The great thing about Blogger is that it's a free service, a free service so good that people would actually pay for it if it wasn't free. It allows you to customize every aspect of your theme, use third party ads and set up unlimited blogs along with a long list of other features. Some of the most popular blogs on the web are hosted on Blogger and many have turned their blogs into profitable businesses.
In many instances Blogger serves as a starting point for most Bloggers, a place where they can start blog with little to no risk and if it turns out to be a blog that has the potential to be a business then they can then upgrade to a self hosted service like WordPress.org. My site iHipHopMusic.com (Now making over 90k a year) started out on Blogger back when I didn't have any money for web hosting, premium themes, etc. Once your big time, you can easily transfer your site to WordPress (I have a guide for that too). Though they're many Bloggers out there that make a full time income with blogs hosted by Blogger, most of them are doing it wrong. In this guide I layout the steps to creating a blog that is scalable. People use Blogger for many different purposes such as affiliate sites, news sites, video blogs, gossip, music blogs, photo blogs or a simple online journal or diary which was the original purpose of a blog, but that was a long time ago and the times have changed. Here's how to set up Blogger correctly or at least just the smart way.
Finding A Good Domain Name For Your Blog
In many cases people use their name as their Blogger name, or they pick a name that doesn't have much relevance on the web. Now lets say your blog is about “Web Design”, it would be smart to pick a name that relates to that topic but not only related to that topic, the name should also hold relevance and by relevance I mean that people should actually be searching for those keywords you decide to put inside your domain name. The easiest way to know what people are searching for on your particular topic is to use the Google Keyword Tool the same tool used by advertisers who want to advertise on Google.
Above is a screen shot (click for larger image) of a search I did using the Google Keyword Tool, as you can see the search volume for “web design” is very high which means it's a very popular topic on the web. It would be wise to pick a name that is related to those set of search terms (keywords) above. The search term “best web design” seems to have a nice healthy search volume so obviously your Blogger name should be bestwebdesign.blogspot.com but that's most likely taken so try variations like best-web-design.blogspot.com or try adding a extra word like BestWebDesignTips.blogspot.com, if your unfamiliar with Blogger and you don't know what “.blogspot.com” means it's simply the sub domain name that Blogger gives you when you create a blog which is the same if you created your blog on WordPress.com your site name would be BestWebDesignTips.wordpress.com. Using “.blogspot.com” with your domain is not a good idea and below in the next step I'll show you why.
Using A Top Level Domain Name
If you one day consider taking your blog to the next level then building a brand should be your number one priority. Having a name like bestwebdesigntips.blogspot.com is not very professional and many Advertising companies don't even accept sites with “.blogspot.com” in the URL. Once you've signed up with Blogger and have created a name for your blog the next step is to purchase a TLD (Top Level Domain) such as .com, .net, .info, .us, .org etc, so instead of having bestwebdesigntips.blogspot.com your URL should read BestWebDesignTips.com, BestWebDesignTips .net and and so on and so forth. Why is this important? Lets say one day you decide you want to move your blog to another service or you want to host the blog your self on your own server, you won't be able to move the domain name bestwebdesigntips.blogspot.com because that belongs to Blogger and all the marketing, promotion and link building efforts will be lost, but if you use your own domain name that you own then you can move that to wherever you please and thus protecting your brand.
Setting Up Your Top Level Domain With Blogger
Blogger gives you the option of purchasing a domain name from right inside Blogger for about $10/year, do not buy your domain name from Blogger. Even though you may have a professional top level domain it's still hosted by Blogger and that means if your blog gets deleted for whatever reason you will also loose that domain name. Instead use a service like Godaddy to register your domain which gives you full control over your domain name. Once you've registered your domain name with Godaddy, setting it up with Blogger is quite easy.
Google tells you exactly how to set up your Blogger blog with GoDaddy.
- Log in to your account at www.godaddy.com.
- Open the Domains tab and select My Domain Names. You'll be directed to the Domain Manager page.
- Click the domain that you'd like to use with your blog.
- Click the Total DNS Control And MX Records link at the bottom of the section entitled Total DNS.
- Click Add New CNAME Record in the box labelled CNAMES (aliases). If you've already created a CNAME record for your blog's address, click the pencil icon next to the existing CNAME record.
- For the Name, enter only the subdomain of the address you want to use for your blog. For example, if you picked www.mydomain.com as your address, enter www here.
- Enter ghs.google.com as the Host Name. Specify a TTL or use the default setting of 1 hour.
- Click OK, and then click OK again.
If you don't use Godaddy they are other domain name services out there that can do the same but since Godaddy is the most popular, easiest and just happens to be the service I use for all my domain name management.
Once you've finished the above steps you've completed the most important part of setting up your Blogger blog, below are a few other steps you should take when setting up a Blogger blog.
Giving Your Blogger Blog A Professional Look
The default themes that come with Blogger are ugly plain and simple, If you want your blog to stand out you'll need a professional looking design. They are many places online where you can find really great looking Blogger templates the most notable resource is BTemplates .com which has hundreds of free and professional looking blog templates, they have templates that are so well designed that it makes your blog look more like a website and less like a blog.
Keep Track Of Your Visitors
There is no point to having a site and not have statistics otherwise your just shooting blanks in the dark, unfortunately Blogger does not come with built in site statistics but they are tons of free website tracking services out there. The most popular and widely used service is Google Analytics they provide in depth statistics about your visitors and the best part about the service is that it's free. Sign up for a Google Analytics and add your tracking code to your blog to start tracking your visitors. In fact if you use Blogger, then your Google Analytics account will all be under the same account since Google owns Blogger.
Keep Track Of Your Subscribers
All blogs come with something called a RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary), it's a way for visitors to subscribe to your blog and get updates as soon as you make them. The problem is that when they subscribe to your blog there is no way for you to know how many subscribers you have or what there reading. This is where Feedburner comes in, Feedburner is a RSS feed tracking service that Google acquired (Yeah I know they own everything, lol) a few years back for 100 million dollars, it tracks and keeps a count of how many subscribers you have for your blog it also provides allot of other in depth stats about what your subscribers are reading, it also has a cool Email feature where visitors to your blog can subscribe to your RSS feed via email and receive updates from you right within their email inbox.
Now that people is how you set up a Blogger Blog correctly!
thank you for reading, Glen.