Making the Google Jump

[January 28, 2013, Update: Obviously the contents of this post are out of date. I include it here for archival purposes; it originally appeared at http://blog.ariarmstrong.com.]

My internet publishing is undergoing a major change. As should be obvious, my blog is now at http://blog.ariarmstrong.com/. (I am also posting quite a lot to Twitter @ariarmstrong, where I mention interesting links and offer brief commentary.)

Recently Google announced that its Blogger service will no longer support FTP publishing, meaning the service will no longer send material to a domain hosted elsewhere. Instead, to use Blogger, one must host the blog through Google. A Blogger user can use a “blogspot.com” blog, register a domain with Google and use it for a Google-hosted blog, or register a domain or subdomain elsewhere and set the DNS to Google (such that Google hosts the content). I’ve decided to go with the last option.

I also strongly considered abandoning Google altogether. Not only am I miffed that Google is shutting down its FTP service, but I’m still annoyed that Google shut down the blog of economist George Reisman. Nevertheless, as one of my friends pointed out, Blogger is a free service, so it’s a little hard to complain too stringently about it. If you really hate Blogger, don’t use it. That said, I do think it would be absolute foolishness to give Google control of one’s domain (if one cares about keeping content online). Because I own and control my subdomain, I can reclaim it and republish my content elsewhere if need be.

Blogger just works well. It’s extremely easy to use. I helped set up a friend with Word Press and quickly learned that that service, while okay, is a lot harder to operate. I seriously considered going back to hand coding my page (based on templates created in Dream Weaver). But then a single blog post would require updating at least four pages: the index, the individual post, the archives, and the feed. Major hassle. So I’ll stick with Blogger.

Here’s how I’m handling the change. I’m leaving all my existing content online at AriArmstrong.com and FreeColorado.com. I’m starting a new blog (this one) at http://blog.ariarmstrong.com/. Rather than run two different blogs, I will henceforth publish only this blog. (I’ll publish a few residual posts at FreeColorado.com and cross-post here.)

Thankfully, there’s an easy way to create a feed based on labels. My FreeColorado.com blog feeds into People’s Press Collective; now I will use the “PPC” label for all relevant content. The PPC-related political feed is this:
feed://blog.ariarmstrong.com/feeds/posts/default/-/PPC

(I may also use a generic “politics” label for national stuff.)

The general feed for all my content is this:
feed://blog.ariarmstrong.com/feeds/posts/default

Others might be confused as to how to direct a subdomain to Google. Here’s how I accomplished that. I checked in with my registrar and learned that I can create a subdomain there only if the DNS points to that registrar. Because I host my (other) content with Web Hosting Buzz (a great service, by the way), I had to submit a ticket to that company’s technical support team, asking to create the subdomain and direct its DNS settings to Google. Then I created a new blog at Google and switched its URL to the subdomain. It took me a while to figure out, but the process itself is very easy. (Things get more complicated if you want to move old content over to Google, which is one reason I didn’t go that route.)

I’ll slowly convert all my existing content at my two main pages to Dream Weaver files, such that I can easily edit the template and have it apply to all the files. (My wife tells me that all my old framed files are deprecated.) I’ll run the political feed from this blog (as well as my Twitter feed) on FreeColorado.com. I’ll turn AriArmstrong.com into my home page, with links to all the archival material as well as to my active projects. (I may run the blog feed there as well.)

This might be a good time to briefly summarize my history of web publishing. Back in late 1998 (before the term “blog” had been coined), I started publishing the “Colorado Freedom Report” at co-freedom.com. I quickly figured out that a hyphenated URL is a major pain, so within a few years I switched to FreeColorado.com. In late 2007, I started up AriArmstrong.com with the idea of making that my main blog, but then I realized that I didn’t want to let FreeColorado.com lapse, so I converted that to a blog to begin 2008. But now I’m finding that running two blogs is hard, given my activity on Twitter and my other projects.

So now this integrated blog in 2010 marks a new stage in my internet publishing. However, some things never change. What matters most is content, and, as always, my goal is to make the tech serve the ideas.

1 thought on “Making the Google Jump”

Comments are closed.