Wednesday 18 January 2012

Moving over to Blogger

Well, it has been fun, moving over to blogger from custom blogging pages...

I had been looking to move over for a while, and reading great, complex blogs like DC Rainmaker's excellent Blog made me realise blogger was probably the way forward. I did however have one major issue, and now two.. (more on that in a bit).

My major initial issue was that all the blogs I liked used 3rd party templates which look great filled with content, but not that great in the transition, adding a template is also not as straightforward as it may seem, as you have three ways to add them, each with their pros and cons, and then you may well lose support for other upgrades, etc. A key example of this is the new mobile templates - if you use a custom template you can only have the "default" mobile template which will not match you full blog. Additionally there were elements from some I wanted and elements I did not want, by the time I had messed with a 3rd party template I made the call to start from scratch!

The clincher for me was the new blogger templates, which are customisable, have a mobile specific pages and allow you to customise the template. So, using templates I liked as a guideline I set to customising the template by:
  • First off was removing the Nav bar, yuk, there are just a few lines of code
  • Enabling the mobile option
  • Changing layout to have a navigation menu at the top, three boxes at the bottom
  • Adding an image at the top
  • Adding a favicon
  • Adding the gadgets at the bottom to populate the layout elements
  • Remembering to save!
So, how did it go:

  1. first came this blog, simple, easy to set-up, populate and customise (see customisation below)
  2. This blog DNS (once worked out, see "downs" below) was sorted in minutes
  1. Forwarding the custom domain was not as simple as it seemed, as my web hosting and domain hosting are separate (standard practise) and the domain host's DNS functions do not play ball with google (even though google's FAQ seems to think they do) and so I have my web host doing the funky stuff DNS wise.
  2. Forwarding of my second blog to port over, Mobile Virtual Network Operator, was not as simple, with the DNS unexpectedly taking the full 48 TTL hours vs less than an hour with this blog...
  3. Blogger's handling of 404 and old domain links is dire and not at all what you would expect from the master of slick but simple software and services.. none of my links that have been SEO'd for ages can be mapped over, even if i name the page as per the old page as blogger names the pages x.html, original links in x.htm, x.php, etc will not work
The verdict:

Adopting any new technology is a balance between the benefits vs. the pain of adoption, as analysed by many, but probably best Pip Coburn in his book the change function. However, not all decisions are made on the spot, and even once a decision had been made, there is always a cooling off period and there is always ebay to dispose of products that become a pain over time. This post period is also when you will advise others to not adopt a product or service. Hence my view below of pain of adoption vs benefits over time. The result: adopt, am now changing over all my blogs
The result: Adopt - The benefits over time exceed pain of adoption


  1. Welcome to Blogger! Yes, 404s are a pretty big deficiency, but they have been requested and hopefully the Blogger developers are working on it.

    This article I wrote might also give you some ideas for how to continue customizing your blog.

    Good luck!