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Tuesday, 22 April 2014


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Nothing wrong with a "new" blog with links back and forth to the existing site.
The entire raison d'etre for the World Wide Web was to make linked documents easily accessible; it's of no consequence where anything is hosted as long as you can find it, or link to it.
You'll probably be besieged by a whole new slew of people trying to sell you bogus 'search engine optimisation' services, but other than that I can't think of a downside, and it is possible that having multiple sites will enhance TOP's visibility to searches for a while.

Mike. If you wanted it, conversion isn't that much hassle? Screen scraping would obtain the actual content (view source, look for <div class="entry-body"> and the date, guessing that's all you'd want.

If you generate an 'empty' page in the new format I guess transformation is possible using XML methods? Is that what you want?


I would highly recommend Wordpress.com service over Squarespace. I'm sure there are thousands more developer for wordpress than SquareSpace.
Secondly you would want to OWN your data and keep it in your OWN domain (name).

As far as the transfer of current data is concerned, you would have to find out how much it will cost you to hire a competent person to do it. I'm sure money wise, it would be a benefit to you (you can monazite older posts with better/more ads). Most importantly you would want to won your data! What if Typepad decides to close shop? You'd lose thousands of hours of irreplaceable work (and comments).

Another option is to migrate the TypePad data bit by bit. For example;

You can covert the 2014 posts to start your new Wordpress site, then add 2013, 2012,... posts to archives every few months until all are moved over.

I tried to leave a comment on your previous post, but I don't think it went through. Wordpress is now a billion dollar company, and they provides a hosted service on their Wordpress.com domain which is VERY good. Some of the largest blogs/sites in the world are being hosted by them. You'll have your own domain and keep your own DATA.

In terms of user experience, you'll just be missing out on seamlessness and ease of referencing/searching for old articles, which might be annoying to some people and will make your brand look scattered. You also run the risk of people finding your old blog through a search but not going through the bother of going to yet another site for the latest entry.

For a blog like TOP where you have a loyal readership base and where you are producing a lot of fresh content, I don't think any of these will be major issues.

The real issue, I think, is data permanence: typepad is clearly not doing so well and as far as I know is bleeding users. How long they will decide to keep their platform alive is anybody's guess, so there is a chance you might lose everything pre-switch to wordpress (or whatever) without warning. Not only the entries, which you will have backed up somewhere if you are smart, but also all the comments. That would be a huge shame, for you just as for the readers!
So since you are going to have to find a way to backup all this data (soon) and restore it (someday), the argument goes you might as well do it now, while you have the tools and a live typepad to work from rather than a SQL dump.

If the change worked well once, why alter a winning formula...do it again! In my aged and befuddled mind I relate this kind of change to getting a new camera. Basically you'll be taking the same kind of shots, but with a renewed vigour. You'll be able to do some things easier, and the things you can't you'll either discard or work round. Your new whizz-bang technology will prod you into looking at things you haven't considered before. As for the old, (ie this site's) content, there's got to be a way of importing it to the Newbie. All in I think change is for the good, though being of an advanced age and technologically a luddite, who thinks that the Biro is an instrument of the devil and unlikely to catch on, what do I know?

Speaking as someone who runs a website for a club, KISS for the webmaster is not the same as KISS for visitors.

I would have thought that having depth and breadth of content in one place would make you more attractive to advertisers.

If you're visiting a farm and wanting to familiarise yourself with the cows having the animals spread across three paddocks makes the job a lot harder than it is when the cows share two paddocks. "Now, which paddock was Daisy in?".

If you export you can change the URL immediately and make things simpler for readers.


Yup, have website, will follow.

Minor aside... It seems it could be worthwhile to store the images / text on your machine, so you could load them to whichever service you're using at the time? Then you wouldn't have to transform them? Write once, publish many?

No sweat, Mike, we would happily change our bookmarks and keep reading. No reason to migrate the entire current encyclopedia (big headache I suppose). So long as you post prominent crossreferences, that's plenty good enough. Just keep the format clean and easy, and iPad friendly (some services have sliding panes that work independently of each other and are pretty confusing). Wordpress is fine, and lets you receive notices of follow ups on your comments...

Sorry you're having these problems - what a pain. If it is possible to migrate the old content to the new service, even if it loses the comments, that would be better, and you could still leave the old site up for people who want the comments. But if you can't, and have to start completely afresh, I 's no big deal, and although it would be a bit of a pain at first, that would soon pass, and a year down the line I don't suppose anyone would care.

More important is to try and minimise the risk of this happening again, with a content management system that allows you easily to separate the content from the provider. I'm sure this is possible, but others with more technical expertise than me will have to advise on that....

And above all else please run the main site through a URL that is independent of the provider. It says 'typepad.com' in the bar at the top of my phone right now, and it would be much better if it didn't :-)

Good luck!


A good reason to migrate the old site would be search engines. Starting out with lots of good content will increase your page ranking quickly, which will make the site easier to find as well as being more interesting to advertisers.

If you're going to get a third party to do the migration for you, you might actually look into having the oldest site migrated as well.

There are advantages and disadvantages to having all your work under one domain, but I'm not sure which is best for you. I remember when you moved from blogger, and things seem to have worked out well.

A thought (I've been [thinking about this](http://hypertexthero.com/logbook/2014/03/web-publishing-maximum-longevity/) lately:

I've recently [had some trouble](http://hypertexthero.com/logbook/2014/03/textdrive-dead-jim/) with an old web host. Basically the service stopped and the data was erased, with no notification sent customers. This taught me yet again the value of backups!

An easy way to backup an entire site as it is, with comments, styles, etc, is to fire up a Unix utility called `wget` and have it crawl your site and save a static HTML version of it in your computer. You can then move this folder to your own server or web hosting company easily. It may take a while depending on the size of your site, but is generally very fast, and gives you an HTML archive that can be served by a web server and browsed with a web browser regardless of service or software changes.

First you will need to [install wget](http://osxdaily.com/2012/05/22/install-wget-mac-os-x/) if you don't have it already:

Then you can run the following command in your Mac OS X Terminal (replace 'domain.dev' — which appears twice — with your site domain, for example: 'theonlinephotographer.blogspot.com'):

wget --recursive --no-clobber --page-requisites --html-extension --convert-links --restrict-file-names=unix --domains domain.dev http://domain.dev/

[Yer on way over my head. --Mike.]

I've not moved a TypePad blog so can't comment on the technical issues, but I have migrated a Wordpress blog (to nother WordPress site), and it was pretty straightforward.

Why bother? Well I think the key thing would be to facilitate referencing older articles (something you do fairly often) simple. It also means you can have a single search option for your blog.

As to what to move to, I'd go Wordpress primarily because a) there is a very large support community b) there is a comprehensive collection of add-ons which will let you do pretty much anything you want.

WordPress is in fact more than capable of providing a full blown, full featured website.

So, for example, it is not difficult to set up an image gallery with online purchasing.

I would look into a self hosting option for maximum flexibility. There is obviously a small cost in doing this, but in order to get the full range of features (and no WP ads) you'll need to pay using for Wordpress hosting anyway.

You should keep the existing site up at all costs because all the Internet will be linked to the articles on this site. Given the DNS name of your site is theonlinephotographer.typepad.com, you could just change the redirect to your new service and voila.

Migrating your site would break search engine indexes and probably lower your pagerank, so I wouldn't migrate unless absolutely necessary.


Basically you don't have much choice.

I once made the transition from Blogger+SmugMug to my own Wordpress blog with self-hosted images. Blogger had an export function (as supposedly TypePad has), but the exported text contained image links pointing to SmugMug. I was lucky, I could find out which images the links actually pointed to, but that was only due to some regularity in the naming of SmugMug image links. Still, I had to write a program to convert image links.

In the general case this is not possible. Therefore I was careful to never use WordPress' own image upload functions on my new site, convenient as they may be. My image links always end with the original file name. Using WordPress' upload, the link would be an arbitrary string.

Something similar seems to be the case with TypeMap. When I look at your image URLs, I can't even tell that they point to images at all. Thus I suppose it would be hard to move the blog to a new system, for instance WordPress, and move the images along. Of course you could always do it manually, but I suppose it would be error prone and tedious.

If I were in your shoes, I probably wouldn't switch at all. If a distributed DOS attack is the reason for you to consider changing, that can happen on WordPress.com or elsewhere as well. You can host the blog yourself, but that's probably more technical work than you expect. It may also be more expensive in terms of bandwidth and processing power.

In any case I would consider stopping opaque image URLs. In case you ever must change providers, it is important to not only have your texts, but to also know where your images are, how they are named, and to be able to tell from a link, what image it points to. Just in case.

Oh and, you should also discuss the problem with the folks at TypePad. I suppose they wouldn't want to lose you as a customer, but part of good service would also be to provide a solution for an exit.

Hey Mike, I'm a graphic designer and photographer who uses Wordpress every day. I'm also a huge fan of your site and read it almost daily. I would hate to see you lose traffic due to the move. I did a quick search for a typepad to Wordpress converter and found https://tp2wp.com. I have never used this plugin before, but it looks like it would do the trick. If you do move to Wordpress, I advise self hosting the site, and not running it on Wordpress.org, which can be too limiting.

Cheers and best of luck,

If it possible somehow to have the new site carry an index for the old site then the continuity can be fairly seamless. There are tools to migrate from TypePad to WordPress so it may be possible to gradually move the content over leaving behind redirects.

Note that Squarespace was DDoS'd back in December. Before signing up with them it would be worth asking what they have done to prevent this happening in the future.

WordPress would require you to have IT assistance to tailor the look and feel to your needs, and of course do upgrades at approximately 3 month intervals. Squarespace gives you a set of standard templates and I get the impression from their tour that it is intended for very image-heavy sites. Yours on the other hand, despite being about photography, is very word heavy.

I agree with you. For me there would no compelling reason to migrate all the material to a new site.

Very simple... register a domain and never worry about redirecting traffic again. You can choose (and change) whatever platform or hosting service you want without visitors ever knowing or caring what's going on behind the scenes.


Leaving v2 in place while starting v3 will certainly save a potentially enormous effort to migrate old posts. Having links from v2 to v3 is certainly a workable option, especially if the cost is minor.

The question I have is how would you want to handle v3 visitors who might be interested in content on v2? If you don't care, OK, but my view is that you'd want to be able to help people find the good stuff wherever it is.

My personal blog is on Wordpress, so I know there is an import from Typepad capability, but I don't know how effective it is. I think I would be inclined to play with the facility a bit before making a policy decision.



Hi Mike,
As long as you re-map your domain name and put clear forward links to the new service your regulars will follow you there no problem.

However I can see two potential downsides to splitting the blog again: it will become difficult to list related articles (ex Ctein's columns) in one place, and those finding the old material might not realise the blog is still active. I could be wrong, but I think you've got a lot more material on the Typepad blog than you had before, so the "cross blog search" problem could be worse...

If you do move you might want to think about putting the site on your own (hosted) server - that way in a future recurrence you could move the site as a whole to a new host.

Hope this helps.


You can set up link to automatically re-direct people from this blog (the last blog entry) to the new blog after, say, 10 seconds.

It'll take a while for all the various sites around the internet to start linking to your new wordpress blog and posts. In the meanwhile, your new blog will rank pretty low in google (or bing) search results, since they rank a site mainly based on how many incoming links it has. Basically,if you change the site address, the number of hits you get via google searches will plummet for a while. Depending on how big a proportion of your total traffic that is, it may or may not be a big deal.

This article has some interesting info on migrating and some services arguing it out in the comments


The $49 semi-automated service looks good on first look.

Yes, just start a new site and leave this one where it is.

Supposing the new site is theonlinephotographer.wordpress.com people will still have bookmarks to the old content at theonlinephotographer.typepad.com which should be maintained. The complicated way is to make the old URLs redirect to the new website. The easy way, as you stated is to just keep the old site running.

You only case where you need to migrate is if you want the new site to use the same URL as the old one, which I'm pretty sure you don't.

I don't know how long I have been reading this blog, but let me just say: wherever you go, I'll follow... and I hardly ever look into the archives.

However, some of the stuff is really good (I mean: really really good and worth keeping, not just worth reading). You might want to take the old articles and put them in a book like Joel Spolsky did over at http://joelonsoftware.com (3 books if I count correctly). I'd buy a copy.

Ya know Mike, and I realize this isn't a constructive comment relative to your query about migrating sites - but it's downright amazing to see just how much things have slowed down after only a few days of "Internet Technical Difficulties". At least if the number of comments to your latest posts are any indication.

[Well, yeah, but that's because the site was down for many hours and specifically the commenting feature was inoperable. I've got many dozens of emails from people saying they tried to leave a comment and couldn't. --Mike]

I know that TOP and the usual, lively "commentariat" will be back and thriving again soon, I was just making an observation. (And reminding you that some of us are still here!) All the best with your transition ideas, I for one will be looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

have you looked at SquareSpace?
(Use them but not affiliated.)
Low down time.
Unlimited data.
Easy to use for none trained.
Their system can import most blog formats.
Great customer support.
You can set up a store as well as a blog.
Pricing is reasonable.

Just an early thought.

Not experience but I remember last time you did this because the custom service being not responsive and you wee accused something. Hence you jumped to a paid service. That is understandable.

For this time, it was doss and well everyone face that on the net. Your next one will face the same issue I guess. Are you sure it would be better.

Cold it be ... Well ... How to put it ... C 's birdy lens is a bit cheaper and even got a 200-400 f4 with built-in extender. Change system for that, Or you do not like the dusty 600 and left/right focus issue of 800 - totally forget the focus issue of 1 something in the C side. I read yours and never anyone else in typepad or blogger. Hence, whatever and wherever. If you feel good, it is good ...

For the site content, keep it as not just yours are good to re-read and some comments are good to read for old time sake. Of course if migration and checking costs is cheaper, why not and in fact migrate the old one as well.

What!? That was seven years ago?

Whatever Mike, I'll go where you go.

For what it is worth, I prefer that you keep all this content here as an archive and not migrate anything where you will be going next. You could think of the Typepad content as a second Tome or Volume, with Blogger being the first.

The people will come but what you want to be concerned about his how the search engines will interpret these things. I am not a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert, but what you risk is reduced traffic to the new site, which means less views and clicks on your advertisers, which means less money for you.

Hopefully a bona fide SEO expert will chime in.

Depends how much you value organic search. You likely have a bunch of secret-google-algorithm clout built up on this domain for photography-related search terms, and that would go away if you moved the new site elsewhere wholesale. In other words, the new site would probably see a sharp dip in organic search referrals until you built your search engine reputation back up.

Because the domain that you've been using is typepad.com, leaving content in place and as-is probably is the best way to maintain traffic to the old content.

But - if you are moving to a new provider only because of the DDOS, keep in mind that pretty much every content hosting company get DDOS'd, so you can't automatically assume you'll be better off after the move.

If I were moving the site, I'd get my own domain so that it'll be easier to change providers in the future.

I think starting over is a bad idea, unless you want to draw a line under everything that's come before and want to start fresh. You don't want that. Even if you think you do.

Reasons to perform a proper migration:

- The historical blog posts are as much as a draw as the recent articles. Anyone hitting the new site for the next few months would see only the tip of the iceberg.
- The new platform will be able to create links to similar historical articles automatically based on tags/content if they are within the same platform.
- The new site will be indexed more favourably by search engines given large unique content and many posts.
- You'll likely at some point have to spend time on maintaining/updating the legacy platform. This will not feel like time well spent.
- You often link back to previous articles. In a year's time, do you want to have to do those searches twice (did I post that on the old blog or the new blog)?
- You might not see it this way, but the site is a brand. Why dilute/split the brand?

I'd go as far as saying you want to do a dual migration/merge. I'd love to see a new site with all content from both the old Blogger site and the current Typepad site. And I'd be happy to help out (10+ years in the IT industry, and before that I took plenty of classes).

Well, first, I would still find TOP and read it every day. I have gone back and re-read older stuff, but not too often. My plea to you is this: keep the static-based format. I keep a pad of paper handy whilst surfing and every time an ad pops up, that product gets a bad mark. If it is animated, it gets 5 bad marks. If it plays music it gets 10 bad marks. At 10 bad marks, I will never ever buy that product. If a product gets 20 bad marks, I will badmouth that product to whomever will listen. It is a teeny tiny gesture, but it is all an individual can do.

Mike, I think organization is the most powerful tool for success in any endeavor. It seems you have reached a juncture and changes are inevitable and this is the time to make a CMS platform change for the better. Your blog is an ever growing series of documents and once you have them organized properly, the shear organization of their content will become a powerful marketing tool, but you need to have it setup properly for that to happen. If you were reading a book and found a few pages or a few chapters missing, would you continue reading the book?

I say migrate to WordPress and contact them for assistance. Do it right for the future of your livelihood and your readers.

What was your daily visits at blogger when you left? What is it now? Is there a big difference?

Size matters.

Be careful.

You are bleeding page rank. If your old blog and your new blog were combined into one, your total hits would very likely be greater than the sum of the two individual blogs. Breaking into three entities would make it worse.

Combine all the great old content into one address and you will surely enjoy even higher Google page rankings.

Are all sites/services not subject to attack by these idiots? Your current service seem to handle the problem quite efficiently. Most readers I think realized what was happening. Is your next services less likely to be attacked? What real world gains do you/your readers achieve. Is one key to maintaining a readership not continuity.
Just wonderin'.

Over time, I suspect that your core readers would follow you. But I do think you would tend to lose out on some new readers. It can be confusing enough that you have one legacy site, adding a second just increases the confusion. Nomatter how many notices you put up, some people will always ignore them (I am one of those people who regularly misses the big, red, flashing "WARNING!" notices) and think they are on your current site and wonder why it isn't updated.

More importantly, it will be harder to find things in your archives, since it will be necessary to search 3 sites, instead of just 2 (I regularly try to find things on this site, only to realize it is actually on your old site).

I should add, however, that I appreciate what a headache this is... Is this something you can pay someone else to figure out? I think the expense would be worth it.

I believe that WordPress allows you to import existing posts when you move a blog there from another venue. I could be wrong. I haven't looked at moving my blog in several years. Their policy might have changed. If the old blog is only getting traffic from searches why not have all the traffic go to the new site?

My advice would be to move the existing posts to the new site and delete the old one. I'm curious what is prompting you to want to move TOP if you care to share your reasons.

Many moons ago, back in the '90s which is ancient history in Internet terms, I had a B&W photography blog on Northnet, a local ISPs server. The ISP was bought out but several pages of "sharelessons" on that blog still exist on a server somewhere and presumably still get traffic. I've tried to get the pages pulled to no avail. I'm not savvy enough to figure out for sure whose server they are now on. I thought I knew but the company I wrote to just ignores my request to take them down.

I don't know how the blogoshpere works in the least but I will happily follow and continue to subscribe if you do change services.
FWIW The folks I would ask would be your advertisers; does it make a difference (pro or con) to them what service you are on? Would any of them be interested in leaving a cheap add up on the old site while re-upping on the new site thus multiplying your revenue?
The web makes the underlying mechanics of the blog largely transparent to us readers.

"And of course eventually I'd change the main domain name to lead directly to the new site" - I don't see a domain name you own. Thats a problem.

I'd rather see all your content in one place, if only to browse the archives and do a google search against it, without having to know about where it previously lived. Again, this would be much easier if you used your own domain.

Hi Mike,
Please have a look at http://www.squarespace.com/tour/bloggers
You'll have much better service there. Dependable, up to date, very good price and excellent service.

Splitting contents on three different blogs means that in-blog searches will span only a subset of contents.

It seems that you would want to migrate your past posts to make them searchable from the new site, to have some continuity, even if you do leave the old site up. Migrating should not be hard. Run a software plugin pointed at this site and it will pull in all the posts. How to do it will depend on who you select for your new blog platform, but migrating existing posts is the first thing most users want to do when moving to a new platform.

Do not leave over a DDoS attack. If you think the next place is immune you are deceiving yourself. I am sure typepad has learned from this attack, as they have from other attacks you may have not even noticed, and will do better next time.

However if you do move then: 1) Leave everything intact at the existing sites and AND 2) Migrate a copy of everything from both existing sites to the new site. Do both, doing one does not stop you from doing the other.

Mike, is the DDOS the ONLY reason you want to move to another service? Or, have you been thinking of doing that anyway, and the DOS attack just made the tipping point?

If you are happy with Typepad otherwise, it would be easier just to stay. If you do stay, perhaps get the old site converted in, thus bringing all of its content, and traffic, over with it.

I can also recommend Squarespace. I've used them since 2005 for several sites and have been very happy (e.g www.richardsona.com). Their tech support is good and responds very quickly. They've got a ton of tutorial videos. Overall it's the most polished blogging/web platform (and I've used most of them). As others have said they have import functionality, but I haven't used it myself so can't say how much/how well it brings in stuff.

Particularly for a photography site, the way it handles images in posts in far, far nicer than what you have now. The templates and page layouts are really nice and give a lot of flexibility (if you want that). The templates are all designed to adapt to desktop, tablet and phone automatically. They have a fair amount of commerce functionality for small businesses, something to keep in mind for your books. I'm sure they can handle advertising too, but I don't know how that works.

Their commenting system and moderation options seem good, though I've never had to deal with anywhere close to the volume of comments you get.

They are not immune from DDoS. They had one about a year ago. But they were very communicative about it as it was going on so you at least knew they were on it. I don't think any popular site/platform is going to be totally immune from them.

As someone else has said it would be worth getting your own domain rather than TOP.bloggingservice.com. That way Google will follow you better if you change in the future. Squarespace can do that for you (domain registration, DNS etc.)

Hope that helps

Consider this another vote for at least looking into Squarespace. While I'm only a modest user, and still just getting my feet wet, my impressions have been largely positive.

If you do go to wordpress, then you need to make sure that you keep your wordpress code updated. As it's a very popular platform wordpress is targeted very frequently to find exploits in the code. These do get fixed, but if you don't update the sites core code you become vulnerable to more than just host level DDoS attacks.

We host and manage wordpress sites for some of our clients, and those that are linked into social media attract more unwanted attention from hackers.

I'm not really sure what platform would be best for you. I suppose reliability is key, and of course easy comments management. A "shopping" feature might be nice too. I see Squarespace advertised a lot, but that's marketing. It would help to have an expert in the various options who was also a TOP fan and knew your needs well.

One advantage to a more modern platform (besides possible commerce features) is decent tablet and phone re-sizing, though I have read TOP on my phone a couple times.


I followed you from the old Blogger site to this Type Pad one and found the transition to be painless. So, I'd say that the idea of just starting anew is a good one. BTW, I did get an error page when I first tried to access this site this morning.

I will say that I was involved with a Word Press site for a while and it's a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that there are lots of templates and extensions for Word Press. The bad news is that they all have quirks, needed workarounds, and conflicts.

Of course, applying Internet Solution # 1 - just wait a while and see if things get better - is always an option.

What is the problem with Typepad in addition to the current attacks? Typepad might be a stronger platform if and when they fix their current vulnerabilities. Make sure not to jump from the frying pan into the fire.

$30-50K spent with real web professionals to ensure the future reliability and compatibility of your livelihood ~ along with $5-10K/year for updating ~ would more than pay for itself not only in time saved but also for reaching a larger yet targeted audience. You'll make more money and have less headaches. Treat it like a business, which it is... It's time to stop trying to home-brew it yourself... for goodness sake man you don't even have the URL sorted out!

Kludge along a bit longer and start interviewing. You should be tablet-friendly, integrating a real shopping/gallery function, and being social media aware. And it all should be easier, not more complex!

WordPress can work, so can other CMS systems. But you aren't the one to be messing with them, hire a pro with real experience.

Mike, one other factor to consider when thinking about moving: your current site is not responsive. I'm guessing that is probably not too important to much of your readership, but if you do decide to move, then you should choose software and a template that is responsive (many are nowadays). Regarding what to do with the current site, I would leave it. The hassle of moving images would make it an horrendous undertaking I suspect.

If you are going to move, I would recommend Wordpress. I would move your domain over and have it fully hosted on their servers, rather than going with your own shared hosting or virtual private server.

But, if you are going to move, I would recommend you move at least the Typepad content. Personally, I would go all out and move the Blogger content too, but that's just me.

It looks, from my cursory searching, that there will be some technical hurdles, but nothing insurmountable. And, with WordPress, you could get the content migrated before issuing the DNS change to have your own domain point there. That would give you a chance to beta-test the site prior to going live.

You could do BOTH: Leave the old blogs up, but also import the old content into your new blog. Best of both worlds?

If avioding DDoS attacks is your primary reason for moving, I'm afraid that (at least so far as I know) no server system is immune to attacks, and DDoS isn't the only type of attack. So, you may not achieve the immunity you want.

If you are going to move, I would really like you to migrate the content from this site.

I'll keep reading whatever, but I'd appreciate having all the other posts in the same place. I often look back at old posts of yours on this site. I never go back to your old site to do the same.

As it is now your domain name, and hence all your links, are tied to typepad. You really can't move the current content without breaking all the existing links to the pages.

I would definitely get your own domain next time. Ideally you would use a service that's easy to move if you find you don't like an aspect of it. Then any links would move with you to the other own servers. If done right none of us would even know you switched hosting platforms.

Wordpress both offers hosting, and provides the software for you to run the software on your own. This should allow you to easily move servers if you need to. But make sure you setup your new domain as theonelinephotographer.com vs theonelinephotographer.wordpress.com

The site in my information is a simple wordpress site hosted on a basic virtual machine (dreamhost) not associated with wordpress the hosting company. If I was trying make money with the site I'd setup my own set of virtual servers at Rackspace or Amazon. A few days of downtime could be costing you much more than the savings to be had doing things on the cheap.

Personally, I'd rather see your sites all collected as one in a responsive Wordpress install on a server that you "own". There are several things from an SEO standpoint that have always bothered me. Firstly, the URL theonlinephotographer.com forwarding to the Typepad index page isn't helping. Your page rank is a 5 - pretty good but theonlinephotographer/typepad.com is a stronger URL because that's the one you've been putting the last 7 years of effort into.The biggest issue you would have changing now, I think, is those 215,000 backllinks to your site that all have theonlinephotographer.typepad.com in the link address. There are ways to fix this but none are particularly elegant. If you moved to your own server under theonlinephotographer.com this should never be a problem again unless you completely change the name of your site to something like mikescameraemporium.shop. Next, that odd page with the link to the main page in a Wordpress install would just go away unless you really wanted it. But currently it's just a stop on the way to the content that people really want (your insightful opinions).

Once the Wordpress theme is installed there are several ways to port over existing blogs. There are one click imports for both Blogger and Typepad but results may vary. There's also an XML import as well. Bear in mind that both methods may have issues importing images for unexplainable reasons.

As for security... it's a constant forge. The recent Heart bleed bug sent a ton of people scrambling. Of the hundreds of WP installs I have on my servers none were affected thankfully. DDoS attacks happen just about everywhere and hosting companies are quick to act on those. I've only had to endure 1 in the past 10 years on the servers I use but that's only by sheer luck. More common are people using the default "admin" WP login and something like "password123" only to have their sites hacked and made in to a spam bot.

Anyway, what I'm saying is that if you change, put it on your own managed server eventually get rid of the old sites as they add to dilution of your brand. It won't be easy but nothing worth doing ever is. Also, the Wordpress community is strong and constantly adapting plugins to enhance the user experience Try it for a while you'll love it and your SEO will benefit too.

The only reason not to merge is direct links from other sites will not work. Search engines will be updated in just a few days as most, so that is not an argument for three sites.

There are two main reason for a merge.
1. There will only be one site and a newcomer will not be confused and believe TOP has fallen asleep, if s/he happen to hit a link to an old site.
2. TOP will get a combined pageview and that will show a better number when you sale ads.

What is the traffic from direct link to posts?

Nor did you, as I recall, republish your SMP columns when you started the first blog. At this rate, your older material, preserved in amber, may someday constitute half the photography web.

Seriously, though, if you're not completely at the end of your tether, it may be worth it to wait a bit longer to see if typepad comes up with some way to mitigate future problems like this, in which case staying put may be the best option in terms of reliability. Assuming you're generally happy with them, of course.

On the other hand, if you're frustrated enough to change hosts, perhaps this is an opportunity to think about other changes as well. Just as an example, requiring email-confirmed registration to leave comments may cut down spam and ugliness somewhat, and wouldn't be any more burdensome to readers than those "captchas" (actually would be preferable, IMO).

Like others, I would follow you wherever you go, but I would welcome the consolidation of older material on the new site (perhaps w/ the interactive content replaced by a link to the original site(s)). And I agree with others that, if you can afford it, a relocation and any redesign would be best left to pros.

Finally, and I can't really see you going this route, but I'm curious if you'd ever considered a larger, sympathetic, web publication as a host for TOP?

(Finally finally, I wonder if that mild spike in visits to the old site had something to do with this site being down?)

I will continue to read your blog wherever it is hosted, Mike. I would be grateful if all old versions of the blog continue online as archives, as you plan they will. As the son of a historian, I think there may be virtue in leaving this TypePad site as is, as a document of its time, as the beloved document it was –for whatever that's worth in the Internet age when things can upgrade out from under us and/or vanish without notice (cf. your discussions on the merits of prints in the age of digital photography. Ever thought about publishing a book of your greatest posts?).

I believe it would really makes sense to merge your old two sites together!

Google etc. will quickly adapt, whereever the new site will be located.

A proper domain name would help, too...

Marc Gibeault: "Please have a look at http://www.squarespace.com/tour/bloggers
You'll have much better service there. Dependable, up to date, very good price and excellent service."

I ditto Marc's opinion. If I were starting a new blog site I would find Square Space a very attractive platform. Looks like you can import your existing articles from Typepad and Wordpress, too.

Jim Bullard is right. I had a blog hosted by Blogger and, when I exceed Blogger's storage capacity, started a new one on WordPress. I was able to import all content from my previous blog, albeit at the expense of a lower image resolution and having some texts partially unformatted. It was worth it, though: WordPress has more storage capacity and, in my view at least, nicer templates. The proviso is that you have to pay an annual fee in order to get rid of publicity.

Whatever brings you faster back to writing about photography :-)

In reality you should probably look where the money is coming from - it's most likely the loyal readers who buy through the affiliate links and they'll come along. Still, there'll be a decrease, but having the old site up and running should smoothen the switch. And it's also good, should you need to switch back.

It's relatively unlikely that those who come here from searches are immediate users of affiliate links. You should be able to find the number of people who come to your Blogger site and then exit to the current site, probably the percentage will be around the same after this site is abandoned.

As for the new site/software - will it have any features that'll make you be able to serve your loyal readers better? Drive more traffic to the site? Be more profitable? DDOS can happen anywhere and shouldn't be the main driver of the switch. Humble opinion as always.

PS: You can replace the words money and profit with something you're more comfortable with :-)

Believe it or not, I have been building web sites since 1994, when I ran my first on a Mac SE connected to an Apple Talk network.

I've had to update and convert a number of sites, in some cases more than once. In a way the idea of leaving the old site just sitting there on the old service seems viable. It is a whole bunch easier, at least initially, than converting the site to a new content management system. But there are problems.

Often when you leave a older service you do so because that service is falling behind, and that usually means it is near the end of its life. And when that finally does happen, it is often much more difficult (or even impossible, in the case of one that I'm still using) to convert to a newer service.

Secondly, integrating content between an old version on one service and a new version on another, despite its initial attraction, leads to awful problems integrating the content. And you will want to integrate them

I'd suck it up and do a conversion—to wordpress, in my opinion. As an alternative I might try to spit out the content of the old site as plain html pages plus images, and let it live on as a purely static site.

Good luck!

Hey Mike,

I do this stuff for a living and I think Harrison Cronbi gave you some decent advice. I also think Michael Janke's idea to get everything under theonlinephotographer.com domain is a good one. I've never migrated from Typepad to Wordpress, but it looks straightforward. Treat yourself to one of those shiny, new responsive designs while you're at it.

It's your content Mike, that's all that counts, where ever you write it down is totally uninteresting. Usually networks/sites have a lifespan of about a decade. They start up and need you so they treat you like an honoured guest. Then they mature due to the dilligent work of all it's customers/contributers. But soon they peak on arrogance, lack of service, etc, since they think they own you. Then it is time to move.....and seek pastures grener. It's like slash and burn all over again. And as Typepad has somehow outlasted it's possibilities, time to move on Mike, what are you waiting for, new digital terrain to be discovered. I would not mind a service where we could upload photo's too.....with our comments.....

Greets, Ed.

I know a hunch about this stuff, but SEO is not my specialty. However, from what I do know I think in SEO terms you risk taking a great hit. Pretty much all searches in Google will point to your existing content on the old site. The amount of searches and traffic will not count towards the value of the new website. For searches that match posts on both the old and new website, your splitting your visitors over two locations, most will probably be directed to the old one. Some will find their way to the new site, a lot will not. Since there will not be any new content on the old site, visitors might not stick around. In fact, the lack of updates on the new site will devaluate the content on the old site. Which is a shame, the breadth of all that old content creates most of your attraction on search engines and keeping that value up is important.

So if you want to move, you really wan to move all that content and tell Google that you did so all your hits on Google move with you.

Another thing to consider is the cost of redesign. A move to a different platform usually also means a different look, and a different structure. Most sites that do this take a hit in time spent on the site and conversion. It usually takes over a year to recover from that as visitors get used to the site and new fans replace those that left.

I would advise against. Also because although the grass looks greener, it never is. Downtime due to ddos happens everywhere and seeing how you're up and running again reasonably fast and without data loss, I would say Typepad handled it well. If you're not super tech savvy you're going to have a hell of a time managing the move and SEO risks involved, as well as getting your workflow up and running on the new platform. If you want to change things, spend your energy on some analysis on how to get the conversion of your ads up. Get a web developer to spend an afternoon making the layout more tablet friendly. You're not doing bad in that department though and don't let the hip kids tell you otherwise. Simple does it.

I'd make the move only with a lot of rumination before-hand. As others have point out, other services are also liable to DDOS attacks, and any move you make will eventually dump traffic. In other words, don't rush into it.

It's sometimes hard to get a bead on exactly how much you know about things, because you tend to downplay your own experience, but having been on the net as long as you have, you can't be totally ignorant. I think you might consider setting up your own website. Probably be more expensive, but also could be considerably more attractive, with larger photos, more concurrent posts on the opening page, and so on. It would be much more magazine-like. And, if you set it up with a big enough service, you really wouldn't have to worry so much about attacks. Perhaps you could run such a page concurrently with this one, and migrate over only after some longer period of time.

A single rough patch in 7 years? Ride it out Mikes. We can handle it!

I think you'll benefit from having everything in one place, under a domain owned and run on your 'own' server. So, Wordpress, a good template and a good hosting service. I use Bluehost, because they offer a bunch of tools with their hosting and their support is good. In principle, you can import old sites into new ones and there are plugins for the various formats, but it's not always flawless. So, I'd say get some help with that. Good luck.

I'd be careful about using any hosting service that limits your web authoring options. You may be fine with WordPress, but I'd check before jumping. I know that for web development, Square space limits you to using their authoring tools. I'd research whether you can use any externally sourced Wordpress templates. ...

In my opinion, you should stop paying a service to host the blog, and instead pay a reputable ISP for server space and host it yourself (generally, that involves installing Wordpress). Some might argue that it’s six of one and half-dozen of the other, as either way you’re paying a third party, but I don’t see it like that.

With a service like Blogger or Typepad you are at their mercy. You are affected by their DOS and other attacks, and you have no say in “feature enhancements” and other service changes that can cause annoying changes in your workflow at best and completely break your stuff at worst.

When I was using Typepad I felt like I did not even really own my own blog, because if I stopped paying them then they’d just blow it away. But I was paying for a domain anyway, and expect to pretty much forever, so I might as well put my stuff there, under my own name. I also have a mirror of everything on my home machine, so if anyone ever nukes Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (where my sites are hosted), I can recreate them in a snap elsewhere.

While ISPs do go down now and then, it’s usually just for a few seconds or a couple of minutes. The advantage of self-hosting is that you can hack up and modify your Wordpress installation and template all you want, including what folders things live in and what else you can do with the stuff in those folders. For example, you can put all the blog’s images in a folder call “images” and then set up a separate gallery site that uses those same images. You don’t have to upload twice, and you always know where everything is. (One of my biggest frustrations with Typepad was that I could never find images once I uploaded them. They got buried in an arcane hierarchy of seemingly hundreds of folders. I just wanted everything in one place, but no! Mind you that was almost ten years ago. Might be different now.)

The downside, of course, is that you have to spend some time learning things. Wordpress itself is a snap to install and run. But if you want to really make it yours, with customized templates, etc. then there’s work to do. (Fun work, in my opinion.)

...and I'm in favor of migration, for the reasons listed by others. Back in 2004 or whenever it was, migrating from Typepad to Wordpress was pretty easy.


I would second or third the comments of Michael Janke and Howard: all sites are subject to DDOS. I cannot recall--but it may just be my memory--a prior problem. Moving the blog to another site will not eliminate the issue and may not even change the probability of its occurrence. Unless you have good evidence that one site has a better track record than another avoiding DDOS, it does not seem to me to be worth the effort. I strongly suspect your current followers will follow you to any new site, but there may well be a marginal loss of some who find the first site or this one and are too impatient to click through. The web fosters short attention spans and impatience. All this is not to say that you should not change if a new site offers the same or a better range of services at substantially lower costs and significantly greater dependability. I say "substantially" and "significantly" because the cost of your time is not zero.

I’m a bit late to the party (I’m assuming) and I realize you’re not quite taking votes…. But if you WERE taking votes, I would vote for converting everything to whatever new platform you migrate to. There is so much good, Google-able stuff in your archives that it would be a shame to start from scratch all over again. You made the switch that way once, 7 years ago, but TOP wasn’t as sprawling, voluminous, and possibly integral to your ongoing business ventures back then. I also get the feeling that TOP is reaching some kind of critical mass lately, that there are BIG changes coming in the near-term (say, 12-18 months) that will significantly change TOP for the better, and having all of those archives along for the ride will only make those changes more effective and more far-reaching into the internet.

Whether or not TOP needs a refresh in style or an upgrade in capability is a question beyond me, but as someone who monitors his own SEO relatively closely, and who has seen friends make a transition similar to what you’re explaining, I vote for keeping as much continuity with the current incarnation of TOP as possible.

I do NOT see SquareSpace's homepage, http://www.squarespace.com/, using Safari on a Mac.

On the other hand, I do see the page http://www.squarespace.com/tour/bloggers using the same version of Safari on the same Mac.

I see SquareSpace's homepage with Firefox on the same Mac.

Mike, I would move to Wordpress but self hosted so that you can then also install and link to Jetpack (via a wordpress.com account). Then I would create a Facebook Page, a Twitter account, a Google Plus Page, a paper.il page and a youtube page. And while you are at it a Tumblr account, an About Me page, a Path account and link the wordpress to your Linkedin profile all though jetpack. I would then create a new logo and links from your old content to the new site. I would then shift old content to the new platform as this is your long tail that brings people to your website though organic seo or searches online.
This will take some setting up and I would suggest different passwords for them all as they can and do get hacked occasionally.
The trick would be to migrate some content that you think reflects your interests and the tastes of your audience and build new content that would allow you to develop your audience in any direction that you see your interests moving towards.

If you want more info contact me via the email below.

Were this my problem, I'd break it down like this:

• identify what, if any, advantages another platform offers to your blog
-- from a typical reader POV
-- from an advertiser's POV
-- from a "quality of photo reproduction" POV
-- ability, if any, to migrate old content*
-- security advantages, if any*
-- any e-commerce advantages baked in, if any*

• set up the new blog with the new provider; run content in both the new space and Typepad for a week or so

• after debugging the new set up, migrate the "blog is here" links to your new platform

• stop updating the Typepad account, and measure uptake with the new blog

• after awhile migrate, if possible, the old content to the new platform.

*no idea about the viability of these questions, but it seems they should be asked/considered

My understanding is that your posts and articles are the core of your business. Why would you leave that behind you, unmanaged? You wouldn't let your raw image archive behind because you bought a new hard drive, would you? A migration to the new blog should be pretty straightforward, as many suggested. I am sure that lots of experienced folks would gladly volunteer to help you with that.

Whatever you decide to do I hope the new site is more hospitable to the posting of pictures in the comments section. I never really understood why one of the premier photography sites on the internet would make it so hard to, you know, post photographs.

As a regular reader of your blog as well as a web developer, I thought I'd chime in with my advice since this would be a critical juncture.

Ideally, you'd have the entire site (even including your first iteration) and comments migrated over to one comprehensive Wordpress.org site. There are many advantages to this, first and foremost is that it is by far the cleanest solution. It makes everything easier for you, for your readers, and for search engines. It's just sloppy to have your site spread out over three historical separate versions.

As others have mentioned, it would be best to have your own domain name - NOT a domain that's tied to the service (such as your current typepad.com domain). That will future-proof your site, making it much easier to switch platforms down the road (basically to avoid the many issues you're facing right now involved with changing your domain name).

Finally, assuming you can achieve the first two steps, a VERY important additional step would be to set up URL redirects so that each "old" page address gets automatically rerouted to the corresponding new page. This is huge because it reroutes all traffic (including all external links and page rankings) to your new site, so you'll pick up right where you left off instead of starting from scratch after many years of hard work. This may require that you maintain the typepad account, simply to host the redirect file.

The above would be the best solution of all, though you may need to hire a pro to help you with it. For someone who has experience with this and knows what they are doing, it's probably a fairly quick and straightforward job. You could post the project listing on Freelancer.com and perhaps hire skilled professional from a less expensive country to help out (if you don't know anybody local to help). IMO, it would be worth the money.

I've been very happy with Squarespace for my own site.

With virtually no coding experience, I was able to customize one of their templates to my satisfaction with a minimum of hassle. When I've had issues or questions, their customer service has been very good, responding to my inquiries within the hour, 24/7.

They seem like a very decent outfit.


So the NSA can listen in on the German Chancellor's cell phone calls, but they can't track down the drug cartels, biker gangs or computer hackers.

Why the hell not. What are we paying them all the money for then?

It's very hard to be sure with this stuff! But I believe there are some benefits to moving your content to your new domain. Google seems to give more 'authority' to sites that have a lot of content for one thing, which could help with search traffic. But you might want to consider hiring someone to maximise the SEO benefits of such a move - things like doing appropriate 301 redirects from the old URLs to the new ones.

In terms of the new software provider, may I suggest looking at self hosting with your own wordpress installation vs using a blog hosted at wordpress.com? Using the free wordpress.org software on your own space gives you way more flexibility in terms of customising your theme, using plugins and so on. For example my blog is visually unique in that I designed it myself to look exactly how I wanted (maybe not good but it's how I wanted it ;))

Wordpress.com is pretty locked down in terms of changing their themes. If you use Wordpress.org you really just need to consider your backup strategy, although there's plugins that handle it and usually your hosting space provider will also handle backups.

A few resources:



Sorry for the triple post but I wanted to agree with the sentiment in a few other comments above - if you get all your content consolidated under one domain now, you'll never have to worry about it again. It might be ok to start a WP install now and leave the content on typepad but what happens in another 5 years if WP starts to go bad - you might end up with multiple versions of TOP spread across blogger, typepad, wordpress and NewHostX which will start to get pretty confusing for search engines and humans alike.

Try checking with Wordpress about moving your whole blog from Typepad. They may have tools that make it easier. I do a lot of searching on older TOP articles (I tend to buy older cameras), so having as much in one place as possible wouldd appeal to me.

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this, but you can't have your own ads on Wordpress.com; for that you have to use Wordpress.org and pay a hosting company to host the site. The plus is the blog would be at theonlinephotographer.com.

I know it's too late for this, but had the blog already been at theonlinephotographer.com (I don't know if typepad offers this option) then you wouldn't be having this conversation. Whenever I've been asked for advice about starting a serious blog, I always recommend buying a domain name and self hosting, that way you can change blog software, hosting company or whatever, and your readers will never know. Best of all, neither will Google, so you won't lose your internet clout and search engine reputation.

Lastly, and I assume somebody must've already said this, but when you copy over the Typepad blog to Wordpress, you should look into setting up an automatic redirect from Typepad to your new site. I did this when I migrated from Wordpress.com to Wordpress.org. Basically, what this does is it redirects a post at:




In the first few weeks/months, Google will list and send people to the Typepad URL; when people go there they will be automatically redirected to the page as hosted on your new blog and it will be your new blog that gets the visit. Slowly, over time, Google's web crawlers will pick up on this and Google will start listing the new website instead of the old. The benefit here is that you don't lose Page Rank, neither do you lose page or visitor counts (which should help you woo advertisers) when they're visiting old articles.

This forwarding service is offered by Wordpress.com for something like $12/year (well worth the money) so I imagine typepad must offer it too.

I'm late to this conversation. We're on vacation. My quick 2 cents...

I think you can transfer the content of this blog to WordPress fairly easily. Somewhere on your typepad control panel there should be an option to backup or save your blog to your computer. You can save your entire blog in one massive file. Then, WordPress lets you upload that file with just a couple clicks. That's what I did when I transferred from Blogger to WordPress a couple years ago. It was actually really easy and it worked great. Good luck. You can give it a try and you won't risk breaking anything.

Comments are working again. Yay!

I agree with Frank Petronio and others who point out that this is your business, so you need to be business strategic, rather than reactive. Your biggest need is a better tablet and mobile experience. If not already, you'll soon be well over 50% Android and iApple. You probably need a shopping cart feature. I would certainly stay where you are until you can sort all that out properly.

NOT TO start a platform war, because ANY CMS can do the job, as long as the developer is competent, provides backup and upgrade services, and is in it for the long haul. However, ...

I started with raw HTML & Perl in 1996, and I have worked for years with the "big three" CMS platforms: Joomla, Drupal and Wordpress (75%, 20%, 5%). I do a lot of both development and long-term support, which leads me to a strong preference for Joomla over Wordpress (Drupal is more appropriate when you have complex data needs) due to ease of development, maintainability, site speed and back-end "best practices". The Wordpress sites I've inherited have been abysmal to maintain, extremely slow, and hard to support when it comes to changes, back-ups and updates. Incompetent developers will kill you with a thousand cuts from genesis to rapture.

But, to reiterate, the developer is the important decision not the platform. There are a lot of low-end developers (especially in Wordpress, unfortunately) who turn out slow, poorly-designed websites, so you really need to vet your developer carefully. There is a tendency with many developers to hit-and-run, whereas you will want a long-term relationship.

What is all this stuff? Are you just using inter-tubes?

I have some experience with DDoS attacks, even had one of my sites hacked and hijacked, then when we found them and blocked them, they set up a DDoS attack. Fortunately I had an acquaintance who was a security expert and we did a work around.It may take time, but expect your current host to work it out.
If you do decide to move, you are likely to see similar problems elsewhere. My first ISP, from 1989 to 2005, was vocal about spammers so they attacked him and drove off a lot of his customers like me.
If you move, I suggest starting anew and leave the current posts. Personally, I have been a reader for 4-5 years and never read anything but the current posts. But leaving the old posts may prevent losing the search engine data.

As others have said, you should have been using your own domain theonlinephotographer.com (or something shorter!) all along.

But more than that, you should be making use of subdomains. As you own theonlinephotographer.com, you can create www.theonlinephotographer.com, which should point to your static web site, and blog.theonlinephotographer.com, which should point to your blog. Because it is blog.theonlinephotographer.com and not theonlinephotographer.com/blog, it has its own DNS entry, which can point to a totally different hosting service from your main site, and can be changed as required while leaving your home page alone. As well, shop.theonlinephotographer.com can point to your online shop, probably hosted via a different service again, and that too can be changed independent of the blog and your home page.

Finally, you would have an MX record so that [email protected] email addresses worked, again through your choice of email provider regardless of who else you awarded the blog and shop contracts to.

As a priority, you should set up a static web site with your most famous articles so that I and others can post links there. If I search for "135mm lens nipples male" the first relevant hit I get is at photo.net. Similarly, your article on viewfinders is found at LuLa. I assume you licensed these sites to use your columns on a non-exclusive basis, and there is no reason you can't put them online in a modern layout and get the hits instead of those other sites. This static web site should also tell us who you are and give basic contact information, which will be there regardless of whether your blog provider is currently up or down.

As for migration from Typepad, I'm not sure you legally can migrate user comments to another platform. My reading of section 8.1 of their terms of service is that, as a Typepad user, I have licensed Typepad to reproduce this comment on your blog hosted by Typepad. But nowhere does it grant you, as a third party, that right. (Of course you are welcome.)

If you invest the time migrating the whole site, and then invest some more time categorizing and tagging your posts, then the next time you write about the Pentax FA43, all older posts related to the FA43 (or Pentax, or lenses, depending upon the taxonomy you choose) will be just a click away. For your readers and for you. That's powerful stuff.

Make no mistake-it will be a PITA. But if well-executed, it will boost your traffic from search engines, Pages per Visit, Ad Impressions, and likely your Ad Revenue.

Most importantly, it present the collected wisdom of Mike Johnston in a clear and cohesive manner, something that readers today and photo buffs/historians decades from now will appreciate.

Like it or not, Mike, your a treasure to the photographic community, and the decision should be made with that in mind.

[FWIW, I do this sort of thing for a living and can assist.]

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