The purpose of this post is to relate my experience of setting up a dedicated domain (kmorrispoet.com), on wordpress.com, to promote my poetry.
Please note, I am not a technical expert. For detailed support on setting up a wordpress.com domain, please refer to WordPress’s support pages which can be found here, https://en.support.wordpress.com/domains/. While my host of choice is WordPress, it is also possible to purchase a domain and connect it to Blogger.
For anyone interested in connecting a domain to blogger, please follow this link, https://support.google.com/domains/answer/6069231?hl=en.
Why choose a custom domain?
In 2012, I created newauthoronline.wordpress.com with the intention of using my blog to promote my writing. At that time I was a new author, consequently the blog name seemed perfectly suited for the purpose I had in mind. Soon after having created my (free) WordPress site, I took the decision to purchase newauthoronline.com, which I did through wordpress.com.
newauthoronline.com is more catchy than newauthoronline.wordpress.com, hence my decision to move from a free WordPress site to a paid custom domain.
When I first began writing, my work consisted almost exclusively of short stories and (as a new author) the domain newauthoronline.com seemed, for sevaral years to perfectly reflect where I was in my literary career. However as the years passed, the domain established in 2012 (newauthoronline.com) became less and less appropriate (as I could know longer reasonably describe myself as a “new author”. Also, for many years my focus has moved from writing short stories to the composition of poetry, which acted as a further incentive to choose a name that reflects my role as a published poet. Consequently, in February 2019 I purchased the domain https://kmorrispoet.com/ (the domain you see in your browser’s address bar).
Primary and subdomains
Your blog’s/website’s primary domain is the address visitors see when they visit your site. In my case, as explained above, my site’s primary domain is https://kmorrispoet.com/. However you can also connect subdomains to your site. In the case of kmorris – poet I choose to retain newauthoronline.com as a subdomain. So although newauthoronline.com will no longer appear in the address bar of your browser, if you click on newauthoronline.com, you will be redirected to https://kmorrispoet.com/.
I retained (and will continue to retain) the domain newauthoronline (as a subdomain of kmorrispoet) as many links to newauthoronline exist, for example as a consequence of people sharing my work and my appearance, as a guest blogger on other blogs and websites. Where I to dispense with the domain newauthoronline.com, anyone clicking on a link to that site would receive an error message, meaning that my site would lose traffic and my books potential readers.
In addition to kmorrispoet.com, I purchased the subdomains of kevinmorrispoet.com and kmorrispoet.uk, both of which connect to the primary domain of kmorrispoet.com. The reason for buying the additional subdomains was to enhance my visibility on Google and other search engines and (in the case of kevinmorrispoet.com to cater for the fact that many people, including my mum think of me as Kevin Morris poet rather than K Morris poet and, therefore search for Kevin Morris poet).
Should you choose a domain purchased through WordPress or via another provider?
As mentioned above, I purchased my domains through wordpress.com. You can, however buy a domain through another provider, for example https://uk.godaddy.com/ and map it to your WordPress site at a cost of $13 per year.
Please note, if you purchase your domain through WordPress they will automatically map your domain for you, while domains bought elsewhere need to be mapped by the site owner. Also there is no charge for mapping a domain bought through WordPress, as the cost of mapping is included in the price you pay when you buy your domain through WordPress.
I am no technical expert, hence my decision to buy my domains through wordpress.com. I also find it easier to manage all my domains in one place, rather than having to flit from website to website to manage them. However those possessed of greater technical expertise may wish to investigate purchasing domains elsewhere.
Do subdomains adversly affect search results?
Prior to purchasing my subdomains, I did some digging online as I (obviously) wished to avoid my search ranking suffering as a consequence of buying my subdomains. The overwhelming consensus is that subdomains do not adversly impact on a site’s search results. See, for example this useful article, https://www.hostgator.com/blog/what-are-subdomains-affect-seo/.
In my experience, having a dedicated (paid for) domain (if you can aford to do so), rather than sticking to a free wordpress.com site, drives traffic to your site (provided of course that the domain in question reflects the nature of your profession/business). At the beginning of my blogging journey, newauthoronline.com reflected the fact that I was a “new author”. However, as time marched on and my writing turned (almost exclusively to poetry), the domain title lost its relevance, hence my decision to buy kmorrispoet.com.
Having a domain which reflects who you are/your calling, also assists people in finding you online which can, in turn help to raise the profile of your writing.