At BlogHer on Saturday, I attended the technical session to find out a little more about working with Blogger. During this session, several women asked how to redirect their Typepad or Blogger blog to their own domain. This was a process I found confusing when I went through it, and I guess that's a common thing because when I told folks I'd done it with Blogger, many were curious and I fielded several questions on what to do. So, in my typically rambly fashion, here are
ThreeSeven's official instructions on How You Turn myblog.blogspot.com To www.myblog.com!
What you need:
A Blog. I assume this is done.
A Domain Name that you own, like www.myblog.com or www.thisblogsorocks.com. To buy a domain name, you need to go through a domain name provider. There are tons out there, and to my eye some seem more friendly and thorough than others. I personally prefer to go through the bigger name providers, such as Yahoo Small Business. I've also heard of people using GoDaddy or others. Canadians who wish to have a .ca address need to go through providers who are authorized to sell .ca domains. I use NetFirms and have found them very easy to work with and very responsive when I've asked for help.
Each provider will have different price levels and different features in your domain subscription (eg. some may provide email addresses at your domain for no extra cost, for example). Compare prices and features, ask friends you trust what they use, and go with with what works for you. You can usually buy the domain for at least a one year term, if not longer, and they generally can be renewed at the end of each contract term.
Once you select a provider, you then start to check out if your preferred domain name is available. The bad news is, if you have a common name, this might be difficult. www.recipes.com is long gone. So you may need to get creative on this. You could try www.mooserecipes.com or www.shannonsrecipes.com. Or you could try www.recipes.net. The good news is, there are easy ways to check what's available and what's not... just go to the provider's site and enter in your chosen name. It'll tell you what it has, and offer alternatives. Keep in mind, your old URL will still work, so it doesn't matter technically if it doesn't match (more on this below).
Once you've secured your domain name, the fun begins. What you need to do, is tell your Domain Name Provider where your Blog is, and tell your Blog where your Domain Name is. Once you've set it up, when someone types in www.yourblog.com, your domain provider knows to go to your blog host. Then your blog host will find the blog that you have tied to www.yourblog.com, and serve it up. Ta-daaah!
Each provider has different steps to set this up, and each blog host has different steps. Luckily, your domain name provider, and hopefully your blog host, generally has instructions on what you need to do.
Here you will find Blogger's detailed instructions on setting up domain name mapping.
Here are Typepad's instructions on doing the same (FYI, you need to be a Plus or Pro member on Typepad to do this. Which is why I switched to Blogger.)
Blogger also helpfully provides instructions for you in setting all of this up on many domain providers here.
Now if, like me, words like CNAME and DNS make your head hurt, check out this page at howstuffworks for a bit better explanation of what these things do.
So. Here's a real lifeish example.
If I had bought the domain www.myblog.com from Yahoo!Business, and my blog was at myblog.blogspot.com, the way I would have set up this blog would have been the following:
Log into Yahoo! Small Business and select Domain Control panel.
From Domain Control Panel, select Advanced DNS Settings, then select Add Record.
Under "Source", I would have seen ____________.myblog.com (___________ being where I needed to enter in what I want the URL to be.) In this case, I would enter www. since this blog is simply www.myblog.com. If I wanted it to be blogs.myblog.com I would have entered "blogs" in to that field. Get it?
Under "Destination", for a Blogger blog, I would enter ghs.google.com (as told to me in the Blogger help file). This is the server where Google (which owns Blogger) will do the mapping to tie the request for www.myblog.com to myblog.blogspot.com. This entry will be different for every blog host.
Once I enter this, I wait. This isn't an instantaneous process. When you map all of this information, it can take up to 48 hours to actually all shake out. Until this all happens, you may have some people trying to go to your URL and getting either the Google search page or a dead screen. Keep an eye on your blog and keep testing both the old and new URL. You'll know when it's mapped.
Back on Blogger, I select the blog I'm mapping from the Dashboard. Then I go under Settings->Publishing.
You'll see the following text:
You're publishing on blogspot.com
Switch to: • Custom Domain (Point your own registered domain name to your blog)
Click on the words "Custom Domain". The text will switch to this:
Publish on a custom domain
Switch to: blogspot.com (Blogger's free hosting service)
Hint: If you want to publish to an external FTP server, you will need to Set 'Blog Readers' to 'Anybody' and use a Classic Template.
http:// __________________________ (Ex: blog.example.com)
Your domain must be properly registered first. (setup instructions)
We won't leave your readers behind!
http://yourblog.blogspot.com will redirect to your custom domain.
Where it says "Your Domain", you enter in your domain name (www.myblog.com). And save.
Very shortly thereafter, this should all work. Anywhere in the URL it previously had myblog.blogspot.com, it would now read www.myblog.com.
And now, you are domained. Hooray for you! You deserve a mojito. Go get one.
But wait! You have questions! Well, luckily here around the ThreeSeven hood, we like answering questions. Just for fun, here's a couple of answers to some I got o Saturday:
When I redirect to www.myblog.com, will I lose all the people that go to myblog.blogspot.com?
Answer: Don't worry.. all traffic that goes to myblog.blogspot.com will still work. So if you do get a domain, do not despair: all those cute business cards you gave out last weekend with your current URL were not for naught!
Second Question: I like having my blog on Blogger, and it's free. Do I have to move my blog or spend lots of money to do this?
Answer: Again, don't worry... you can leave your blog on your current host like Blogger or Typepad (I haven't done this on Wordpress or Vox but I assume you can do this there as well). All you will have to pay for is the domain name; you don't need a dedicated hosting service to put your blog on to get that name.
Third Question: Is this gonna be hard?
Answer: Well, I nearly tore my hair out trying to get it done, but I'm a little thick. If you're at least as smart as me, you can do this. And lots and lots of other people know how to do it, so ask someone if you're running in to trouble.
If you have any questions, or if you are smart in all things domain, know what you're doing and notice that I've made a grave error that I need to correct, please let me know in the comments. Thanks, and good luck!