What a week this has been for this tech blog! I finally moved it from blogspot subdomain to a custom domain. I have been wanting to do this since a long time (ever since this blog started getting some attention) , I somehow couldn’t manage to do so because of the fear of losing search traffic.
Google’s recent move to redirect blogspot.com to country specific sub domains helped me solidify my decision to the extent of finally moving. I made a lot of other changes as well and have listed as much of them as possible as they might help some of you who are also planning to make the move. I have listed them in the order in which I made them.
1) Registered TrickCornor.net
2) Changed my domain’s settings to hide personal information from being displayed in the who is database.
3) Modified my domain’s CNAME and A records to correctly point to Google’s servers. Check this page from Blogger for details regarding this step.
4) Generally, it takes some time for your domain registrar to completely update the settings mentioned above. So, if you immediately point your new domain to your blog, users will see a 404 error. To avoid this, I created a new blogspot blog and modified its settings to point to my new domain.
5) When my domain correctly started loading the temporary blog, I modified this blog’s settings to link it to the new domain. Now my new domain was correctly loading my blog. While doing this, I made sure to select redirecting the non www version to the www one.
6) Downloaded my blog’s template and opened the downloaded XML file in Wordpad. I then used Wordpad’s Find and Replace function to replace each occurrence of tweakandtrick.blogspot.com with www.tweakandtrick.com and uploaded the modified template. This automatically changed all navigational links to use the new domain.
7) Some widgets still had links pointing to the blogspot subdomain. I changed them manually.
8) Went to Google Webmaster Tools, added my new domain and submitted the full sitemap. Normal Blogger feeds show only 20 URLs, so in order to submit all the URLs, I submitted a custom queried feed that includes 500 URLs.
9) Bing also brings considerable amount of traffic to this blog. So, I added the new domain to Bing Webmaster Tools and submitted the same sitemap.
10) Blogspot uses 301 permanent redirects to redirect visitors to new domains. This should have normally allowed Google to immediately index my new blog’s URLs but it did not. So, I resubmitted my old blog’s complete sitemap in Google Webmaster Tools. As the Blogspot blog had some authority in Google, GWT quickly processed the sitemap and immediately noticed that all those posts had moved to the new domain. This notified Google to index my content under the new domain and after almost 12 hours, my old blogspot URL’s started getting replaced by the new ones.
11) Notified readers of the move on Facebook and Twitter.
12) After making the move, my search traffic is way lower than normal. This should change and traffic should return to normal once search engines completely transfer my Blogspot subdomain’s trust and authority to this new one.
Some other changes I made
1) Used Feedburner’s MyBrand feature to transfer my FeedBurner feed to my own sub-domain.
2) Modified my social profiles to link to my new domain.
3) Earlier, my about page and categories on this blog were simple posts that included dates in the URL. This made them look ugly, so I shifted these to independent Pages and canonicalized the old pages to new ones.
Some Noticeable Benefits
It is too early to say this but ever since I moved to my own domain, the subscription rate has gone up considerably. It has also increased the percentage of users who are completing the subscription process.