Note to New Webloggers

Hi there new webloggers.

I’m speaking here of people like Rob, Cynthia, Matt and Nils.

I have a humble request for you from the blog intelligentsia: please stop using blogspot to host your blogs. Yes, it’s free, and easy. And free.

But it is also (a) ugly and (b) inflexible and (c) unlikely to be of much use to you as you want to expand the breadth of your blog and (d) doesn’t support the cool web standards like RSS and FOAF and Trackback that we in the blog intelligentsia obsess over.

My suggestion? Use TypePad. It suffers from none of the above, and while it’s not free, it’s only $4.95 a month for basic service, which is very, very cheap.

You will get a more beautiful, flexible, cool, standards-rich weblog, with lots of room for expansion. You’ll also be eligible for much better seating at the meetings of the weblogger elite.

There’s a free 30-day trial of TypePad from their website.

Disclaimer: I have no relationship with TypePad, other than a respect for their products. I don’t use TypePad myself, preferring to use a less-capable, theoretically more flexible homebrew system that I’ve grown addicted to. But people who I know and respect are big TypePad fans. Should the sarcasm be lost on anyone: there is no weblog intelligentsia.

Comments

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on November 11, 2003 - 19:00

As a self-declared member of the aforementioned weblog-intelligensia (sp?), I concur.

I’m particularly enjoying Matt Rainnie’s new weblog, but I definitely need to get me an RSS-feed of that thing.

Matt, if you don’t know what an RSS feed is, you should first be proud that you aren’t a huge geek, then you should know that it is something that I would love to have to let me know when there are new posts on your weblog.

I have used TypePad a bit, and it’s good.

Cyn's picture
Cyn on November 11, 2003 - 20:14

As a self-declared memeber of the aforementioned loser blogspot users, I concur.
It appears Blogspot will not be taking any requests for upgrades in the near future, so I will make the change, eventually. The ‘free’ part is important to me, however, I would be willing to pay for a ‘Catherine Hennesey special’. Then it’s mine…all mine…no monthly payments.
This RSS-feed business yas are up to sounds convenient, but when I make the change it’ll be because a) I want to, and b) I have some money to do it.

Rob MacD's picture
Rob MacD on November 11, 2003 - 21:16

I humbly thank you for your concern.

Of course, ugly is in the eye of the beholder, but I must say I rather like the look of my orange-headed monster. Especially after getting rid of the banner ad. As far as how my blogspot blog performs for me, it does almost everything I’d like it to do.
I tried the 30 day trial of the TypePad basic service for a while, awhile ago, and didn’t really enjoy the experience. It seems like a very good blogging service, but there were some attributes that I didn’t like, such as the apparent inability to tweak the html in your template more to your liking. I’m not crazy about the look of the templates they foist upon the basic service subscribers. And that’s enough to keep me from liking it enough to pay money for it.

About RSS, FOAF and TrackBack, from someone who’s not obsessed about these things:
I tried the news aggregator thing for some time, and found that, while it is certainly handy in keeping one up to date with the most recent postings, it does seem, to me, to remove the personality from the sites it mines. Perhaps that was a flaw with the aggregator I was using, but I prefer visiting the blogs I read, rather than just reading the text of the updated posts in the aggregator. After an admittedly short trial period, I found that using an aggregator sucked the enjoyment out of my blog-surfing experience.
I understand the importance that many place in an RSS feed, especially when it comes to keeping one informed of updates from news sites. Personally, I’m not all that keen on it so far, as far as keeping one updated on blogs is concerned. Therefore, I don’t see the need to change to a blog service that utilizes it. If not having an RSS feed keeps people from reading my junk as often, at the moment its posted, and/or at all, well, I can live with that.

I don’t know what FOAF is (although I spent some time trying to figure it out) and am not sure of its benefits.

Trackback is something that I’d like to utilize, but not enough to get me to switch to a blogging service that a) costs money (even if it is very, very cheap), and b) ultimately lacks the ability to tweak the things I want to tweak.

Blogspot has a lot of things lacking, that’s true. But it suits my needs quite well at the moment. And it’s free. I’m sorry that it makes the lives of RSS-feed people more difficult, but there are people for whom blogging isn’t an obsession. I expect that may read as being flippant, but it really isn’t meant to be.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on November 11, 2003 - 21:44

Fair enough Rob — I don’t actually mind the appearance of the blogspot layouts — it’s more the lack of RSS and the pop-up comments that I don’t like.

Erin's picture
Erin on November 12, 2003 - 00:04

And those of us who maintain blogs at (gasp!) Livejournal?

Matt's picture
Matt on November 12, 2003 - 01:37

Thanks Pete and Steve. I just put some thoughts up over at my site.

Al O'Neill's picture
Al O'Neill on November 12, 2003 - 03:54

I maintain a couple of blogs, one of which I host myself and another on blogspot. I like using the popup comments because I’m used to it from sites like Atrios and Calpundit and others, and I don’t find blogspot / blogger to be all that inflexible, either. I’ve heard the comment ‘why should I care what someone has to say if they aren’t even bothering to host their blog on their own domain’ one too many times as a kneejerk reaction to set me to have the opposite reaction..

I guess if it’s good enough for Dave Barry and Salam Pax then it’s fine for my purposes.

Nils Ling's picture
Nils Ling on November 12, 2003 - 05:09

On Peter’s say-so, and because I had the free time … I’ve switched over to typepad — my new blog URL is http://truthsandhalftruths.typ… … I actually do like the look of it better — and the colour scheme on the template I chose sorta matches my main website. And now I don’t feel like I’m copying Rob. Although I’m not opposed to copying Rob in principle.

I’ll see how this works — I have a month to decide whether it’s worth $5 a month …

Nils Ling's picture
Nils Ling on November 12, 2003 - 05:13

Sorry — cut and pasted an overly complicated link in my previous comment — see above for a simplified version …

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on November 12, 2003 - 12:43

Nils Site look very smooth indeed. V uncluttered unlike my own. Do you have a tidy office Nils?

Nils Ling's picture
Nils Ling on November 12, 2003 - 14:15

My Mom always said “A tidy office is the mark of a tiday brain.” So, no.

Jevon's picture
Jevon on November 12, 2003 - 15:46

Nils: Now I get to read you every time your post and I don’t have to just stumble on your site occasionally now.

Add new comment