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Do you remember the post I wrote last month here on SITS? It covered how not to design your blog and even included a fab makeover for one lucky blogger.
Turns out that lucky winner was Jean from Mommy To Two Boys. Not only did I give her a brand new look, but I also helped her to change her URL to a custom domain name. In other words, what started out as http://www.mommytotwoboys.blogspot.com became http://www.mommytotwoboys.com.
Jean’s site is hosted Blogger, so her goal was to remove the .blogspot from her URL. She had purchased a new domain name from GoDaddy but was unsure about how to change it on her blog.
I often have this request from clients so I thought I’d share what I know about the process here on SITS.
There are a few ways to accomplish changing your domain name and each solution offers a slightly different end result. I’m going to be using Blogger as an example but it’s the same idea for WordPress.com, SquareSpace, and TypePad.
The quickest way to make the change is to simply forward the new domain name, e.g., BlogName.com, to the old name BlogName.blogspot.com. This can be done at the company where you bought your domain. The result will be that visitors who type BlogName.com into their browser will be redirected to BlogName.blogspot.com. The .blogspot will remain in their browser address field once they arrive.
Domain masking follows the same idea as above except that when the visitor arrives at your site using the BlogName.com address, they continue to see that name in their address bar. Visitors never see the actual domain name that has the .blogspot in it and they won’t know they’ve been forwarded to a .blogspot site. WARNING: This is actually bad for SEO. Search engines view this as 2 sites that have the exact same content. There is a chance that they will pick only one of the names to index — and it could be the .blogspot one that you weren’t wanting to use. Or they could block both names altogether. Another problem you might run into is other bloggers having trouble linking to your posts and your recent posts not showing up in CommentLuv.
This is the best way to use your custom domain name. Visitors will only see your custom name, the custom domain is registered with your blogging platform, search engines will view it as your actual blog name instead of the .blogspot name, and your links and CommentLuv will work using the custom name. However, domain mapping is a lengthier, trickier process to go through and it can take anywhere from 24 hours to up to 3 days to take effect.
There’s good news, though. Some of the main blogging platforms will not only sell you a custom domain name, they will also take care of some or all aspects of the Domain Mapping for you. Other companies don’t sell domain names but do provide detailed instructions.
I recommend using your blog platform’s services, instead of trying to figure out the process on your own.
Here’s a bit more background on changing your domain name according to the platform you might be using…
|Platform||Provided Service||On Your Own|
|Blogger||$10/yr to register your domain name through Blogger and let them map it for you. Video instructions on using this service from Blogger can be found here.||$12–$15/yr to register your domain at GoDaddy, HostGator, Network Solutions or a similar company.
GoDaddy instructions for mapping your custom domain name on Blogger can be found here.
|WordPress.com||$17/yr to register your custom domain name through WP.com AND an additional $12/yr for the domain mapping. Instructions are here.||$12–$15/yr to register your domain at GoDaddy, HostGator, Network Solutions or a similar company AND $12/yr from WP.com for domain mapping (even though you have to set it up yourself). Instructions are here.|
|SquareSpace||Squarespace does not offer domain name registration. You must purchase your domain through a registrar.||$12–$15/yr to register your domain at GoDaddy, HostGator, Network Solutions or a similar company. SquareSpace lists their preferred registrars here. Click on any of the registrar names on this list and SquareSpace provides step-by-step instructions for the entire process.|
|TypePad||TypePad does not offer domain name registration. You must purchase your domain through a registrar.||$12–$15/yr to register your domain at GoDaddy, HostGator, Network Solutions or a similar company. TypePad recommends you purchase your domain through GoDaddy or Network Solutions. They also provide step-by-step instructions for entire process for these and other registrars on their help site. GoDaddy instructions can be found here.|