As part of the A-to-Z Challenge, I’ve been on other people’s websites a lot, since the beginning of April. These are personal websites. Artful websites. They are websites that are loved. Every single one of them.
So, I’m going to grab a bullhorn, get up on a soapbox, and talk about owning your website. Because I believe you should own the website you’re building for yourself.
Here’s the thing. If your website is something like yourname.blogspot.com or yourname.wordpress.com, you do not own your website. Someone else does, and that means that someone else makes the rules. You can be bouncing along, just fine, until the rules change. Or… suddenly you want to grow, or change, or put up affiliate links. Then, you’re out of luck.
Or, maybe the guy who owns the website gets an offer he can’t refuse, and sells the domain name. That happened with a blogging community I used to be a part of. After it was sold, it was something or other for a while–music sales, I think. And now, it’s nothing. Yep. There used to be a cool little blogging world right there. And it was cool.
If I had owned my website, I would’ve moved it to a different host, and kept going like nothing happened. The links I worked to build up would still function, and the people I met–even the casual ones–would still know where to find me. That’s the benefit of ownership.
Very brief, very artsy overview of HOW to own your website, for people who are on the dreamer/hippie/artist/poet/insane genius spectrum.
1.) Domain Name. Mine is ReprobateTypewriter.com. You register your domain name with a Domain Registrar, and you pay an annual fee to maintain it. .com is a classic. Simple, and elegant, and what people think of first. If you’re more of a wild child, there are all kinds of other choices. .recipes springs to mind. I own one of those.(Cannibalism.recipes, to be precise. I love handing out that e-mail address.) There’s something for everyone. Your domain name is your brand, your monogram, your banner in the sky. Whatever. It’s how people can look you up.
I register my domain names through DomainMonster.com. I’ve been happy with them. (They’re the current longest-standing relationship in my life.)
2.) Web Hosting. Think of this as the building your website lives in. Space on a computer. You can rent, borrow, or buy. Barter ad copy. Barter artwork. (amazing what engineering types will do to avoid the creative stuff.) Plenty of options. You can use your domain name to send people anywhere. And if you move hosts, the links stay good, and people don’t have to learn a new name. Domain Monster does do hosting, but they didn’t when I started playing with websites, so I don’t use them. I’m on Dreamhost.com right now. No complaints. You could also use some free service, and point your domain name toward that.
The thing is, owning your website is just a tiny bit more expensive, and not a whole lot more difficult than using someone else’s service, and it puts you in the driver’s seat. It lets you change and adapt to change.
So, lecture over. **takes off pince nez spectacles** Any tips, or recommendations? Who loves their registrars and hosts? Any one know of some desperate computer engineers we can rescue from… crosshatching?