Thursday, January 07, 2010

Custom Domain Migration - Managing The Traffic

Your blog depends upon traffic for its success.

Anything that affects the traffic to your blog, such as any change in the URL, affects the success of your blog. Publishing the blog to a custom domain, like renaming the blog, will affect traffic to your blog. The effects of the change will vary from blog to blog, because of the different traffic to every different blog.
  • Followers. People who find your blog because of recommendations by other people.
  • Search engines. Robotic processes which methodically surf your blog, and provide dynamic indexing to people who search for information.
  • Subscribers. People who read your content from their newsfeed reader.
  • Viewers. People who read your content from their browser.
No two blogs are the same - and no two blogs will have the same combinations of traffic sources.

The differing combinations will make every custom domain migration unique. You simply cannot predict what will happen to your blog, during the migration - but you can plan, and improve the experience.

Planning and executing the migration properly will help your blog recover faster, from traffic loss caused by the migration.
  1. You'll start with a new URL, which will be unknown by the search engines. Your blog won't get as much new reader traffic, until it's indexed, under the new, non BlogSpot URL.
  2. You'll end up with a better known blog, with a non BlogSpot URL - and more new reader traffic because of the new, non BlogSpot URL.
The better you plan this simple process, the faster the traffic to your blog will pick up, after the URL change. And, that's all that you should want - to get from point 1 to point 2, faster.

When your blog has a new URL, that URL is initially unknown to the search engines, and other web services. The search engines, and other external web services, index by URL.
  • With a new blog, you have no content, no readers, no search engine reputation, and no statistics.
  • With a new URL, there is no indexed content, and no statistics.
  • With a blog recently republished under a new URL, you have content and readers - but no search engine reputation, or statistics, under the new URL.
You use the content and readers, and regain your search engine reputation. And you watch your statistics.

If your blog has its own search engine reputation, it gets indexed by the search engines, directly. As the BlogSpot URL of your blog is indexed, the "301 Moved Permanently" redirect, from the BlogSpot to custom domain URL, will contribute to reputation for the domain URL.

If your blog has readers who have links to your blog, from their blogs, your blog gets indexed by the search engines, indirectly. As a readers blogs is indexed, and a link to your blog is found, the link to your blog is followed. Readers blogs that point to the BlogSpot URL, again using the "301 Moved Permanently" redirect, will similarly contribute to reputation for the domain URL.

Each of the various traffic sources - people (Followers / readers / subscribers), and robots (search engines and other automated services) - will contribute, in different ways, to the indexing of the domain URL.

Before you start, understand the right way to purchase and setup a custom domain. And understand the nature of, and need for, the 3 to 5 day Transition Period, which follows the purchase of a new domain, using "Buy a domain" - and should be observed with any new domain.

During the migration, you'll find:
  • You'll get better results from a properly setup domain. Always start, with a properly setup domain.
  • You'll find the diagnostic utilities in Google Webmaster Tools to be essential, in helping you objectively observe and correct any problems.
  • As search engines index your blog, they adjust their indexing to follow the rate that you publish. If you publish weekly, they will, at most, re index your blog weekly. The less often you publish, the less often the blog gets re indexed.
  • The entire blog won't be re indexed at one time. You'll always have new posts, that have not been individually indexed.
  • While re indexing of the blog is in progress, you'll have some posts indexed under the BlogSpot URL, and other posts indexed under the domain URL.
  • As additional posts are indexed under the domain URL, those same posts will drop from indexing under the BlogSpot URL. If this were not so, you'd end up with "duplicate content" penalties. The purpose of the "301 Moved Permanently" redirect is to avoid this duplication, and penalties.
  • With the indexing of the blog split between the two base URLs, the reputation overall will be lower. You get better reputation with all content indexed under one base URL - and this won't be the case until the migration is complete.
  • With lower reputation, your posts will have poorer SERP position - some posts indexed under the old BlogSpot URL, others under the new domain URL - though all SERP entries will get your readers to the new domain.
  • With poorer SERP position overall, you'll have a period of significantly less search originated traffic.
  • The more often that you publish, during the migration, the more you'll compensate for the drop in reader traffic.
  • As the blog is re indexed under the new URL, reputation - and Page Rank - will pick up again.
  • You'll observe activity, in Webmaster Tools, for both the old and new URLs, for a while after the domain becomes active.
  • Some tools, used under simple blog renames, are not used with custom domains. Specifically, custom domain publishing does not use the post feed redirect.

You cannot avoid the new domain transition period, and reduced traffic level - you will have to endure it. In the end, if you manage the migration properly, you'll find that it was worth it.

With a new, properly setup non BlogSpot URL, more blog content, and the same reader population (forwarded from the BlogSpot URL), search engine reputation (and Page Rank) will pick up and should continue rising, beyond where it was before you started the migration.

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41 comments:

Belle Isle said...

Did you write this for me or are you a mindreader?

Chuck said...

Belle,

A bit of both, I should think. It's only half done, anyway, so stay tuned.

ib said...

Chuck,

Once again thank you for responding to my anxieties on Blogger Help Forum.

I recognize that Search Engines gather URL information from Sidecar Bloglists and embedded links specific to individual posts which contributes to indexing. I still, however, do not grasp how this factors in to embedded search on a homepage; in short, why is it that a specific search would yield (internal) results prior to a migration, but fail to function on an even rudimentary basis after the process ?

Is there any manual step which might be made to point the engine to - and incrementally register - previously published and seemingly 'lost' content ? Or is the process entirely outwith administrator control ?

Like many bloggers, my interest is primarily in the published content; its accessibility to readers. My archives are still accessible on the sidecar, albeit by chronological 'trawling' only.

I still cannot quite fathom while the embedded search yields no results, while a Google search from an an external browser continues to return post specific material.

Chuck said...

What is in the sidebar is just like what's in the posts - links and text - nothing special. Even though it's not special, it is different.

Let's say that there are 100 posts in the blog.
1. What's in each post is in 1 post each, and is different in each post.
2. What's in the sidebar is published, with each of the 100 posts, as part of the page containing each post. So what's in the sidebar is 100 times more common, and will be indexed more rapidly.

So if this makes you think, why not post in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, so we can discuss this in detail?

ib said...

I may well do that, Chuck.

I have a lot to learn. CSEs and indexing not withstanding, I have issues too in the switch from Blogger's old editor to its 'new' one. Another can of worms.

Makyaj Cantam said...

Hi Nitecruzr,

I switched to custom domain using your A and CNAME instructions. My domain is from Godaddy.

I waited a few days before writing this but now both my old blogspot address and the new custom url shows up in the search results (same identical posts are displayed from both urls!!)

What to do for this, do you have any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

My custom domain is www.emlakgurmesi.com
My redirected blogspot address is cdsyapi.blogspot.com

Chuck said...

Makyaj,

Here I yet again suggest that you ask this in a question in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, so we may diagnose the problem, interactively.

MP3 said...

Chuck,
Need your advice,
During domain migration from blogspot to custom domain, should i continue to post or wait until the migration completed? I'm planning to migrate my blogspot domain which is currently have 1.7k total post and 30k uv daily. I know there will be a drop of traffic but is this needed to migrate to custom domain?

Chuck said...

I know there will be a drop of traffic but is this needed to migrate to custom domain?

You're starting a new URL, which has no reputation, a page rank of 0.0000, and no residual traffic. With the reputation in the old BlogSpot URL, and resulting traffic directed to the new URL, the reputation for the new URL will build up faster than with a new blog that is completely unknown. But you will see a drop in traffic - and yes, this is needed.

The more that you post during migration, the faster the blog will recover. Post heavier.

By MelCole of PA said...

Hello Mr.Chuck, thanks so much of the thread: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/blogger/thread?tid=32b398c065f0565c&hl=en&fid=32b398c065f0565c0004896ae0820430 And I got to read your site. There's so much of things here that I really want to know. I am in the same situation too, I just migrated to my a new cutom domain from blogspot.com domain. Man, this means I should be patient in getting back my traffic that I had before. I'm so lack in patience, huhuhu :) I shall book mark this page.

Laura said...

That article answered all my questions! Thank you , Thank you, Thank you!

Michael Sargent said...

Chuck, many thanks for this and your help in resolving my problem quickly!! Nice to know you are out there!!
Bubaqulishus.com

Fashion By He said...

hi ib,
i have recently made the switch to a .com from a blogger, waited the 3 days, got the in transition message, and now that the 3 days are over, i am now getting a 404 not found error message. what do i do now? also do you have tips or a step by step tips of things to do once the .com website is working? obviously i need all blogs that have my site on their blog list to update? but are there any other tips?
Thanks
He

e Tips Library said...

I have shifted my Blogger blog (blogs-earning.blogspot.com) to custom domain www.etipslibrary.com. Do i have to submit my site (www.etipslibrary.com) to Webmaster tools ? because currently i didnt submit my new custom domain sitemap but my new custom domain is being indexed by Google.

Chuck said...

Tips,

Whenever you change the URL of the blog - whether you publish to a different BlogSpot URL, or publish to a non BlogSpot URL, you have to make a new GWT entry. Many external services will require similar changes.

dr.obieford3rd online said...

Hello. I purchased my custom domain today (1/21/2011) through blogger, but I did not receive the "in transition" advice. Should I wait a day or two to see if the message will appear? As of now, when I click 'view blog,' it takes me right to my ".blogspot.com" blog. It does not give the "in transition" notice. I have checked numerous times to be sure my custom domain was purchased, and it was. I have the order #. Please help. Thank you.

Anish Sangamam said...

very well explained :)
do you have articles which explain complete process from buying a custom domain from godaddy and then doing all the dns settings and other settings.

And do i need to change the url in webmaster tools,feedburner and other please give links so that i can get the idea

Chuck said...

Anish,

I'll suggest that you plan the setup process properly.

Gunja said...

Thanx for your nice article, but i want to ask how much time it will take to be re-indexed my blog naukriblog.com

Chuck said...

Gunja,

Predicting how long the reindexing will take, for any given blog, is impossible to predict. What we can predict though is that it will take longer, if you don't aggressively manage the reindexing.

Vidya Sury said...

Hi nitecruzr, you've become my favorite guy in the last couple of days. I have a question that might seem stupid.

Yesterday I registered a custom domain name for my blog http://google-n-i-share-a-birthday.blogspot.com. My new domain name is http://www.vidyasury.com. I got this via the easy-peasy wizard in Blogger. It seems thats all there is to it after I've paid the $10. So I also created a custom email under the new domain. Then I thought I'd get an information overload on the forums.

My burning question is this: Will I continue to own http://google-n-i-share-a-birthday.blogspot.com ? Or will it become available for someone else to register? I want to keep it. So what do I do?

Gunja said...

Dear Chuck

I had a very reputed blog www.currentvacancy.blogspot.com since 2007 in lat april 11 i changed my blogspot to custom domain www.naukriblog.com after changin i got allmost doubled traffic for 2-3 days but after that my traffic gradually started to decrease and after a week i lost my all traffics and search reputations, only i am getting my feed traffics, when i submitted for reconsideration to google i got reply that some or more pages of my site is violating google webmst guidlines, then i have deleted my all the pages and post some news pages and submitted for reconsideration but got the same anwered, now what to do, my site is getting indexed but not getting search reputation some posts are indexed some are not, i am confused please help me to sort out my problem please thanks your sir

Chuck said...

Gunja,

You have a problem with your DNS addresses, to start. We really should discuss this, after you start a discussion in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.

Swaroop The King said...

Hai Chuck really amazing Article...
But i am suffering with another strange problem...
my blog follower are not immediately getting my posts updats to their blog dashboard...
i used to post 40posts per day...
my bloh domain is www.swarooptheking.net
please help me from this problem...
Thanks in advance :-)

sardar ali naqshbandi said...

hello chuck actually i am not understanding the posts matter that old post url or new domain url please help me how can i remove my old post url's from web and how i publish new??
and 1 thing more i am using webmaster tools and analystics ,
and i am going to add my url in webmasters and, analystics and feed burner is this is a right way or i have to stay with my old url webmaster tools and analytics data??
please reply me soon i am waiting

Habiba. J said...

I will be purchasing my custom domain my blogger url now is modernbeauty21.blogspot.com and I want to change it to styleseekersguide,com. Will I lose any of my old followers and will they be able to read my posts and will the new url redirect them to my blog?

Dan said...

Hi Chuck,

Thanks for following up to my question last night in the blogger forum (drays1998). After reading this post, I have noticed that my traffic is slowly (very slowly) making it's way back up. You've got a ton of great advice throughout your blog. I'm glad to be a new follower.

Chinmay said...

Thanks, very useful post. I've purchased the name of my blog 'ours-funarena' as a custom domain just a week back. So, basically it changes from 'ours-funarena.blogspot.com' to 'ours-funarena.com'. Traffic is not affected much. But my pagerank of 2 has come down to zero yesterday. Should I worry about it?

Ryan Jennings said...

Great post Chuck, thanks for that. I'm wondering if you can help me. I tried to change a blogger post URL to increase SEO for a particular term, but now the original blogger URL doesn't work. How do I restore again? When I import the original blog post, a number is appended to the URL.

Original URL with link juice http://www.tweet2eat.co.nz/2011/04/opera-kitchen-cafe-hastings.html

Desired URL for SEO http://www.tweet2eat.co.nz/2011/04/hastings-cafe-opera-kitchen.html

Crappy Blogger Generated URL:
http://www.tweet2eat.co.nz/2011/04/hastings-cafe-opera-kitchen_2397.html

How do I make the above Crappy Blogger Generated URL back to the original URL ?

Any help greatly appreciated!

Ryan

Chuck Croll said...

Ryan,

If you want the original URL back, you're going to have to recover the deleted post - and update from there.

Never delete a post, to simply clear the content, hoping to publish the same URL - you cannot re publish to the same URL.

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2012/01/retrieving-postid-to-recover-deleted.html

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2006/09/duplicate-post-be-careful.html

Dale JaneƩ said...

Thank you, this is so helpful. I'm going through this right now with my blog

~Dale
www.savvyspice.com

Rabbanit Ruth Alfasi said...

As always, really helpful post and i'm still having to read all your links in it - but question. I'm confused about google analytics vs webmaster tools when moving to a custom domain. when i set mine up at my blogspot address under webmaster, all was fine, but then i started using analytics. to link them, i always end up with a msg that one (either the .org or the blogspot) is no longer associated with my webmaster (or analytics) acct. I can't them to be associated simultaneously. should I care? and if not, which should i use, ie should i use the code for my blogspot acct in webmaster pasted into my header code, or should i have the code from the .org account?

thanks very much. very confusing and any answer would be very much appreciated.
ruth.
www.yeshivathamekubalim.org

Amelia's SmartyPlants said...

I'm stuck. My domain is hosted with 1&1. I tried to enter the verification code & I got a "too many characters" error. Any ideas.

Thanks

DaisyGr said...

thank you for your help!

vk sheyad said...

Nice article....Thanks I just changed my blog http://pschunt.blogspot.in to http://www.pschunt.com

Amanda Williamson said...

Thank you very much for this much needed blogpost. I have moved from amandawilliamsoncounselling.blogspot.com to amandawilliamsoncounselling.co.uk and have seen a huge drop in traffic all of a sudden, 5 days later. I'd better get posting :-/

Remy Cruz said...

I'm glad that I found you! I just change the url on my blog, and I'm freaking out about all the things that are happening right now... At least after reading your post I can understand the process! you just gain a new reader.

Thank you!

JASWINDER KAUR said...

Very interesting and informative post. Thanks for helping those, who want knowledge on this Topic.
Two weeks ago I changed the domain for my weight Loss Plan Blog and after two days all of sudden there was no traffic at all. And then no keywords were appearing.
Today only few visits and hope for after reading your post that it will be fine.
Please can you suggest anything, which I can do to bring my lost traffic back?

Thanks

Anita said...

Thank you so much for your help.
I have quoted you in my Post-
http://www.anitaexplorer.com/2014/09/blogspot-to-own-domain-name.html

Do let me know what you feel :)

Oluwasegun Abe said...

Thanks for your help. I have just moved my Business Ideas blog to custom domain but it is showing error whenever I try to access it with without www. What do I do?

Chuck Croll said...

Oluwasegun,

I see that you started a topic in the forum, 3 days ago. I answered you, too.