This is the first in a series of posts in which I will compare the two most favored blog platforms, Typepad and WordPress. The purpose of this is not to crown a winner in a contest, rather to help you find the blogging platform that is right for you.
One of the difficulties in making a proper determination about which platform to choose is that most of the people you talk to will be biased – they will recommend the platform they use. And they will probably make this recommendation without even getting to know you and your objectives. That’s right, they will prescribe without diagnosing. Brilliant, isn’t it?
This is one reason for this series of posts. I hope to clear the air by educating you so that you can make your best choice. And just to be fully transparent, this blog was hosted on Typepad for 5 years, but is now a self-hosted WordPress blog.
Stay tuned and you will learn why.
Own Your Blog Domain
Having a unique domain that you own is an essential feature for any blog. And it is one that both Typepad and WordPress offer. To my knowledge, this is not possible with many of the others. This alone is why I only recommend these two platforms – they allow you to protect years of blog content that is a living Web legacy of your business.
To be successful with blogging, regardless of your purpose, you will need to work very hard at it. The good word is this places you in a very select group, because most bloggers ignore the cardinal rule of blogging consistently. Here’s the best part: I can say without qualification that among the inconsistent bloggers are many self-described social media and blogging experts.
How It Works
Typepad assigns a unique Typepad URL when you sign up for their service. It will be something like myblog.typepad.com. That URL never changes, but when you map over your own domain, which in my case is my name: jeffkorhan.com, that is what gets indexed on the Web. As long as you maintain control of that URL by keeping it registered at GoDaddy.com (my preference) or wherever you wish to park it, then you are in good shape.
To be clear – with Typepad you have two URL’s. You have the one they give you that still works but sits in the background, and you have the one you own that is mapped over it. It works much like it does with email aliases.
With WordPress, and this is WordPress.org we are talking about, you set everything up on your domain from the get go, so there really isn’t any mapping. The key here is to understand that there is a difference between WordPress.org, which allows you to own your blog, and WordPress.com, which doesn’t. UPDATE: You can now own your blog on WordPress.com for a small fee.
One advantage of having a unique domain for your blog is you can export your entire blog from WordPress to Typepad or vice-versa. Even if you are loyal to one platform, you never know with mergers and such if there will be a desire to change down the road. So, do this. You will thank yourself some day – that much I can guarantee you.
If you are Typepad blogger, here are the instructions for getting this done. I highly recommend using GoDaddy for your domain because they provide phone support to work out the kinks in your mapping process, and I can assure you there usually are a few.
Typepad is hosted on their servers – which to you and me means it is hosted in the cloud. Some will consider this advantage a disadvantage. It is a matter of perspective. I like knowing that there is a company with technical expertise that is focused on making sure everything is working well – software and hardware upgrades are being made, protective measures against viruses in place, etc.
WordPress requires you to self-host your data. Some consider this to be an advantage because it gives you more control. To me, it is an advantage akin to owning your own home. It seems like the perfect scenario when everything is working well, until something goes wrong, such as the housing market collapsing. Then you may wish you were a renter.
Your WordPress blog could get hit by a virus because you weren’t upgrading the WordPress software, as just one example. Or your data is lost because you weren’t backing it up. You can solve this problem by using Jungledisk to automatically back-up to the cloud (actually Amazon’s servers) – for just a few dollars per month.
You see, with WordPress you do have control, but having that control also means you and you alone are responsible. To quote Clint Eastwood (aka Dirty Harry) … “you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? ”
Finally, as a consultant, another advantage to having the data in the cloud is that I can step in when necessary and help my clients. In other words, their blog is much more easily sharable. That is not as easily done when the content is housed on the client’s servers. To access that data poses all kinds of security risks for both of us.
One intent of this series is to help you by giving you my perspective as a loyal Typepad user. Many of my readers know I am a Typepad advocate, so I finally decided to take the time to explain why.
You certainly have the right ro disagree with me. In fact, if I happen to misrepresent either WordPress or Typepad, please leave a comment and I’ll do the research and set the record straight. Naturally, I welcome agreeable comments too!
My True Purpose
I really want to see more small business owners blogging. The data I’ve seen indicates the percentage of small business owners blogging is about 10%. This is pathetic. If you and I are to have more social media engagement within our markets, we need more people blogging. This is why I recommend the simplicity of Typepad to entrepreneurs and small business owners who have their hands full just running their businesses.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Since this article was written over a year ago, there have been a number of changes at Typepad – with the most significant one being the sale of the company to Say Media. After careful consideration, including meeting with Typepad representatives in person, I have moved this blog to WordPress.
You can read more about why Jeff Korhan moved to WordPress here to learn more about WordPress and how it compares to Typepad, and how I moved thousands of posts and comments intact. It’s not easy, but it is possible when you own your blog.
Indeed, it appears this series will indeed continue – with a new direction.
Here’s another comparison of TypePad vs WordPress – Pros and Cons that is based upon my personal experience using both.
Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)