Does Your Blog Need A Custom Domain Name?
Having your very own blog is an exciting way to share your thoughts, visions, advice and anything else you wish with the world. But a blog can also feel like you’re speaking to a void if no one actually seems to be listening. You need to make sure that your blog can be found, and the starting point for this is to be a blogger with a custom domain. If you sign up to a free blogging platform, such as wordpress.com, your blog’s domain will be “example.wordpress.com” by default (unless you pay a premium fee for domain mapping). This type of domain will not rank as highly as a blogger custom domain. Why? Let’s look at this in detail.
First of all, having your own custom domain name gives a professional first impression. Domains which are extensions of a blogging platform may seem less credible, as they don’t appear independent and unique.
The perhaps more crucial reason is the domain’s effect on search rankings. Some of the factors that contribute to Google’s rankings are the URLs and your site’s domain name (which is the building block of the URL). A URL begins with the domain name, then every blog post is an extension of that word or phrase. Not having a blogging platform’s name present in the URL avoids the dilution of search engine optimisation. Let’s look at some examples:
Example: Healthy Eating Blog
Domain with wordpress.com: www.healthyeating.wordpress.com
Blogger Custom Domain: www.healthyeating.com
Unless someone searches for “healthy eating wordpress” a rival custom domain will score higher in rankings, as the term “wordpress” does not add search value to a search for “healthy eating”.
Now, when you start adding blog posts, the URLs will look like this:
Domain with wordpress.com: www.healthyeating.wordpress.com/how-to-prepare-a-healthy-breakfast/
Blogger Custom Domain: www.healthyeating.com/how-to-prepare-a-healthy-breakfast/
You see the pattern? By having a custom domain your URLs are condensed and to the point. You omit any unnecessary words, which in turn don’t de-focus your targeted searches.
Now that we’ve established the importance of the URL of each page/blog post of your blog using a blogger custom domain, let’s look at your update strategy. A blog needs continuous care and regular updates to make sure you keep generating relevant URLs and relevant content to satisfy your readers. You must also cater to new followers and their interests.
How do you choose your content? Here are our top three tips for your blog update strategy:
- Do your keyword research
Using a tool such as Keyword Planner, you can really get into the search terms and search volume of words and phrases you feel your readers and potential readers are looking for. This way, if you find a given search term has high demand, writing a blog post based around that term is a good way to target those readers.
Coming back to the URL example, if the search term we are targeting is “miso soup” then the post title, which will become part of the URL, needs to include the term “miso soup” with – perhaps – an action. For example, www.healthyeating.com/how-to-make-miso-soup/ is keyword rich and it satisfies a purpose.
- Make sure you update regularly
Have you ever come across a blog and you see the last entry was a year ago? This doesn’t give much credibility to the site, as you may well think it’s been abandoned. Regular updates are a must. If you are doing your blogging on the side, set yourself a realistic schedule where you create one high quality piece of content per week, and do it every week!
- Be on trend
Another great way to be on trend is to write blog posts touching on current affairs. For example, in our healthy eating blog, we could write a post on healthy Chinese cooking around Chinese New Year, or we could try out a new healthy restaurant and mention it in a post, elaborating on the kind of dishes we enjoyed. The news often has stories which we can hijack too: if there are any government policies on healthy living, we can discuss those in a post and ask your readers for their opinions. It’s a great conversation starter.