An Important Update

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If you did not use a Blogger / Google account when you Followed this blog, years ago, you are probably not Following now . During the past...

Friday, January 02, 2015

Using A Custom Domain Outside Blogger

From time to time, we see questions about using a Blogger / Google custom domain, with publishing services outside Blogger / Google.

Some Blogger blog owners want to combine their Blogger blogs, with non Blogger blogs and websites - and others want simply to move their blogging activity to non Blogger services. And a few think ahead, and wonder how adding or moving to another service will affect the ability of their existing readers to find their blog, and / or their ability to get new readers.

As with using a Blogger blog with an existing non Google domain, this is not a simple project - and to do this properly will require research - and well informed decisions. Some assistance can be provided by Blogger or in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger - and other portions of the project will require advice or instruction from the support groups for the new service.

Start by deciding how the domain is to be used, with the new website.

Consider The Options

There are several ways to add / substitute a non Blogger blog / website, in a domain purchased for use with a Blogger blog.

  1. Transfer domain registration, to the registrar, as required by the new hosting service.
  2. Update DNS for the domain, to use name servers, as required by the new hosting service.
  3. Update DNS for the domain, to use only addresses pointing to the new hosting service.
  4. Update DNS for the domain, to use additional addresses pointing to the new hosting service.

Which of these options, that you are able to use, will depend upon requirements of the new hosting service.

WordPress provides detailed instructions, in WordPress Support: Coming from Blogger?. Not all hosting services will be so helpful, however.

Retain / Transfer Existing Traffic

Options #1 - #3 will require you to start a new URL, published by the new hosting service. Blogger will not permit blogs to be used as gateways. You'll have to get your new blog / website indexed, from the bottom up - with no automatic traffic from your Blogger blog.

Any followers or readers, that are associated with your Blogger blog, will have to be redirected to your new blog / website using visual instructions - or at best a clickable link, in a stub blog. You may be able to redirect subscribers - if the new host offers a compatible newsfeed.

You probably won't be able to publish your stub Blogger blog to the domain, though - so chances are, any of these options will leave you starting over - with no instructions to your existing followers and readers, excepting what you provide before moving the domain.

Option #4 will require you to add an additional host, in the domain with your existing Blogger blog. If your new hosting service supports, you may be able to make your Blogger blog and new blog / website equal members of a domain based cluster.

For a domain cluster to be really effective, you will need to maintain both the existing Blogger blog, and the new non Blogger website as separate entities - and have unique content, regularly updated for each.

Access The Current Registrar Dashboard

Whether you transfer domain hosting, or update the domain, you will need access to the current registrar's dashboard.

  • For domains purchased using Blogger / Google "Buy a domain ..." or similar services, access to the registrar's dashboard will require access to the Google Apps / Control Panel utility.
  • For domains purchased directly from the registrar, access to the registrar's dashboard will require an account / password that (hopefully) was setup when the domain was purchased.

You will need access to the registrar's dashboard to obtain the EPP code, required by Option #1 - or to make changes to the domain, required by Options #2 - #4.

You May Need Google Apps Access

Most projects - but not all - which involve custom domains require Google Apps access - and establishing Google Apps access is the most common concern, when access to the registrar's dashboard is needed.

  1. Get access to Google Apps.
  2. That will give you access to the registrar's dashboard.
  3. Retrieve the EPP code, or update the DNS addresses per instructions of the additional / new blogging host service - depending upon which Option you are taking.

In some cases, and if you are considering multiple non Google services, choice of what new service you go with may start with identifying migration / setup options provided by each different service.

Regain Followers, Readers, Subcribers, Search Engine Reputation - And Traffic

A domain moved to use outside Blogger will be similar to a new blog / website - with some characteristics of a renamed Blogger blog, and / or a newly published custom domain blog. Just as all Blogger blogs are unique, so will be any domain migration.

You may consider moving existing blog content, to the new service. This will require planning, and testing.

Both the actual movement of the content - and preventing Blogger spam classification, if you move the content - will be important.

You need to understand all of these issues, to regain traffic sources. Blog / website traffic is a complex subject.

Respect Your Existing Audience

If the question of existing / new followers, subscribers, and readers, and search engine reputation, resulting from the move, is a serious issue with you, you may want to plan your move from Blogger with great care.

You won't be able to blatantly redirect your existing readers to your new website - you will need a carefully planned dual website publishing strategy.

Start With The Support Group For The Chosen Service

If you are going to host a blog or website outside Blogger / Google, you must start with instructions from the support group for the new blog / website. DNS is a key issue, in any domain migration - whether BlogSpot to non BlogSpot, or non BlogSpot to non Google.

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Occasionally, a #Blogger blog owner decides to move their blog to a non Google website. Starting with advice in Blogger Help Forum, the owner learns that many necessary decisions, related to a hosting change, require support from the new website host.

Not every blog owner realises why setting up and publishing a Blogger blog is so simple, until they have to make decisions about hosting outside Google.

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