Why buy a domain?

As a blogger – both personally and professionally – you can imagine that I get sent quite a few blogs to check out, and am regularly reminded how many unique, talented voices can be discovered thanks to the internet. Throughout the blogosphere, there are people sharing their passion for food, fitness, fashion, film, fiction, family, finance, and fantasy – didn’t think I could keep up that thread of “f-related” blogs, did you? – as well as many other topics.

Often the owners of these sites are spending significant time not just creating content, but also promoting their blogs. They can send the link to friends and family, share their musings on popular social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Pinterest, register their sites with the various blog directories like Technorati or Alltop, as well visit other bloggers to leave comments with trails back to their own site.

Given all of this time and effort, I often find myself wonder – why do so many bloggers neglect to buy their own domain?

Not sure what I mean? Let me give you an example.

In the last two weeks I have been sent several new blogs to check out with each domain looking a little like this:

• my-familyiswickedfunny.blogspot.com
• ihavedeep-thoughts.blogspot.com
• the-bizguy.blogspot.com

Have you “spotted” the problem? You got it – they all have “blogspot.com” in their domains, which means they are all hosted at Blogger.com. The hosting is not the problem, Blogger is a solid way to get started with blogging. The issue is that the blogspot.com does not belong to the bloggers.

While that may not seem like a problem, let’s assume that “the biz guy” is using his domain to build his business, and after a few years at Blogger decides he wants to move to WordPress.com. While the site and the content can move, the domain cannot – which means our businessman is in the position of having to maintain the original Blogger account, with redirection to his new site. Or, as I discovered when canceling the first Manic Mommies domain (manicmommies.blogspot.com) in a moment of thoughtlessness, you may find someone else is squatting on your old space.

But the worst part is he has to tell all of his contacts, social networks and blog directories that is domain is now thebizguy.wordpress.com.

The good news is that domains are inexpensive – and many services like WordPress allow you to connect a custom domain to your account for relatively little cost. Custom domains can also be applied to sites which aggregate your content, like the one I have hosted at Flavors.me which uses the domain Kristin-Sundin-Brandt.com. The domain may be a mouthful, but it’s mine, and it gives me the flexibility should I ever decide to move from the aggregated content model to something else.

As Matthew Grant from MarketingProfs said at a recent New England Financial Marketing Association conference – if you are going to start a blog, you might as well go ahead and get a dog. His point was that blogging and pet ownership take the same level of care and commitment. I would also say they both also require some level of financial commitment – even if it’s just buying your own domain.

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