Let me try to explain a huge one: where to register your domain.
Where you register your domain has cost implications over time but also can decide what software you can run! (WordPress .com and WordPress.org are two different softwares, for example, even though they look similar.)
So, let’s take a few minutes and break it down.
Note: if you’re facing the question this post is titled after, or have, or have a similar situation, it would be great to hear your findings in the comments!
Buying a wordpress .com domain (why or why not)
If you buy your new .com at WordPress .com, then WordPress .com becomes your domain registrar — this is very important to understand and here’s why. A domain registrar decides how much you pay per year for your domain name and generally what you can do at that address. Go this route with WordPress .com as your registrar and you’ll pay (a larger than necessary) $18 for your domain name. You can then run WordPress .com software, which is NOT WordPress.org software.
It may help to review these WordPress .com and .org differences, a commonly discussed topic online, too.
WordPress .com is amazing software. It’s used by millions of bloggers, and if you have a VIP plan like most of these large WordPress using companies then you’re probably all set for a while.
But it will cost you this much for a pro plan, or more if you want more stuff later on.
The problem with an average WordPress user (like myself) using WordPress.com is they make us pay for additions like more storage space, video usage, and other criteria that are enjoyed for free on WordPress.org. That includes eCommerce, too.
Moving away from WordPress .com
If you decide you want to keep that WordPress .com domain name and start building your website thru GoDaddy or another web host, you’ll have to go thru some pretty complicated nameserver steps and a 72 hour delay. This is what you would have to do in order to use a WordPress .com domain and build using WordPress.org software, though I don’t recommend it. Fortunately, it doesn’t look that this costs anything (aside from your recurring cost of a domain name to WordPress .com).
Because domain names cost too much (IMHO) thru WordPress .com and because they give you a limited version of software which charges for several common website additions, I use WordPress.org for everything, both website and blog related.
Or course, there is a catch with WordPress.org.
Buying a domain name at GoDaddy
GoDaddy is a very large domain name vendor, which allows them cheaper prices in the first year, cheaper prices in the following years (usually $15, which is the standard going rate of a domain name) and many other discounts.
They have TONS of cheap domains with many neat extensions, like .guru or .club.
For these two reasons alone, GoDaddy is almost always the recommended registrar.
They also have web hosting – this means you can put a website on GoDaddy using WordPress.org, Weebly, Joomla, etc or maybe some custom code you or someone else has built.
GoDaddy for the domain, somewhere else for the hosting
GoDaddy also has the option to “point a domain” you purchase to another location, meaning you can just use GoDaddy for the cheap domain name, then pick another place (company) to handle the website or blog software part. It sounds complicated, but it’s not. I’ll explain the whole “point a domain” process now.
This is the option most intermediate to advanced WordPressers and developers alike will go.
We buy our domain names at GoDaddy because it’s the cheapest place (especially using a FatWallet coupon) and we create a website on our Host of choice (in my case, HostGator).
The idea is to get a cheap domain, but also get a hosting plan from a company dedicated to hosting.
So the process looks like this:
- Register a domain name at GoDaddy
- Register hosting space at HostGator at tell em you already have a domain name
- Click activate
- You also have to enter in your HostGator namesevers at GoDaddy to point the domain to the hosting space, which is sort of like giving your friend’s the address to your home
- Install WordPress.org on the hosting space (very easy)
- And you’re good to go with making a website
Following these five steps will give you a complete WordPress website.
You could also register your domain name thru HostGator directly, for $15, then skip steps 1 and 4 above. I’ve done this 4-5 times already.
Or, basically, replace “HostGator” with another webhost you choose and have a preference for!
So what is the catch? The catch is you’ll pay for web hosting every month, and the domain name every year. But, this is currently the cheapest way to make your own website.
Saving money with coupons
A helpful tip here is hosting coupons, nearly all web host and domain name sign ups come with the option to use a coupon or some sort of promo code. If you decide HostGator is the place for you, you can enter “dearblogger2015” to get 40% off your first billing, whether it is for 1 month, 6 months or 3 years!
This is my recommended route to get a website up in the cheapest (yet professional) way possible.
Did that save you any headaches as you build a website or blog? Hopefully it didn’t cause any more.
In short, you should only register an $18 domain name with WordPress .com if you plan to fully use WordPress .com software, and do not want to more to another software in the future, maybe if you have the business funding to run WordPress VIP, or something like that.
You should buy a domain name at GoDaddy or thru a webhost like HostGator and build a WordPress.org website if you are a small business owner or pro-blogger, because it’s a good combination of being respected and affordable, and the method of nearly everyone who does this for a living! Speaking of which, maybe you can even monetize your blog or website to cover your costs.