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Tea Guy Asks about Hosting – Blog Case Study

TeaThe following post was submitted by Bill Lengeman as part of the ProBlogger Case Study Series

My question is probably not uncommon for bloggers at beginner to intermediate level. Should I start hosting my own blog and using a proper domain name?

I started blogging in July of 2005 like so many others, more or less on a lark. As a freelance writer trying to get reestablished in the business I found that I was mostly marketing myself and doing very little writing. I start blogging as a way of forcing myself to write something every day.

And promptly proceeded to bore myself to death – and presumably any readers who happened across my site. At about this time I started to develop a keen interest in high quality specialty teas and began writing about that. One thing led to another and soon that I all I was writing about. Soon enough I changed the name of the blog and ditched all content that had nothing to do with tea (you can see it here at Tea Guy Speaks).

I gradually started to take the site a little more seriously and eventually began adding images, making contacts in the tea industry and building up a fair amount of decent content. I also dabble with AdSense and Amazon Affiliates, but to no great effect thus far. And though I’m steadily building up readership my stats are no great shakes.

A few months back I bought teaguyspeaks.com and .net though GoDaddy in anticipation of moving over to that domain. I’m not daunted by the technical aspects of making the move. What I am concerned about is that I’ve done a modest amount of work getting my site’s URL out to various engines, directories and so on.

How will the move to my own domain effect those listings and what’s the best way to go about making such a move without throwing away everything I’ve done so far?

Thanks,
Bill

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Move all of your content to your new site. I don’t think that you can set Blogger to automatically redirect (I could be wrong since I’ve never used it), so you will want to put something in your template that says “Come look at us at our new site!” and links to it. It might be labor intensive, but it might be worth putting that link at the top of each article and have the link go to the corresponding article on your new site.

    Then, just leave the site there for search engines and stop updating it. If you are worried about duplicate content, you could delete the content and just leave the link, but I would tend to shy away from that.

  2. rols says:

    Like Darren has said a thousand times (or more) in all his blogs, its definately better to have your own domain. This not only gives you more freedom and flexibility but also shows how serious you are with your weblog. Though I am also using free blogger.com and I must say its OK for a new blogger but sometimes I feel the need to have my own domain. Its just a matter some time before I save some money to make the shift. Definately I am going to have all that problems faced by new blogger. Not to mention the duplicate search results. So I believe that sooner I make the shift better it will be for me, so till then I keep telling myself that all is well and its all part of learning :-p

  3. gary says:

    having just made the switch myself, i can offer a few observations. firstly, most bloggers will tell you that your traffic will start to grow rapidly at about the 3 month mark. i made the switch away from blogger at about 3 months & the traffic had begun to increase daily. now, using a wordpress blog, hosted by media temple, traffic levels have dropped back to where they were at about month 2. the search engines have already started directing traffic, so i’m optimistic that the growth trend will continue.

  4. Luckily, I moved from Blogger to WordPress and my own domain fairly early (about a month after starting it). What I did was remove all the content from the blogger site and placed a link to the new blog but also have it automatically redirect once you hit that page.

    This way you get an extra link to your blog (which can help for SEO) and you redirect your users to the actual blog. My old blog is at http://officehumor.blogspot.com, which redirects automatically to the “real” one http://www.officehumorblog.com.

    There is a bit of delay with the redirect unfortunately, but I still prefer that over just leaving a link and having people click on the link to get to the site they were looking for.

  5. Cary says:

    I made the switch long ago, but I was already using Blogger with my own domain name, so it was pretty much painless. Ithink Squirrelinabox may have the most elegant fix for people using blogspot domains.

    Squirrel: any chance you could clue us in to how you pulled off the auto-redirect?

  6. One of the features that I plan to implement soon at Blogoplex is blog hosting. I feel that many new bloggers simply aren’t ready to make a committment to their own domain and being able to set up a WordPress blog on a subdomain might be just the solution for them. Then, when they are ready to “move up”, they can easily move their WordPress blog with them.

    I haven’t finalized all the details of exactly how this will come to pass, but it is definitely in the works.

  7. racketboy says:

    I’m a Blogger user that regrets not getting a domain sooner.
    Its amazing how much more seriously you are taken by the community.

    Also with the cheap GoDaddy hosting, I was able to add a message board and other complementary content.

    The longer the wait, the more you will regret it.

  8. Just use a .htacess or some other redirect method from your old URL to the new one. It worked for me.

  9. danae says:

    You should be able to do a javascript redirect on that page, here’s an example (sorry if the brackets don’t render correctly):

    ‹script language=”javascript”›
    location.replace(url);
    ‹/script›

    ‹meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”1; url=$url”›

  10. Jason says:

    I personally didn’t get anywhere with Blogger.com in the couple months I used it. I thought about buying a single domain for my blog, but then came up with an interesting idea. I actually created a community at http://www.goldenprose.com that virtually no one writes in yet. Heh… But I do every day under many different aliases and niche blogs. I always have someone online looking at the stuff. This seemed to work for me much better than having those crappy sub-domains.

    As far as having a domain name for one niche blog, that would seem ideal, but I just don’t have the cash to buy domain names for each of my blogs. …I guess all I’m saying is that I got about 4 readers per day with my sub-domain blog, but now that I’m writing at a domain, there are at least 4 readers on at a time.

    Cheers,

    JP

  11. Navin says:

    Guyz,

    You people are simple the best in blogging.. I am amazed by reading the articles posted on this site. I never new blogs have so much to do and it can earn money too….

    Navin

  12. Dean says:

    Can you guys recommend a good webhost that can handle traffic? I’m pretty curious to know what web host Darren uses since he must get a lot of traffic. Also what is a good price to pay for web hosting.

  13. quaisi says:

    When I moved from my blogspot domain which had a Google Pagerank of 5 to Undercover in Japan, I did a technorati search on my blog to find anyone linking to me and then scoured their pages for an email address and asked them nicely if they could update my link on their site.

    If there wasn`t an email address listed I left a comment apologising for not sending an email to them as there wasn`t a contact address listed and asked them to update their link.

    I then imported my blog to wordpress using the import function in wordpress and then deleted my blogspot blog (so I wouldn`t be penalised for duplicate content by google.)

    Then I restarted it at the same address with just one post saying that I`d moved to my new site (with a link to it) and could people please update their links.

    I also put a sitemeter on it so I could tell what pages they were coming from so I could let those pages know I`d moved as well in the future.

    In under a month my new domain has a PR of 6 and I`m back up to speed. I recommend these methods.

    Good luck!

  14. You can redirect users to your new site if you are able to edit a .htaccess file on the old site as follows:

    Redirect /~cjm/wp http://chris.narrabilis.com/wp
    Redirect /~cjm/wp/category http://chris.narrabilis.com/wp/category

    Also, as far as hosting goes, I have been using Dreamhost, and they have been quite good. They are one of the hosters mentioned on WordPress.org. They have an automatic WordPress install script, etc, and it’s something like $8.00 per month. You get shell access and the ability to add several users/sites, so my friends and I are sharing the costs, bringing me to $2.00 per month, so that’s not bad at all.

  15. Bill says:

    Thanks for all the great advice. I still don’t know exactly how I’m going to proceed, but at least I’m better informed.

    Tea Guy

  16. Well I had a PR6 site over a year old when I moved from Blogger to WordPress. I am now 1 month old on WordPress, very happy and in control of every bit of code on my blog. You can follow my WordPress category to see my journey.

  17. Sorry for the late reply to the quest on the redirect. I actually use location.href = “YOUR URL HERE”;

    It redirects for you but the best would be if you could do a 301 redirect which basically tells search engines that the page that they found is old and can be found at the specified new location. I know how to do this with ASP and ASP.NET but haven’t researched it for javascript.

    My blog wasn’t around for long enough on blogger to worry about doing the 301, but if you have search engine traffic, I’d recommend doing it that way if possible.

  18. Bill says:

    For now I may just redirect from my real domain to the blogspot domain and leave everything like it is at the latter. Has anyone encountered problems with this process and is it better to mask or not mask when doing so?

  19. Jason says:

    Web hosting… I found a really amazing deal the other day actually. A web designer friend of mine told me about dreamhost.com. They offer a package for 7.99 per month in which you get unlimited domain names, sub-domain names, and MySQL datablases. I just thought it had blogging written all over it. That’s gotta be the best deal out there if you’re looking to write more than one blog.

    Cheers,

    JP