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Monday, March 30, 2009

A wasted chorus of Kumbaya

I have to say, reading through yesterday's comments I was impressed by the incredible unity of opinion.  I mean seriously... in the history of the Jewish people there has probably never been another instance of so many Jews being of exactly one mind on any subject.

So I get the point... you all think I should switch to WordPress.

I hate to rain on anyone's folk festival, but here's my list of problems with that suggestion:

1.  WordPress doesn't allow advertising.  Now, I'm not supporting my family with this site like some of the mega-bloggers.  But the advertising I get does bring in enough cash that I can make regular donations to a few important causes close to my heart (mostly related to making the lives of IDF soldiers a tiny bit more comfortable) without having to constantly beg you all for money.  This is a a big deal... and a deal breaker as far as WordPress is concerned.

2.  Somebody already grabbed the treppenwitz user name over at WordPress.  They aren't using the name (and haven't been for several years), but WordPress has a policy of not allowing the recycling of user names, even after they have been relinquished.  The best they could suggest is that I contact the person who registered the user name and ask them to transfer it to me.  But since they won't reveal who the person is, and the page holder (www.treppenwitz.wordpress.com) doesn't have a way to leave comments or send emails to the siteowner, that is a non-starter.

3.  While WordPress may be easy to use, it is not designed for extensive customization.  They don't allow the importation of themes and their format options are dramatically limited.  I haven't changed my basic layout in almost six years so I'm not looking for the ability to reinvent the wheel every two weeks.  But I would like the ability to make the look and feel of the WordPress incarnation of treppenwitz aesthetically similar to that of its Typepad incarnation.

4.  If I migrate treppenwitz to a new platform I want live customer service... not this 'submit a help ticket and we might get back to you with an unhelpful, canned response sometime this week' crap.  I want real, live breathing people at the other end of the phone when my site goes down... and I certainly wouldn't attempt to move the whole thing to a new platform without someone on the other side helping me with the transition.  I already know that to try it on my own would result in at least a week of my site being 404. 

So I hate to rain on such a sunny, 'we are the world', kumbaya moment where all the stars aligned and everyone miraculously seemed to finally agree on something.  But that solution just doesn't work for me.

Posted by David Bogner on March 30, 2009 | Permalink


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I made the switch, but to Wordpress hosted on a web server with my own domain. The financial investment is not significant, especially if you are planning to advertise. WP is better optimized for search engines and Google ranking so you should make it up in time. The difficulty is that you are on your own when it comes to making changes, even though there are many, many tutorials out there. It's like the difference between owning your own house and renting. And as we know, owning gives you much more flexibility and independence.
You can email me if you want to know more (but I won't hold my breath).
Of course, the other problem with switching URLs is that not every blogger updates his blogroll so regularly. . . hint hint.

Posted by: mother in israel | Mar 30, 2009 12:34:13 PM

And, I might add, no problems with spam. None at all. I have my comments set to approve each first time commenter.

Posted by: mother in israel | Mar 30, 2009 12:35:16 PM

Sorry, I forgot something. Your limits to customization only apply when you use wordpresss.com.

Posted by: mother in israel | Mar 30, 2009 12:37:58 PM

I build almost all my sites on Wordpress, and I have around 40 or 50 of them right now.

1. You can have all the advertising you want on a Wordpress site that you host yourself; the only problem is on mysite.wordpress.com sites, the ones that are hosted at WordPress.

2. Since you own www.treppenwitz.com, who cares about the treppenwitz.wordpress.com address?

3. You can customize to your heart's content on a self-hosted Wordpress installation, and your template is pretty basic so that wouldn't be hard to recreate.

4. With Typepad you're paying for both the blogging platform and for hosting. With self-hosted WordPress, you don't pay for the blogging platform, you just pay for the hosting. Sure, Wordpress may not offer live support, but your host will. Just choose a host that specializes in WordPress hosting and offers support for it (there are loads of them).

Your call of course, but Wordpress is a much better solution.

Posted by: Andy Levy-Stevenson | Mar 30, 2009 1:55:01 PM

Update to my previous comment:

Did a little searching about leaving TypePad and moving to Wordpress. There's tons of information out there about it, almost all of which suggests it's an absolute pain in the butt to do ... because of the limitations of TypePad's export function, especially in relation to images.

So, while I'd still suggest WordPress is a better bet for you, it may be more trouble than it's worth to break out of TypePad.

There's an interesting thread here that discusses the issue ... so many people commented on their problems with moving that the writer started a paid service for doing the move for you!



Posted by: Andy Levy-Stevenson | Mar 30, 2009 2:10:13 PM

I use WordPress (albeit the common version) and like it much more than the older platform I used.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Mar 30, 2009 8:25:24 PM

I'm perfectly happy with blogger. Not being a computer geek anymore, I don't have time or patience to figure out complexities of code, and so far, in four prolix years, I was locked out only once (they thought I was spam, then after looking at my blog they realized it was kosher).

Posted by: At The Back of the Hill | Mar 31, 2009 4:40:06 AM

Yes, yes, the suggestion was for the SELF HOSTED version, NOT wordpress.com, but rather wordpress.org. You can set it up on your own host and customize and advertise to your heart's content!

Posted by: Avi | Mar 31, 2009 2:27:10 PM

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