Why You Need a Custom Domain

Why You Need a Custom Domain

A custom domain is your own personalized URL to show off your shop. It's an important detail to consider when creating a timeless and memorable brand, and all Big Cartel stores—even those on the free Gold plan—can link a custom domain to your store.

Be memorable, be yourself

There are a number of ways brands can use custom domains, along with a little subdomain magic to set their shop apart, like these Big Cartel stores:

Using a custom domain is one of the best ways to stake a claim for your brand on the internet. It'll also make it easier for your customers to find, revisit, and share all the great things you sell in your shop.

With a custom domain you can also purchase email services, to create an extra professional touch when interacting with customers. People would probably feel better about purchasing from your site if they received an email from [email protected] instead of [email protected].

Plus you can add it to business cards, keep things concise without a .bigcartel.com URL, and it ultimately enhances your brand.

If you already own a domain, a sub-domain can be a great option, too. You can create something like store.mydomain.com for your store without interfering with your existing website, and shoppers won't even know it's separate thing. And if your current domain provider isn't offering the level of service you want, you can make a transfer, just with a little notice.


Cheaper isn't always better

There are tons of options out there when it comes to custom domain providers. Before you commit to a service, it helps to do a little research. Check out the features included with domain registration, the transfer policy (in case you want to switch to a new provider down the road), and whether or not you'll be able to edit DNS records to set up a redirect. You'll need to be able to set up a CNAME redirect to use your custom domain with your Big Cartel shop. (More on that below!)

Cheaper seems right when just starting out, but keep in mind that it could just mean more headaches and extra costs down the road. Be smart about the Domain Name Provider you spend your hard-earned money with.

Our favorite domain name providers

Google Domains makes setting up your custom domain a breeze - and you can do it all directly from your Big Cartel admin in Account > Your Shop. Trust us: it's the easiest way to get your store on its own custom URL, and the best option for those who don't want to spend time messing with complicated settings and redirects. You can check this list of countries where Google Domain is available before getting started to make sure your country is supported.

Hover is also a solid choice—our shops have had great experiences with them, and we can personally vouch for how easy their setup process really is.

iwantmyname.com also offers quick and easy setup integrations, and Namecheap.com is a good go-to for excellent service and customer support.


Picking a great custom domain

The choice is yours, but there are a few tips to consider when you select your very own custom domain:

  • Keep it short, sweet, and easy to remember.

  • Think twice about using abbreviations, acronyms, or unusual spellings. What may look cool in your store header may look like a jumbled mess in the browser address bar, so when in doubt try it out yourself to see if it looks good.

  • URL already taken? No sweat—most domain providers will suggest similar options that may be available, like .net, .co, .org, and hundreds more.

  • If the TLD (top-level domain) you really wanted is taken, try adding "shop" or "store" to your domain, like www.exampleshop.com instead of www.example.com.

Setting up your custom domain

The fastest, simplest way to get your Big Cartel shop on a custom domain is to connect a Google Domain right within your admin:

  • head to Account > Your Shop in your store admin

  • click the Buy domain button

  • buy the custom URL of your dreams!

  • settings will automatically update to display your Big Cartel store at that address.

Connecting your Big Cartel shop with a Hover domain is also easy.

  • head over to Hover to register your domain

  • click the Connect tab in your account to link up to Big Cartel

  • add your custom domain to your Big Cartel admin (Account > Your Shop > Edit your shop info)

  • you're all set!

And as for using iwantmyname.com with your Big Cartel store...

  • go to iwantmyname.com

  • plug in your info

  • add your custom domain to your Big Cartel admin (Account > Your Shop > Edit your shop info)

  • that's it!

If you’ve already got a custom domain or want to use a different provider, you'll need to create two settings with your domain provider: 1. a CNAME record pointing to your Big Cartel URL and 2. a redirect that points your root domain to its www subdomain. If this feels like secret code, we get it—setting up custom domains can be tricky and each domain provider is built differently. To help, our Support Team maintains step-by-step instructions for the most popular domain providers to help walk you through the process. If you get stuck along the way, message our Support Team right in your admin, and they'll get you moving in the right direction.

15 August 2022

Words by:Big Cartel

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