Once you sign up for a WordPress.com account, you can pick a domain name (web address) for your site. Many first-time site owners don’t put a lot of thought into this address, and they’ll opt for a free account that tacks “wordpress.com” onto the end of their chosen name — like example.wordpress.com.
If you want to establish yourself as professional, reputable, and memorable, you’ll want to create a custom domain on WordPress.com. In other words, a web address that doesn’t end with “wordpress.com.”
Removing the “wordpress.com” portion of a domain name isn’t all that you need to do, though. It’s also important to think carefully about choosing a domain name that best represents your brand. Read on for tips on how to set up a custom domain on WordPress.com, and how to ensure that you’re picking the best one for your site.
To begin, let’s walk through the necessary steps to configure a custom domain name.
First, visit the WordPress.com domain page, select the site that you want to name, and click the Add Domain button. If you have a free account, you’ll be asked to upgrade to one of the paid plans.
Next, enter the domain name that you want, and make it your Primary Domain. Your new domain will automatically be associated with your site — no extra effort required.
If you already have a domain name from another provider and want to use it on WordPress.com, map your existing domain to your new site. After clicking the Add Domain button, select Upgrade next to the “Already own a domain?” option. Then, enter your domain name.
Update your settings on the domain registrar’s website. To make your life easier, WordPress.com compiled instructions for updating a domain name with the most common providers.
For each scenario above, remember that it may take some time for the changes to go into effect.
WordPress.com makes it easy to set up your domain name, but choosing one can prove more challenging than it sounds. Even if you already own a business with an established brand, it might be more effective to use a different name for a domain. How do you choose? Luckily, there is a set of golden rules that you should know and follow:
Keep it short and simple
Consider some of the most famous website names — eBay, Amazon, and Google. In these cases, the domain names are easy to type, remember, and share. This doesn’t mean that you need to invent a new word for your site like Google did, but try to keep it simple, and make it both memorable and melodic.
If you already have a great name in mind, be sure that someone else hasn’t already used it. Search for it on Google or use a tool like Panabee, which tells you when a domain is taken and provides suggestions for alternative options.
In terms of customer perception and search engine rankings, it’s beneficial if your custom domain name represents your products and services well. If you want to learn more about the best techniques for choosing a good domain for ranking in Google searches, read this helpful guide from Search Engine Journal.
Pay attention to extensions
Your domain extension (like .com, .net, and so on) is also an important factor to consider. As “.com” is the most popular one, using it is often advisable. Extensions like “.org” or “.net” might be better choices depending on the type of site you have. With WordPress.com you can be creative and use any of the numerous domain extensions available.
Know what to avoid
Domain names that are too long can be difficult for site visitors to remember or spell. Numbers and hyphens should typically be avoided, as they can be mixed up or forgotten. Be sure to stay away from anything that might leave your visitors feeling confused.
Follow the above guidelines and you’ll be sure to pick a domain name that perfectly represents your site. Transforming a name into a custom domain on WordPress.com is a straightforward process that will give your website a professional, trustworthy aura, sure to attract wider audience segments.
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