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zen habits: Ask the Readers: Should Zen Habits get its own domain?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ask the Readers: Should Zen Habits get its own domain?

Recently I've been contemplating a move to a separate domain, away from Blogger. Readership has been growing enough to justify a new domain, and I know a lot of people have a hard time remembering the current address with "blogspot" in the middle of it.

The problem: zenhabits.com is already taken (but not being used apparently).
Following my own advice, this is an opportunity -- I can come up with a new title for the blog, which might be a good thing as some people think it's about Zen, when it really isn't. I like the name Zen Habits, but it may be confusing.

However, changing the name of the blog would make it confusing for people who are trying to find it again, and I may lose readership (especially if I have to change the RSS feed, as everyone would have to resubscribe).

So I have two questions for you, my favorite readers in the world:

  1. Should I get my own domain or stay with the current address?
  2. If I get my own domain, what name should I give the new blog?
Help me out, my good friends.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes! Go for it. With the quality of this blog, you'll soon make up for anyone you lose.

Nishant said...

Another vote for a yes. Personalized domains add a touch of professionalism and authority.

That said, it's unfortunate that zenhabits.com is taken. How about another TLD? Both zenhabits.net and .org are available. Especially since the .com is not really being used, there shouldn't be too much of a problem for your readers.

Leo said...

Thanks for the yes votes ... I thought about .net and .org, but for some reason it seems like that's hard for people to remember. I thought going with a different .com domain might be better in the long run, but you might be right.

Kyle said...

I definitely think you need your own domain.

A .org would be good. I always disliked .net but I'm not sure why.

On another note, if you want a domain, I do have acrazyone.com available for you, if you'd want it. I based it on the Apple commercial about the crazy ones.

kamal said...

I agree with the yes. Over the long-term, it will help with your brand. Better to do it now than later. I don't see anything wrong with .net. Zenhabits is such a good name.

There are sites out there that have done fine with .net. For example, tribe.net

You should also contact the owner of the .com and see if he'll sell it to you. Up to a few hundred dollars would be worth it.

Leo said...

@kyle: acrazyone.com ... interesting name! i don't think it fits well with my site tho.

@kamal: thanks for the suggestions. now i don't know whether to go with .org, .net, or try to buy the .com.

Thanks for the comments, you guys!

Jeredb said...

Have you checked out Domain Hacks? It might give you some more ideas. I do agree with other comments about the increased "authority" of a TLD. "zenhabits.net" sounds very good.

Brett said...

Having your own domain would definitely be cool!

A couple things -

If you decide to migrate to wordpress, you can import all of your blogger posts through a wizard in the wordpress install.

You don't need to change anything about your RSS feed since you're using feedburner - just change the source URL for your feedburner feed and whizbang you're done, no re-subscribing required :)

Cheers!

Leo said...

@jeredb: thanks for the link and the comment!

@brett: thanks for the advice. I've been looking forward to migrating to wordpress -- haven't tried it yet. as for changing the feed, i only meant that if i changed my site name (other than zen habits) i would probably have to change the feed name as well. but if i stay with zen habits, you're absolutely right. thanks!

digidiva-kathy said...

Well, I am a new reader, but I like the Zen part of the name. But I can understand the want for your domain, I have a few myself, LOL. Whatever you do, I think alot of people have a feed and can easily update that if you announce the new name/domain here.

Best of luck!

Leo said...

Thanks for all the great feedback, guys. Does anyone have a suggestion for a cheap but reliable host? Convenience would be nice too.

monsoon said...

you know the beauty of blogger is the price...though your own domain would be nice. i'm new to your blog and stll navigating my way through...but i will still vote for a new domain with a new name. the zen thing is confusing...

one

Josh said...

If you use wordpress.com, you can use your own domain for a small fee. This allows you to spend less time managing your blog's back end and more time focusing on your blog's content (and also saves money as you're not dealing with a web host).

Then, if you wanted to run your blog off your own Wordpress install later, you could seamlessly migrate it to your own server space.

Regardless, some of the most popular blogs on the internet still use their *.blogspot.com and *.wordpress.com addresses. But the way I see it is if you're going to try to create a "brand" for your blog, you're going to want to snatch up your blog's .com domain name... and if you're going to be paying for it, you might as well use it, regardless of where your blog is hosted.

As far as the name, I like Zen Habits, but I think a change may be in order, especially because it's best to have your domain name reflect your blog's name. I wish I could offer some suggestions, but something will come to you.

Gerard said...

You could always just buy the domain name and forward it to wordpress.com - or even blogger. In other words, you tell people "MyDomainName.com" and when they type that in - they immediately see your blogger/wordpress.com/ site. Just a thought.

Kyle said...

If you go the true hosted way, I can recommend WebFaction. This also allows you to go with any platform for the site you wish to go and they've been steady thus far. You can go WordPress, Habari, django, ruby on rails, etc for your blog.

Rise said...

Leo,

I would say negotiate with the zenhabits.com owner. If it's reasonable, buy it.. and try to redirect the blogspot links to the domain.. or you can have your blogspot blog hosted on your own/rented server.. or transfer it to wordpress and host it on your own/rented server..

.net is also pretty popular these days (http://problogger.net). .org sounds more like a non-profit organization ;)

I have hosted my blog on bluehost.com supported by wordpress. And I am happy with it. godaddy.com and dreamhost.com are other popular host services. If you need any help, let me know.

Do get your own domain (hosting issues can be dealt with later.)

Helen said...

Yes, do get your own domain. Being hosted by blogger just doesn't do a blog's image any good. It seems... amateurish.

zenhabits.net sounds good. .org is more for organisations, which you aren't.

After migration, you can always post one last post here, reminding everyone to move on to the new place, or redirect them.

If you want a web host, I'm totally 100% happy with mine, www.nexcess.net, and can really recommend them.

pdamoc said...

I'm new to your blog and I do agree with the people pointing out that a personal domain sends a commitment message.
As for suggestions regarding the name... zenhabits does sounds good and, at least for me, it doesn't necessarily means that is about zen but more about what zen embodies... especially simplicity... so if you what another name, without the zen part, I suggest going with something related to simplicity... simphabits.com seams to be free and as Edward de Bono advocated in "Simplicity"... we should be using "simp".... because is... simpler (more simp)

Leo said...

Thanks for all the comments so far. It seems like zenhabits.net is the consensus choice. I'm looking into wordpress.com as a host. I appreciate all the input!

Jonathan said...

A few weeks ago, I added you to my short list of sites I visit each day, and your mix of daily thoughts have helped me reintroduce a once-lost zen aspect to my life.

... so that is to say that I like the name w/ zen in it. I can see where some may find confusion, but I think what you bring is consistent with zen.

Anyhow... the first thing that came to my mind was: zenlife.com -- its a similar name, and as a similar feel to it, but appears to be taken.

I think it may be reasonable for you to buy zenhabits.com -- I ran a whois search for that domain, and it appears that the domain expires this August. My guess is that if he has had this domain since 2005 and has not yet done anything with it, he may be willing to give it up. Follow this link for more detailed info:

http://who.godaddy.com/WhoIs.aspx?domain=zenhabits.com&prog_id=godaddy

If that doesn't pan out, what about myzenhabits.com or something like that? True, is not as smooth as zenhabits.com... but may be a reasonable compromise.

I appreciate reading your daily thoughts and having this community as a mechanism for motivation and inspiration each day. Good luck finding a comfortable solution to this!

Jonathan said...

Looks like my link didn't post quite right. Try this:

http://who.godaddy.com/WhoIs.aspx?
domain=zenhabits.com&prog_id=godaddy

(you'll have to copy/paste the two lines to join them, but i'm sure you'll get it)

Good luck!

Diem said...

I think it'd be really cool if you made your blog a web page of its own. Don't change the name! I started reading it and subscribed to your RSS because the name captivated me!

Your blog was inspiration enough for me to start my own similar one (but for Argentina aqnd in spanish, so don't worry about competition hehe).
I already bought the hosting and reserved my own sitename. In other words, GO FOR IT AND DON'T CHANGE THE NAME!

D. said...

ZEN-HABITS.COM is available per Godaddy...

holli jo said...

If you get your own site, don't use .net. To me it says, "I couldn't get a .com, so I'm using .net."

Anyway, I love your site, so I say go with what works for you. You're bound to be successful whatever you choose to do.

Leo said...

wow, thanks for all the comments, guys! a lot of great suggestions ... so many, that collectively you represent the many possibilities that naturally fill my mind. i appreciate all the kind words and know that whatever i choose, i hope you'll continue along this crazy journey with me.

Samer said...

Hey Leo, been a reader for a week and I'm hooked. I'm all for the .net suggestion; I will recommend the hosting company that I am currently working with, DreamHost.com, they're great and reasonably priced. I can throw in a promotional gift certificate if you decide to use them. Keep it up!

Leo said...

thanks samer, for the recommendations, nice comments and the nice offer. i'll check out dreamhost.

Andrew said...

I'm with these guys - you should approach the owner of zenhabits.com and make him/her an offer. I don't think the domain is much use to anyone else, so I'd low-ball at maybe $100. Certainly, it's not worth any more than that.

Either that, or just reg zen-habits.com. The hyphen will actually work for you from an SEO perspective, as search engines find hypenated words easier to understand.

+1 for WordPress by the way, it kick ass.

Ryan said...

I would agree with getting a domain, and zen-habits.com would be fine and dandy. I just recently found this blog and (as a relatively new GTDer and long time bicyclist) am finding myself identifying a lot with what's going on here.

Stephen said...

Good morning, I've been meaning to comment on this and I was sidetracked. FYI "zenhabitsblog.com" is available. You can easily register the name and forward your links to Blogger while you build you site in ftp.
On a side note, if you go to dnscoop.com you can get an interesting picture of your blog's worth. A word of caution, it's tough to look at for those of us just getting started...

Leo said...

Thanks, Stephen, for that, and a belated thanks to Ryan and Andrew.