gentle reader, I need your advice

As we (or at least I) approach the one-year anniversary of this here blog, I’ve been giving some thought to moving out of the blogspot neighborhood. While Blogger has been mostly good to me, I’m feeling somewhat constrained by its limitations, and I’ve been wandering around the blogosphere feeling jealous of other people’s ability to customize (& categorize!) their blogs.

But I’m nervous.

Will changing blog platforms lose me the small but loyal following that I currently enjoy?

Will I lose all my old posts and comments?

Will I need to pay someone to make the transition?

Will I have to remember all the sites that I’m currently listed on and re-list myself with a new url?

So, internet, I’m asking you for help.

Do you have a story of your own transition from one blogging platform to another to tell? Can you help me avoid the pitfalls? What’s the blogging service that you currently use, and what do you like about it? If you’re a Blogger user, why do you stay? (I don’t mean that to sound harsh–I’m just interested in what other people find useful about Blogger.) And what other kind of blog services do you regularly use? Are you a Bloglines junkie, like me? Blog Explosion? Technorati? Some other thing I’ve not yet heard of?

It’s time to gush (or vent)!

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January 3, 2006. meta.

15 Comments

  1. Tracey replied:

    I’m absolutely no help here, since I’m so new to this blogging thing, too – and you and Mimilou and others seem to have figured out so much more than I have in my limited experience.

    I’m about to work with a professional blog service (yes, they exist) who will help set up a blog for one of my firm’s niches, and I intend to pick his brains on all this, so if you haven’t made a decision by the next few weeks, I should have some good info to impart.

  2. Suzanne replied:

    I stay with Blogger because I am a creature of habit. Oh, and because it’s free. I don’t mind its limitations too much, although categories would be nice. On the other hand, I’m hard-pressed enough to come up with a topic to write about, let alone a category too.

    I used to surf Blog Explosion but don’t anymore; too much chaff there! I use Technorati sometimes, and haven’t jumped on the Bloglines bandwagon.

    To answer your first question: I’d follow you wherever you set up shop!

  3. Leggy replied:

    I started with Typepad and I’ve been happy with it. I don’t use all the features (eg, pictures, etc.), but I find it very easy to use, for a non-techy person like myself.

    One of my readers, Dooneybug, switched from blogger to typepad. She left her blogger blog up with a note saying “you can now find me a typepad.”

    I think you can import your archives, but I don’t know how to do.

    We’ll follow you wherever you go, as long as you send a forwarding address.

  4. Trasherati replied:

    Sorry, like Tracey, I’m so new to this that I’m no help at all. Blogger handles everything for me (templates, yay!), so a transition would provide me an opportunity to learn more. Maybe after grad school’s finished?

    I’ll track you wherever you move to and continue reading, so you’re ensured this sliver of your following!

  5. Anne replied:

    You can export your posts from Blogger and import them into TypePad, if TypePad is what you’re considering. It’s a bit complex, but TypePad includes instructions for doing it. I don’t know how you’d get your Haloscan comments into TypePad but I don’t think that’s quite as important as getting the main content.

    As for losing your readers, I doubt it. They’ll follow you. I subscribe to your blog in Bloglines and it’d be pretty easy to change it to a new feed.

    I use TypePad and Blogger for my two blogs. I use TypePad for my mom blog and Blogger for my career/professional one. When I started blogging, I cared a lot about categories. Now I don’t because I see my blog more as a river than as a lake.

    I still would like to categorize or tag my Blogger posts though. There are ways to do it and if I find a good one, I’ll let you know. It might be just as easy to hack some categories onto your Blogger blog as to move to a different service.

    Blogger gives you way more control over the page template, unless you go with the highest level of TypePad, which is kind of expensive. I can stick all sorts of CSS and JavaScript and HTML in there. Also, it’s easy with Blogger to publish to my own domain and my own host. TypePad supports domain mapping so you can have your own domain with their hosting. It’s not exactly the same but it looks the same to readers.

    If you are committed to blogging for the long-term, you might want to get your own domain now so that no matter what service you use you will always have the same blog address. Then you can switch at will without worrying about links to your URL, though who wants to when it’s such a pain?

  6. landismom replied:

    Thanks everyone for your helpful comments (and fidelity).

  7. Omar Upegui R. replied:

    As you probably noticed, I’m using LiveJournal to host my blog. It’s not exactly what I wanted, but at that time I was so new to blogging, that anything was better than nothing.

    Same as you, I’ve been doing my homework regarding using another blog software. So far the best ones around are TypePad, WordPress, Moveable Type, and Bloggers.

    There is a lot of support out there for WordPress, that it is now considered the standard. Probably that will be my decision, by the end of the month.

    I’m worried about readers falling out of sync and decide not to follow me to the new site. However, reading this thread, that does not seem a real problem.

    I would be receptive to more comments, and then plunge in with what you consider the best alternative.

    As far as Blog Explosion is concerned, it has been excellent for me. My traffic rate has increased tremendously and more members are writing in their comments. Its many features enhances my blog and encourages me to keep on working on my blog.

    Just my two cents worth. I wish I knew more about this stuff. It’s quite complicated for me, mind you.

    BTW, I enjoyed reading this site. I think it’s pretty neat and well designed.

    Cheers,

    Omar.-

  8. Kdubs replied:

    I shall follow oh wise one! Do what makes the blogging experience more enjoyable to you! Just send us the link! CHEERS!

  9. Jackie replied:

    I’m on Blogspot mainly because it’s free and easy. I think sometimes about switching to a different service, but I worry that then I would feel more pressure to spend more time and energy on my blog and make it fancier and stuff, and I worry that it would end up sucking away time from my “real” writing.

    I’d keep up with you wherever tho, as long as you keep up with me over on Blogspot!

  10. The Scarlett replied:

    First off, I’d follow you but you’d probably have to post a link or a redirect on this blog for people like myself to find you.

    I’m a graphic designer by training and I’m still using Blogger. I like how easy it is to use, that it is free and the fact that I can preview when I make changes in the template. I see limitations (such as not being able, at the present, to categorize posts). I figure that Blogger will eventually introduce more features and that in the meantime I can hack in features if I really want them.

  11. Kathryn replied:

    I’ve been a very happy and satisfied user of Typepad since its beginning. Prior to that, I used Movable Type, so wrapping everything up and transferring over to TP was pretty easy. I’d be surprised if you couldn’t move over your content as well, though I have no experience with Haloscan.

    Simply add a “you can find me here now” link to your current blog, and all will follow. Those who list you on their site will adjust their links in time.

    TypePad has everything I need. I appreciate and use most of the featurees they offer. I’m not very techie (learning as I go in babysteps) so the ease of use for me is critical. I have the top tier service, which for me is a deal, considering how much time I spend blogging (Cheaper than a latte everyday!)

    TypePad offers a free trial, which would allow you to see if it’s a good fit for you. I’ve also found their customer service to be extremely prompt and helpful. They would probably be able to answer most of your questions/concerns with an email.

    And like you, I’m a bloglines junkie.

  12. MetroDad replied:

    Most blogging platforms tend to suck. Nobody’s really 100% happy with the platform they use. I’d wait and see how they improve over the next few months before making a decision.

    But I’d follow you anywhere, LM!

  13. Carrie replied:

    I went to my own domain years ago. It was a pain in the butt, but worth it for me. At the time blogspot didn’t exist. I was on diary-x, which was irritating because it only would show one entry at a time.

    Anyway, I was lucky and had a friend install Moveable Type for me so I didn’t have to pay anything. I know just enough HTML to figure out a layout, though I havne’t changed it in years.

    I did have to go through and update the URL with all the rings and registries, but that wasn’t too bad since I used the same user name and password on all of them.

    I have set up my son’s blog on blogspot so my parents don’t run into my main blog on accident and I really prefer the Moveable Type interface–maybe just because I am used to it. I do like having my own domain. I never have to worry about the site owner getting tired of running it and shutting the whole thing down (diary-x was run by a single guy. I guess blogspot is run by a company so there isn’t that fear as much).

  14. Desperate To Be a Housewife replied:

    I’m no help. Just wanted to say that I’ve been looking into doing the same kind of thing. I would like to move to my own domain and maybe set up under Typepad. I was also thinking about getting a Zoots design, but she just had a baby and has suspended all her graphic work indefinately…I’m still looking and wishing though! Hopefully Blogger will come up with some better features in the interim.

  15. Comfort Addict replied:

    Landismom,

    I, too, am approaching my blog anniversary (coming in March). Like you, I am somewhat dissatisfied with Blogger’s inflexibility. Currently, however, I’m sticking with it because it’s free and I have two mortgage payments and a HELOC payment each month.

    I don’t think that you’ll lose your following by switching platforms. I’ve seen other people switch and not lose readers.

    You won’t lose your Haloscan comments if you move. You can also export your Blogger comments, although it’s a pain. Maybe I can write some kind of macro to import the comments. One of the Haloscan administrators periodically offers to do this if you can get your comments into XML format. I may be able to engineer that.

    As for your posts, I have a piece of software called Download Studio that does a fine job of this. I managed to download all of your posts in about 1 minute.

    I have no more advice. I’m looking forward to reading what other people have to say.

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