I’ve had a fun time the last couple of days moving this blog from its home of the last 5 or 6 years at TypePad, to WordPress.com. I made the decision for a number of reasons:
- I’ve now used WordPress extensively over the past couple of years, and grown to love the software for its ease of use, configurability and flexibility. As an open source product, there is a vast community of contributors, an army of plugins and a battalion of really helpful users hanging out in forums. In contrast TypePad is a proprietary, closed ecosystem.
- TypePad costs money. I’ve been paying them a subscription every month. WordPress.com is free, at least until I finalise the move by shifting my http://www.eedle.com domain, which I’ll sort out in the next week or two. It’s not that I begrudge paying money – completely the opposite given my line of work. But with TypePad I just didn’t feel I was seeing a significant innovation path. The software, in terms of the features I use, really didn’t feel it had moved forward in leaps and strides. By paying money to WordPress.com I’m supporting the development of a community-oriented product.
- TypePad’s design templates are restricted and boring. I never really found a template I liked.I lack the design skills to create one for myself, and I’m not up for paying money to have one custom made for me. WordPress.com gives me a great set of templates, including the one I’m using now, which I think is a much more contemporary presentation than TypePad’s.
- Finally, I actually have several other blogs on my WordPress.com account, for various businesses and ventures in which I am involved. My personal blog was the only thing I hosted at TypePad. For convenience it makes sense to keep everything together.
The actual move was pretty painless for those interested in the mechanics.
- I exported my blog using the Export option in TypePad
- I imported the blog (posts, comments etc) into WordPress.com using the specific TypePad import option. The only hitch with the import I’ve posted about in the forums – just an incorrect file extension, should have been .xml and not .txt. Although it would have been nice if the WordPress import page had validated this.
- I had some problems with images. Some of the images were automatically scraped by WordPress – eg copied over from TypePad. Some were not. I’m not completely sure why this is the case, I think it’s something to do with the way TypePad hosts and names image files. They don’t look like image file URLs so perhaps WordPress didn’t recognise them as such. I wound up downloading a couple of dozen images by hand (eg Save As..) from TypePad and manually editing the posts in WordPress to update the image.
- The text of the posts and comments came without any drama, although my ‘About’ page from TypePad turned up as a post in WordPress instead of a Page. Pretty minor, just a quick copy/paste.
- All the Categories, and allocation of Posts to Categories arrived fine.
My one concern was for post URLs. On TypePad they all had an /eedle directory, because it didn’t actually have a domain in place, it was just http://eedle.typepad.com. I really should know better, but never got around to setting a domain up. Which meant I was faced with a bunch of URLs in Google, pointing to eedle.typepad.com – not much help if all the posts have moved over to WordPress.com.
So solution was to bite the bullet. I’ve pointed my www.eedle.com domain to TypePad, so that blog is now responding to that domain. I’ve never really used the domain for web pages – it’s mostly so I can have a cool email address like email@example.com.
I’ve submitted the URL to Google. I’ll use Google Webmaster Tools to tell Google to drop eedle.typepad.com URLs from the index.
We’ll let Google to its thing for a few days, by which hopefully all my pages in the index will be under http://www.eedle.com. Then I’ll move the domain over to the WordPress blog.
I know, I know, really what I should do is organise a 301 redirect on the TypePad URLs. (For the uninitiated this is an instruction to the search engines that the URL has changed).
Two reasons why I didn’t bother:
- I actually cannot figure out a way to do this with TypePad in a way that is not a complete dodgy hack. Another fail for the software;
- It doesn’t matter much. I don’t have a lot of traffic, I don’t have millions of inbound links. If someone is searching in the future, they’ll still find my pages.
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