When you open a brick-and-mortar business, the signage that you put outside of your storefront helps to direct foot traffic into your shop.
The same can be said about launching a website to promote your business. Your custom domain name, or the web address that users follow to access your site, is basically the virtual signage that makes your business easier for potential shoppers to find. You can either set up a custom domain on WordPress.com, or map an existing domain that you previously purchased.
When you initially create your WordPress.com site, you’ll receive a free web address that ends in “wordpress.com,” like example.wordpress.com. Many small-business owners who launch a website choose a custom domain that does not have the “wordpress.com” at the end. Some believe that this looks more professional, as it’s a surefire way to brand your business.
You can add a custom domain name to your existing WordPress.com site if you have either a Personal, Premium or Business plan, which all come with a free custom domain name.
If you have a paid WordPress.com plan, registering a new domain works as follows:
- Go to the Domains page on WordPress.com. You’ll see a list of your existing WordPress.com sites.
- Choose the site for which you want to add a custom domain, and click the Add Domain button.
- You’ll be directed to a page where you can type in your chosen domain name (for example, yourgroovydomain.com).
- If the domain is available, it will appear in the search box. If unavailable, you’ll have to choose a different domain. WordPress.com will generate a list of suggested domains that are similar to the unavailable domain that you requested. You can choose from these suggestions, or create something different that still aligns with your brand and is easy for potential shoppers to remember when they want to access your site.
- Once you’ve decided on an available domain name, click Upgrade and follow the steps to fill out your domain registration information.
- Next, choose whether you want your registration to be public or private. A private domain registration means that no one can publicly access your name, email, or address when you register your domain. With a paid WordPress.com plan, you receive optional privacy protection with your custom domain.
- Once you make your selections and fill out your registration information, select the Make Primary option to ensure that your new custom domain is the primary domain name for your website. This will be the new web address that site visitors type into their browsers to find your site.
If you already purchased a domain from another web hosting company, you can map it to your WordPress.com site.
Similar to registering a new domain, you’ll need to purchase or already have a paid WordPress.com plan. Then, follow the below steps to map your previously purchased domain name to your WordPress.com site:
- Go to the Domains page on WordPress.com.
- Select Upgrade next to the “Already own a domain?” option. Enter your existing domain name and click the Add button.
- From here, call your existing domain provider and ask the company to update your DNS settings. This redirects the name servers for your domain to WordPress.com. WordPress.com also provides instructions for updating DNS settings yourself.
- Once everything is mapped, make this domain your primary one.
WordPress.com supports dozens of different domain extensions, whether you want your domain to end in .com, .co, .net, among many others. You can register several different domains if you have multiple WordPress.com sites. It’s important to note that each paid plan only comes with one free custom domain — you will have to pay for each additional domain registration.
A custom domain is the digital version of a storefront. You want to make a good first impression, and a unique domain brands your business in the marketplace and makes it easier for potential shoppers to find your products or services online. Setting up a custom domain on WordPress.com, whether you’re registering a new one or mapping an existing one, pays off in the long term. So, set up a custom domain today and let everyone know that your digital storefront is open for business.
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