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February 08, 2006

Starting a new blog? Get your own domain name! Do NOT use a subdomain of typepad.com, wordpress.com, blogspot.com (etc)

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So, you want to start a new blog. Maybe you don’t have much experience with blogging, so you don’t think it’s that big of a deal which platform you choose or whether you have your own domain name. Well think again.

Don’t fall trap to the disaster that I landed myself in, where I started casually blogging and ended up regularly blogging and hating the platform I was using but can’t easily switch because I stupidly put my blog on a subdomain of typepad (http://blogging.typepad.com)

Now I’m at TypePad’s mercy. They own my ass because they own my address - even though I’m paying $150+ a year for their service. The same could happen to you whether it’s a subdomain on typepad.com, blogspot.com, or wordpress.com.

By not having your own domain name, if you ever decide to move to another blogging platform you run the risk of losing all (or a lot) of your traffic, your search engine rankings, all of your hard earned incoming links, etc because you cannot take your URL with you.

How are you going to redirect your traffic to your new blog when you have NO ability to, say, set up a 301 Permanent Redirect? Which, for those who are wondering, would both:

  • automatically redirects human visitors to your new blog site
  • tells the search engines that your blog has permanently moved and gives it the new location

(BTW - has any TypePad user (whose blog address was a subdomain) had a high traffic blog with a lot of backlinks into it that they then moved to a WordPress blog hosted on their own server? Please tell me what your experience was, whether you lost pagerank, traffic, search engine rankings, etc!!!)

Domain names are cheap - about $9 a year for a single one, as low as $6.75 a year if you own more than 50. There is NO excuse to not have your own domain name for your blog. You will regret if at some point down the road if you don’t start out with your own domain name.

www.GoDaddy.com so83wquiom79FCDGA798BFGC8E is the site that I use to register my domain names, although there are numerous other options such as $5.99 Domain Names at 1&1, and, if you only need a single domain name the cheapiest option is domain names from Yahoo! for only $2.99.ld104jy1qwuFHPIMHOLFHGJMOIHK

The irony here is that I actually own a lot of domain names and I genuinely can’t fathom why I didn’t just use a domain of my own when I started this blog. Don’t make the same mistake as me or you could end up feeling trapped like I do right now. Consider yourselves warned.

UPDATE: Just to clarify, my point is that you need to own your own domain name so the URL for your blog points to a domain you own and control. It’s okay to use a subdomain off a domain that you own, but not one that belongs to someone else such as that of a hosted service like typepad.com.

Furthermore, I don't actually hate TypePad itself - there are truly many things about it as a blogging platform that I love.  What I despise is how poorly TypePad handles comment and trackback spam, which forced me to disable trackbacks because I was getting hundreds of trackback spams a day (much of which was obscene) and didn't have time to wade through them all - but in disabling trackbacks I'm removing one of the features that is at the heart of blogging and thus particially crippling my blog.  I want to be able to have trackbacks on for all of my posts without spending exhorbitant amounts of time dealing with spam every day.  I also have to moderate all of the comments on this blog because of the spam it gets (although not nearly as bad as the trackback spam) and that's a bummer, too - genuine comments don't appear immediately on my blog as a result (and due to the migraines I've been having lately, I haven't always been able to approve the comments in a timely manner).  The difference with WordPress is that it's plugins can tell which comments and trackbacks are likely spam and hold those comments/trackbacks (and ONLY those ones) in the moderation queue, while publishing everything else immediately if you so desire (which I do).  From what I've heard, MovableType (which is owned by Six Apart and is what TypePad is based off of) also has plugins that handle spam management well, so I don't get why they haven't utilized these plugins to handle the massive spam problem on TypePad.

And it’s okay to use a hosted solution - just make sure you pick one that allows you to use your own domain name and always reference your blog’s URL w/your own domain so that if you ever decide you want to go elsewhere, at least you’ll be able to take your traffic with you. Right now, the only hosted solutions that allow you to use your own domain are TypePad and Blogger (supposedly wordpress.com will down the line (possibly for a fee) but as of now there's no support for this).

Also of note if you're going to go the hosted blogging solution route: it’s also a good idea to check to see if whatever blogging platform you start with has the ability to export your posts (and comments/trackbacks) for easiest porting of your site to another platform down the road. As of this writing, TypePad is the only hosted system that with this functionality. Blogger doesn't have an export post function, but provides these instructions for backing up your Blogger blog (don't know if that file would then be importable into another blog system, though). While WordPress.com does not have an export function, it will let you import items from another blogging platform - but it's a one way ticket.

For full disclosure, links to TypePad are affiliate links (but as this post shows, just because I'm posting affiliate links doesn't mean I present biased info)

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February 8, 2006 in Blogger, Reviews, SEO, TypePad, Weblogs, WordPress | Permalink | Email This Post

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Comments

Hey Emily,

I write several blogs, but my personal one is Stuart-Tan.Com on personal effectiveness.

I myself was using Blogspot.Com for some time, until I decided to just use the FTP function. It proved fairly painless, and you're absolutely right - you definitely need to own your own domain. It's only logical for SEO purposes.

Keep up the great work!

Posted by: Stuart Tan | Feb 8, 2006 9:45:28 PM

You make a very valid point. Doesn't TypePad's Domain Mapping feature solve this problem?

Posted by: Alan Kleymeyer | Feb 8, 2006 11:16:23 PM

Sounds pretty alarmist - for some of us (outside the USA especially) the money used to pay for a domain name would be much better used to, say, pay for food. (US$6 = roughly RM24, which is enough for a week's worth of lunch or so in Malaysia.) Then there is the added costs of hosting, which can really add up to a LOT.

There's no need for domain snobbery; whether the blog is good or not shouldn't depend on where it's hosted. I've seen brilliant blogs on "free hosts" and terrible blogs worth less than the price of the domain.

Posted by: Tiara | Feb 8, 2006 11:57:32 PM

I considered TypePad once, but the prices are ridiculous. For what they charge, anyone could buy some webspace and a domain and just use WordPress!

Posted by: Hexxenn | Feb 9, 2006 1:11:27 AM

It's probably just as important to mention that you'll want to make sure, for the same reasons, that you use a tool that supports exporting your posts. Even if you have your own domain name, if you can't get access your posts and do something useful with them, you're going to be stuck.

Posted by: Anil | Feb 9, 2006 3:58:09 AM

I agree with what you say about getting your own domain name(s): good to have and now cheap.
I'd add the twist that this is an argument to start with blogger, or some other free hosted service. I keep my old blog (http://bloggingonthefreeweb.blogspot.com) around, at zero cost. I don't want to remove it, partly because I was too lazy to transfer the posts into my new blog, partly because I don't want to break anyone's links.
For some people, having to get your own domain name may seem like an extra blog-founding chore they don't need.

Posted by: Andrew | Feb 9, 2006 7:00:37 AM

hello
Very interesting
I have a blog at typepad plat form with a sub domain but have also on my own some domain names.
If i use one of my domain name for my blog, i reveale, disclose it, is there a risk that someone exploit this mark, brand for his own web site, for instance a merchant web site ?
thank you

Posted by: cyrbellan | Feb 9, 2006 9:03:19 AM

Hi, Emily. This is excellent advice. Looking at it from the other perspective, when I set up my latest blog/podcast, I considered services like typepad and blogspot. It was appealing to be able to start it without the setup hassles. But I couldn't map these services to my own domain. So I went through the trouble of installing WordPress. It was the right decision. It was especially the right decision for me, since I can customize my own site (through plug-ins, complementary applications and PHP code) to an extent the turnkey services would not have supported.

On the other hand, I also have a LiveJournal, which is a personal blog. Using a service like LiveJournal does have an advantage in that you become part of a larger peer network. LiveJournal friends and friends-of-friends and so forth. (Do blogspot and typepad offer similar features?)

-TimK

Posted by: Tim King | Feb 9, 2006 10:31:50 AM

I am very new to all this and struggling to understand. I do have my own domain. CultivatingSales.com My host, Hostm, has Wordpress that automatically installs, which I did. Now my URL is http://www.cultivatingsales.com/WordPress/ Does this what I want or do I need to get WordPress out of there altogether? Maybe I can't even do that? I have my website at http://www.CultivatingSales.com so I can't have only my blog there. Any words of wisdom? Thanks!

Posted by: Melissa Blair | Feb 9, 2006 10:34:50 AM

Ya they just hit me for 150.00 and I have been having some problems with their support.Just minor stuff but it seems they are having problems but don't know how to solve them.They do answer my support tickets but nothing seems to get resolved especially when the problem is in there servers.I also notice that my other blogs get a whole lot more traffic the the type pad one that I paid 150.00 bucks for.

Posted by: DE | Feb 9, 2006 11:56:27 AM

Why can't you switch using Typepad's "Domain Mapping" feature" Was very, very easy for me to switch over to a domain...

Posted by: Chris | Feb 9, 2006 2:32:16 PM

I was shocked when I read your title. I'm using subdomain for my blog and I don't see any big deal with it.

Your title should read "Do NOT use a subdomain owned by somebody else"! LOL

Posted by: EngLee | Feb 10, 2006 1:30:04 AM

Hi Emily,
I am totally confused and hope you can give me some help. I have my blog set up with blogware with my own domain name. I have no idea if I made a wise choice or not. I knew nothing about blogging programs so I chose to get it through domain direct. I paid $100. (I think) for a year. Am I stuck with them or would I be able to move my domain elsewhere?

I have several questions that I'd like to ask but I don't see a place on your site to ask questions... do you offer that help? Or can you suggest a blogging forum to me?

May I ask one more question in here, please? Do search engines read the Blogrolling program?

I can give you my url so you can take a look to see if I have set it up right with blogware but please be advised that it is an adult blog so I don't want it to offend you or anyone else that does not want to go into it. http://www.wetalksexblog.com

Thank you Emily for any help that you can offer me.

Donna

Posted by: Donna | Feb 12, 2006 10:21:32 AM

Great post and great explanation! I ranted similarly about this topic over on Business Blog Consulting.

Posted by: Andy Wibbels | Feb 17, 2006 11:45:15 AM

Thank you! You were responsible for my decision to get my own blog domain names http://lovingbear.net and http://lovingjacqui.net (after only ~3 weeks of blogging) - so if it doesn't work out it's all YOUR fault!

Kidding. It was a fantastic idea. I'm using Blogspot FTP and, with significant hacks (all of which are new to me, but fun to learn!) it's working great.

Love you for your great idea. And 'cause your picture's hot. Don't tell my girlfriend, Jacqui, I said that at http://lovingbear.net !

Posted by: Chris Dollis | Feb 17, 2006 8:10:26 PM

Hello Emily,
Sorry to spam your comments here, but I've lost your email in a time warp.

I just wanted to mention the release of the 2.0b version if my id band theme (only the 2 columns one, the others are still to come), at http://t37.net/id-band-2-twin

Cheers,
Frederic

Posted by: neuro | Feb 19, 2006 4:00:10 PM

Hello Emily

I foresaw most of the problems you explained in you blog, including having your own domain (Except for Wordpress not having enough plugins :( ). The control you get is definitely worth the price.

The comment from Tiara (Feb 8, 2006 8:57:32 PM) on the high cost of hosting for individuals living in foreign (developing) countries I do not totally agree with.

I live in South Africa, we are a developing nation. But it is much more economical to host a website in the USA than locally (At least 10 times more economical) . Many of us think of US hosting prices as a blessing.

Excelent blog, keep up the wonderful work!

Posted by: Daneel | Feb 19, 2006 4:09:10 PM

Hi EMily,
I found you while searching for online help with Hello from Picassa. I have been very happy with it; however for the past 3 days it does not post my pictures to my blog.
Any ideas and or suggestions???
Namaste,
MB

Posted by: MB | Feb 25, 2006 12:58:22 PM

I have two Typepad blogs with mapped domains. One started out as a Typepad subdomain (so folks will have a bunch of those links bookmarked), but I did the other with my domain name right from the beginning. Works fine, I've developed many hacks to get around some of Typepad's style issues (I only have a Plus account), tastes great, less filling.

Posted by: Nuthatch | Feb 27, 2006 6:46:20 PM

I love your site, domain or no domain. I'm in the process of going from blogger to my own space, and I'm off to search your site on how to use all these new toys I've just purchased! Your site is amazing though!

Posted by: Karen Rani | Mar 1, 2006 7:48:38 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

UPDATE: How to Blog has MOVED! Please update your bookmarks and feeds! The new address is :
http://www.emilyrobbins.com/how-to-blog/
and all new posts and post updates will be made there! Comments and trackbacks at this location are now closed -- please visit the new How to Blog site in order to add a comment or a trackback and see updates to existing posts as well as all new posts from this point forward!