A Bright New TypePad in 2008
Guest Post: The Smartphone Experiment

Follow Up to "A Bright New TypePad"

Hello everyone,

It's been fantastic hearing from you in the comments to my last post and in the emails directly to me — I've heard from hundreds of you in the past 24 hours. I'm thrilled at the level of passion and engagement from those of you who have written in so far.  Your thoughts and concerns are already galvanizing the TypePad team and inspiring our next steps.

As we read through and process all the feedback, I wanted to touch upon some of my thoughts so far:

  • The TypePad community is impassioned.  You're letting us know clearly and specifically what you love about TypePad and what you need from us.   
  • We're on the same page. The good news is that majority of your requests are already scheduled in our roadmap, and the ones that weren't we'll be reviewing and evaluating.  We'll update you over the coming weeks to let you know when you'll see the improvements you're asking for — especially around themes, mobile capabilities and our post editor — as well as let you know why some changes will come sooner than others. 
  • This is just the first step.  Thanks to all of you who responded to our short survey.  We’re going to take you up on your offer to help and will follow up with more information soon.
  • TypePad Support is here to help.  Our Support team has reached out to let a few of you know there's already a solution to your needs.  Don't hesitate to reach out to the Support team.
  • Results are around the corner.  In February we're focusing on releasing new themes and highlighting some of the design options you may not yet be utilizing.  Stay tuned to Everything TypePad for more news and updates. 

I spent much of my day today reading your emails and comments and working with the TypePad team to respond to your ideas and concerns.  We're reading every single suggestion and adjusting our roadmap as much as we can to address your biggest concerns as soon as possible.  We will keep you posted here on what's next.

Thanks again for your commitment to TypePad.  It's going to be a great year.

Chris

Christopher J. Alden
Chairman & CEO
Six Apart, Ltd.

Comments

Willowtree

Thanks for the update, I'm a little late to the party but if you are looking at modifying the post editor, could you look at the 'Preview' function. No matter what I do, I can't get it to look anything like it appears on the blog. This is particularly important if there a photos involved.

Without the Preview working properly there is probably a lot more publishing going on than is really necessary (I know I use Publish rather than Preview, as it's the only way I can see what the post actually looks like)

I'd also like to take this opportunity to commend the support staff, with one minor exception, they have always been helpful and courteous.

cityguide

Great post Chris. Thanks - really glad that I'm a part of the community and looking forward to the addition of the new features (especially the templates!).

The one feature that is missing from typepad that keeps me from keeping all my blogs here is a clean "search" module. So far no one does it better than Blogger.

For example, look at my blog at www.myfavoritecity.blogspot.com
Now in the "search box" on the upper left corner, type in a few search words like "Art" or "French" and see what you get with the results - the exact postings are singled out on one page. Seems like most other blogs sends you to a clunky page with links that a reader has to go to one by one - Blogger allows you see everything at once.

The day that typepad can introduce this feature (I've been asking support for it for over two years!) I would move this from Blogger in a minute!

But that said, typepad is almost perfect - and your leadership is one reason why it already stands out in the crowd.

Thanks again for a great program!
Hope to see the Search function soon

Howard Burns

Also, please look into giving the template users the ability to change the title bars without affecting anything else on the blog. As you would with the tag. Support says this has to be done via advanced templates.

Boyd Neil

Agree with the comment about 'preview' . . . and is there a method of changing font and line spacing?

BCTLA

Like City Guide, I also like the Blogger site search functionality. The aftermarket widgets are not as clean or effective. eg Blogbar is ok and works just not as slick as the Blogger integration- kind obvious with Google embedded in it but...I really do not want my viewers exposed to an external page.

Paul Chaney

I agree that TypePad is an almost perfect platform. The one thing that is glaringly missing is the search function. In the past I used a Google search which, in my view, wasn't optimum. The inclusion of a search function would be a valuable addition to be sure.

Porchester Junior School

The features I'd like to see added most are;

1) multiple authors able to add to photo albums and pages - not just the originating author.
For our site - a school website - it would mean that all staff could upload images to one album, and the "calendar" page could be modified by more than just the school secretary and the typepad account holder.

2) comment pagination working properly on advanced template blogs. If we're paying extra for pro services, please give us access to the facilities that levels below get.

3) widgits that work with advanced template blogs. I'm sick and tired of reading that the widgit "is not available to advanced template blogs".

Firefly

I'm a little late to this discussion too, but since my perspective is somewhat different than a lot of the commenters on the original post, I'll chime in.

I use my blog as a project documentation tool, rather than as a way of connecting socially. The blog format is excellent as a spatial and temporal documentation system because of the internal categorization and linking, and chronological record-keeping. (I should think this has business applications too, far beyond a blog's use as a marketing tool.)

I'd like to see this aspect of blogging software emphasized. For example, being able to access a list of "related posts" (by category perhaps) from the icons in the "compose post" window, then select from among that, and add the selections as links to the end of the current post without having to go back through the post list and look up the permalinks one by one, would be really helpful.

Newspaper and journal Web sites often do this and it makes it much easier for readers to explore the wealth of a blog than simply clicking on category headings. Especially if you're a new reader to a site that has been around for a long time, it's a nice road map that makes you feel like someone is looking out for you as a visitor.

BCTLA

Thanks for offering your updates. I perfer Typepad over Blogger because the customization and widget options are strong.

I just wish it could handle type better. The typeface often jumps or doesn't hold the accurate settings chosen in your pulldown menu. I often edit by moving my code into Dreamweaver and then re-enter my new html into the posting- Kind of defeats the point. WYSIWYG should be better but overall the product is great.

Account Deleted

I would like very much to have some wider layouts. I don't want to go into CSS as I would loose functionality, and the present layouts are all so narrow.
I would like a main column that is wider then 500, and still being able to have the side bars at 250 too...
Like some of the other posters, I would like to have a good search function...
Thanks for asking!

Carol Wilkerson

1. The ability to center items in a post.

2. Smilies, or something of the sort.

3. Make the templates more AdSense compatible.

Those are just three... #1 would be my first choice though. Please consider it!

skbell1

Please pardon me for not sifting through all the comments, and if this has been suggested, just add my vote to that tally and delete this.

But I'd like to see an option at the end of each page that allows readers to click to "previous posts" and "next posts." I've had readers tell me they aren't clear how to find my past posts, even though my archives are post clearly, to me anyway, in my right nav bar.

Thanks!

serge the concierge

One thing that I would like to see added is an automatic save function if for whatever reason I get disconnected from the service.

Will you be in Austin for South by Southwest Interactive?

I am presenting a panel titled 'Just Over 50 and Not Dead Yet' on March 8.

Companion Site (at pushing50.net) uses Typepad.

Have a great day

Serge
http://www.sergetheconcierge.com

♥ Yakini @ The Prissy Mommy Chronicles ♥

I would like commenters to be able to use smilies. I also would like to see a wider layer.

Turk

I use a lot of poems in my blog, and the poems have set indentations I want to preserve when I post them. However, when I view the post, Typepad's system has pushed all my indented lines over to the left-hand margin. This is extremely frustrating. Please come up with a system that allows a blogger to set indentations that survive the posting and permits centering lines. Thanks.

Lewis Turco

Steve Borsch

One thing is clear to me: THE primary 'container' for an individual or company value proposition is humanized and best delivered in a blog. Mine has been instrumental in the following and more: multiple six figures in revenue in the last 24 months; vaulted me into conversations with thought leaders and others globally; provided me with a value-stake-in-the-ground I can point to and leaders I approach are then open to talking with me; and has been my personal hub around which I can consume, test and deliver appropriate web services.

Here are a few of the suggestions I've come up with that are key in my view:

1) Ecommerce with digital delivery. I'm still stunned that this is so hard but I'm encouraged by offerings like MagentoCommerce (and hopefully they'll ship in Q1 like they say the will) and like what the Shopify guys have done. Pick one ecommerce direction (*must* have digital delivery) and deliver it as an add-on service for all Typepad and Movable Type users. The Paypal widget is a fine start, but why wouldn't SixApart want the upsell and fees associated with commerce transactions?

For truly integrated ecommerce I'd pay ~$25-$100 per month (depends on features and storage) plus a transaction fee of ~2.5%. That seems like A LOT of money you're leaving on the table.

2) Add more templates (and cutting edge navigation...top nav would be a start with Suckerfish-like dropdowns for pages). By now there should be hundreds. I'm stunned by the cutting edge templates by such groups as Rockettheme.com and wonder why most Typepad ones are so pedestrian or even why Movable Type hosters offer better looking and more professional ones? There are so many serious professionals shoving their value-stake-in-the-ground with blogging that world-class look-n-feel is table stakes to be in the game and why I've deployed several "pro" sites in Wordpress and have someone working on Joomla 1.5.

3) How about more tools? Widget support is fine, but doing something as simple as placing an mp3 in a post and have Typepad automagically wrap it with the Flash player code doesn't seem too tough but it's not there (requires a snippet of HTML code that many can't figure out how to do). Same thing with video or flash embeds (you need players with great skins). Or, say, an Amazon S3 storage option for my OWN video, audio, and Flash containers that I can just point to and deliver through my blog.

Analytics, SEO, understanding ones ranking and such are other key hot buttons (and people are stunned -- and overwhelmed -- when I show them all of the 3rd party tools I use) and now requires we bloggers to go elsewhere. All of that is lost revenue for you guys.

4) Integrated communications. SixApart could be a unifed communications hub around blogging by partnering. Again, back on the theme of blogging not being a diary but rather a "value container", I want it to be the hub of my communications.

I build private blogs for clients, though I'm now doing that in Wordpress on my own servers (because I have more control and would have to hack the hell out of Typepad). Many others I've advised are doing the same. With Skypecasts, HighSpeedConferencing.com and Talkshoe being just a few of the audio conferencing providers out there, why not make it simple for your users to pull from a laundry list of video, audio, and web conferencing offerings? I'm sure companies would trip all over themselves to play with SixApart.

5) Publishing workflow and networks. When I think about the next step in blogging as low-barrier-to-entry publishing of value, I think about where I want to target and deliver content. I'd like to publish and pick which blogs a post ends up on (e.g., my main blog or a select number of my private client blogs?). Also, leveraging RSS in some new ways to deliver content to print, to RIA's or even control the syndication (though that last one is probably impossible).

Other than that, I can't think of anything. ;-)


Kevlvn

I also would like to see wider templates. What I would like to see more than anything else, however, are templates with horizontal navigation which would make it possible to clean up the sidebars a bit.

John Mayer

For better Search Engine Optimization (SEO) I would like to see more characters at the end of the Permalink (right before the .html in the URL of the post). The current 15-character limitation is nowhere near enough. I would like to see a minimum of 100 characters, which are taken from the title of the post.

Consider this:
--------------------------------------
Post title: How to build a better blog
--------------------------------------
This is how the Permalink URL would look right before the .html if:

-a 15 character limitation: how-to-build-a-
-a 100 character limitation: how-to-build-a-better-blog

As you can see, someone might type "How to build a better blog" in a search engine. If there is only a 15 character limitation, the search engine will not find the post title in the URL.

One of the best places for search engines to find posts is in the URL itself. Increasing the number of characters taken from the post titles from the current 15 to 100 would be optimal and give us all a better chance at optimal SEO.

I hope you implement this suggestion because those who depend on TypePad, or would consider TypePad, to try to make a living really need it.

Thanks for considering this.

Scott Skibell

I'd like a commitment that TypePad is going to listen to its users and innovate. Quite frankly, I haven't seen much the last couple of years.

We need simple things really. For example:
* A search function that works across pages & posts.
* Better themes (there aren't even that many 3rd party ones.)
* SEO optimization.

I'm really torn with all the WordPress development going on and it makes me question if I can stay with TypePad.

liza cowan

I find it really hard to figure out how to do things on typepad. Having a blog has been great for my business except that it takes hours out of my busy day to figure out how things work.

Your indexing and how-to sections don't make any sense to me. I've been trying for days to figure out how to change the color of my hyperlinks and I still can't find the right section to go to to make this simple change. I want to add book covers linked to my book seller in the side bar, and I can't figure out how to do it. I want more than one tag per post, and I don't even think that's an option.

I love the way my blog looks (it took me days to get it right) but every time I want to add something new it takes me days - days that I don't have - to figure out how to do it.

Obviously I'm not a computer programmer but I'm not rank beginner either. I should be able to create a blog in a more intuitive way, have it look and function the way I want it to, and go on with the business of writing my posts - and running my busines.

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