Should you own your own domain? And if so, what should it be? Should it be a .com, .me, .org, .net, or .info? There are so many options – and even more coming down the pike with different extensions now that so many .com’s have been scooped up – that it’s mindboggling to even think about what to buy and what to do with a domain once you buy it.
When someone asks me if they should buy or own their own domain, I don’t automatically tell them yes or no. I want to know what they are going to use it for. After all, if you’re going to start a site and then just sit on it for ages, you might as well not invest the $8.99 to purchase the domain or the $5.99 or so per month to host it on a server. You might as well reserve an URL on a site like Blogger or WordPress and see how often you really stick to adding posts. If you keep up with it on a regular basis, THEN you can think about buying your own domain.
Should You Own a Website?
If you want to do something besides blog on your website, that’s fine, but you should have a good grasp of a purposeful concept in mind before reserving the URL. These days, Google isn’t as high on keywords in the URL as they used to be. They want a descriptive URL for what your site represents, or at least one that can be branded so users can recognize it. Everything is user, user, user on the search engines, and it just doesn’t make sense anymore to buy up a bunch of domains with random keyword phrases in them to target Google’s friendly bots.
You should own a website under a few conditions, the first of which being if you actually plan on doing something with it in the near future. Reserving a name is always a good idea if it’s the name of a family member (like if you want to reserve your son or daughter’s name) or your own name. But if you want to buy an URL like “myhobby2012” with a .com or .info on the end, you’d better end up doing something with it in the next month or two, or there won’t be much point.
Don’t Forget About…
Oftentimes people think they can just launch a website and not worry about anything else. They have no idea what else is involved, like hosting, graphics creation, some type of framework or content management system, and above all, maintenance. Once a site is up and running, you can’t always just let it go – you must keep adding to it, refresh the content, take out the old stuff if it’s no longer useful, and keep users interested. Drawing fresh traffic and return visitors is what will keep your site alive in the long run, so think about that as you determine how simple or complex of a site you feel like owning.