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How-to: Setup Blogger with a custom URL after registering a domain through Google Apps

blogger_logoA friend recently asked me to help him start a blog. He had a few requirements such as keeping costs to a minimum, using a custom domain name, and maintaining anonymity in the process.

Although I am a die-hard fan (and exclusive user) of WordPress, I knew the simplest and cheapest solution for him was to buy a $10/yr URL through Google’s (GoDaddy) registration service which includes free privacy (note: if you go directly through GoDaddy, you have to pay extra for privacy) and to use it in conjunction with a free Blogger site. (WordPress.com offers an alternative solution for $15/yr sans privacy.)

We proceeded to buy his domain with no problem. We were all set to change his newly created Blogger site from the default (example.blogger.com) to his custom URL (example.com) when we ran into an error message from Google saying something about how the site was already in use. Needless to say, we were confused and frustrated…all we had done up until this point was register the domain and sign up for Blogger.

It turns out that if you register a domain through Google Apps before signing up for Blogger, you have to remove ‘Google Sites’ from your Apps account or this error will persist. Had we signed up with Blogger and then gone through the registration process, we’d have never stumbled across this problem…or figured out how to fix it.

I’m sure there are numerous people who have registered domains through Google Apps and then, at some later time, decided to use Blogger (and ran into the same problem). Instead of forcing me to figure out a workaround, Google should include Blogger as an available add-on in its Apps suite for an easier transition, or at a minimum, have Google Sites turned off by default to prevent this from happening in the first place.