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Blogger Custom Domain: Best Setup for Optimizing your Blog Pagerank!

Ok Blogspot Users — Stop the Whining and Move Over to Custom Domains NOW!

Blog Bloke has exciting news for all his Blokesters and I’m so juiced that I had to take a pill. This tutorial will not only show you how to properly set up your Custom Domain in New Blogger and why you should do it, but it will also explain how to set it up with or without the “www” subdomain, why you should get rid of your old subdomain and how to do it without breaking any of your backlinks either.

I continually hear Blogger users lament that they regret ever starting their blog on the Blogger platform. Personally I can understand this because I used to be one of them. But ever since New Blogger came along with it’s robust code and flexibility I’ve come to realize that with a few hacks and some elbow grease it can be just as good as most of the Wordpress blogs out there.

I am a user of both platforms and each has its own strengths and weakness. Wordpress has a definite advantage with its plethora of plugins that are available, but with a little creative hacking I’ve found that New Blogger can accomplish much of the same thing that WP has to offer.

Down the road as coders develop more widgets (plugins) for New Blogger the differences between the two platforms could become even less a bone of contention. And with New Blogger’s new cool features like video and news widgets (see my far-right sidebar) it makes for an interesting matchup.

Nonetheless, I know that hardcore Wordpress users will never be converted and will continue to snub their nose down on New Blogger. But that is not the reason for this post.

What I want to get across is many of the features that New Blogger users envy over Wordpress are no longer an issue, and one of the big ones is using a Custom Domain name.

For those of you who do not know what I mean by a Custom Domain, I am referring to purchasing your own dot com address, such as I have — www.instabloke.com, instead of using the blogspot address www.blogbloke.com.

The custom domains feature is hosted FREE of charge by New Blogger and it never ceases to amaze me how many Blogspot users out there that are still using their original blogspot address. Big mistake!

One of the main reasons I keep hearing why they don’t want to switch over is because they are afraid of losing their inbound links or pagerank. Well friends, that is what post is all about because I am going to show you how to set up your own custom domain and not break your inbound links.

I know that this works because the Bloke has in fact already done it for this blog. Believe it or not it’s true! I’m also happy to report that I’ve finally resolved my DNS troubles with my custom domain.

The other night I stayed up to the wee hours of the morning working with GoDaddy engineer ‘Art’ and we figured out how to get my custom domain working with or without the www subdomain, as well as keep all my existing inbound links from my old address(s).

So what are the Benefits of using a custom domain you might ask? Well, rather than repeat myself just read my other post 6 Reasons Why You Should be using a Custom Domain Name for your Blog and it will explain it all for you. Ok, have you read it yet? Good, now that I’ve convinced you let’s proceed to make the switch shall we?

Recently I was asking myself why does Alexa hate me? My odyssey started when I noticed my pal Mike over @ Twenty Steps blog score was almost as good as mine. That immediately got my competitive goat up, and digging a little deeper I noticed that he had a better Alexa rating than I did. So I decided to dig even deeper into the mysterious bowels of Alexa and find out why Alexa seemed to hate me so much.

Eventually I came across this Alexa faq

“Alexa’s traffic rankings are for top level domains only (e.g. domain.com). We do not provide separate rankings for subpages within a domain (e.g. www.domain.com/subpage.html) or subdomains (e.g. subdomain.domain.com) unless we are able to automatically identify them as personal home pages or blogs, like those hosted on Geocities and Tripod. If a site is identified as a personal home page or blog, its traffic ranking will have an asterisk (*) next to it: Personal Page Avg. Traffic Rank: 3,456*. Personal pages are ranked on the same scale as a regular domain, so a personal page ranked 3,456* is the 3,456th most popular page among Alexa users.”

No wonder Alexa hates me. The poor girl is confused!

Ok, that was enough to convince me to take immediate action, and that my little experiment using my blog subdomain was a big mistake (i.e. blog.instabloke.com).

Even though I was using a custom domain, by using the subdomain blog it was splitting my pagerank stats for the same reasons that blogspot users are also being hurt. Don’t believe me? Then take a look at these Alexa stats:

Notice that it doesn’t even give stats for my old blogspot address? Crikey, Alexa doesn’t even recognize my blog! It only shows Blogger’s stats.

So what we have learned so far? It is imperative that you get rid of your old blogspot address and/or subdomains and use your own custom domain instead.

By fixing my DNS settings I solved three major problems:

1. I got rid of the blog subdomain and I’m now using just the www subdomain (i.e. www.instabloke.com)

2. I also got it to work without the www subdomain (i.e. instabloke.com) just in case someone keys it into the browser incorrectly.

3. I kept all of my backlinks from my old subdomain blog as well as my old blogspot address so I won’t lose any of the links that you kind folks have given me. No links were broken and all of my older posts still work seamlessly just like it used to.

Ok, now try it out yourself. Click instabloke.com and you will see that it automatically redirects to blogblokedotcom.

Now try out my old blogspot address instabloke.blogspot.com and see what happens.

Cool eh? You will also notice that it works for all of my older posts as well, so anybody who has linked to me before will not be broken either.

Ok, now let’s get down to business and let me show you how I did it:

1. Look at the following pic in my GoDaddy DNS settings.

CNAME Record:

Notice how the www points to Google’s host address.

A Record:

See how the @ sign points to GoDaddy’s forwarding IP address (check with your own domain name registrar for theirs).

2. Next, see the pic below showing how I setup forwarding of my custom domain name to the old blogspot address:

3. Now look at the following pic and see how I setup Blogger to switch to my custom domain. You might want to wait 24 hours before doing this yourself to allow your DNS changes to propagate.

This is where it gets interesting. Check out my stats below in Google Webmaster Tools and see the difference it makes between using my old subdomain and the www subdomain. First, take a look at the old blog subdomain:

Now take a look at the old blogspot address pagerank:

Both are showing my pages having a low pagerank. Now compare that to the exact same site with only the www subdomain:

Notice how my pagerank has suddenly move up to medium? It’s the exact same blog, the exact same content and everything! Only the blog name was changed to the www subdomain.

WOW! I’m sure that Alexa will now love me and my pagerank should continue to grow as I get reindexed by the search engines.

Are you convinced now? For your sake I hope so. Google has done you a big favor by giving you the option to host your Custom Domain for FREE!

Optional:

One last thing. This might not apply to you but it will to some. Because I was using the subdomain blog, I had a unique problem. How can I get rid of it without also breaking all of my backlinks?

This is how I did it. I made another A Record with blog pointing to the same GoDaddy forwarding IP address like I did above:

So DO yourself a favor and move over to your own custom domain ASAP and watch your pagerank (and your self respect) improve dramatically.

Written June 25th, 2007 by | 227 Comments | Filed under: *Best Tips, Blog Tips, Blogging Tips, SEO Tips, Search Engine Tips, Tutorials , , , , , ,

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227 Responses to “Blogger Custom Domain: Best Setup for Optimizing your Blog Pagerank!”

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  1. 1
    Jason Heath Says:

    Thanks for this extremely helpful post, BB! I just followed your instructions on a brand new domain name (doublebassblog.org). One quick question–do I not have to mess with the nameservers in GoDaddy? I did last time, but everything got all messed up the last time I tried moving, so I’m not doing anything that you didn’t specifically post about.

  2. 2
    Blog Bloke Says:

    Hi Jason. You are very welcome.

    I would just stick to the instructions that I’ve given because it is tried and true… and above all it works!

  3. 3
    ReviewSaurus Says:

    Even I wonder that why people don’t make a switch to a top level domain when blogger is giving such a nice service and you are giving such a nice tutorial :)

  4. 4
    Blog Bloke Says:

    Beats me ;-)

  5. 5
    Mike Says:

    I wrote about improving Alexa rank the other week and it’s worked for me. Twenty Steps has gone from 369,523 to 158,146 in less than two months.

    The main points are:

    * Install the Alexa toolbar
    * Add the widget to your site
    * Regularly check your Alexa stats

  6. 6
    protesto Says:

    Bloke,

    I was using subdomain “blog” like your blog. Now I’m using http://www. I made exactly same steps like you wrote above. But when I try to open blog.imessengr.com, it show a an error message : “This website is temporarily unavailable, please try again later.” The A record for subdomain is not on Pending Status. I hope this is a temporary problem. Did you have the same problem ? When it last longer, it will cause my pages removed from google.

  7. 7
    Blog Bloke Says:

    Hi Protesto. If you followed my instructions exactly then it’s probably because the DNS settings have not fully propagated yet.

    Wait 24 hours and if still hasn’t resolved then you might want to contact your domain registrar to check it’s settings. Sometimes these things get stuck and need a little kick.

  8. 8
    Blog Bloke Says:

    Hmm. So Mike, if we scratch Alexa’s back, it will scratch ours? Doesn’t that lend credence to my belief all along that the blogosphere is indeed rigged. :)

    Thanks for the tip bro.

  9. 9
    Kuanyin Says:

    So I decided to scratch Alexa’s back and downloaded the toolbar..it wouldn’t work on Mozilla, only on IE, and I added the widget to the sidebar. I’ll let you know if my score goes up.

    The custom domain switch will have to wait til I have a webmistress help me out!

  10. 10
    Blog Bloke Says:

    I just want to say that I’m not an Alexa fan and the toolbar is considered data mining spyware by some antivirus software. It can also slow your browser significantly when using it, so I’m not advocating that anyone install the toolbar.

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