinventing Neesha explains 7 ways to improve your DA and they’re all really simple to follow.
The other comments all made the point that a custom domain makes your blog look more permanent and that you take your blog seriously. Jenna of The Bloglancer says that it also shows that you’re willing to invest in your blog. A custom domain can also make a blog feel more like yours. I know the relief I felt the day that I no longer had the word blogspot in my domain and felt more confident in sharing my blog on social media.