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Sunday, November 03, 2013

Custom Redirects, And The Mobile Template Redirect, Are Not Compatible

We've recently seen a few reports about problems with custom redirects, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.
I want to redirect my blog URL to a static home page. With a redirect in place, mobile computer users can't access my blog. Mobile browsers display an error, mentioning too many redirects.

This problem is being reported by owners of blogs both published to BlogSpot, and to non BlogSpot domains.

When published to a non BlogSpot domain, the problem is present even for domains properly setup.

Some advice, given in the forum, suggests use of forwarding, instead of referral, as a solution. This advice is a problem, for 2 reasons.
  • Forwarding cannot be used with blogs published to BlogSpot.
  • Forwarding is not a good solution for custom domain publishing.


(Update 2014/11/01): By adding one additional custom redirect, you can have a redirected mobile home page. Even a different mobile home page, if you like.


For blogs published to BlogSpot, there are just two choices.
  1. Disable the redirected home page, and do without the custom home page.
  2. Enable the custom redirected main page, and do without mobile access to the blog.

For blogs published to a custom domain, there are, supposedly, three choices.
  1. Disable the redirected home page, and do without the custom home page.
  2. Enable the custom redirected main page, and do without mobile access to the blog.
  3. Use forwarding, instead of referral, to redirect the domain to the blog.

Forwarding comes in two versions, with differing effects from the two versions. Neither version of forwarding is beneficial, to Blogger blogs.
  • DNS forwarding results in the blog being indexed under the BlogSpot URL, by the search engines. The blog's readers will be able to use the (forwarded) domain URL, to access the blog - but all search engine references will mention the BlogSpot URL.

    With some access to the blog through the BlogSpot URL, and other access through the domain URL, blog reputation will drop, similar to blogs newly published to a new URL. Both reputation and traffic will do the same.
  • Frame forwarding results in the blog being visible within an IFrame. No indexing of the blog, by the search engines, will take place, with blog contents visible inside an iframe. Search engine reputation will drop even worse with DNS forwarding.
Not all registrars offer both versions of forwarding, so you may have to take what they offer - and accept the resulting loss to the blog.

As a workaround, until the problem is fixed, you can return to the previous technique for making a static home page.

Basically, blog owners may have to choose between having a custom home page (for desktop access), and having the blog accessible through mobile browsers (for mobile access) - or using the workaround. And everybody has to wait, patiently, until Blogger Engineering can come up with a better solution - to make custom redirects, and the mobile browser redirect, work together.

Dude, hit me with a comment!

Ryan Stefiuk said...

I have been search in all over for a fix. Haven't found one yet. I'm glad to see it's not me who's going crazy thinking there's something wrong. When did the changes occur that cause the redirect loop? They must be pretty recent. Great site by the way!

aep said...

Thank you so much for your site! Thank you for putting these issues in simple english and in a comprehensive manner!

St Luke's Memorial Episcopal Church said...

I'm just encountering this problem with a new site - has there been a fix to this issue since 2013 or will i run into the same problem if I create a static home page?

Chuck Croll said...

Hi St Luke's,

Thanks for the question.

It's not a fix - but they enhanced the custom redirect feature to support "?" based URL suffixes.

You simply add a second redirect, to support the mobile URL - if you want.
From: /?m=1
To: /p/static-home-page.html?m=1

You could even redirect the mobile URL to a different static page. This seems like a better solution, it gives you more choice.
From: /?m=1
To: /p/static-home-page-2.html?m=1

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2014/11/custom-redirects-and-mobile-template.html

St Luke's Memorial Episcopal Church said...

Thank you! I very much appreciate the update and help!