One of the great features of Blogger is the ability to map a custom domain to your blog: this enables you to use a top level domain (www.YOUR-BLOG.com) while taking advantage of free blog hosting, unlimited bandwidth and the ability to customize your template in almost any way you choose.
But would using a custom domain for your Blogger blog be the right decision for you?
In this post, I’ll weigh up the pros and cons of using a custom domain with Blogger to help you decide if your blog would benefit from this change.
The pros and cons of using a custom URL with Blogger
While having your own unique URL may seem beneficial, there are also reasons why you may not want to upgrade your Blog*Spot sub-domain.
To help you get an overview of how domain mapping will affect your blog, here are some of the main points to consider:
Who can use a custom domain with Blogger?
Blogger’s custom domain service is available to any registered Blogger user who uses the “layouts” style of template. It’s not available for those using “classic” templates, nor do Blogger have plans to make this available for those using such designs.
This means that if you use a classic template, you would first need to switch over to the newer widgetized layouts before considering using a custom domain.
- If you’re already using a widgetized layout (or don’t mind switching over to this format of template), you can change your Blog*Spot subdomain over to a custom URL easily, without having to alter your template.
- Those who have heavily customized their classic Blogger template, or are publishing by FTP to theri own domain will have a much more difficult time switching their existing template to one which is compatible with a custom domain.
How much does it cost?
Associating a top level domain to your blog is the only service which Blogger users need to pay for. This is because the domain name will be provided by a third party service, not Blogger (or Google) themselves.
At the time of writing, you can purchase a top level domain through Blogger for only $10 per year. This works out to be much cheaper than self-hosting a blog with WordPress or Moveable Type as there is no need to purchase additional hosting too.
If you already own your own domain name, you can associate this with your Blogger hosted blog at no extra cost (unless your domain provider charges for accessing the DNS).
- Cost Effective: $10 a year is quite a bargain for a professional domain name and blog, especially when you consider that Blogger will continue to host your blog (with unlimited bandwidth) for free!
- Yearly Renewal: Once you set up a custom domain, you will need to renew your domain name each year (or pay for a few years in advance).
- Loss of backlinks: If reverting back to Blog*Spot hosting: If you have used a custom domain for some time, backlinks will point to your custom URL. So if you decide to switch back to your free Blog*Spot subdomain, you will lose many of the links which you have built up during this time.
What happens to existing URLs and blog posts
When you set up a custom domain, all Blog*Spot sub-domain URLs will be automatically redirected to their corresponding custom domain locations.
Before I linked a custom domain to my own blog, my URL was http://blogger-buster.blogspot.com. If you type this URL into your browser, or use a link to an older page such as http://blogger-buster.com/2008/06/complete-list-of-blogger-widgets.html (opens in a new window), you will automatically be redirected to this same page on my custom domain instead.
However, when you first upgrade to a custom domain, your new URL will appear as a completely new site to search engines and Technorati. At first, your custom URL will appear to have a PageRank of 0 (which should be updated quickly enough during the next PR update. Also, you would need to register your custom URL as a new blog with Technorati; none of your existing backlinks or Technorati rank will automatically apply to your new domain.
- Automatic redirection of posts and backlinks: Blogger will automatically redirect any traffic to your new custom domain. You don’t need to set this up yourself, nor pay extra for this service.
- Existing rankings are temporarily inaccurate: For a few months, your PR and Technorati backlinks will not be applied to your new URL. Over time, readers will begin to link using your new blog URL instead, which will contribute towards your new Technorati ranking and ensure your PageRank returns to normal.
How to set up a custom domain with Blogger
Blogger does make it easy for us to use custom domains with our hosted blogs, especially if you choose to purchase a domain from Blogger’s dedicated service (rather than purchasing independently).
This video demonstrates how easy it is to set up your custom domain through Blogger’s easy to use interface:
How to use a custom domain with Blogger
If you would prefer more control over how the configuration of your custom domain, or if you already own a domain name that you would like to link to your blog, you may like to read these alternative tutorials:
- How to set up your Blogger custom domain (Blogger Buster)
- Blogger Custom Domain: Best setup for improving PageRank (Blog Bloke)
What do you think?
Most people consider that a blog which uses a custom URL seems more professional than one which is hosted on a sub-domain. However, there are many arguments against this too!
Many of the most successful Blogger powered blogs continue to use a Blog*Spot sub0-domain for their URL; their PageRank, authority and overall presence have not been affected by this in the slightest!
So what do you think about custom domains for Blogger? Do you use a custom domain yourself, or are you happy using a Blog*Spot sub-domain?
7 Habits That Can Make You a More Efficient Blogger
Starting a blog is exciting, whether you’re using it as an extension to promote your current business or you’re just trying to maintain the blog as a personal endeavor. In any case, part of your success will depend on your ability to write new blog posts at an efficient rate; if you aren’t producing new blog posts fast enough, your audience could lose interest in your content. Similarly, if it takes you too long to write a new blog post, your profitability is going to decrease.
The solution is to focus on improving your efficiency as a blogger, so you can accomplish more in less time and end up with more raw content as a result.
The Best Habits to Improve Your Efficiency
These are some of the best habits to improve your efficiency as a blogger:
- Dress professionally. If you’re working from home or blogging in your free time, you’ll be tempted to wear the most comfortable clothes and lounge in the living room while writing. But if you want to be successful and work efficiently, it’s much better to dress professionally and establish a professional work area. The idea is to treat your blog work like it’s your job. You’ll take your work more seriously, and you’ll be less inclined to follow distractions. It may also change how you think about your work and how you approach problem-solving.
- Practice good hygiene. While you’re at it, make sure to practice good hygiene—especially if blogging is your full-time job. The most obvious habit here is to shower regularly, but you’ll also want to keep your clothes clean, take good care of your environment, or as 14K Gold Teeth suggests, clean accessories like custom gold grillz. You’ll feel more professional in your environment and will have less clutter to distract you.
- Stick to a routine. Routines are vital for improving your efficiency. They help you establish consistent processes, which you can follow to save time and refine your habits. They give you something predictable to work with, so you aren’t scrambling to figure out what to work on next. They also reinforce your most productive habits, so you can continue working without thinking too much about it—in other words, they’re procrastination-busters.
- Set a strict schedule. While you’re developing your routine, try to create and stick to a strict schedule. For example, you might set a timer for one hour to read the latest news, a half hour designated to preparing an outline, and another hour to finish your full first draft. These temporal limitations help you avoid Parkinson’s law, which states that the amount of time it takes to do a task will swell to fill whatever amount of time is allotted to it; in other words, the tighter you set your timetables, the more efficiently you’ll be motivated to work.
- Keep an editorial calendar. Create a high-level editorial calendar as early as possible, and stick to it the best you can. This will help you ensure your high-level goals and priorities never fall out of your sight, and make sure you never run out of work. Set target dates for drafting and publication, so you’re always working toward something, and jot down your new topic ideas whenever you get them.
- Stay organized. This should go without saying, but the vast majority of new bloggers suffer from not being organized. They read new material that could serve as inspiration for a new post, but lose the original article. They set goals for themselves, but forget them or change them too frequently for them to take effect. Create a system for taking notes and keeping track of your high-level priorities, and stick to it.
- Keep reading on a regular basis. Reading is one of the best ways to consistently and reliably improve your writing, so make time for it in your schedule. Reading work like yours can help you generate new ideas, improve your vocabulary, and increase your fluency, so you can write faster.
Learning and Improving
It’s a good idea to track your time while working on blog-related tasks. It will allow you to gather data on your productivity habits, and ideally, see how they improve over time. If there’s a particular task that takes up a disproportionate amount of your time, you can drop it or focus specifically on improving it. If you notice a strategy is making you more efficient in one or more areas, you can use it more frequently or apply it to different areas.
In any case, the real secret to becoming a more efficient blogger is committing to improve over time. Pay attention to how your habits develop, and continually refine your approach.
Oh, Now I Get It! How to Explain Complex Topics to Your Audience
Technical writers have a great number of skills, but perhaps the most important is the ability to adapt your language to the level of comprehension your audience has. A highly technical and complex article can overwhelm readers or even bore them.
“But it’s impossible to delight my readers and keep them engaged when I’m talking about the
IEEE 802.11ac principle of broadband technology,” We hear you cry. And, we get it. Turning a technical article into a sexy piece of content can feel like a daunting task, but it’s not mission impossible.
Here are a few content creation tips that will help you explain complex topics to your audience in a delightful manner.
Imagine That You Are Explaining the Subject to a Non-Tech-Savvy Friend
One of the most important things when creating technical content for a more broad audience is consistency. So, as much as possible try to use the same tone, level of knowledge, complexity of vocabulary, and so on. The easiest way to calibrate your writing style is to imagine that you are writing for a friend or a relative that has nothing to do with your area of expertise.
Imagine you are trying to explain a particularly complex topic to them, in a friendly and light discussion. How would you approach the subject? What elements you think would bore or frustrate them?
What helps you in the real world is adapting your style and vocabulary to the other person’s knowledge. You know that you don’t have to explain what an Internet browser does, but you might have to tell them more about the coding behind it when discussing responsive web design, for instance. Use common words and keep them engaged with a lighter, friendly style.
Adapt Your Vocabulary and Structure
Let’s take a look at how you can flip your technical writing to be more approachable. First of all: use concepts that your audience is familiar with or at least has a general idea about them.
A good start is to check what search words visitors use when browsing your website. You will identify commonly used terms that are related to the technology that interests them. Use those keywords yourself to keep visitors on your page.
Also, be careful about the structure of the text when writing online, especially when you are trying to explain something complex. Make sure to split your text into readable chunks. You can also help the reader understand the subject better by using titles and subtitles to separate the main ideas of your article.
Build up the Knowledge of Your Audience, from General to Detailed
Once you have established a common language and vocabulary between you and your target audience, start methodically presenting your topic, from general level information to more detailed aspects. Applying this rule will help you readers understand the topic better without wasting too much time. Online readers tend to ignore content that is, irrelevant or hard to understand.
While it is important to get the basics straight before getting deeper into your subject, make sure to summarize the purpose of your article at the very beginning, as it will let your audience know what they will learn about after going through it.
Use Style Tools That Help Your Audience Relate to the Topic
The fun part of writing about technical topics for a general audience is getting creative with it. Because you can’t use the “boring,” “stiff” technical jargon, you must come up with expressive comparisons, examples, and analogies. You can even evoke anecdotal evidence to support the facts since they are highly relevant for many of the users.
Helping them relate to the topic you are writing about is the key to grabbing their attention. Use day to day examples for the systems and processes you are describing, or mention the best-known similar thing. Give them examples of possible situations when they can come across the topic you are writing about and enable them to talk about it themselves.
Ultimately, is all about correctly identifying the level of knowledge your audience has. Encourage them to comment and ask any questions and keep the conversations alive.
IT Management Solutions: What is the Key to Improving Employee Efficiency?
There are many ways you can improve your employees’ efficiency. From decluttering the workspace to encouraging a stress-free environment, there is a whole range of things you can do to make your work life run smoother. One such technique you need to adopt for your company is an IT management solution.
What Does It Do?
An IT management solution such as SysAid takes all of the day-to-day programs that a business will use and consolidates them into one easy-to-use package. Every employee should be able to log on and complete all their work without having to leave the initial program.
It can contain such subsections as project management, customer relationship management, billing and invoicing, and a whole host of other features.
Why Should Employers Implement Such a Solution?
A system such as this allows managers to have better visibility over the company as a whole. They will be able to tell if an employee is completing their daily tasks to the best of their ability and will also allow them to see where they are lacking.
The data from the completion of these daily tasks can easily be tracked and analyzed to see where employees are struggling with efficiency. With some adjustments, efficiency can then be improved in these areas.
One of the key reasons to install an IT management solution is for the project management aspects. A good project management program lets all employees know where they are with their projects at all times. Whether you are just working on the project or a project manager, you will be able to see the stage that the project is at and all the steps and processes that still need to be completed.
This collaborative nature helps improve speed and efficiency and stops the project becoming grounded in a lack of communication. If you are not yet using a project management system, you will notice that many small but important problems like misuse of resources will be greatly reduced.
Customer Relationship Management
By having your customer service staff use one portal for all their needs, you will see a great improvement in efficiency when it comes to handling customer enquiries. An IT management solution can contain a database with all your customer’s information. This means that if a case needs to be passed from one team member to another, there is little to no chance of any relevant information being lost in the transfer. Everything should be in place in the one database.
Invoicing and Billing
Keeping your various accounts and invoices in different places can lead to items being forgotten or double-charged. By using an IT management software, your managers and accountants will be able to successfully keep track of all costs and reduce unnecessary spending. This will improve efficiency as multiple enquires are not being made to complete invoices and other reports.
There are just some of the ways an IT management solution can improve your business. If you feel you need to improve your company’s efficiency, consider implementing one today.
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