August 26, 2015

A custom domain name for blogger - what you need to know


If you are the proud owner of a Blogger blog or you are thinking about starting one, the question whether or not to buy a custom domain name for your blog might have crossed your mind. At one time it crossed my mind as well. The Dutch Lady Designs is a website and blog that runs on the Blogger platform, and when I started attracting more visitors to my site and I opened up my Etsy shop Dutch Lady Digi Design (Blogger templates and other blog related stuff), I thought the time was right for a custom domain name for my Blogger website.

And I am not the only one that has a Blogger blog with a custom domain. A lot of the clients that purchase my blog designs, whether premade or custom made, have plans to do the same. But switching from a blogspot.com extension to a .com extension does raise some questions for them. How much money does it cost? Will the new .com address show up automatically on my blog URL? Can you install it for me? Does my blog content change from installing a custom domain? The amount of questions got to a point that I knew I had to write a blog post about it. So here it is. I am going to try to answer the questions I got over time about this subject and hopefully it will shed some light on this very important subject. So let's go!

THE ADVANTAGES OF A CUSTOM DOMAIN NAME
Do you really need a custom domain name for your Blogger blog? Personally I don't think so. I am still following a ton of Blogger blogs myself that have kept their .blogspot.com extension and it doesn't bother me at all as a reader. Some of these blogs have quite a bit of readers, so you can definitely grow your Blogger blog by using the .blogspot.com extension in your blog URL.

On the other hand, having a .com extension makes it easier for people to remind your website name because it makes it a lot shorter. My website went from www.thedutchladydesigns.blogspot.com to www.thedutchladydesigns.com. Especially when you are driving a business through your blog this can be a big advantage. When someone hears about your business name and they want to look you up on the internet they will probably search for your name or your name.com.

The conclusion: a custom domain name is not necessary but it makes your site easier to find and easier to remind.

WHERE TO BUY A CUSTOM DOMAIN NAME
Blogger is a hosting platform. It basically gives you free online space to create your blog. It does not give you the option to buy a custom domain name from them. For that you have to go to other companies. A couple of examples are:


I bought mine at GoDaddy, but if you google 'buying custom domain' you will get enough options to choose from. Please keep in mind that you only buy the domain name from these companies, they don't install it for you!

HOW MUCH DOES A DOMAIN NAME COST?
The costs of a domain name depend on the company you buy it from and the time span you buy it for. You can decide to buy your domain name for a year or for a couple of years in advance. In all cases you will have the option to renew your purchase again after that time has passed.

Usually the costs of purchasing a domain name for a year are anywhere between $5 to $20. So it is not a very huge investment in your business or blog.

INSTALLING YOUR CUSTOM DOMAIN NAME 
Unfortunately Blogger is no Wordpress. If you buy a self hosted Wordpress blog plus custom domain name you will be able to start up your blog with the custom domain name attached to it right from the start. This is not how Blogger works.

Since Blogger offers you free online space it kind of wants something in return for that. That is why they add the .blogspot.com extension to any blog you create on Blogger. And there is just no other way to start out with a Blogger blog. So you first have to create your blog on Blogger and it will get the .blogspot.com extension. After you have purchased your domain name you will be able to install this domain name in such a way that your blog address will no longer show the .blogspot.com extension but only the .com extension.

Since the company you purchase your domain name from only sells you the name you will have to do the installation of the domain name on Blogger yourself. Blogger does offer some support here in the form of a tutorial that shows you how to install the custom domain name on your blog, but when I installed my own domain name I found a site that offers an even better step-by-step guide. Please follow the Helplogger tutorial step by step and at the end your domain name will be up and running. If you are not that tech savvy, the steps you have to take might seem overwhelming, but if you follow the instructions step by step and you really read all the instructions very well it will work out!

WILL THE INSTALLATION OF A DOMAIN NAME CHANGE MY BLOG CONTENT?
No, you don't have to worry about your blog content. The only thing that is going to change is your blog URL, all your blog posts, pages, images and other content as well as the layout design will remain the same.

CAN PEOPLE STILL FIND MY BLOG AT THE OLD .BLOGSPOT.COM URL?
Yes, they can! If you follow all the instructions from the Helplogger tutorial your old URL with the .blogspot.com extension will still be active. So when someone types in www.yourblogname.blogspot.com they will still end up on your blog. But when people view your blog the URL of your blog will display as www.yourblogname.com.

CAN YOU INSTALL MY CUSTOM DOMAIN NAME FOR ME?
Unfortunately my time schedule is already filled up with the design work I do for clients. That is why I do not offer the service of installing custom domain names on Blogger blogs. With the help of the Helplogger tutorial you should be able to successfully install it yourself.

While there is always more to tell about a subject I hope I have answered the most important questions for you regarding the purchase and installation of a custom domain for your blogger blog. Hopefully it will make the decision whether to buy a custom domain name or not a little easier!
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