Volumes could be, and likely have been, written about that title and its application in politics. However, this is not such a post.
Since Six Apart was sold several years ago, my use of Typepad for blogging has gotten progressively more - irritating. It's minor to be certain but little irrritations over time add up. Part of it is seeing what features are offered by better platforms. Part of it is simply a feeling that the user interface is not aging well, and new features are either not forthcoming or approaching at a glacial pace. I recently had a spam problem, receiving up to a dozen spam comments a day. That required fairly constant attention, until it subsided. I submitted a help request as to why these were getting through when I was flagging them as 'spam' in the Typepad spam filters. I received no reply at all, nothing. Approximately a year ago the spell check features for composing posts simply quit working, regardless of what browser I use. For the most part I am excellent at spelling, but it would not be dishonest at all to call me a truly lousy typist. I fat-finger all the time, and the self makes a crappy editor/proof-reader. Spell check is a lifeline that for my own self worth, I am not happy living without when I pay for medium to write in. (First world problems!)
Over the last several days, I have read many articles about moving to a hosted site running Wordpress. Most any who read this will already be familiar with it as a user, or a regular visitor at sites that are written using the software. It is feature rich, updated regularly, and allows for a host of second party themes and additions. In Typepad there is no rich text editor for posting from mobile devices, so my iPad is useful only so much for actually blogging with. Switching sounds like a no-brainer, right? Well, hang on there just a second.
The 'pros' to a switch should be obvious. It's the 'cons' that have me screaming "CHAAAN" into this little intertube communicator device here. The first is cost. A reasonably robust hosting service will cost me about a third more per year than I am currently paying. The more popular ones cost up to or over twice as much. I can, of course, get a free Wordpress.com blog, but the features are as limited as what I currently pay for with little net gain. It will save me some money and yet there are significant drawbacks I will point out in a bit.
The second 'con' deals specifically with the free Wordpress accounts. I already have one, set up soley to facilitate signing in for comments at Wordpress sites. My luck with being able to use that sign on is apparently very bad, hit or miss at best. I have not had a good user experience with it. It might be my fault, it might be the fault of the sites I visit, it might be Wordpress.com itself. What I do know is this, as an I.T. professional, user experience counts for a great deal of the choices that people make. I am, frankly, not inclined to switching to software that has frustrated me in the past regardless of the irritations provided by Typepad. (That is exactly why users the world over were hesitant to switch away from Windows, even with Vista, until MS provided the impetus with the paradigm shift to 'the NEW Windows', or Windows 8 as they hate us to call it. User experience forms choices.)
The third 'con' and this is the biggie is simply history. Blogging history. I have a lot of it, well over ten years in fact. I have seen an enormous number of bloggers switch platform, and almost every one keeps the old platform maintained, either as insurance, archive or for all I know nostalgia. I have no intention of doing that whatsoever. If and when I switch it will be final and complete. That is the very problem, the switching. Typepad has a utility to export your blogging history and Wordpress has a utilityy to import that history from Typepad. A few problems with that. All permalinks will be gone. All images and files such as pictures, PDFs or videos will be gone. It is one helluva lot of work to transfer those to the new site because they have to be done manually. That takes time and a whole lotta effort. I can rightly call it intimidating to think back on the number of links I've posted over ten years, the number of photos, the shear number of YouTubes. All of those would have to be manually re-linked. And then, the lazy set in ...
Don't get me wrong, please. I don't think there is irreplaceable 'value' to what I've posted over the years. Still, our lives are full of enough of lost history, money and time. "Mom threw out my comics!" "Wow, I used to date her!" "I loved that game, and now it's selling for 4 digits on ebay?!" "Whatever happened to that Teddy bear I slept with everynight?" In over a decade I have made friends, had epic battles (Hi, Tokarski), and posted my life online for the world to see, good or ill. Frankly, I'm not willing to lose that, but feel overwhelmed by the necessity of trying to keep it while switching where that data sits.
So, what I'm really asking is for any advice that mitigates the 'CHAAANS". Do I stay or do I go? What do you think, people?