Saturday, January 5, 2008

An Artist's Domain

Okay, so you have a blog and you're posting your paintings to it, and they are selling, and you are getting a lot of visitors and subscribers, and now you're thinking that someday you might actually want to expand beyond the free blog account.

Would you spend $15 per year for your own website?

Come Up With A Domain Name
You need to invent a domain name no one else has yet. Then buy it now! It's less than $15 to control that name, and you can grab it before someone else does, and start using it today.

To have a website you need 3 things:
  1. A domain name (i.e. — my own)
  2. A Registrar for that domain name (someone to whom you pay a fee to keep records on file documenting that you are the [current and paid-up] owner of that unique domain name).
  3. a website host — someone willing to rent you space on their computers to hold all your files, pictures, videos, etc. that make up the bits of your whole website.

Register it With a reputable Registrar
I use and highly recommend the registration service provided by for their superior customer service, and their complete lack of giving you trouble if you ever want to transfer a domain away from them. Right now you may not have any idea what that means, but domain transfers can be a big hassle, depending on who the registrar is. is primarily a Registrar, though they also now offer hosting. You use them to register the domain name you've invented and want to reserve for your own use (or to keep other people from using it — like, for example, your own name.)

Many registrars use "come-ons" such as lower prices for registration but lock you into other pay-for services or long-term commitments to get those prices. Not so with Dotster. $15 per name, and you own it.

Getting Your Domain Name to Link To Your Blog
Once you own a domain name ($15) you can then use a feature called URL Forwarding, which offers for $5 per year. It's as simple as clicking a checkbox, and listing your blog's URL. You're done.

URL Forwarding happens at the registrar level. When someone types in, for example,, or clicks a link made from that URL, URL Forwarding will take them to the address they are to be forwarded to. In my case, I use the free blogging service provided by; that actual URL to my blog is, but I own the domain name and I use's $5 URL Forwarding feature to transfer people to my free blog.

So in essence, I have a complete website that takes advantage of all of Blogger's features, using the domain name I registered, and it costs me $20 a year.

Using masked URL forwarding (a free option) I am able to set it so that "when you get there" your browser will not change the URL in the Address/Location field.

Click both of these links, and notice that they both arrive at exactly the same place, but the addresses look different when you get there:
Now which would you rather have on your business card?

As you grow, and you want to add more pages (like a bio, products, galleries, contact info, etc.), but never give up your blog (or, perhaps, add another) you can get a domain host and start a "real" website using the domain name you already own.

In another post, to follow, I will discuss domain hosts and how they benefit you when you are ready.

1 comment:

Rhonda Hurwitz said...

Thank you for sharing this information. I never would have known or thought of it on my own; invaluable and much appreciated advice.