This all began with the many complaints I get from people who say that their employers block all blogspot links, so they can’t see my blog. I’ve been trying for a while to figure out how to fix this, but the only advice I ever get is that I should move to WordPress. However, I get frustrated enough fixing problems that come up with Blogger. My family would disown me if they had to endure my ranting about having to fix WordPress problems. Besides, I don’t want more features; I just want some simple blogging features to work without constant attention from me.
I poked around in Blogger settings and noticed a publishing option to “Add a custom domain”. This seemed too good to be true. Clicking on it led me to an offer to sell me my own domain for only $10 per year. So I pulled out my credit card and plunged in. Google quickly sent me a link to set up an admin account. What do I need that for? I just want all my blog pages to have a custom address instead of a blogspot address. This was my first clue that this process wouldn’t be as turnkey as I had hoped.
The link in Google’s email brought me to a page to set up an account, but all attempts to create the account ended in a server error. A few online searches gave me a suggested workaround involving requesting a password restore. This seemed to work and I now have an admin account.
Unfortunately, logging in to the admin account brought me to a set of controls that allowed me to do just about anything except connect this new domain to my blog. So, I headed back to my Blogger settings.
After going to advanced settings, I was offered a chance to type in my new domain where my blog would be redirected. This led to the error message “Another blog or Google Site is already using this address.” Handy.
Another message said “Your domain must be properly registered first” and offered a link to some “setting instructions”. These instructions began with getting into DNS settings to add some “A-records” and a “CNAME”, whatever they are. I finally located a reference to DNS settings in my admin account which then directed me to log in to some GoDaddy account, but once in there I found no reference to A-record or CNAME.
Time for another approach. The Google email ended with “At any time, if you get stuck or if you want to tell us about your experience with this service, you can find more information and get in touch through our help center (https://www.google.com/support/a).” Unfortunately, “get in touch” didn’t mean that I could direct a plea for help to an actual human. I poked around in the support area for a while but didn’t find anything useful.
It should be fairly obvious at this point that if I tried WordPress, the first time anything went wrong there is little chance I’d have the patience to fix it. I’m good with math, algorithms, and money, but not this stuff.
Update: I solved the problem. It turns out that although I didn't need to type the "www" part when I purchased the domain, I did have to type it in the advanced settings. Without the "www", the CNAME strings were all wrong. I'm not proud to admit that it took me about 8 hours of work across 3 days to finally fix this.