Okay, when I started blogging, almost 5 years ago, I had no clue about layouts, themes, widgets, gadgets, sidebars, URLs and what have you. All I wanted to do was write. And, I chose blogger because I already had a gmail account :).  It took me about 3 minutes to get started on a blog. Besides blogger was free!  Whatever custom settings were there seemed great to me. It was easy to put up a post and that is all that mattered to me then. I chose my blog name on a whim. No deep thoughts went into that. So Rachna Says was born because well Rachna loves talking :).  I had no clue that blogging was about interaction with others. Why would strangers want to read what I write? So, I just shared my blog URL with a few friends who I thought might want to read anything I wrote because they were my friends. But slowly I found other bloggers reaching me. Intrigued, I visited those who landed on my blog, something I continue to do even today. I visit every blog that visits me! No, it is not for a return visit or favor or for a comment. I genuinely like going and checking this new person who has visited me and their website.  When interaction with bloggers grew and I visited other bloggers, I was quite amazed with their templates and the widgets and gadgets on their sidebars. Some I looked at with eyes wide open at the number of their followers and the multiple awards in their sidebars. Some of the gadgets I loved and wanted for my blog, so I googled and went about finding out a bit more by going through the Dashboard settings of my blogger interface. It was user friendly. It is even more now. One does not need to know programming or html and can still create great looking sites. In your spare time, do play around with your template dashboard. That is a good way to learn.

I tinkered around here and there with the fonts, the backgrounds, themes, gadgets etc. And went back and tried to fix if something seemed amiss. The old blogger did not have the amazing themes that the new blogger had, but the themes were always customizable. I got Analytics and stat counter to understand who was coming to visit my blog, along with multiple other widgets that I found interesting. Like I said, seeing it on other blogs made me wish to find out more.  So, painstakingly I went about building my blog’s look and alongside ventured into professional content writing after doing online courses and creating an article repository.

Blogging continued seamlessly, as I have never been short on opinions :).  I have never taken breaks. I’ve not needed to so far. I just love sharing opinions and interacting. And, then I saw that some people had their own names or blognames instead of or that it later became. I was intrigued. I liked the ring to it. I liked having my own name on my space.  After one more google search, I understood how to get custom domain. So went to It had a nice feel to it. I loved it because I’ve always felt that I am worth it ;-). And being a professional content writer, my blog has always been showcased in my writing work. Custom domain did give a professional feel to my site. At $10 a year for the custom domain, I felt it was an investment well made. So, I went from blogger subdomain to my own domain some 3 or 4 years ago. Blogger provided the free hosting for me. So apart from URL change, everything else continued with blogger. Blogger does provide redirecting from the old URLs to the new one. Buying the domain from blogger ensured no hiccups of redirecting DNS settings or in losing my old links etc. And it was cheap at $10 a year. They send you reminders for renewals. And with Google Apps that was automatically activated then, it was a breeze doing the changeover. Remember that initially you will see you Alexa and PR rankings dropping to zero because the servers do not recognize your new URL. It takes google 30 days to transfer the link juice from your previous URLs to the new ones. But you will regain your rankings at the next Alexa or Google Pagerank updates. So, don’t let this stop you from opting for a custom URL.

I’ve seen a lot of people jumping from blogger to WordPress or to custom domain because another friend is doing it or because someone else says it is good. There is no harm in doing it, of course, if you know why you are doing it. But, if you blog only for pleasure, have a dedicated audience that you engage with who come to you irrespective of a blogspot or WordPress attached to your URL, it really does not matter much. If somewhere going ahead, you have more ambitions in the writing field, maybe of getting published or working professionally, it creates a better brand image to have your blog name or your name as a custom URL. It also works in your favor in organic searches. Or like me, you just might like your blog name in its shining glory with no other subdomains attached. It is similar to building a brand or identity. Alexa ranks and google pageranks increase faster for custom domains as compared to blogger or WordPress subdomains. One important consideration is that if you violate knowingly or unknowingly any terms of service of blogger then blogger has the power to delete your blogspot blog. Imagine putting in that much effort and losing it all. With a custom domain, if you have been taking backups, you may restore your blog by creating another blogger account or on WordPress or elsewhere. Also having a custom domain ensures that your links that show up in searches are protected even if you move them to another host. The same will not apply with subdomain links. So your blog rank that you took a long time to build will stay. And if you wish to run affiliate programs or other methods of monetizing your blog, it has to be custom domain that is acceptable to advertisers.

I hope I have given you enough reasons to understand both pros and cons of blogger subdomain and your custom URL. The same applies for WordPress subdomains too. WordPress free themes are more restrictive than blogger’s; you can’t make changes in the themes. WordPress charges more for custom domain and redirecting than blogger. WordPress has a neater dashboard and some great plugins. But free WordPress has not seen as much work in this regard as premium themes. WordPress does not allow advertising options. I feel both blogger and WordPress have their pros and cons, but that can be subject for another post.

Custom domain in a gist: it is something similar to living in a rented house with your house owner’s nameplate at the main door or having your own nameplate even though the house is still someone else’s :).

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Update: Useful Links:

How to backup your blog

Guest Posting Etiquette for Bloggers



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91 Thoughts on “My blogging journey: Phase I from blogger subdomain to custom domain!

  1. Very well written post. I switched to custom domain recently, and did a lot of research before that. But, this was the most comprehensive article ever 🙂 Anyone who is thinking of switching would thank you for this! I wish you had written this a few months earlier 😛

    • Thank you so much, Akanksha! Actually I wanted to write it from my own experience and though it was on my mind for a while, it kept getting pushed back. I do hope that others can benefit from my experience.

  2. This is a comprehensive yet easy to follow overview of the entire custom domain question that bloggers face. I feel you could now look at putting together all your blogging related posts into a handbook of sorts, a casual how-to for bloggers.

    • Thank you Subhorup! I am glad you felt that way because I did not wish it to have a How to… article feel to it. I would love to at least club these kind of posts under one heading so that they are easy to find on the blog.

  3. informative Rachna ! I have been toying with shifting to my domain for a long time now !

  4. Very informative Rachna

  5. I started my blog a few months back with my own domain name but using a WordPress template that looked very cool to me. Then people complained about the dark background and bad readability so I actually went through code to try to make a changes to it…with success. But it took excruciating effort!
    Then, one fine day, WordPress informed me that there was an update for my template, and I promptly hit accept. And lo and behold, my template was back to the old dark settings! That was a facepalm moment.
    I can’t be bothered to change or tinker with settings again. Readers will just have to suffer with what they see! 😛

    • WordPress themes are very restrictive. They allow minimal changes to the theme, but the premium ones are certainly more professional and clean in their look with nicer fonts. Blogger is actually offering a huge variety of templates and a great deal of customization in its themes. I mean almost complete changes to the structure of the theme that I miss here with some fabulous gadgets too. And, one does need to know some html or coding here at least for self-hosted WP. I know basic html and luckily my husband helps me when I am stuck. I understand the problem you went through. It really is too much effort. You can go for a theme change but again that is a lot of work if you have to do it yourself. Based on your experience, even though WP shows me an updated version, no way will I bite that bait :). This theme is staying for a long time!

  6. this brought back so many memories… you’re absolutely rt.. when we started off years back, Blogspot had very few options, be it themes or anything like widgets.. slowly free themes, premium themes, small widgets and gadgets came along.

    Its been a fun journey.. i too changed over to the domain name ( less than a year now ) and its been a pretty smooth transition.. no complaints

    • What an amazing journey it has been with blogger. And they certainly are doing a lot of work on blogger. The new blogger interface is remarkably better than the older one. Glad to know that you related with the experience.

  7. Like you,even I started blogging without really understanding the entirety( Not that I do now).

  8. Thank you Rachna for elucidating all about domain blogging and other options. I started blogging only recently..Your post is very infomative. I keep troubling some fellow bloggers for clarifications. I must admit I have learnt a lot today.

  9. An useful post.Thanks

  10. Thanks Rachna for writing the article requested by me. I realize strongest advantage of custom domain is Google PR and search engines. But that seems to be the major thing holding me back as well because I have a google PR of 3 and it would be a pity to start at the bottom again by switching to own domain.

    • Don’t let that reason hold you back. Initially your PR and alexa rankings will be hit sharply and will drop down to zero. It takes google almost 30 days to redirect all your old URLs to the new ones. Once that happens, you will see yourself regaining your PR and also alexa rankings. Your rankings will then rise faster with a custom URL. If you are keeping your URL almost same which in your case I think you will, then the task of informing your readers etc. becomes even easier. For someone like you who is already published, you really must get custom domain!

  11. What a comprehensive informative post. You would make a great teacher as you have an easy way with words. The best part about your blog is that it is very easy to comment here from my iPad which I use to read and comment on posts. As for me, I remain technologically challenged even after three years of blogging.

    • Thank you so much Alka! Your appreciation means a lot to me. I hope that a person who is looking for answers gets some when they read this article. Even I visit blogs and comment from my phone and tablet and it helps if blogs are easy to follow and comment from there. No problem in being technologically challenged. I get by and I have my husband to help me when I am stuck :). But google really does help a lot, that and trial and error because trying things on your own is the best teacher. And, come on, you can do it :).

      • Yep, Google is a great teacher. But I am amazed with the frequency of your writing. You write for so many other sites, manage work, kids and find time to cook. You are like the SRK of Blogwood…..amazing energy and enthu.

        • hehe Thank you for the compliment Alka :). I wouldn’t say that it is easy. It is a struggle so many times. I work hard at my time management and planning. And encouragement from friends like you motivates me a lot. Thank you! As much as I hate SRK’s acting skills, he and I share the same birthday so perhaps we are both high on life ;-).

  12. Nicely written Rachna!

    To anyone grappling with a challenge, I would suggest writing the pros and cons and then evaluating. It is good that you have shifted to your own domain.

    • Thank you Sabyasachi! Very prudent advice. It does help to evaluate the choices by writing them down. Yes, I felt good after shifting to my own domain quite some time ago. Frankly, I did not realize its importance back then but am happy that I went ahead with it :).

  13. This is a great post for someone starting out! I think you’ve put the advantages of a custom domain very well! I hope you will write another post on self-hosting!

  14. Rachna, I would like some help with Analytics and Stats in the self hosted blog. I hope you will include these in a future post. 🙂

  15. I could relate to your blogging journey as i am one who happened to go through most of the experiences shared here myself . I too recently moved to a custom domain and you are right, it feels great ! Like i own something worthy 🙂

  16. A wisdom filled post for someone just crawling in blogospher:)

  17. I’ve been contemplating for a while on getting my own domain, but too lazy to do the re search. I should spend some time on that. Your starting paras reminded me of my initial days of blogging 🙂
    Hey btw, can you put up that link for backing up blogs you have written last year in the part where you talked about back up? Just thought that would be useful.

  18. nice:)
    good luck.. many more millstones to cover ..

  19. First I thought that this is a dry subject, but then you made it interesting and I studies it word by word! I should try to change my template too! It looks very crowded.

    I started blogging because my son compelled me to do so. I had stopped after writing 3-4 posts. Then my son asked me to visit others and comment in their blog. I was bored to read others’ posts! Now, I have changed completely. I love reading others’ posts because I have experienced the happiness when we get comments to our posts.

    Thanks for the tips, Rachna!

  20. Reminds me of my journey which is very similar to yours. Looking back one feels quite content and happy about the path we have traversed. I switched to my own domain name in 2012 and it’s definitely worth it. I don’t much worry about any rankings. The journey is fulfilling.

    Congrats on your blog and your thoughts, dear Rachna.

    Wishing you more posts, followers and healthy discussions.

    Raises a toast (glasses clinking, laughter vibrating and applause)

    Joy always,

  21. 🙂 Always nice to own one’s home, online or offline! I loved that last paragraph about custom domains!

    Very nice posts – and may you grow and grow!

  22. Very informative. The ever looming question of custom domain very well answered. I earlier had blogger but this time I somehow loved the feel and flexibility that wordpress provided so I think it is more about where you feel comfortable and more at home 🙂

  23. chaitanyavs on March 1, 2013 at 9:09 am said:

    Thank you. As a new blogger, I’ve asked myself this question. Your article helps me weigh the options a little more clearly. Hope to see more articles on this soon.

  24. So glad! I hope your writing continues to flourish 🙂

  25. Great info! Comprehensive too! Thank you Rachna!

  26. Hi Rachna,

    Indeed, you’ve come a long way in this journey of blogging and a custom domain just goes to show your authority & your writing intent.

    It’s always a pleasure reading your though-provoking articles as well as catching up on some really good guest posts.

    I hope this journey keeps surprising you. 🙂


    My Blog

    • Thank you so much Jay for your faith in me and for reading me. I do hope that the journey continues to be as fulfilling and surprising as you pointed out! definitely a pleasure interacting interacting with all of you. Thank you again for the comment.

  27. One reason I haven’t moved to my own domain is that if I die tomorrow, my blog will die too the moment my subscription gets over. Somehow, I feel comfortable on the free wordpress domain.
    But to each his own. 🙂

    • Come on Amit! When I die I will leave my passwords for some loved one to keep it activated.I am happy that you are happy with a free wordpress domain. But the author Amit seriously deserves to have his custom domain, don’t you think?

  28. Very detailed post on the information that every new blogger requires to know. Though I am just close to 5 months old in blogging and haven’t thought about opting for owning my own domain. But this article has given me enough information if I eventually want one. I will have to keep coming back to learn more.

  29. Jitendra jain on March 2, 2013 at 12:33 am said:

    Hi… I am new in blog word… I read ur many post.. U written.. Simply awesome…. Nd abt this post it is very usefull fr me… As m new nd i hav not much technical knowledge….. Keep writing…. Nd when have time plz see my blog.. Will be very hppy to sse at my blog thanks

  30. Definitely a very informative and useful post I have read in a long time. Thank you so much Rachna for sharing your experience.

    • Thank you so much Naina! I am happy that you found the post useful. That was the intent of writing the post. I was also confused with the same question and went ahead with custom domain without understanding any of the underlying issues.

  31. One correction–backups can be taken of Blogspot blogs too….though I have been lazy lately.
    Or are you talking about taking backup after the blog is taken down?

    • I am talking about taking backups after the blog has been taken down, Giri! I actually have attached a link to an article where I had explained taking a backup of the blogspot blog in this article itself. Backups can and must be taken of all blogs no matter on which domain they are.

      • Oh thanks! That’s a good feature. Though I am not serious about blogging, I did panic when it was once once blocked. I went to Google forum and some volunteer helped me 🙂

        • Yes, I find that google forums are pretty helpful. And, we love what you write even if you are not serious about your blog :). So, you’d better take that backup now!

  32. insignia on March 2, 2013 at 9:14 pm said:

    I shifted to custom domain an year ago and its nice when you have a ‘real’ space of your own. I get that feeling now. I have also thought about what happens if i lose the content. Well. I don’t know. I don’t have backups

  33. This is such an informative post, Rachna! You have inspired me to do the same! Thanks for sharing and will get in touch with you for more answers! 🙂

  34. a very informative post indeed ..

    i never changed to custom domain for 2 reasons .. 1. i was afraid what if tomorrow i stop writing, my blog will cease to exist and 2. i never thought it to be very serious a thing to have your own custom domain…

    • And that is perfectly fine, Rahul! My intent is to help those who are wondering why one ought to switch to custom domain so I thought of sharing my own experience.

  35. Loved your no fuss, comprehensive guide to bloggers who are uninformed about the hows and why of custom domains. I remember it was you I consulted when I finally decided to go for my own custom domain.

    • Thank you dear for your encouragement. We are all learning from each other. Glad to be of use to anyone who is going through the same struggle that I went through.

  36. I like the analogy at the end. So right. 🙂
    Congrats on the custom domain, Rachna.

  37. I dont understand much about any of these things..I still dont even get the blogger.. 🙁 but a friend has offered to create “custom domain”–I am kind of terrified, I hope it wont be complex. Let me see how it goes. But yes, his feel is that the way to go to is owning your domain. Your post (most of which I still dont understand) makes me feel a bit secure emotionally…

    • Thank you for telling me that. I thought I really simplified things but perhaps I need to come down more while explaining. Give me a call when confused :). I can explain whatever little I know.

  38. You’re so right, Rachna. With WP self-hosted you really feel completely in control of your blog, don’t you? 🙂

  39. Pingback: My blogging journey Phase II– From blogger to self-hosted Wordpress | Rachna Says

  40. Your journey sounds so like mine. 🙂

    • Good to know that 🙂 and am happy to have met you in this journey, the fabulous writer that you are and a rare honest entity in this blogworld!

  41. Pavan @(pavanh)

    Hi Rachna,

    I started my blogging with subdomain and now i moved to custom domain
    i just wanted to ask you on moving from subdomain to custom , whatever backlinks which were achieved from subdomain will it be lost or redirected to custom domain

    Waiting for your reply
    Thank you

    • Did your blog continue on blogger or wordpress? If they did then they will help redirect your old links to new URLs.

      • pavan @(pavanh)
        hi rachna ,
        my blogging platform is blogger ,and i got mixed response from people while some are saying it redirects and others are saying it won’t ,
        what is your opinion on that ?
        i am worried about this

        and it’s almost 30days i switched to custom domains.

        suppose if it redirects then , how long it takes to redirect the backlinks to custom domain ?

        thank you
        waiting for your reply

  42. Pingback: Wordy Wednesday #9 & Blogging Tip | Blog-A-Rhythm

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