Sunday, November 8, 2009

Moving to a Custom Domain

When you decide for sure that you will switch for a custom domain, the next thing is to plan and implement the move. Given below is a brief checklist for the domain transition process.

  1. Purchase the Domain (if you don’t own already) – If you use the Blogger wizard the purchase (and setup) is quite trivial. But if the top level domain you want is not provided by the wizard, then you will have to purchase it from an external registrar.
  2. Reconfigure External Services – It is most likely that you will have several external services such as visitor meters, feeds etc installed on your blog. Update the respective accounts of those services to reflect the change of blog URL. Some examples for such services are:
    1. AdSense (if you have limited the URLs which can publish ads)
    2. Google Webmaster Tools – re-submit the blog and sitemaps
    3. FeedBurner or such feeds
    4. Technorati, Alexa and other such rating services
    5. Google Analytics, SiteMeter, Cluster Maps and similar visitor meters
  3. Inform your Readers – Even after you switch to a custom domain, Blogger ensures that your previous BlogSpot URL will be redirected to the new domain. Nevertheless, inform your readers about the forthcoming change, say, by writing a post in advance.
  4. Effect the Transition – Go the Settings -> Publishing section on your blog’s admin console and enable the custom domain. If you purchase the custom domain via Blogger, setting up your blog to use it is a no-brainer as Blogger will do the required technical configurations for you. However, if you buy it from a third party, then you will have to manage it yourself.
Last, but certainly not least, is the most important question; what will happen to your existing PageRank (PR) because of this move? You will have a temporary drop in PageRank as your custom domain is new to Google. But the good news is that you will very quickly recover the PR as Blogger will setup a 301 Redirect – Moved Permanently on its servers. (Update: See this review of an actual domain change to learn more about PR recovery)

The transfer of PR can happen as quickly as within a couple of weeks as confirmed by a Google employee on the Google Webmaster Help forum.

Custom Domains - The Real Blogger Status