My Hybrid Author Website: Custom Domain and Free Hosting

As you may have noticed, my author website now carries a new domain name: KateMColby.com! In this post, I want to share with you how I set up my custom domain name, why I have decided to stay with WordPress.com’s free hosting, and my plans for the future.

My Domain Name

I chose to use my pen name as my domain name, because I believe it will be the way most readers and fellow authors try to find me in the future. At some point, I may also buy a domain name and/or set up a website for my press, but at this point, that does not make sense financially or logistically.

I purchased KateMColby.com through Internetbs.net, as it was recommended to me by The Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast’s Author Website Course. The cost was $8.99 for one year.

From there, I mapped my new domain to my free WordPress.com account using these instructions. I did have to pay for WordPress Site Redirect to “redirect” those who type in/link to katemcolby.wordpress.com to katemcolby.com. The cost is $13.00 per year. However, it allows the site I currently use to function as it always has with a newer, more professional domain name. That put my total cost for one year at $21.99.

As most WordPress.com users will know, you can register your custom domain name directly through WordPress.com. However, I decided against this for two reasons. First, the base cost for a domain name at WordPress.com is $18.00. For half the price, I can have a domain that I can easily transfer to different hosting in the future. Second, the domain registrar I used (Internetbs.net) provides free privacy protection, whereas WordPress.com requires you to pay $8.00 for privacy protection. In short, my cost was $21.99 per year instead of $26.00 per year.

As an added perk, I also have free email forwarding now. So if you ever want to get in contact with me directly, author@katemcolby.com should do the trick!

Why I Stayed with WordPress.com for Hosting

This list is simple:

  • Hosting is an extra monthly cost that I do not need right now.
  • I love my WordPress.com theme and mobile-friendly site.
  • I can do without fancy plug-ins and customization options until my career is more established.
  • I’m not super tech savvy yet, so I like having a reliable host and site design for now.
  • I love interacting with the WordPress.com community!

Plans for the Future

Eventually, I will move to a self-hosted website with either a custom design or a WordPress.org design template with heavy customization options. This is the main reason why I bought my domain name from a third party source — it is ready to move whenever I am!

As far as this site is concerned, I do have a few plans for updating it. You may already have noticed new email newsletter sign up buttons, new tag lines, and a few subtle changes to some of the pages and widgets. In the coming weeks, I hope to continue this by refining the options in my navigation bar, updating my author biography, and possibly integrating some video into my pages.

In other words, stay tuned for subtle, exciting (to me anyway) changes ahead!


For more information on how to set up your own author website, see Building Your Author Platform: Setting Up Your Home Base.

For tips on what to included on your author website, see Building Your Author Platform: 8 Essential Elements for Your Author Website.

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11 thoughts on “My Hybrid Author Website: Custom Domain and Free Hosting

  1. Ula says:

    Those are all good reasons. Seems like your transition has been smooth. Your site looks good, is easy to navigate and read.
    I plan on doing an author website, but since my blog has nothing of my name in it, I will build a completely new site (already working on it). The transition will not be so smooth for various reasons for me, so I will do it very very slowly. I’m also in the process of learning to code (at least some of the basics), so I can handle the transition by myself for the most part.

    Liked by 1 person

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