August 12, 2018

Give your blog independent identity without hosting costs!

Many of our visitors and followers are those who are scared of technology and have created a blog on a free host because it does not demand any tech know-how. 

That leaves the blogger with many constraints. For example, the free Wordpress.com blog cannot have advertisements, cannot apply a new theme and cannot use plugins.
 

In most such cases, i.e. when the blogger is interested in just sharing his thoughts with the world, even the free blogs are good enough. The Blogger (=blogspot.com) blog even allows placing of ads and optimizing the blog for search engines.
 

But what the free blog on these platforms does not get is AN INDEPENDENT IDENTITY. The blog is seen as a casual or amateur blog and not as a professional one.

In this post, let me tell you how you can shed that .wordpress or .blogspot easily and without spending much money. In case of .blogspot blog, the only money you spend is a small amount needed for buying the domain and annual charge for keeping it with you. In case of .wordpress blog, there is additional cost that Wordpress charges every year.
 

By this approach, you get good features of free blogging without any need for learning technology or spending big amount on web hosting.

Getting the blog an independent domain


I will summarize the basics in just two bullet points. I will then discuss the nitty-gritty of actually going about it. The 'mapping' your present blog to an independent URL, involves just this:

  •     Buying a new domain name.
  •     Mapping the free blog to this domain name.

Your current blog remains where it is, and you retain all the resources and design of this blog on the same platform. And yet, your blog gets an independent ID - its own unique brand!

Let's compare the expenditure that you incur on maintaining a free blog, hosting a blog independently and what I am suggesting here (mapping) [prices are indicative only]:

Free blog: No expenditure on hosting and domain name. No expenditure on web designing.

Self-hosted blog: about $10 per year on domain name plus about $50 per year for a low-end hosting plan (or a package with name and hosting, for $100 per year. If you do not have skills of web designing, then one-time cost of buying a theme could start from $20 for a routine theme.

Just mapping: about $10 per year on domain name (for .blogspot blog) and additional $15 a year (for .wordpress blog).




Let's go in a bit detail on the underlying concepts and how to change the domain on Blogger and Wordpress platforms:


Advantages and disadvantages of free and paid paid web hosting, for a blogger


Free hosted blogs have .wordpress.com, .blogspot.com etc suffixed to their operative name. What it means is that there is a big domain and your free blog is part of that domain, along with thousands of other similar blogs. In the case of a website/ blog with independent domain name (e.g. www.example.com instead of www.example.wordpress.com), the site exists there alone.


In the case of a free blog, you don’t pay anything for opening and maintaining the blog. You use the platform's resources for keeping the blog available on the web, your use their blogging tools free, and you store your images and videos on their servers. For maintaining a stand-alone blog, you pay for (i) designing the blog, (ii) buying the domain name, and (iii) hosting the blog on the web.


A free blog has the platform and the community that creates free widgets, apps, themes (templates) etc, answers to queries, troubleshoots issues and discusses new developments. Independent blogs lack this support other than the limited tools provided by the web host and its customer support (which is not great in case of low-end plans).


The middle, golden, path of blog hosting: just an independent domain, no paid hosting


When the blog has a distinct identity, it is looked upon as a professional blog. This identity remains even if the blog is not hosted independently! The independent identity

  • shows that you are serious, as you are spending money on the blog.
  • helps in the long run, as your blog is seen as a stand-alone entity on the web.
  • gets higher web authority and popularity as search engines tend to attach a low value to free blogs.

So, the golden path is to register a free domain name through a Domain Name Registrar and map the free blog to it. 


There are dozens of domain name registrars on the web, including GoDaddy, BlueHost, HostGator and inMotion. The domain names these days are not very expensive unless you want a popular or special name.


The next thing is to map this domain with your blog.


Blogger does it FREE. Take the following simple steps and you are there:


1. Go to Settings on your Blogger dashboard.
2. In the Publishing option, your blog's present address is given. There are two links below that:
a- Set up a third-party URL... If you have already purchased the domain name, put it here. Click on  Submit and your new domain ID is mapped to the current blog.
b- Buy a domain. Select this option to buy the domain name from Google itself. It will take you to Google Domains, where you can select the name of your choice and make payment, and come back to the Settings.

In both the cases, it takes only a few seconds/ minutes to map your .blogspot.com blog to the new independent identity.

In the case of free Wordpress blogs, this mapping comes with an annual fee. Therefore, many bloggers on Wordpress prefer to go for wordpress.org, and pay for both hosting and domain name - an option better than paying just for mapping the domain name because then they get all the independence that comes with paid hosting.
(If you are confused about wordpress.com and wordpress.org, please visit this article: Wordpress confusion: created deliberately? )

1. On the dashboard, select your blog.
2. Choose Plan option, and then Domain.
3. Choose Add Domain.
4. Select the domain name that you have already purchased or go for the domain offered by Wordpress. Make payment and the mapping is over.

At the given link, you may visit the first post of a 3-part series on choosing the right domain name, web hosting and related matters in greater details.

No comments:

Post a Comment