Personalize Your Online Home with a Custom Domain
A domain name is a name used to identify a website on the Internet. Your blog’s domain name is like your mailing address: it lets people know where to find you — and all the cool content you create!
At WordPress.com, every site has a web address that ends with wordpress.com, which is the default address you get when you sign up. But you may notice that some sites have custom domains, such as saltgypsy.com, instead of saltgypsy.wordpress.com.
Did you know you can get a unique web address for your blog?
Is a custom domain right for you? Consider these questions:
- Are you interested in using your blog to promote your work, brand, or organization?
- Would you like to print your blog address on items like business cards?
- Do you plan to have multiple email addresses on the same domain?
- You may already customize your theme, colors, and fonts — so, why not your URL?
Owning your domain name personalizes your own cozy corner of the Internet, helps to build your presence across the web, and distinguishes your work within your niche, field, or industry.
So, how do you select a domain name?
Think about and choose a domain name that best reflects your content. Below, we’ve gathered tips and examples of sites on WordPress.com to inspire you.
Keep it simple. At My Hands Made It, DIY blogger and bridal gown designer Veronica shares wedding projects and crafty tutorials. Her name includes a simple phrase and evokes actions that reflect her content. In general, avoid names that are too long — more than four words may be a mouthful.
Zoom in and be specific. My Travel Blog. All About Baking. Thoughts on Writing. On Politics. We have a basic idea of what these blogs are about, but the names are general and don’t really intrigue the reader.
Include words that are essential to your focus. Gavin, the blogger at Make a Powerful Point, is obsessed with PowerPoint and uses it to communicate and instruct. The word “point” in his name refers not only to PowerPoint, but his consulting work in marketing and business strategy.
Combine words that encapsulate you. Cathy at Mathbabe focuses on mathematics and statistics. The artist and mother behind Doodlemum combines illustrations and sketches with posts on her family. The folks at Salt Gypsy showcase cool, handmade products for female surfers. All of these names fuse or invent words that describe what these blogs are about.
(You may notice that the custom domain Mathbabe ends in .org. You can register and map a domain ending in .com, .org, .net, or .me through WordPress.com.)
Use common phrases…with a twist. Play around with well-known expressions. Swap words with one another. Kiss My Spatula, a well-designed blog about food, is a playful take on a familiar phrase.
Consider literary devices. Remember when your English professor taught you about consonance, which is the repetition of consonant sounds? The “s” sound in Kiss My Spatula sounds swell, doesn’t it? And what about alliteration, or the repetition of a particular letter at the beginning of words? Raising My Rainbow, a blog about a gender-nonconforming five-year-old, is appropriate and easy to remember.
Celebrate double meanings. My blog’s name, Writing Through the Fog, refers not just to my city, foggy San Francisco, but also my interests in elusive themes of memory, home, and adulthood — all of which put me in a haze.
Make us curious. The incompleteness of the blog name An Afternoon With… is brilliant! In each post, Michael photographs a different person in their own space, among their own things. The added ellipsis (in his header only) is also effective; it builds anticipation in readers who are visiting the blog for the first time.
Finally (and most importantly), confirm your spelling. When you register and purchase a domain name, you are purchasing that exact domain name with that exact spelling. If you make a mistake, you can cancel a domain within 48 hours of purchase, but it’s best to be extra careful from the start to avoid the headache of a misspelled domain altogether.
But what if the domain name I want to use is not available?
New York City-based photographer Matt shares his passion for abandoned architecture at his blog, After the Final Curtain. Matt’s blog on America’s grand, bygone theaters is focused and specific, but the evocative name attracts more than just people who visit for his images of ruins. If you have been to the theater, or have watched film or TV scenes set on a stage, the closed curtain at the end of a performance is a familiar motif. His blog name not only reflects his content — it’s memorable, too.
But when Matt began the process of choosing a domain name, his first choice wasn’t available. He wanted his name to have a theatrical term in the title, but the first domain name he wanted, “Curtain Call,” was already taken. A friend then suggested “Final Curtain,” and he added the rest.
So, just because a blog’s current address is kissmyspatula.wordpress.com doesn’t mean the domain kissmyspatula.com (or domains ending in .org, .net, or.me) will be available. Check to see if your domain name is taken.
Curious to hear how other WordPress.com bloggers chose their domain names? We also talked to Sarah at Where’s My Toothbrush? and C.J.’s Mom at Raising My Rainbow about how their names came about — head on over to their Q&A on The Daily Post, Choosing the Perfect Blog Name: Two WordPressers Share Their Secrets, for more insights and tips on the process.
Ready for your own unique web address?
There are two steps required to use a custom domain, and you can take care of both steps at WordPress.com:
- Register the domain to establish your ownership of the domain.
- Map the domain to link the domain to your WordPress.com site.
In step one, you register and purchase the address (such as saltgypsy.com). In step two, you tell this address (saltgypsy.com) to point to your WordPress.com site. Your old address (ie, saltgypsy.wordpress.com) will still work, but we’ll automatically redirect traffic from your old address to your new one.
Registering and mapping a .com, .org, or .net domain through WordPress.com starts at $18.00 per domain and per year, or $25.00 per domain and per year for a .me domain. For $8.00 more, you can make the domain registration private.
You can also use a domain you’ve registered elsewhere (through a site like GoDaddy or Network Solutions) with your site here at WordPress.com. Mapping a domain you’ve registered elsewhere costs $13.00 per domain, per year.
For more details, read our Domains page on our support site.
If you’re looking to supercharge your blog in one step and purchase all of our upgrades at once — a custom domain, HD video uploading, font and color customization, no ads, and extra storage space — take a peek at our Pro Bundle upgrade.
Yea, too bad I’m so late to the game. Seems like most variations of my name are already taken 😛
It’s also important not to give up on a domain name you really want. My new domain (TheNewStrategist.com) wasn’t available when I first started looking for a domain, but then came available months later. I’m not sure how this happened, but I’m not arguing with a good thing!
Do you get any benefit by the clicks you get in the new domain?