You’ll notice my site is now bamcat.com — a domain name I’ve owned for many years. It looks much better than bamcat.wordpress.com and is also easier for people to find me. It’s also better for SEO and in general looks more professional. Telling WordPress.com this is the URL I want to be associated with my blog cost me $14 CDN (a fee I’ll have to pay annually), but only took a few minutes to setup. Here’s how to do it if you’re interested in having your own custom domain with your WordPress.com blog.
1. From your WordPress.com Blog Admin section click Store on the left-side side.
2. Under the slider for Store you’ll be presented with a few options. Select Domains.
3. In Domains you can add the domain you want to use. If you need to purchase the domain, WordPress.com will take you through the steps of purchasing and using it (they charge $20 CDN per year if you don’t have your own domain already registered). If you already have a domain name you own, enter it into the field under Add a Domain and select Add domain to blog.
4. When you enter a domain name you already own you’ll be prompted with a message that the domain is unavailable. If you own it you’ll need to check off that you own it and you want to map it to your blog.
5. After telling WordPress.com you do indeed own the domain name and want to use it, you’ll need to pay the annual fee. You can use a credit card or pay with PayPal.
6. Once you pay to use the domain name it will appear in your Domains list. Now you need to tell WordPress.com it’s your Primary Domain Name so your URLs looks like this https://bamcat.com/2013/08/30/replacing-notes-on-the-iphone/ instead of like this https://bamcat.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/replacing-notes-on-the-iphone/. You can’t make it your Primary Domain Name until you setup your DNS records. Select Edit DNS from beside your domain name to get the WordPress.com nameservers you need.
7. For this next step you need to login to your domain registrar, such as GoDaddy or Netfirms, and tell them to point your domain to the WordPress.com nameservers you were given in Step 6. In the screenshot below I’m using GoDaddy.
8. Once you add the WordPress.com nameservers to your domain in your registrar you can now return to the Domains section and make your custom domain the Primary Domain (NOTE: It could take up to 24 hours for the changes on your registrar to take affect so don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t instantly work).
9. Once you select Update Primary Domain your custom domain will become your main domain and you’re done!
If you have a lot of posts under http://name.wordpress.com those links will still work and be redirected to http://customdomainname.com. If you’ve already submitted a sitemap to Google or Bing (more on how to do that in an upcoming post) it’s a good idea to tell them you made this change and to re-index your site with the new domain name.
In my example above I mapped the custom domain for my wife’s parenting blog famtasyland.com. It works! Check it out.