I have just completed a bit of a revamp of my online presence. This was prompted by the repeated emails from Google about the closure of Google Web Pages (which I love as a simple web platform) – I had to do something to move my web site content. I have also had much more exposure to WordPress over the past few months and absolutely love it as a CMS platform. Finally, an excellent post from Kate Carruthers about your online presence finally prompted me to act.
My Website requirements are pretty simple. It is mainly a blog, a bit about me, how to contact me, and my Resume. I also had previously set up Google Apps for your domain (GAFYD) with my email and website. I never used any of the other GAFYD tools such as Calendar and docs as I use them already from my main gmail account.
I could have gone to a self hosted WordPress.org site but for my personal site I don’t really see the point in spending around $100 per year for hosting. That’s why WordPress.com is so great. And now they have made it even better!
You can now have your full domain linked to your wordpress.com site (for US$12 per year), so rather than http://blog.jodiem.com.au I can now map http://jodiem.com.au to my wordpress.com site. To do that you need to remove your current DNS hosting and let wordpress.com handle it. That is great, except for the email.
But WordPress.com now has email covered too! You can now use your wordpress.com hosting to link to your GAFYD email account! Brilliant! Now this is a full domain solution from worpress.com for US$12 per year. I would highly recommend this solution for any personal account or very small business. (See updated link below).
There are a few downsides to this approach, but they are not a big deal for me:
- I can no longer have subdomains for my other GAFYD services such as calendar.jodiem.com.au, but that is fine as I never used them anyway (and I can still access them through the google.com/a/yourdomain/ link).
- WordPress.com is still a bit limited in what you can do with it. I wanted to embed a google calendar on another wordpress.com site and they won’t allow embeds of anything other than the few specific things they will allow, like You Tube and Google Maps.
- You can chose to customise the CSS but that’s an extra US$15 per year and I found a great theme (Viligance, which has some customisation options) as part of the standard Themes gallery.
One small tip when setting this up is how to find your unique google verification string in GAFYD to re-verify the site ownership with wordpress.com. Twitter came to the rescue for this one, so here is how to find it:
- Log into GAFYD dashboard and click on Email
- Click on “Instructions on how to activate Email”
- Click on Change MX Records
- Click on Verify Domain Ownership
- Choose Upload a HTML file and the unique string will be there!
Easy when you know how!
Update October 2011:
Updated the pricing because the Custom Domain is now US$12/year. Updated some broken links.
Update May 2010:
This is great! WordPress.com now lets you edit all DNS records for your domain. So now you can have sub domains like mail.jodiem.com.au etc. See the full details for this new feature here http://en.support.wordpress.com/domain-mapping/custom-dns/