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.
Custom domains are awesome
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:
- store.beeteeth.com is also beeteeth.bigcartel.com
- buystufffrom.jessicahische.com is also jessicahische.bigcartel.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org instead of email@example.com.
Plus you can add it to business cards, people won’t ever see the .bigcartel.com URL, and it ultimately enhances your brand. It’s great when you search for a brand and their own .com URL comes up instead of a .bigcartel.com site.
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, don’t be afraid to make a transfer, you’re not stuck with them forever - just 60 days.
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 is easier to swallow when starting out your business, but keep in mind that it could just mean more headaches and extra costs down the road. So be smart about the Domain Name Provider you spend your hard-earned money with.
Our favorite domain name providers
If you’re based in the U.S., Google Domains makes setting up your custom domain a breeze - and you can do it all directly from your Big Cartel admin in Store > Settings. 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.
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.
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 other TLD’s (top level domains) that may be available, like .net, .co, .org, and hundreds more.
- If the TLD you really wanted is taken, try adding “shop” or “store” to your domain 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 head to Settings > Domains in your store admin and click the Need to buy a domain? button (currently Google Domains only supports U.S.-based payments). From there you can buy the custom URL of your dreams via Google Domains, and the settings will automatically update to display your Big Cartel store at that address. (We told you it would be easy!)
Setting up with Hover is also super easy. All you need to do is 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 (Store > Settings > Domains), and you’ll be set.
If you’ve already got a custom domain or want to use a different provider, you’ll need to set up a CNAME record pointing to your Big Cartel URL with your custom domain provider. Get step-by-step instructions here.