Today, we’re going to talk about domain names. ‘Do website builders allow to connect custom domains?’ is a common question we regularly get via our e-mail. Other popular domains-related questions are ‘Can I use a previously purchased domain name’ and ‘Are there any site builders allowing to connect my own domain for free?’.
The answer to all these questions is yes.
Do website builders allow to connect custom domains?
Usually, when you sign up to a website builder and start working on your website, you get a free subdomain which is a temporary address of your site while it’s under construction. With Weebly, for example, you’ll get an address like sitename.weebly.com, while with Wix it will be formatted the following way: yourlogin.wix.com/sitename.
During the setup stage you can use a free subdomain, but when your website is ready for publishing, you can easily attach a new or a previously purchased domain name. We’ve already reviewed more than 50 website builders, and all of them allowed to do that. Some even allowed to purchase new domains without having to leave the control panel.
A custom domain name is an invaluable asset to any business. It gives your site a professional look and helps build trust. So it’s not surprising that all modern website builders allow users to use their own domains.
Are there any site builders allowing to connect my own domain for free?
You’ll be surprised to learn that there are website builders that offer the possibility to connect a custom domain for free. Take uCoz for example. This website builder provides its full functionality (except for the Eshop module) for free and allows you to connect a custom domain any time. You can either purchase a new domain via the system or use your existing domain.
The only drawback of the free account is a quite noticeable advert that will be placed on your website. You can get rid of it by upgrading your account.
How can I get a free domain name?
Freebie lovers rejoice! Many site builders offer a one year of free domain name registration if you choose to go with an annual plan.
Please note that when your first year expires, you’ll have to pay for your annual domain name renewal. You can get a free domain as a bonus from uCoz site builder when paying for 12 months in advance (applied to the Optimal and Shop plans) or 6 months if you choose to go with the Maximal plan.
Can I use a previously purchased domain name?
Of course you can. Typically, you’ll have to log into your domain name control panel and modify the NS records for your domain according to the instructions provided by the chosen website builder.
If you don’t have a domain yet, read these 5 simple rules for choosing the right one:
- Keep it simple. Come up with a domain name that’s easy to type and remember. Keep it short. Avoid numbers and hyphens, because they’re often misunderstood. People who hear your site address don’t know whether you’re using a numeral ‘3’ or it’s spelled out ‘three’, for example; they can also misplace or forget the dash.
- Use keywords. When you first begin the search, it helps to have at least 5 terms or phrases in mind that describe your business. When this list is ready, you can start adding suffixes and prefixes and pair the keywords to create good domain ideas.
- Be unique. Having your website confused with a popular website is a recipe for disaster. Never choose domains that are simply the plural, misspelled or hyphenated versions of an already established domain owned by someone else.
- Use an appropriate domain name extension. Domain name extensions can have specific uses, so make sure to choose one that describes the essence of your business. Dot-com is mostly preferred because most of the users type .com without thinking about it. Here are some other top extensions: co, info, net, org, biz, me. If your website is about an organization, then .org can be a great option. If it’s an informational site, getting an .info extension won’t hurt you either.
- Protect your brand. If you’re not concerned with name recognition and branding, you don’t need to worry about this one. To protect their brand, many companies purchase various domain extensions<, as well as misspelled versions of the domain. By doing so, they prevent competitors from registering other versions that can get part of your traffic.
In the quest for keywords we often forget about branding. Choosing a domain name is similar to choosing a company name: it requires a lot of consideration and planning. Make sure that your domain isn’t just readable or contains the required keywords, but is also catchy and recognizable.
Your brand is strongly connected with your domain name, and it’s more than just a combination of words. Names like dressespursesandshoes.com or bestseotipsever.com aren’t compelling as branded names. Sometimes, the most unrelated domains do best. Take Google, Amazon or Moz for example.
Any business must have a website with a custom domain name. A custom domain costs around $10-12 a year, and there’s a greater cost associated with not paying for a domain name 😉 . Never skimp on your web presence.
Why You Should Upgrade
Online website builders do let you build a website without paying a cent, there’s no doubt about that. But you should realize that nothing is for free, especially website builders. Web hosting costs money, renting a place to put the servers costs money, hardware costs money, customer support costs money.
So it’s natural that anyone running a free web service will need to reimburse their costs somehow and will probably even want to make a profit. Of course they want to make a profit – why else would they give away their services for free? Here are some typical reasons why they offer free services:
- To make money off adverts displayed on your site and/or your control panel.
- To promote their own brand with subdomains and copyright in the footer of your site.
- They offer free starter plans in hopes of enticing customers to switch to paid packages.
The bottom line is that you’ll never get a full-featured web service with a free account. While we use so many free softwares every day including browsers, email clients and messengers like Skype, when it comes to website creation, there are no freebies.
With a typical website builder, you can upgrade your free account to an ad-free site with a custom domain name for just $4 a month! We strongly advise that you buy a premium account if you want to boost credibility and professionalism.