Thursday, January 15, 2015

How to use Google Domains to register a custom domain on Blogger

Big news: Google Domains has launched, providing an easy way for Blogger users to register a .com domain for their sites. The new service is integrated with Google Blogger, making it possible to register a custom domain for your blog (or static site) in less than 5 minutes. It's also very cheap. The details describing how to use Google Domains to register a custom domain on Blogger are explained below.

Before registering your domain, think carefully about the type of domain that would most suit your business. Here are some guidelines:
  • Try to choose a domain name that is easy to pronounce, spell, and remember. This will help customers more easily find the site, or recommend the business to someone else. The .com suffix is easiest to remember. If the .com domain you want is not available, .net, .org, .biz, or other suffixes are possible.
  • The title of the site and the domain name should be a close match in terms of the words that are used. Oftentimes, this will be a close match for the official name of the business. For instance, for the fictitious consulting company described in Google Blogger For Small Businesses In 30 Minutes, I used “Digital M Consulting” as the blog title. A good choice for a domain would be www.DigitalMConsulting.com.
  • Short and/or common-sounding phrases are seldom available for a custom domain. For instance, www.BestShoes.com is already taken. But adding an extra word increases the chance of availability — www.BestShoesChicago.com or www.TheBestShoeShop.com.
  • Adding a place name to your domain name (Seattle, Main Street, etc.) helps with local search in Google and other search engines.
  • Blogger requires “www” or another suffix before the domain name. So-called naked domains, such as BestShoesChicago.com, are not permitted.

I advise people who want to get a custom domain for their Blogger site to set up the site content first -- if you are creating a static site, make the home page post and the product pages. If you are going to operate the site as a blog, create at least one or two posts. Then follow these steps:

1. Go to the blogger.com dashboard for your blog and select Settings.
2. Under Publishing, click the Buy a domain button:

Google Domains Google Blogger custom domain


A long list of available domains will be shown, based on the name of your site: 

Google Domains select a custom domain for Blogger blog

3. Click More to see additional domains, or use the search window to find domains that use certain word combinations.
4. Make your selection by clicking the Buy button.


You will then be brought to Google Domains to complete the registration. Here are the steps involved:
  1. Enter your contact information. This will be publicly listed, unless you want to use the third-party privacy service offered on the same screen.
  2. Click the Continue button.
  3. You will be asked to use Google Wallet to pay for the first year of the registration. Enter your credit card details when prompted.
  4. Click the Accept and buy button. Your card will be charged an annual registration fee (currently $12/year). There is no cost for hosting the site on Blogger, even if you have lots of text, photos, and other content.
That’s the easy way to register a domain. For those who are comfortable with configuring Internet settings, there is a harder option, involving registering the domain through a third-party registrar, such as GoDaddy, 1and1.com, or Yahoo Small Business. I don’t advise going this route. The configuration process is too technical for most beginners, and the registrars are merciless when it comes to upsells for worthless add-on services as well as bait-and-switch tactics, such as jacking up the price once the introductory registration offer has expired.

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