If you remember my previous posts on the topic, I didn't know what to do since my site had many more than the 10 page limit in Blogger. I had changed a few to posts and linked them to a page, but that didn't feel right. It finally came to me. I'd make my pages into a Google Site.
Setting up custom domains for Blogger and Google Sites was actually quite easy. Here's what I did.
- In GoDaddy (where I had registered my domains but not hosted the site) I set the domain to parked.
- After a minute or two I was able to go back in and edit the CNAME info.
- I added a CNAME for "blog" and "ghs.google.com"
- I changed the CNAME entry for "www" and used "ghs.google.com" again.
- I went back to the domain settings in the domain manager and told it to forward to www.visualartgifts.com so I don't get an error if I type the domain without www.
- I went to Blogger's Dashboard and went to Settings for the site and set the custom domain. I clicked on the option for advanced setting since I already have a domain and told it to use blog.visualartgifts.com
- I went to my Google Site's Manage Site link and under Site Settings there's the option for Web Address. There I told it to use www.visualartgifts.com.
FYI - I entered the data without quotes!
Then I had to be patient
At that point I just had to wait a while for the domain name server information to update until then I would see my old site hosted on HostGator. You may still see the old site, but it has already updated for me. It usually takes around 24 hours for that information to update so don't panic if you make changes and it doesn't work.
My biggest doubt would be what would happen to internal and external links to both the Blogger blog which has been up for days and the Google Sites address. I had already added both to Google Webmasters and their Sitemaps so I know that some pages were already in the index.
Links still work
I am happy to report that my internal links and external links pointing to the old non-custom URL/domains all worked as before. In fact if I go to the blogspot address for the blog, I get redirected to blog.visualartgifts.com but the same page. If I click on a link to a blog page with the blogspot URL it takes me to the right page with the custom domain.
The Google Site pages load all the images with the "old" links to the uploads and in this case the pages load both ways. I'd rather have it redirect, but happy everything works as is!
Google Apps Email Integration is Separate
Finally if you use Google Apps for your domain you can use Gmail free using your own email address on your domain. It looks like you have a complete hosting account to the world, but you only pay for your domain name registration and renewals. Setting up Google Apps for email requires separate steps. They aren't related, but it requires editing your MX records. I'll write a post about that later.
In summary I went from:
http://visualartgifts.blogspot.com to http://blog.visualartgifts.com
https://sites.google.com/site/visualartandartists/ to http://www.visualartgifts.com
If I later decide I don't want the domain name, I can replace it with a different one or go back to the free host domain.