Note that this section of the website is not particularly active; I hope to publish about one personal finance article per month.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Blogging Tip: Adding A New Blogger Blog As A Subdomain

One of the advantages of blogging as form of writing is that you can focus on a highly specialised subject, which makes it easier for readers to find particular information. The downside of specialisation is that it is difficult to produce content only within a narrow field. One solution is to launch a new blog on another topic. And if this new blog is placed within a subdomain of your original domain, it will start off with the same search engine recognition as your original blog. I explain how I did this using the blogger blog platform. Note that I am mainly covering the steps I followed at a high level, as some of the details depend on who hosts your custom domain.

This article is a good example of the advantage of splitting off a new blog. It does not fit on a blog about bond market economics, but I can find an excuse to justify sneaking it into the personal finance section (for reasons discussed below).

What Is A Custom Domain?

In order to map your blog to a subdomain, you first need to have a custom domain. As an example, my domain is

Advantages of a custom domain name include:
  • some work places block the "blogspot" domain;
  • better search engine recognition;
  • more "professional looking";
  • you can relocate your web site to your own host, but keeping the same domain. This means the transfer is invisible to your readers.

There are a lot of tutorials that explain how to set up a custom domain within Blogger; but you need to find a recent one as the user interfaces have changed.

What Is A Subdomain?

The URL for a subdomain looks something like [subdomain].[domain].com, or in my case, Note that Blogger blogs are of the form [blogname], which means that your blog name is a subdomain of  (Note that the ".com" is typically mapped to a local country suffix; when I look at a Blogger blog, they are at "*".)

The key advantage of placing your new blog as a subdomain is that it is treated an extension of your existing blog by search engine ranking algorithms. I have no expertise in Search Engine Optimisation, but sharing the same domain name should make it easier to build up visibility than if you started with a brand new domain name.

The drawback is that there should be some linkage between your domain name and the new subdomain in terms of content. For example, "" would be a somewhat unusual URL.  (If your domain name is your personal name, it makes a lot of sense to have the new blog as a subdomain, as the new blog is an extension of your brand.)

One additional advantage is that once you have purchased the domain name name, adding a subdomain is free.

How To Add The Subdomain - Initial Steps

Since interfaces changes, I will not provide detailed steps. What I want to highlight is that you have to do a few things in order for the transition to be smooth. I recommend that you do a search for detailed directions for each step.

  1. Create a new Blogger blog normally. 
  2. Redirect the new blog to your subdomain. This follows pretty much the same procedure that you followed when redirecting your first blog to the custom domain. You need to set the redirection in the settings on Blogger, as well as setting the CNAME on the service that provides your domain name (I use GoDaddy). Since interfaces change, I will recommend that you search for a how-to article specific for your domain name provider.
  3. Add a filter in Google Analytics, assuming that you use that service. The problem is that Google analytics by default uses relative path names to identify your web pages. For example, your home page is denoted "/" in the statistics pages by default. This makes it hard to identify which pages are being hit.
On the Google Analytics admin tab, you go to the the "Filters" section. You need to create a filter with the following characteristics.

To be honest, the page that I found that gave me the instructions to do this did not get a very good explanation of what these filter settings were doing (which is why I did not bother remembering where I got the instructions from). But when I compared them to the Google Analytics help, they made sense to me (and they appear to work).

What the filter does is change the format of the URL request is to include both the hostname (which includes the subdomain) as well as the specific web page. Previously, the host name is suppressed.

Note that once the filter is in place, my main home page is denoted in the analytics reports as, and the personal finance main page is

But there is one small problem - the historical page count data are based on the filters, and so if I look at a period that straddles the date that I added the filter, I will get page counts for both "/" and "", which are the same page. This could mess up your reports, if you are crunching the page access data.

Final Step - Link The Sites

Within the Blogger interface, the two blogs are distinct. But it makes sense to create the impression that the two blogs are just components of a more general web site.

I have attempted to do this by the use of the "Page" navigation buttons to jump between the blogs, as well as adding blog feeds between the sites.

I would note that it would be possible to use the Wordpress software to create a more general web site, and the administration would be easier. (For example, if you use two Blogger blogs within one domain, if you change one template, you would need to transfer the change to the other site if you want the template to remain consistent.)

But the advantages of the Wordpress software are balanced against the extra work needed to keep a Wordpress site alive (self-hosted servers go down,  security patches need to be periodically applied). But if you want to create an extremely elaborate web site, you may need to look into a self-hosted solution.

(As a final note, since my personal business plans involve having a web site, I consider blogging to be a legitimate topic for personal finance. Although I will not turn this into a "get rich by blogging" site, I will pass along useful tips I come across.)

(c) Brian Romanchuk 2014

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