If you’re starting a new blog, you’ll need to purchase a domain name for it. If you have self-hosted WordPress blog, your host probably offers free domain registration with your hosting package. However, if you use another platform, like TypePad, you’ll have to register the domain on your own.
The easiest to use domain registry service is GoDaddy.com. Yes, I hate their sexist TV commercials, too. However, I love their pricing and their excellent customer service. I’ve had an opportunity to troubleshoot domain hosting problems over the phone, as have many of my clients. Their customer support reps are knowledgeable, helpful and always available – even on weekends and evenings. Believe me, no question is too dumb, so go ahead and ask.
The first thing you should do is to go to GoDaddy’s domain search to see if your URL is available. If the .com version of the domain is available, register for it then consider getting the .net, .biz, and .info versions and possibly the .org and .us version as well. You should never buy .net, .biz, etc. if .com is not available.
You should also sign up for the private registration unless you’re blogging for a business that has publicly available contact information.
GoDaddy charges from $6.95 to $14.95 per year to register a domain. Register your domains for at least two years, so you don’t look like a splog (spam blog) to Google. Play around with the number of years and amount of domains you’re purchasing. GoDaddy offers discounts for bulk registration and you may get freebies, like private registration, when you buy in bulk. Also, do a Google search for “GoDaddy coupon codes” to get more discounts.
Finally, sign up for automatic renewal with a trusty credit card. There’s nothing worse than letting your domain expire and having someone else snatch it up.
Each blogging platform has different ways to set up domain mapping, so you’ll need to refer to the domain help files for the blog platform you use. Self-hosted WordPress.org blogs have domain mapping set up by their hosts during install.
I’ve domain mapped all my TypePad blogs and several clients’ TypePad blogs, and it’s still a bit confusing even after all these years. This is where a GoDaddy customer support rep can come in handy. They can walk you through the process if the help files are too confusing.
When I started my blog A Mama’s Rant, I bought and set up my GoDaddy registered domains right away to forward the URLS to mamarant.blogs.com. But I couldn’t figure out how to domain map my TypePad blogs. It was only after TypePad made the screencast on their Domain Mapping with GoDaddy page that I learned how to do it.
So I went ahead and domain mapped my blog – and immediately messed myself up in the search engines. All the back links (links from other sites) went to mamarant.blogs.com and not the new domain. A loss in page rank (how much authority search engines gave my blog) was tough, but eventually things got cleared up and I got my page ranking back.
If you haven’t domain mapped your blog, it’s a few years old, and you have decent page rank (PR4 or above) you may not want to domain map your blog. Also, if everyone knows you at mycoolblog.blogspot.com and not at mycoolblog.com, you may not want to go ahead with the domain mapping. If you decide to go ahead with it, be prepared for a temporary loss of traffic.