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Confessions of an Underestimated Geek

My Three Blogs

Geek

It was Todd Carpenter who first called me an underestimated geek.  I don’t write much about technology  I write more about what to do with it and what it does for me.   When it comes to all around geekiness I rate pretty high but I won’t go into it, ask Todd.

A couple of nights ago I was asked why I use Typepad.  We all know that real estate bloggers are supposed to use Word Press.  I am not sure who made the rule or why and there was a time when I considered exporting my blog.

Three Years of Typepad

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When I started my blog more than three years ago I chose Typepad. At the time I wasn’t impressed with what Word Press had to offer and I wanted to get started right away.  My goal for my business blog has always been the same and my focus has always been on producing content.  I produce so much content that it is hard to find the time to learn about plug-ins, upgrades and everything else that goes with Word Press.  I do however spend some time keeping up on the latest developments just in case I am missing out on something that would give me a reason to make a switch and I have a wordpress blog.

Affordable and easy to customize

Many of the people who use typepad don’t see all the features and they don’t know how to use them.  The online help is fantastic and I explore it often.  Typepad isn’t free.  I have to pay $148 dollars each year to use it. That seems to be a major hurtle for some but I figure I am worth it.  For that amount of money I can have as many blogs as I want and have multi-author blogs and the price includes hosting.  There is also an account for $90 dollars a year that provides almost as much but limits the number of blogs to 3.

A typepad blog does not take long to set up and is easily customized.  They keep making it easier and adding more features.  Some features features can be added by installing various widgets.  Widgets are kind of like plug-ins except they are installed with a couple of clicks of the mouse.

When I set up my business blog I did it correctly. It has had a great page rank for years and still comes up number one in the search engines for St. Paul Real estate.

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Google Loves me anyway

The blog has several photo albums embeded and one of them brings in a lot of business. It is a directory that most people don’t notice but Google knows it is there.  I have also discovered that single property pages embded in my blog have instant google juice where as single property web sites seem to get lost on the web.

As a safe guard I have all of my content backed up and have some strategies for quickly starting a new blog somewhere else if there is some kind of a problem. I don’t anticiapte any problems but at this point my blog is my business and I won’t take any risks with it.

Three Blogs Three Looks

The three blogs I have are all very different. The real estate blog uses custom CSS curtesy of Jim Cronin at the Tomato. The real estate weenie is my own design. I used a standard template and customized it.  No CSS skills needed.   The wildflower blog uses a template and I am using a multimedia layout to handle the photos.  It isn’t really a blog. I am using it more like a directory and Google likes it just fine.

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Over the holiday’s I will be moving my mobile blog to tyeppad.  Typepad handles mobile blogging with the greatest of ease. I sometimes use it when I can’t post on my business blog any other way. The feature has been built in since early 2005.

For bloggers who want a business blog and who want to spend their time generating content and not on the technical aspects of blogging  I recommend Typepad.  It is a time saver.

Written By

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Cathy Tishhouse

    December 17, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    It was recommended that I use WordPress and signed up with outside domain and couldn’t figure out how to use it and bought “WordPress for dummies” but haven’t had the time. Don’t mind spending $90 to get rid of this problem. Question: can you use an outside domain and are templates online so I don’t have do download and create/edit on my computer which I think I have to do with WordPress -as I said I am a dummie about it.

  2. Sherry Baker

    December 17, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    TBoard, when’s the last time someone told you that you RAWK?! oh… this morning… well, I’m usually following the tail anyway. 😉 I agree with all you’ve said. Started my first blog on WP and never really got to write because I was always wanting to tweak and improve (perfectionism is SO not productive). Then I started one on Typepad and it’s SO easy. I’m able to concentrate on content, not the way it looks or why something isn’t working right. I still play with WordPress when I have time to kill (ha!), but Typepad helps my productivity. Love this post!

  3. teresa boardman

    December 17, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Cathy – yes you can use your own domain. st. paul real estate blog is on a domain I own and it is set up properly with help from go daddy. The templates are built in, you just click on them. If you don’t like the look click on another. each template can be modified too.

  4. Will

    December 17, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Seems to me that those above who found wordpress limiting their productivity truly should have looked to themselves first. For me there is no choice but WordPress. Yes, you can spend a lot of time tweaking but that is only because nearly anything you can think to do with the blog (and I mean anything) has been thought of by someone else, solved with a plugin or code tweak, or is being discussed and worked on. It is, in other words, seemingly limitless.

    I think the same folk who like the simplicity found in limitations are the same who tend to evangelize the Mac.

    Of course, whatever works for you is what you should use.

  5. Elaine Reese

    December 17, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    I use WP.com and have found it very easy to use and customize. They’ve made a number of improvements in the past few months, making it even better/easier. There are some limitations vs the WP.org version, but I’m reluctant to change because I’ve heard some of the hosts for .org sometimes go down.

  6. teresa boardman

    December 17, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Will – typepad also has a lot of users and most anything can be done with it. For those who just want to write I don’t see the down side to typepad.

    Elaine most people do fin WP easy to use and customize but for those who don’t and would like to have a blog today they can always use typepad.

  7. Andrew Olson

    December 17, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    I have been a longtime user of wordpress. I have so much faith in their platform that if I was going to build any content based site (not just a blog) I would develop it around wordpress. It’s so stable and so well build that I just see no alternative.

    On the typepad side of things, I have tried it on a few occasions and I wasn’t too impressed. I thought it lacked depth and flexibility (ie.not open source). But in all fairness, I haven’t delved too deeply into typead to make a legitimate judgement on it.

  8. Ginger Wilcox

    December 17, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Todd calls me an underestimated geek too. He says that to all the pretty ladies. I am a wordpress girl through and through, but I can’t judge typepad because I have never used it.

  9. Matthew Rathbun

    December 17, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Very good points. I hear that ActiveRain is free and very easy to use, too 🙂

    I’ve used all of them but blogger. Personally I am also running one on the free wordpress.com and every platform has it’s good and not so good.

    Whenever I start a new blogger off, it’s almost always on WP.com. Easy, free and good built in SEO. Luckily they can all be exported one to another.

    Great points from all!

    For what it’s worth, I would underestimate you in anything – I’d estimate you pretty highly 😉

  10. Matthew Rathbun

    December 17, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Will,

    Everyone has their strength and weakness. I like to play on WordPress, but I’ve seen some fantastic writing on crummy templates from other systems. I think people should concentrate on what they do well, the rest will eventually fall into place.

    Seth Godin doesn’t use WP and no one can beat him in content (IMHO).

  11. Lisa Sanderson

    December 18, 2008 at 7:24 am

    I use typepad too. Recent upgrades to the system has made it even more awesomeful. I started using one of their template designs, which I customized un poquito. Then just this past November, I redesigned it with a custom header & junk and can’t believe how easy it was to pull off and how absolutely gawgeous (IMO, anyway!) it turned out. I have a couple ideas thrashing around for new blogs but haven’t done that yet.

  12. Todd Carpenter

    December 18, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    @Ginger Wilcox – You still need to join.

    I agree with Teresa that Typepad is a superior solution to WordPress if you do not wish to put in the additional work involved in installing and upgrading. Or if you don’t wish to pay someone to do it for you.

    However, WordPress is more powerful and more flexible for power users. It also offers a superior platform for building the next generation of blogsites. One stop shops for all of the content created for a blog, plus everything you would traditionally find in real estate web site like a home search, neighborhood reports, and static, brochure style content.

  13. teresa boardman

    December 18, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Ginger – in what way is word press more powerful or flexible? and how is it superior for the next generation of blog sites?

  14. teresa boardman

    December 18, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Oops that should have been directed at @tcar

    in what way is word press more powerful or flexible? and how is it superior for the next generation of blog sites?

  15. Linda Davis

    December 20, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Teresa, who I never underestimate,taught me that it is all about content.

    Readers don’t give a crap what platform you use.

  16. Jim Gatos

    December 20, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    After struggling for a couple of years first with Blogspot (boy was I inexperienced!) for a very short time, then with WordPress, free first then I went with the self hosted version. I switched hosts 3 times mainly due to problems and slowdowns with shared hosting, and had numerous headaches with customizing the look and different plugins and widgets. Sometimes the WordPress updates went smoothly; sometimes like a website “enema”. I finally got sick of it and went tried Typepad. Typepad has a myriad of features that I’ve just begun to explore; they keep adding more and they constantly improve on what they have. Instead of having to post on a forum where more than often I’d get a smart ass answer from some WP Geek who acted like I should have taken a university degree to figure out how to do what I’m asking about, I now click on “Help” at Typepad and usually within hours (it’s been getting faster lately) I get a well thought out, detailed email that hardly sounds “canned”. I haven’t had a problem with their tech support yet. They know english! Yay!

    For the $50 or so dollars I used to save by using a shared host (Bluehost, HostRocket, Hostgator, etc) versus using Typepad, the extra money is well worth it. I have been more focused on actually blogging now instead of spending mind numbing hours just trying to make things work. I also enjoy seeing how others use Typepad and I think for SEO what I have now is much much better. I can also create websites with Typepad with NO Blog and that will be my next undertaking. I’ve only been using Typepad since August and I think I’ve already written over 70 new posts. It’s just a joy to use Typepad and I’m glad I switched! I did notice Teresa using Typepad when I first started blogging and I did in fact notice Teresa was one of a few, if not the only, real estate professional using Typepad. I figured she probably knew something no one else figured out yet.

  17. Ricardo Bueno

    December 21, 2008 at 3:23 am

    Well Teresa, I think you know where I stand on this one… 😀

    I’ve blogged on both platforms and like them both! I guest author on a few WordPress blogs but as far as my own content (my own blogs), I’m on Typepad. Have been a Typepad user for years and will continue to be. Just sayin’…

  18. Missy Caulk

    December 21, 2008 at 10:51 am

    This is tempting…

    I absolutely hate to add the updates to WP and the pluggins.

    I wonder how easy it would be to transfer over, or maybe just start another one.

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