Thursday, June 25, 2009

Renaming A Followed Blog

I've said before, repeatedly, that you must rename your blog with great care, if it's mature and / or has any reputation. Don't go changing the blog URL without planning the change, if you hope to keep your readers or search engine reputation. That admonition applies, likewise, to a blog with Followers, since people Follow blogs, not people.

If you look at the code behind the "Follow Blog" link in the navbar, you'll see a reference to the "blogID", not the URL. Conversely, when you subscribe to a blog feed, as when you become a Follower of a blog, you subscribe to the URL.

If you look at your Reading List, Google Reader Subscription List, or any other newsfeed client, you'll see blog feeds which are based upon the blog URL. With a new blog name comes a new blog URL, and a new feed URL. Your Followers won't have the updated blog feed in their Reading List, or anywhere else that matters - unless you advise them to change their subscription.

Since the Follower to blog relationship is maintained by blogID, a staged development / test strategy, using a new blog, may not be a good idea. Where a new blog is developed with major changes, your Followers would be left Following a dormant blog.

After you change the blog URL, and the old URL is now free, publish a stub blog to the old URL. Include a notice that the blog has moved, and provide the new URL in the notice, with a clickable link. This will let your Followers and subscribers know to change their subscriptions, and will provide a link for the search engines to follow.

To complement the visual redirect for the blog readers, you can use the Post Feed Redirect URL from the stub, to redirect the blog feed. This will let your Followers and subscribers continue to read the blog feed, using the old feed URL to access the new feed URL.

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18 comments:

Tammy Frost said...

Thanks for all of your help. I just changed my blogger name and now will I lose all of my followers? What did I do?

PetiteAsianGirl said...

Hi Chuck - unfortunately I did not find your blog until after I changed my URL. You've provided a wealth of information that I wish I had found earlier.

My blogspot URL is exactly the same (petiteasiangirl.blogspot.com) but I did change the URL forwarding from www.petiteasiangirl.com to www.extrapetite.com last month. After that, my followers stopped receiving updates.

I don't know how to post a stub to my old URL because I never had any hosting on it - always used blogger. Can you suggest anything for me to do now that the mistake has already been made? I looked through your responses on the blogger help forum and only found references back to this post. Thank you in advance!

Chuck said...

Hi Petite,

This would probably be a good idea to discuss in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, so we can work more interactively.

PetiteAsianGirl said...

Thanks! I just posted my question there.

Maya Ariffin said...

hi

Ive changed my blog address but everytime i click on pages on my blog it keeps redirected back to my original address... which tell me ADDRESS NOT FOUND.. how can i fix this?

Chuck said...

Ive changed my blog address but everytime i click on pages on my blog it keeps redirected back to my original address... which tell me ADDRESS NOT FOUND.

That's a known problem with renaming a blog that has a static pages index. Delete then re add the pages index gadget, but please, do not delete any individual pages.

KittKatt said...

Thanks, this was a big help. You helped me decide not to change my blog's domain name -- not worth the hassle to my followers.

Cascia said...

Thanks! This is very helpful!

Debby and Joel Arem said...

I want to shorten the name of my blog as it's way too long but keep it on blogspot and not buy a domain name.
It seems simple enough to log into my account and change the name but I've now learned that my followers won't transfer over... everything else will though, correct? All my content and widgets etc?? EVERYTHING but my followers?
Maybe I'm missing something here but to insure that I don't lose any followers, if I FIRST blogged using my old blog name that I'll be changing my name to .......... and to please resubscribe to that blog, wouldn't that solve the problem? Or is it a case of " If it sounds too simple it probably is!" REALLY hope someone can help me out here!

Chuck said...

Debby and Joel,

Read the article, again. Followers remain with the blog, when you rename it - as does all content.

The challenge is the blog feed - when you change the URL of the blog, the feed URL changes. But as I wrote, you can publish a stub blog to the old URL, and redirect the feed there to the new feed URL.

ganning1987 said...

Question, if I changed the URL this way, could I move the content on my blog as it is now as well? Or would it be starting from scratch with a new title?

Chuck said...

Ganning,

If you change the URL of the blog, all of the content - comments, gadgets, posts, template - move to the new URL. It's the same blog - it just gets a new URL.

Taylor said...

Chuck, is there a way to keep the followers? I just found this blog and this post after I switched url's. I wish someone would have warned me!!

Thanks!
Taylor

Aldi Ramadhika said...

Hi chuck,if I change my blogger name,would it effect the google search reputation?will my old blog url appears in google if anyone search for it?thanks.

Chuck Croll said...

Aldi,

Any time you change the URL of the blog, the page rank and search reputation, for the new URL, will start out as 0.0000. The old URL will appear in search results, for a while - linking to a non existent blog.

You will need to aggressively convince the search engines to update, as quickly as possible.

You can manage a custom domain based rename, a lot easier than a BlogSpot to BlogSpot rename.

This would be better explored in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, so we can discuss the details. There are a lot of details.

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2010/01/custom-domain-migration-managing.html

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2010/03/renaming-your-blog-planning-change.html

Kiky said...

thanks. i has just changed my blog url and chnaged it immediately affter reading this.

FM said...

Hi Chuck.
Will I lose my Linky followers and Networked blog followers if i change the url?
And how soon will the search engines update the new url?

Chuck Croll said...

FM,

From what I see on your blog, both Linky and Networked Blogs are gadgets which reference your account on their service.

That being the case, the gadget on your blog should work equally well with the blog published to any URL. It would not be a bad idea though for you to check your profile in those services, and see if you registered your BlogSpot URL there. If so, you'd want to change that registration - and that might involve re verifying blog ownership, in their service.

Check the service documentation, if any doubts.

As far as how soon the search engines may update the URL, that will depend upon how much effort you make, in getting the blog re indexed under the new URL.

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2010/03/renaming-your-blog-planning-change.html