Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Blogging 101 ~ Lesson #10: Purchasing a Domain Name and Removing the Blogger Navbar

There are two optional items that many bloggers take advantage of when setting up their blog.  One is purchasing their own dot com domain name and the other is removing the Blogger Navbar from the top of the blog page.  In this lesson we will learn how to do both.

Domain Name Change

Many bloggers choose to change their domain name from .blogspot.com to their own blog’s name dot com.  Apparently this is advantageous when a blog comes up in a search engine because many people do not take bloggers seriously.  When they are looking for information and see the article address is a blog site they may skip over it, but when they see the dot com domain they will check it out.  Also, many companies that advertise or sponsor giveaways on blogs prefer the sites have their own domain name.

Blogger has made it very easy to do and does a lot of the work for you.  I originally learned how to do it from a post on Little Yaya’s, a link to the instructions a friend shared with me. It currently costs $10 a year and needs to be renewed each year.

When you are ready to purchase your own domain name be sure and think thru the URL you want.  The actual name of your blog may not be available, and you may actually choose to change the name of your blog to match a dot com name you like and find available.  It is good to have a name that is easy to remember and very close to the name of your blog.  The shorter the better (fewer words, actually).  One reason is readers will be able to easily tell others the name because it will be easy for them to remember and also easy for those whom they tell to remember it.  For example, “thefewwordsblog.com” instead of “themanywordsinthetitleblog.com.”

The earlier you do this in your blog’s life the better.  Link backs to your blog put out before you buy the domain will be inaccurate and not help in search engine results.  Also, when you do change over there are some minor disruptions in your blogger account:  very minor and not crippling in any way, but none the less, it is easier to do it early on.

20 Minutes:  Choose a Domain Name and Purchase It

Make a list of several domain names you may like your blog to have.  Take time to Google them and see if there are already sites with those names—even if they are not dot coms.  You want a unique name for your own “brand recognition” and also so you do not infringe on anyone else’s rights to a name.

Now that you have your list go to your Blogger Settings’ tab found by either going to your dashboard and clicking on Settings, or by clicking on the design link in your Navbar and then clicking on the Settings tab, from there click on publishing.  And finally click on Custom Domain.

Here you will enter the desired domain name and see if it is available. When you find one available proceed thru the check out process.  After you pay go back to the publishing page and be sure to click on “Redirect nameofyourbloghere.com to www.nameofyourbloghere.com.  Now Blogger does the rest of the changeover details for you and your .blogspot.com address will automatically redirect. 

It takes about 3 days for the final switchover to be complete.  Meanwhile you may notice some of the following:

  • The edit icons on your blog are missing.
  • The Google Friend Connect widget is missing.
  • If you have comments on your blog, they may temporarily disappear.
10 Minutes:  Removing the Blogger Navbar

Many bloggers do not like the look of the Blogger Navbar at the top of their blog.  If you want a professional looking site it definitely interferes with the appearance of your blog.  Many bloggers like the convenience of it in posting and many believe it brings them more traffic from those readers who click on the “next blog” link.  So this is a personal choice for each blogger.

I have read on different blogs that at one time it was against Bloggers terms of service to remove it, but that it currently is not.  I saw Blogger quoted as saying they do not recommend it, but they do not forbid it.  You may want to Google this further and re-read the Blogger terms of service before you do it.
  • Find your design page (via the dashboard or your navbar).
  • Click on Edit HTML.
  • Before making any changes to your template’s HTML it is best to save a copy by clicking on the Download Full Template link near the top of the page (above the “Edit Template” title).
  • Now find the Template credit section.  It will look something like this: 
    • Blogger Template Style
      Name:     Picture Window
      Designer: Josh Peterson
      URL:      www.noaesthetic.com
      ----------------------------------------------- */
  • Place your cursor right after the */ and hit enter twice to give you a little space to be able to easily find the added code later if necessary.
  • In that space enter the following code:
    • #navbar {
      height: 0px;
      visibility: hidden;
      display: none;
      }
  • Hit enter twice again for added spaces.
  • Below the HTML text box are the following buttons:  Clear Edits, Preview, and Save Template.  Click on Preview and another window will open for you to view the blog.  See that it all looks okay.
  • Go back to the design page and click Save Template if all is okay.  Once in a while I have had trouble with it saving after I previewed it. I found I had to put my cursor in a blank area, hit the space bar once and then it would save it fine.
If you ever want it back you can go back in and remove this code.

These two steps, having a blog free of the blogger navbar and having its own domain name, can make for a more professional looking site.  But both are optional for a blog.

3 comments:

JRFrugalMom said...

I actually like having the nav bar, because it gives me easy access to layout etc.

I sure wish I had done the domain change when I first started my blog, because I lost the PR once I switched, and I have never gotten any PR since.

Getting your own domain pays itself off fast though...

Cheryl said...

Thanks for the input, JR, I didn't think about the Page Rank. I haven't gotten any since I purchased mine at Simply CVS, either.

JRFrugalMom and Family said...

A year later, I finally found my way back to this post. Thanks Cheryl, this worked perfectly!