Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Custom Domains for BlogSpot

Starting your own blog on Blogger is pretty simple. Just follow three steps and you are ready to go. You post some interesting entries and then you want to share it with your friends and family. That’s when you fire an email saying “hey, check out my new blog at”.

Did you ever wonder why is it that your blog URL ends with and not just .com? Did you ever wonder why is it that some of your friends have blog URLs that looks like In this post, we’ll see why.

The default URL assigned by Blogger when you create a blog lies in the domain. A domain in Internet jargon here is a set of names. For example, the .com domain is the entire set of Internet names that end with .com and the domain represents a sub set of this bigger set. In technical terms, is called a sub-domain. (Each sub-domain can be further sub divided into smaller sub-domain.) This system of names used on the Internet is called the Domain Name System or the DNS in short. The DNS is a distributed, hierarchical system that governs the way Internet names (or domain names) are assigned and also how computers work with those names.

You cannot arbitrarily pick a domain name and use it because that name must first be registered with an authority that controls the particular domain or sub-domain. The .com is called a Generic Top Level Domain and it is controlled by an organization called the ICANN or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Similarly, we can say that is a sub-domain (under .com) for which Blogger has acquired the right to use and maintain. Therefore, while Blogger has no problem in assigning the URL as the default URL, they cannot assign the name because they have no authority over the .com domain. This is where the custom domains come in to play.

What Blogger refers to as a custom domain is a domain that does NOT end with If you want your blog to have the URL, first you must acquire the right to use that domain name. For Blogger blogs this can be done via Blogger itself as described here. Otherwise you can purchase it from a third party domain registrar. Domain registrars are organization accredited by the ICANN to manage Generic Top Level Domains on its behalf. (There is another type of top level domains called County Code Top Level Domains which are managed by the naming authorities in those respective countries)

Once you purchase a custom domain such as, then you can instruct Blogger to publish your blog using that custom domain. But before you decide to go for a custom domain, make sure that you analyze the pros and cons of custom domains. In follow up articles we’ll take a look at why you should use custom domains and what things you should worry about.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

HOWTO: Customize Post Page Labels

This is an answer to a question I got from a reader. The question had two things; firstly "How do I change the 'comments' label to something like 'reviews'?" and secondly "How can I change the label 'Posted by' to something different?"

There's something common about both of these questions. They both are Post Page labels (the word labels is used to mean string literals and not the labels used to categorize posts). Customizing these strings to something of your own is pretty simple. Just open the Blog widgets configuration dialog and change the strings as you like.

The illustration below is about how you can change the default comments label to "reactions".

Saturday, October 3, 2009

AdSense FAQ

Here is a list of some common questions I get from readers regarding AdSense ads.

How do you place AdSense ads on Blogger?

Four methods are available to place AdSense ads on Blogger blogs. They are:

  1. The AdSense Gadget - From the Page Elements view, if you select an Add Gadget option in any of the sections, the list of gadgets provide an AdSense gadget. You can easily configure the ad options from the dialog box and place the ad unit in any place where gadgets can be dragged and dropped. (See How to Add More Gadgets to increase the ad placement options)
  2. Ads Between Posts - The Posts gadget has an option to display ads between posts. From the Page Elements window, go to Blog Posts -> Edit and select Show Ads Between Posts.
  3. The Monetize Tab - This is more recent addition which offers a convenient way of adding ads. Go to the Monetize tab on your blog's admin console and select the required display option
  4. HTML/Javascript Widgets - This is the most flexible method of adding ads which gives you more control over how to place them. Simply copy the ad code from your AdSense accout and use an HTML/Javascript widget to place it anywhere you want.
How many adds can I display at a time?

AdSense has a limitation of only 3 ads of one type per page. That means you can have up to 3 ad units and 3 link units per page.

I enabled Ads Between Posts. Now my sidebar ads are gone?

This can happen due to the limit of 3 ads of one type per page. If you have configured your Posts widget to show 4 or more posts on the homepage, then the Ads Between Posts option will consume the maximum of 3 ad units on the home page. If the sidebar loads after the posts column (which is usually the case when the sidebar is on the right), then the ads on the sidebar will not be loaded ad they will exceed the ad limit per page.

My blog shows irrelevant ads. Why?

There can be several reasons for this.

Firstly, if your blog is new, then it takes some time for Google to properly index it and understand the relevant type of ads.

Secondly, if your blog is not focussed on a particular topic, it becomes hard for AdSense to decide which type of ads are relevant.

Thirdly, even if your blogs is focused on a particular niche, that niche may not have enough relevant ads. The focus of this blog itself is an example for such a case.

Fourthly, due to the geo-targeting of ads (i.e. serving ads based on the locality of visitors), you might not see relevants ads on your blog. But visitors from the other parts of the world miget see more relevant ads than what you see.

There can be more reasons. But the above are the most common ones for irrelevant ads.

My earnings are random. Why?

See Fluctuations in AdSense Earnings

How can I optimze my ads?

See AdSense Tips for some useful tipe on making more out of your ads.