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Blogger Users: Should You Use a Custom Domain?

Posted by on 2nd Jun 2008 | 8 comments

One of the great features of Blogger is the ability to map a custom domain to your blog: this enables you to use a top level domain (www.YOUR-BLOG.com) while taking advantage of free blog hosting, unlimited bandwidth and the ability to customize your template in almost any way you choose.

But would using a custom domain for your Blogger blog be the right decision for you?

In this post, I’ll weigh up the pros and cons of using a custom domain with Blogger to help you decide if your blog would benefit from this change.

The pros and cons of using a custom URL with Blogger

While having your own unique URL may seem beneficial, there are also reasons why you may not want to upgrade your Blog*Spot sub-domain.

To help you get an overview of how domain mapping will affect your blog, here are some of the main points to consider:

Who can use a custom domain with Blogger?

Blogger’s custom domain service is available to any registered Blogger user who uses the “layouts” style of template. It’s not available for those using “classic” templates, nor do Blogger have plans to make this available for those using such designs.

This means that if you use a classic template, you would first need to switch over to the newer widgetized layouts before considering using a custom domain.

Pros:

  • If you’re already using a widgetized layout (or don’t mind switching over to this format of template), you can change your Blog*Spot subdomain over to a custom URL easily, without having to alter your template.

Cons:

  • Those who have heavily customized their classic Blogger template, or are publishing by FTP to theri own domain will have a much more difficult time switching their existing template to one which is compatible with a custom domain.

How much does it cost?

Associating a top level domain to your blog is the only service which Blogger users need to pay for. This is because the domain name will be provided by a third party service, not Blogger (or Google) themselves.

At the time of writing, you can purchase a top level domain through Blogger for only $10 per year. This works out to be much cheaper than self-hosting a blog with WordPress or Moveable Type as there is no need to purchase additional hosting too.

If you already own your own domain name, you can associate this with your Blogger hosted blog at no extra cost (unless your domain provider charges for accessing the DNS).

Pros:

  • Cost Effective: $10 a year is quite a bargain for a professional domain name and blog, especially when you consider that Blogger will continue to host your blog (with unlimited bandwidth) for free!

Cons:

  • Yearly Renewal: Once you set up a custom domain, you will need to renew your domain name each year (or pay for a few years in advance).
  • Loss of backlinks: If reverting back to Blog*Spot hosting: If you have used a custom domain for some time, backlinks will point to your custom URL. So if you decide to switch back to your free Blog*Spot subdomain, you will lose many of the links which you have built up during this time.

What happens to existing URLs and blog posts

When you set up a custom domain, all Blog*Spot sub-domain URLs will be automatically redirected to their corresponding custom domain locations.

Before I linked a custom domain to my own blog, my URL was http://blogger-buster.blogspot.com. If you type this URL into your browser, or use a link to an older page such as http://blogger-buster.com/2008/06/complete-list-of-blogger-widgets.html (opens in a new window), you will automatically be redirected to this same page on my custom domain instead.

However, when you first upgrade to a custom domain, your new URL will appear as a completely new site to search engines and Technorati. At first, your custom URL will appear to have a PageRank of 0 (which should be updated quickly enough during the next PR update. Also, you would need to register your custom URL as a new blog with Technorati; none of your existing backlinks or Technorati rank will automatically apply to your new domain.

Pros:

  • Automatic redirection of posts and backlinks: Blogger will automatically redirect any traffic to your new custom domain. You don’t need to set this up yourself, nor pay extra for this service.

Cons:

  • Existing rankings are temporarily inaccurate: For a few months, your PR and Technorati backlinks will not be applied to your new URL. Over time, readers will begin to link using your new blog URL instead, which will contribute towards your new Technorati ranking and ensure your PageRank returns to normal.

How to set up a custom domain with Blogger

Blogger does make it easy for us to use custom domains with our hosted blogs, especially if you choose to purchase a domain from Blogger’s dedicated service (rather than purchasing independently).

This video demonstrates how easy it is to set up your custom domain through Blogger’s easy to use interface:

How to use a custom domain with Blogger

If you would prefer more control over how the configuration of your custom domain, or if you already own a domain name that you would like to link to your blog, you may like to read these alternative tutorials:

  • How to set up your Blogger custom domain (Blogger Buster)
  • Blogger Custom Domain: Best setup for improving PageRank (Blog Bloke)

What do you think?

Most people consider that a blog which uses a custom URL seems more professional than one which is hosted on a sub-domain. However, there are many arguments against this too!

Many of the most successful Blogger powered blogs continue to use a Blog*Spot sub0-domain for their URL; their PageRank, authority and overall presence have not been affected by this in the slightest!

So what do you think about custom domains for Blogger? Do you use a custom domain yourself, or are you happy using a Blog*Spot sub-domain?


Amanda is a freelance blogger and web/blog designer. She writes about Blogger at www.BloggerBuster.com and maintains several other blogs on various subjects.

8 comments - Leave a reply
  • Posted by PublicRecordsGuy on 2nd Jun 2008

    I think it's a bad idea. You don't own the blog with blogger or blogspot. Let's say Google doesn't like something you posted, your ads, etc. They can turn it off with the flick of a switch. I don't know of any cases of this happening, but in reality it could. I notice one benefit of using the blogger platform and that is that it seems that those blogs get a slight bump in pagerank. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but my first generic blog for publicrecords was on a blogspot domain and it quickly received a PR3 and my current blog, self-hosted wordpress has a PR2. The quality in the new one is hundreds of times better than the old and the links, etc. NO other explanation really.

  • Posted by amy winehouse on 26th Jun 2008

    Great article, many thanks.

    I was just about to register my domain till I read that blogger do it for you.

    I also think if you use blogger on a custom domain your serps improves so much as technical issues are sorted by blogger and the domain means it becomes more professional then a diary type of blog like millions of blogs.

    Great article.

  • Posted by dannyiblog on 10th Jul 2008

    I'm not agree with this custom domain name for Blogger.com. :roll:. Here the moral story of one of this blog that get 1 million visitor per month. Someone was make sabotage on his blog then Google terminate immediately the blog without giving notice to the owner.He cannot make any new post to his blog.Then he claimed to blogger.com.What the Google reason,the blog is catergory as spam. Yeah i'm also agree what the PublicRecordGuy say too….So better go for wordpress than blogger of custom domain. :mrgreen:

  • Posted by clark jay on 10th Aug 2008

    I've recently bought a domain for my blogger blog. Everything is okay except for one thing. The google ads and some parts are not showing up. It shows up when i am previewing it in blogger but when in the said custom domain, It never does. Please help.

  • Posted by domain registrar com on 26th Sep 2008

    It's very important to be owner of Your blog domain. It can really help if Your blog will became popular it can realy bring some profit. My blog is visited by 500 people daily and google ads are enought for server and few pack of beer ;)

  • Posted by james on 9th Apr 2011

    SO how do i do this through blogger? i think i want to try
    My recent post NEW article soon

  • Posted by David on 30th Apr 2011

    I just want to know if it's any easier to edit your layout if you purchase a domain through blogger. I am willing to put in the time, effort, and money of doing it through Adobe Dreamweaver and paying for a domain through godaddy, but $10 a year for a simple, easy setup is nice too.

    I'm not sure what to do :)
    My recent post Having a Side Hustle

  • Posted by Money Game on 18th May 2011

    I wish the Youtube video is about how to setup a custom domain which already own. Buying it is not big deal since Blogger take care of all settings. It's not rocket science.