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Posts from May 2009

July 8 - TypePad Basics

Join TypePad expert and general smarty-pants Andy Wibbels for a one-hour walkthrough the basics of TypePad. This quick tour will show you how to create and post to your first blog, add images and multimedia and change your theme to suit your brand.

This webinar is completely free and is open to anyone, anywhere.

TypePad Basics

Don't forget to check out our webinar series for small business. Complete schedule...


This week in updates: Commenting, Themes, and more

We’re doing a ton of work on the preview of the all new TypePad (already in beta). We’re working on getting it ready for everyone to preview and work with in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can read the Beta Blog to find out more about how the preview is shaping up, and how your feedback has informed and inspired our development.

For everyone this week, we’ve made some great updates and improvements, focusing on fixes that have been the most requested by you in the TypePad community, and with more to come in the coming weeks, especially around commenting. This week's update includes:

Commenting-
  • Signing in to external services using TypePad as an Open ID wasn’t working for some people as expected - we’ve fixed this now, and more fixes are coming next week.
  • Previous/Next links to navigate back and forth in your comments is now working as expected again.
  • Posts closed for comments were still getting comments – let us know if you still see this happening.
  • TypePad Connect: External logins with Facebook, Google, et cetera, are now showing the correct name.
  • TypePad Connect: Flagging one comment as SPAM no longer hides all comments on that post.

We’ve done some housekeeping fixes, too, to make some features you like in TypePad are more intuitive. We updated the confirmation message you see when you're deleting a blog: now it is much more clear, so that you don’t delete something by mistake. We’re also planning to shift the delete blog function to be less prominent, so you don’t accidentally delete something important when you don’t intend to.

Changes to your credit card or billing address will now show under your “Billing History”, making it easier you to see what’s going on in your account.

My personal favorite feature for this week is that all new blogs will default to our new Journal Black theme. It’s been this same blue default theme when you get started with a new blog for WAY too long! Journal is cool, because you can do all sorts of neat things with it, like using a background image, or customize it without advanced templates. Read more about how to do that and other ways to make your blog beautiful at our designer Jim Ramsey’s blog: allaboutblogdesign.com

There’s more to come that’s even more exciting. Got a favorite feature you want to see? Let us know in the comments.

5 Elements of Professional Looking Blog Design

Here's the recording: (PDF of slides and a bonus PDF from Niya):

Answers from the Q & A we didn't get to during the call.

Typepad vs Wordpress and SEO

Niya: I don't find that Wordpress optimizes SEO more powerfully than Typepad -- as is the rumor. I personally find wordpress more complex for design. The reason is because the template/design support is independently controlled by the designers who create the templates. So while in one template you can add a custom header or adjust the CSS easily, another could cause you to need to get involved in forums and long trails of answers and trouble shooting. You sometimes need to think like a programmer vs. a designer depending. Typepad on the other hand has consistent services, template options and support. Once you get the hang of it, it opens many creative avenues. (after a second question about TP/WP) I personally find wordpress more complex. The reason is because the template/design support is independently controlled by the designers who create the templates. So while in one template you can add a custom header or adjust the CSS easily, another could cause you to need to get involved in forums and long trails of answers and trouble shooting. You sometimes need to think like a programmer vs. a designer depending. Typepad on the other hand has consistent services, template options and support. Once you get the hang of it, it opens many creative avenues.

Andy: Another benefit of TypePad is our Update Stream that directly channels your post into the search engines the second you publish it. Here's a comparison table of TypePad and the other top platforms.

TypePad Savvy Designers

Does SixApart have a list of designers (Sf Bay Area) that one can retain as consultants?

Niya: Yes, go to: http://www.typepad.com/one/typepad-services.html

Andy: That link also profiles our excellent TypePad One support/services team that can help you.

TypePad for a Full Website

Will you be addressing using blogging software -TypePad as the basis for your more "static" Website as well

Niya: My opinion of this question is that it is a fabulous full hour topic. It raises a lot of questions about branding, readability, context etc. It's an art form unto itself but a very valuable production.

Andy: Here's the recording from a call we did on this topic. http://everything.typepad.com/blog/2009/02/create-blog-site.html

Font Sizes and Styles

Rules of thumb for font choices and sizing?

Niya: Generally: Post Font Header size: 16 pt. Sub-head 14 and Body Text 11 or 12. Some fonts are naturally larger than others like clothing brands. So be aware of that. Your blog title can be as large as you like but not smaller than your Post Header font size. The general rule is, one serif and one san serif font. For example if you use a serif or even a script font as your title, use a san serif and sub dominant color for the sub title. And serif is generally good for body text. Also if you can pull an accent color from your logo or header graphic into the subtitle font that is a nice visual balance to the page.

Andy: Jakob Nielsen, usability guru, has done a lot of testing on this as well. Here are his essays on font size. Also, Smashing Magazine did a great post on web typography.

Using the 'Read More' Link

Any stats on readability of full long post fully on top level, v the read more and asking users to click?

Niya: GREAT Question. I'll be looking into that.

Andy: Usually it helps 'tease' peopel towards a certain topic or category.

A second question: The more bar leads me to ask should I be using categories on my blog or pages?

Niya: Good one. Yes. It allows people to dial into your content more efficiently. And category clouds show your priorities.

Andy: Use categories so readers can view by topic - use Pages for more 'website-y' type content like About, Contact, etc.

Adding a Calendar in TypePad

How do you add the calendar in TP?

Andy: Design > Content - add the calendar module... Don't spend too long looking - be sure to open a help ticket if you have any questions... the support team are the experts!

HTML Skills Are Optional

Do I need to know HTML to use TypePad?

Niya: No. You can copy and paste from your source into a notes typelist.

Andy: Nope - if you can send an email you can write a blog.

Different Sidebars on Different Page Types

Does Typepad now allow you to select certain typelists for some pages and leave off other pages?

Andy: Not currently no - the sidebars are the same for all pages - unless you use Advance Templates

TypePad vs iWeb

My website is on iWeb and there is a built-in Blog page feature...is that OK to use for starters?

Niya: I have an iWeb site: www.curlyredstories.com. The thing that I don't like about iWeb is that you can't domain map. So your url is very long. You can shorten it with tools out there but not that great for branding. Its a fun start point because its object oriented but limited and no widget galleries that I know of. I've needed to do some work arounds for things. It's like the difference between a VW bug and a Mini. ; )

Blogs for Artists, Filmmakers, Writers and Other Creatives

Niya: http://www.storyculture.com/blog/2008/12/wisdom-book-film-andrew-zuckerman-video-trailer.html and http://www.wisdombook.org/ - Although he breaks the rule of user control on the first page, he earns it given how visually accessible the page is. Nothing extra.


Session description: Learn design do's and don'ts to add visual polish to your blog to create a friendly, professional maximize results and make every post count. Join us for a free 1-hour call with blog design expert Niya Sisk.

This free call is part of our webinar series for small business. Complete schedule...


We Reached Our Goal!

Picture 18 Last month, we told you about our latest initiative intended to encourage everyone to go green, one act a time. We created Green Badges for your blog that linked to the One Million Acts of Green brought to you by Cisco website. The badges were meant to show your readers how green you are, while simultaneously encouraging them to get involved.

In addition, we promised that when the badges received 100,000 impressions across the blogosphere, Six Apart would donate $1000 to The Climate Project, a non-profit charity seeking to raise awareness about the urgency of the climate crisis.

We are thrilled to announce that as of today, the Green Badges have received almost TWO MILLION impressions and, as pledged, we are sending The Climate Project a $1000 check. It is because of you that our planet has been positively impacted and we can’t thank you enough for not just putting the badges on your blogs, but for caring about the planet and making a difference.

The badges were so popular, in fact, that we’ve come up with an exciting way to reach even more people and further spread the message that change can start with one person. One action. One Million Acts of Green.

Stay tuned for news next week about how you can participate… and in the meantime, visit One Million Acts of Green and record your Acts of Green. Because together, we are making a difference.


Using a Blog For Your Website and Ecommerce

Here's the recording: (here's the PDF)

Additional Q/A:

Some businesses don't want to appear intimate, and rather appear larger than they really are.

True. I think I was trying to say few businesses want to appear inhuman. Large companies can still let individuals be individuals and talk to their customers like they are real people.

I have a TypePad blog, but wow do you set up that Welcome Page?

Create a Page in TypePad. Then go to Settings > Posts & Pages : Front Page and set the Front Page of your blog to be your Welcome page.

Is Typepad Services a free or additional fee service?

Aside from our 24/7 support, TypePad One's services are an additional cost. More information at http://www.typepad.com/one/typepad-services.html

What is the difference between VerticalResponse and Aweber?

Here's a link to some reviews of email services.

How do I create a Products page?

Create a Page called Products and then link to it in your horizontal navigation.

How do you do a double nav bar?

LA Times is using advanced templates in this case.

How about monetizing blogs themselves - rec?

Direct revenue streams for blogs include cost-per-impression ads like our Six Apart Media Program, contextual ads like Google's AdSense, affiliate commission-based sales and JV partnerships with companies that make products related to your niche.

If I want to have someone help me design my blog, do you have people to do this?

Yes. We have our TypePad One services team as well as a list of indie designers we like. Full details at http://www.typepad.com/one/typepad-services.html

Does the Power Launch include creation of banner graphic?

Yes. They can make a simple banner or integrate your existing brand and design. For more customized work you'll want to work with a designer. Full description of Power Launch.

If you already have a "standard website" how dfficult is it to make the transition to blog as website?

We can easily re-map your domain from the old site to the new one on TypePad. Andy had a client move his content into TypePad and his search engine ranking jumped considerably. Here's the site in TypePad.

For the contact page is the email address one that is hosted from TypePad or is it from where you bought the domain name from?

I talked to the folks at Formspring and they said it can be either your email address or noreply@formspring.com. Other widgets may have other settings.

Will the same banner be on all pages or just the welcome page?

Correct. The banner is across the entire blog.

What was that site for images?

http://istockphoto.com

Where's that tutorial on changing your blog to 1 column with sidebars underneath?

Here it is on Everything TypePad.

Can you upload a custom background image?

Here's a tutorial in our knowledgebase.

Good resources for learning CSS?

W3C is a good place to start. http://www.w3.org/Style/Examples/011/firstcss

TypePad's CSS is documented in our knowledgebase.

Ecommerce sites mentioned?

You meant http://1shoppingcart.com

Handmade crafts http://etsy.com/

Where's the widget gallery?

http://www.sixapart.com/typepad/widgets/

PayPal, Google Checkout, Authorize.net...?

PayPal vs Google Checkout (more)

When I change layout to 1-column is that for every page of the blog?

Yes. Design decisions are 'blog-wide'.

What is relationship between TypePad and Six Apart?

Six Apart is the company that runs the TypePad service. We also created Vox and Movabe Type and operate a fast-growing ad program for bloggers. http://www.sixapart.com/

Why aren't major bloggers like Yaro Starak or Darren Rowse on TypePad?

For Yaro and Darren, their entire businesses are their blogs so they have the resources to fund custom complex design, continually upgrade the back-end software, watch for plugin vulnerabilities and monitor their data center for security. With TypePad we do all of that for you so your 'total cost of ownership' is much lower. Plus, these guys like to tinker. If there are specific questions you have or things you're wanting to do with your blog, just let us know!

This free call was part of our webinar series for small business. Complete recordings and archives...


Best of The Bloggers: Amazon Blogs

Enduser Amazon.com is ubiquitous these days - but did you know they've got a whole network of blogs hosted on TypePad? ChordStrike, a music blog, just posted an interview with Tori Amos, and Al Dente, a food blog, can tempt your tastebuds with a birthday Oreo trifle. You can customize which blogs you want to appear on your Amazon Daily dashboard, and sift through which posts are the most relevant to you: video games, home and family, gadgetry, or dozens of other topics.

Do you have a favorite online shop with a blog, or a bookstore blog that's helping you find new things to read? Let us know in the comments.


Meet the Champions on Get Satisfaction!

We’ve been using Get Satisfaction as a forum for our TypePad members to ask questions, get answers, or suggest features to us, but most of all, it's been a great place for you to talk with your fellow TypePad fans. We’ve selected a few members around the community to be topic experts around blogging, find out more about them and join the discussion if you haven’t already.