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Cloning Your Blog

Occasionally, we see evidence of wistful thinking in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?.
How do I make an exact copy of my blog, to another URL?
This should be a simple enough task - but it's not.

Before planning to clone a blog, using exact content, design, and layout, one should always bear in mind the search engines, and the possibility that both a clone may be subject to search engine duplicated content penalty - which may affect both blogs. Search engines want to index one copy of everything. When there are multiple copies of a given post on the Internet, all copies must be treated with suspicion.

When planning any cloning operation, we must consider the essential elements of a blog.
  • Accessories and Gadgets. There is currently no easy way to copy XML based accessories from one blog to another.
  • Blog Address. This is unique for each blog, and cannot be cloned. All blog content, which refers to the blog address (URL) must be updated. Internal links must be edited, to point to other articles within the target blog. External references to the blog may or may not need to be updated, to point to the new address.
  • Comments and Posts. Blog "articles" written by blog members and visitors can be copied from the source blog to the target blog, using the Export / Import wizards. Note one known caution, which should be observed when Importing content.
  • Layout and Template. The blog template can be copied from the source blog to the target blog, using the Template backup and restore wizards.
  • Blog Reputation. As with any new blog, this will start from scratch. All external links and references - whether the search engines, or the user community in general - must start from zero. This will be vaguely similar to the process of renaming a blog - with the exception of the reputation of both the source and target blogs, as noted above.

Some people, mindful of the inability to copy an XML based accessory / gadget, will suggest extracting the HTML rendered equivalent, from a blog source listing - then creating an HTML gadget in the target blog, using the extracted HTML from the source blog. This is a possible workaround, with several downsides.
  • This will be a manual and repetitive process, one gadget at a time.
  • Any gadgets, copied this way, will be based on HTML, and can't be maintained using an XML wizard.
  • The content of any gadgets, copied this way, will be static.

One specific accessory, Followers, is a part of both the source blog, and the Followers community - the collective profiles owned by all of the Followers. The Followers gadget simply cannot be copied, from one blog to another.

Other than the exceptions of the Accessories, and of the Followers community and gadget, almost any Blogger blog can be cloned - with the proper planning and understanding.

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