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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Comments

Here is a thought; Pay the nice people at the SquareSpace to migrate all your data to their platform. And since they have a very good migration tool to Wordpress, you can then move it to the WP platform.

Haven't the time to look through all the posts to avoid duplicating this so apologies if you've read it already.

http://help.typepad.com/typepad_to_wordpress.html

I agree with those who advise spending the effort to get everything in one place and under one name.

I agree with lots of other people. The TOP 'brand' is too valuable to be a TypePad subdomain. Get yourself a decent domain name (something.photo perhaps?) and map it onto your TypePad blog.

Then do all the voodoo necessary to get internal and external links to start pointing at the new domain. Once this process is underway think about consolidating the old TOP into the existing site, then think about moving hosting service.

You do want a decent CMS. SquareSpace looks like a mediocre one-trick pony to me and WordPress can be tricky to keep secure. If you want a CMS recommendation then I would suggest ExpressionEngine.

Finally, a responsive web design is essential these days.

I've at least skimmed all 90+ comments above, and the consensus seems to be:

1. The current DDOS trouble is not a good reason to change anything.
2. There are, however, good reasons to change platforms and hosts.
3. There are good reasons why you should get your own domain name (such as making it easier to move to a new host or to self-host).

If you're in accord with the consensus, then there may be a relatively easy, sane and gradual three-step process to making changes for the better. It's also, I believe, the least detrimental to your SEO, ad revenues, stats, etc.

1. Buy a domain name and map it to your typepad blog.
2. While you and the world adjust to the new address, research the best home and platform fro the future TOP.
3. Make the move.

Please don't just take my word on this--consult experts and Typepad, and hire someone to help--but I think this is likely the least painful path. The initial effort is minimal; really mostly monitoring and making sure all the i's and t's are dotted and crossed.

Let me explain what I can:

First step: Mapping. No links are broken, and there's no downtime. Your blog now appears at the address theonlinephotographer.com (or whatever) but also continues at theonlinephotographer.typepad.com. Your permalinks and internal links update automatically. As far as you're concerned, things operate exactly as they have--you and your readers just need to get used to a new address.

Step two: Over the next few months, the publisher, readers, advertisers, search engines, feeds, all adjust to the new domain. And you make sure they do, but you can take your time about it. Meanwhile, you research the best future home and platform for the new TOP.

When you're good and ready--say Labor Day weekend or the end of the year--then

Step three: you move TOP to its new home.

There will be work, and planning and reorganization, when you do move, of course. But they will remain behind the scenes and it'll be simpler than it would be if you try to do it all at once now. By then TOP will have been operating at its new address for some time already. Readers just go to TOP as usual and it's TOP, only better.

The biggest decision at the beginning will be whether to map the domain or a subdomain (e.g., top.com vs blog.top.com), and that will depend on your ambitions.

Here's typepad's guide to domain mapping: http://help.typepad.com/domain_mapping.html

I'm an archivalist at heart. The idea of the old content fading gradually into the woodwork hurts my bleeding little heart.

However, cutting off the old site and moving on really isn't that bad an option. The old content can remain around as you say (sounds like it's not unaffordable), just not fully integrated. Usually that makes a huge difference in effort for the conversion. Really, I think your time is better spent writing about photography than converting article formats. If a tool can do it reasonably effectively without huge effort, that might be worth it.

That said, when I started my own WordPress based blog (what appears at the top of my web site), I manually brought in articles from something like three prior mechanisms I had had for category-specific blogs, but left alone my photo gallery mechanism and my "book log" setup, which were highly specialized and did just what I wanted already.

I'll add my voice to those recommending Squarespace. It's easy to use your own domain name and they are very conscious of data portability. http://www.squarespace.com/feature-index#ownership

Here's info about using images: http://www.squarespace.com/feature-index#imagemanager

Also, they are pretty fanatic about keeping their sites up: to the extent they bucket brigaded diesel up to the roof during Sandy. https://betabeat.com/2012/11/squarespace-diesel-peer1-wall-street-hurricane-sandy-data-center/

Best part is that they take care of the hard stuff for you, so you can focus on writing. (A ton of customization is possible: ranging from just CSS to a full developers platform. But it's not necessary to use it).

-Bruce

Respectfully, I think you are asking the wrong people about the best way to move your site. Photographers are not SEO experts.

Off the top of my head - I would ask Rand Fishkin from Moz. He's very socially aware (as social media) and technically adept.

He might like the challenge of doing good for a lovely, engaged community like TOP - definitely worth asking.

http://moz.com/rand/about/

http://moz.com/blog/domain-migration-lessons

http://moz.com/blog/web-site-migration-guide-tips-for-seos

As to which platform - you could do worse than to ask an SEO expert.

For my two-pence worth - SquareSpace is a bad choice. It is not hosted by you and although it has some lovely templates, you are an odd fish (in the nicest way) and may want to do something that SquareSpace can't accommodate easily or at all.

With WordPress you can do more or less anything. It is a very powerful choice and if you choose wisely it's safe - as safe as anything out there.

I read some of the comments here about poor theme developers, and yes, it amazes me to see sites running on outdated themes.

But there are many excellent themes and there are a lot of truly excellent developers out there who make clean code and beautiful sites.

I think the most critical thing to get right is to choose the right web host.

I'm not a web designer so I have little in way of advice to offer.

I read your blog primarily through an RSS feed reader at present. I'll keep up with it no matter where you go as long as you post changes first.

I enjoy TOP a lot, keep up the good work.

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