Sunday, April 10, 2005

A Plea for Blogging Advice

If you're reading this blog, the chances are you've been around blogs longer than me. I've been blogging since September of last year, and reading them since around March or April of the same year. So, while I feel like I know my way around blogs fairly well, there's a lot about blogging itself that I don't know. So, I'm hoping someone out there can give me some advice. I've been having trouble with blogger lately. It's completely lost a couple of very long cog sci posts that I didn't feel like rewriting, and it lost some shorter posts as well. The problem was that blogger decided not to be available when I clicked to submit the posts, and not having saved them some other way (I know, that was really stupid of me), they just disappeared. No amount of backtracking could reproduce them. Anyway, because of my frustration with blogger, I've been thinking about transferring this blog to one of the pay services (e.g., Typepad). So, my question is, are these services worth the money? And which services are the best? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

17 comments:

Richard said...

I've heard that WordPress is a good system -- and you can even use it with a free outfit called "Blogsome". If I was starting afresh I might give them a try, but I don't really know anything else about them.

Typepad is supposed to be good. But again, I don't really know anything about it. Whether the pay services are "worth it" will presumably depend upon your personal needs. I'm happy enough to copy my posts to the clipboard before publishing, so the odd Blogger crash doesn't worry me too much. Other than increased stability, I don't know of any other major advantages to the pay services.

Sarah Brodwall said...

I compose all my long posts in an external text editor. In fact, I compose my text in an external editor -any- time I have something longer than a couple of paragraphs that needs to be submitted online via a text box. The problems you're experiencing might not necessarily be due to Blogger, but might instead just be due to the vagaries of online form submission. Regardless, it's a good idea to compose offline.

Dave Munger said...

I wonder if it isn't so much the blogging software you're using as your browser. In Firefox, I've never had the problem you indicate -- I can always just hit the "back" key and my post is still there. However, I'm using WordPress, so maybe there's some interaction between WordPress and my browser.

Suzette Haden said...

I recommend Live Journal .... I've been blogging there since last summer, and have been completely satisfied.

Suzette Haden Elgin

Clark Goble said...

The other blog I blog at uses b2evolution and it seems quite nice. My own personal blog consists of a couple of python scripts which are very hackish and not really of interest for anyone else running a blog.

wahj said...

I've learned the hard way when there's a post that counts to either constantly save drafts, or to compose it in another text editor before blogging it. No matter what service you use, this is sound advice. Any blog service would be vulnerable to problems with connections anyway, so my advice would be to save yourself the trouble of transferring. Just change your habits slightly.

roger said...

compose off line. copy and paste.

Razib said...

FYI, if you go with non-blogger stuff, you can find webhosting as cheap (or cheaper) than the TYPEPAD service that will allow you to run whatever you want. also, if you get a domain name you can usually get a private proxy to keep yourself anonymous.

i stick with MT, the older free version, because the production of separate HTML pages is easier for crawlers to get to from what i gather than dynamically generated WORD PRESS pages.

p.s. going with TYPEPAD makes you vulnerable to the same system wide outages as blogger. less frequent, but still happens....

edge said...

I'm sorry that blogger has been flaking so much lately. I just don't think they have put the resources into it to make it scale effectively.

I think I'm going to install my own MT on my own server.

I've wanted to post a couple of times to your excellent posts, but blogger has flaked on me. It is a server resource issue.

I look forward to your writings in the future.

Curt said...

I overcame this by using another program to compose. wBloggar allows you to post from it as well as write and format in it. It's free and available here:
http://wbloggar.com/

scott said...

My solution is just to always Ctrl+V the post before hitting submit. That way if there's a problem you can just paste it back in and try again.

This is more of a workaround than an actual solution, but it requires the least possible effort or change of habit.

L said...

Thanks to the first respondent for recommending blogsome, it inspired me to switch away from blogger, and so far I like it much better. It's especially helpful to have a "recent comments sidebar" plugin, which i'm not sure was available on blogger.
So far it seems to be publishing better as well...

paperwight said...

I subscribed to typepad after a few months with blogger, and have been very happy with typepad's customer service. It's ~$40/year for the basic level, which should be fine for straight text (and using straight text, even when I got 35K hits in one month I didn't come close to the bandwidth), and there are some tricks you can do to monkey with the templates. Your blogger posts will be easy to migrate, though you'll lose the comments.

FuzzyMonkey said...

you could also pay a webhosting service and use a program like thingamablog
http://thingamablog.sourceforge.net/

Lindsay Beyerstein said...

I recommend TypePad. Granted, I don't have a huge basis for comparison, but I've been a satisfied customer since April 2004.

Initially I was happy to pay the five bucks a month not to subject the users to ads. As the blog grew and the bandwidth got more expensive it was a breeze to add a few blog ads to defer the bandwidth costs. I prefer that solution because I get to choose whether I'm willing to allow a given ad to subsidize my site.

TypePad's good about spam blocking and tech support. The system is very stable compared to Blogger. I've out of over 1200 posts, I've only lost about four to a TypePad malfunction. If things go wrong they get back to me within a few hours, even on weekends.

I don't want to sound like a booster for TypePad. They're certainly not perfect. But at least for me it's worth a modest fee not to deal with the instability of blogger.

Ryan Miller said...

It's not clear to me what the advantage of typepad is over your own domain + wordpress. If you go with a quality webhost using Cpanel (~$8/mo inc. domain), you'll have no bandwidth worries and easy Wordpress install. Also, the new versions of Wordpress pose no problems for Google indexing, so don't worry about that. Finally, if you're looking for something totally free I'd be more than willing to host your blog at reasonablereflection.net. I have several satisfied users at present if you want references.

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