You’ve been wanting to start a blog…congratulations! Now where do you begin?
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
You may have heard of WordPress, one of the most powerful and user friendly blogging platforms out there. But you also may have heard…there are two versions.
WordPress.com is the Content Management System’s (CMS) free version. Here, you’ll be able to get a domain like “nickiong.wordpress.com.” If you’re a newbie (and doing this yourself), WordPress.com is the way to go.
WordPress.org is the version of the CMS developers install on a server to populate a website. (We use this version for the websites we build here at simple sprout.) If you’re not a developer, using WordPress.org is nearly impossible.
You choose to go ahead with a WordPress.com blog…
Since you may be new to blogging, you decide to go ahead with a WordPress.com blog…now for the fun part!
Go to WordPress.com and choose a domain name. If you want to have a personal blog, think about using your name if it’s an easy one (like I did with NickiOng.com) or something fun and descriptive of what you’re talking about.
Whatever you do, remember that when you choose a domain name:
● It should be short and to the point
● It should be easy for someone else to type in if you say it to them (in other words, no strange numbers instead of words or misspellings)
● It should be memorable
Now you’ve created your subdomain; it will be something like nickiong.wordpress.com. Now go get yourself familiarized with WordPress and then come back for our next steps.
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Why having a subdomain is a BAD thing
Wait, what? After you just told me to go create a subdomain…now you’re telling me it’s a bad thing?!
Yes. But here’s why.
A subdomain means that you’ve not only created a website within WordPress.com’s platform, but that you’ve created it on their server as well. That means that any and all incoming links to your website or “good” SEO value goes straight to WordPress, not to you.
If you’re creating a personal blog and aren’t too concerned about Search Engine Optimization, then don’t sweat your subdomain. Go ahead and start blogging. But if you want to create your own subdomain, read on, dear reader…
How to convert your WordPress subdomain to your own domain
1. Buy your domain name.
Go to GoDaddy (or another domain registrar) and get your domain name. This will be a one-time fee of $5 – $15. I recommend getting the exact same domain name as your WordPress.com subdomain. (For example, nickihicks.wordpress.com and nickihicks.com.)
2. Purchase hosting.
While you’re at GoDaddy, sign up for web hosting as well. You’ve bought the name, you need somewhere for it to live. Web hosting is just that. GoDaddy now offers WordPress hosting for as little as $1/month. If you need something a little more robust (you plan on having a lot going on on your site), they have larger plans as well.
3. Go to Dashboard.
Head back to your WordPress.com site and go to your Dashboard. Go to Store > My Domains.
4. Map domain.
Click “Map a Domain Name You Already Own.” (You can choose to register a domain name through WordPress, but I find it easier to do everything through the same source.)
5. Redirect domain.
You will then need to pay WordPress.com to redirect your WordPress.com subdomain to the domain name you just purchased. This will be an annual fee of less than $20.
Now you’ll see your WordPress website on your own domain!