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What are the benefits of having a custom domain name?

3 minute read

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In today’s #asktheukdomain video I look at the difference between free and custom domain names and the six benefits of using a custom domain. These include:

1. SEO (search engine optimisation) – it’s harder to rank with a free domain name
2. Increased credibility
3. Branding – you can control your brand with a custom domain name
4. Be more memorable
5. Email – a custom domain name allows you to have a professional email address
6. It’s easier to offer revenue generating advertising on your website

Video Transcript

♪ [music] ♪ Hello, and welcome to The UK Domain. Today’s question comes from Dennis Harrison, who writes, “Currently, our website is using a free WordPress domain, and I was wondering what are the benefits of using a custom domain name?”

So, it’s a very, very good question. It’s a question that we get a lot and there are lots of very, very good benefits about getting a custom domain name. So, anyone who’s watching who is just wondering what’s the difference. A free domain name might be, you know, yourwebsite.wordpress.com. It’s got “WordPress” in it, it comes for free, and it’s, kind of, usually the domain name that a lot of people start with if they’re having a free blog, for example.

A custom domain name is whatever you want it to be. So, you know, nominet.uk, or theukdomain.uk. It’s a domain name that you’ve paid for and it’s yours, and it’s unique. So, I’ve got six benefits I’m going to run through.

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Which domain is right for me?

The first one is usually the one I kind of start with when people do ask me this question, which is SEO, Search Engine Optimisation. If you’ve got a free domain name, say yourwebsite.wordpress.com, yes, it’s possible to rank in search engines, but it’s more difficult. If you’ve got a custom domain name, you can build all this trust and authority and links on your own domain name. And, you know, what you tend to find is that free domain names only rank for very niche terms, you know, keywords that people only type in very, very rarely. If you’re targeting keywords which are competitive, then you absolutely need to have a custom domain name. So, for most people, search engines are one of the primary drivers of traffic, and that reason alone is a reason to get a custom domain name.

The second reason is credibility. Again, lots of people do start their first website or their first blog using a free domain name but if you want to show your customers or your readers and your audience that you mean business and you’re taking this seriously, you really need to ditch the free domain name and get something custom that you paid for.

The third reason is branding. Again, if you’re using a free domain name, you know, if we use WordPress as the example, you will have “WordPress” in your domain name, so you’ve got someone else’s brand. If you get a custom domain name, it’s completely yours, it’s unique, and you control the brand completely.

Memorable. So, again, this does depends on you choosing a memorable custom domain name. But if you’re, let’s say, you’ve got yourwebsite.wordpress.com, that’s harder to remember and harder to share on than just using yourwebsite.co.uk. So, having a custom domain name is shorter and is more memorable and it’s easy for, you know, friends and family to share it with each other, which is really, really important.

The fifth reason is professional email address. So, again, if you’ve got a free domain name, you can’t have a professional custom email address. But if you’ve got a custom domain name, you can have as many email addresses as you like. So, again, it might be [email protected] So, it’s a customised professional email address and you can only get that if you get a custom domain name.

This last one, advertising, is only kind of relevant to people usually if they’ve got a blog or a publishing website. So, when I’m talking about advertising, in this case, I’m talking about people who wish to put ads on their website. So, that’s other advertisers advertising on your website in order to generate impressions and clicks, and you get revenue from that.

A lot of the networks that offer advertising to people on blogs and, you know, publications, do require you to be having a custom domain name for your website. So, even though there might be providers out there who let you have a free WordPress domain and actually do advertising, if you want to take it seriously, and actually make some real revenue from advertising, you need a custom domain name.

So, there are my six benefits of using a custom domain name. If you’d like to ask us a question, do so using the hashtag #asktheukdomain, and we’ll turn your question into a video. ♪ [music] ♪

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Peter is the Head of Content at Nominet. He's passionate about helping small businesses make the most of being online, especially through the use of content marketing.

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