How I make free blogger hosting work for me?


I have not read post comparing WordPress and blogger for a time. It could be that we are shifting towards subscribe and pay, like Netflix and Spotify, and the art of free web hosting is dying. I don't deny that in general WordPress are more powerful, and for serious blogger. But a tool is only as good as how much a person utilize it and blogger can do what WordPress can - less the cost and coding skill.

A basic plan from Wix.com or Bluehost cost USD4/month, that's $50 bucks for hosting - minimum. A subscription based website would cost at least USD150/year. By doing a few tweeks, I am not spending $500 for the 10 years to come.

 

The biggest risk with blogger is anything I upload to Google might be "deemed" as their copyright. If you need to wholy own your work, do consult your lawyer. I am not doing something new here, sharing reviews and free thoughts, so that's not of my concern.

It's well known that what you can do with connect domain plan, you can do it in blogger. But the incredibility not-flexible template, I am never truly satisfied with how this site works until recently. 

Here are the hurdles and the steps I took:
  • Custom Domain Redirect
  • Favicon
  • Home page redirect 
  • Label Message
  • Can I sell?
  • Member only site 
  • The Blank Page

Custom Domain Redirect

The best thing on blogger that makes this all possible. First you need to buy a domain. I use godaddy.com. They aren't the best, but cheap and functioning.

At setting  -> basic -> click setup third-party domain:


Key in the domain you bought and save. There will be an error code.

This error code will give you the Name, Label or Host that you need to add in your DNS setting page from your domain provider. It will take about an hour to go live for the first time.

Favicon

Blogger favicon are too - blogger. You'll want to change this for your brand. This is the easist thing to do. First you generate a favicon file, I use Favicon IO .

Next , click layout, find the Favicon gadget at the top left, click edit and upload your file.



Home page redirect 

The default home page shows your post in blog post-dated sequence and it's annoying when you can't hide post (like my monthly money diaries) from the front page.

Some people use the method of posting only new page and not new post, or back-date a post. That is too much work for a non-fulltime blogger like me.

Home page redirect is why if you click on my home page, you'll reach a page with selected post and not the typical blog page.  By doing page redirect, a blog post is now working for me and not againts me.




Go to setting -> search preference -> custom redirects and redirect homepage  " From: /" "To: /p/label.com" (the page you want). Remember to click permanent and save before you save changes.

Label message
How to remove the ugly <Showing Posts with Label> banner at the top when you use the search page function. Depending on the template you are using, the message is part of the HTML or CSS.

On the older blog

Find
<b:includable id='status-message'>....</b:includable>

Replace this section of the code with the following (in yellow)
<b:includable id='status-message'>
<b:if cond='data:navMessage'>
<div>
</div>
<div style='clear: both;'/>
</b:if>

</b:includable>

Or the newer responsive template
.post-filter-message { display: none !important;
Can I sell? Feature to sell products

Generally, cart function is not available. Here is where other web hosting provider wins. But there are options to set-up PayPal buttons. All you need is to add a HTML gadget in the layout page and paste the PayPal code. [Here's for another day]

Member only site (Subscription site)

You established a reader followings and you're looking to create value content for fans that support you. How to you do that with two clicks and free of charge?

There is really no better place than blogger to manage a subscription site. The only limit is that it's limited to 100 members. Limiteng but you can choose to duplicate sites, or think about it after you have reached the limit.

All you need to do is set your blog as private under setting, and add your members email.



 When someone acesss the URL, it will be Google protected!

The Blank page 

Having a blank page in blogger is the hardest. And only recommended if you want to write code/ add widget from stratch.

Here's a fully workable code by Subin (included the credits for such an amazing work).

This is it, the codes and tools I used to make lynhy.com looks like a standalone, million-dollar hosted site. 

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