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Regrets, I've had a few...

Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger has been asking people what they would do differently were they to start their blogs over. I've got more than three years of blogging under my belt, and I've certainly made a lot of false starts in the process, but I'm finding this a difficult one to answer.

Blog platform: Readers know that until recently all my blogs were on Blogger, some hosted at blogspot and some not. Recently I moved my two major sites to TypePad, and I am oh-so-happy here. But would I have done this differently? I'm not sure, for one thing, that I could have. Did TypePad exist in 2003? I don't remember, and a few Google searches haven't turned up the answer. All I remember about what went into my choice of platform at the time was that I wanted a platform that was popular enough that it wouldn't close down on me. Blogger was already pretty popular and seemed likely to stay in business, so I went with it. Plus, of course, there was the free hosting. I also can't really regret that Blogger forced me to learn scads of HTML and CSS. I was already familiar with HTML: I started my Rawhide site in 1996. But the CSS I owe entirely to blogging.

Templates: I have spent more time than I care to admit to over the years tweaking my templates. Both the book-blog (my first blog) and the deblog have seen a lot of different looks. I feel that I'm approaching the Perfect Blog asymptotically. Would I do this differently? Again, it was this constant tweaking that taught me what I know of coding, not much but enough, and without which I would probably never have had the fortitude to dip into TypePad's advanced templates.

Names: I like the "deblog" well enough--though it came very close to being called the "hamblog," and would have been if I had come up with some decent logo for it--but I probably would have come up with a better name for the book-blog if I'd realized I was going to stick with blogging for so long. But now that the site is associated with it's own domain and can be called I'm reasonably happy with it.

Content: Actually, I wouldn't change anything. I've always been very much aware, as some people with personal blogs apparently are not, that one's blog is a public forum and should be treated as such. I've never written anything I've been embarrassed by subsequently.

What this is coming down to, it looks like, is that while my path to the blogging present was pocked with wrong turns, I don't regret them, and I'm reasonably happy with where I am. Which isn't a bad situation to be in.

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For those of you who havent been keeping up (or stumbled upon this post at some point in the future), over the last few days Ive been participating in Darren Rowses group writing project. The theme of this project is If I Ha... [Read More]



I'm intrigued by your Rawhide (?) site, Debra. Were you a huge fan of the show? I don't think I ever saw it, so I'm wondering if I missed something.


I think that's excellent, that you have so few regrets. I like your site, never been here before. I'm visiting from the group writing project on Problogger - here's my submission if you'd like to take a look ;).


I think that the twists and turns in my path have helped me too. It's just a question of how you look at what happens to you.


The question can definitely be given different interpretations. What would you do differently were you to start anew now, knowing everything you've learned from previous experiences, or what would you change about what you'd already done in your already existing blog. If you see what I mean. I think I answered the second more than the first.


I tried typepad. I didn't care for it. Looks like is serving you well though.

For me, starting on blogware instead of blogger was a good move. (I don't think there is a native tool to export your content off of blogger. You have to do some kind of stange back up thing right? It is also pretty limited unless your a programmer).

But now I'm wishing that I would have started hosting to begin with.


Well catagorised and constructed, your site here looks great.
Regrets or not, we've each learned a bit, (some through catastrophic failures) and not we can share it!

I posted my "regrets" here:


Thanks for the visits. Yes, the export from Blogger was messier than I would have liked. I'm glad I didn't wait any longer as it night have become too onerous to move.


Yea, my first couple of blogs where on blogger too. It seems alot of people are saying that they'd wish they didnt start on blogger, but I found it was a good introduction into exactly what blogging was. Think of those times when you first started posting, everything was so new. Ahhh, those were the times. I'm in the group writing project also, check out my post here:


I am pleased with Typepad, but I couldn't decide between it and Wordpress when I moved from Blogger. I had a bit of trouble with Wordpress registration so I went for Typepad.
Although I am happy with Typepad, you seem to get less for your money (as you have to pay) than you do on Wordpress (which is free). I've set up two blogs on Wordpress since moving to Typepad, and my daughters each have a Wordpress blog, all of them are good. (For example on Wordpress you get a "page splitting" facility so you can post the first paragraph on the main page and then link through to the rest if you have a long post. You also seem to get an unlimited number of blogs, whereas Typepad basic only gives you one.). Wordpress also has categories, tagging and so on, which Blogger doesn't.

So I think the only thing that is stopping me moving Petrona over to Wordpress (apart from the time factor) is that I don't want to annoy everyone by changing my url three times in less than a year!


I can split pages! But maybe it's a Pro feature--or the middle category, whatever that is. I may be wrong but my impression is that the *hosted* WordPress does not allow for very much customization, that you have to install WordPress on your own site to get the sort of options that you get from TypePad at the higher levels. You may not care about that now, but if in the future you want to start adjusting the html yourself you might want instead to go for a higher level in TypePad. But check because my familiarity with WordPress is quite limited.


Skint Writer has a self-hosted Wordpress blog, so if you are ever interested in finding out more, he's pretty hot on all this html stuff.

Also Sian went for Wordpress when she started blogging fairly recently, but not sure if she is hosting it herself or using the "idiot's version" like me - Sian is extremely, scarily able on html, incidentally. (the opposite of me, I can just about remember bold, italic and link).


I really like Typepad as well, it is perfect for those that know a little code. Also, I like how you broke this post into categories.


Thanks for visiting, Chris: you're right. One nice thing about TypePad is that it works well for people with different levels of familiarity with HTML. I suppose you could say the same about Blogger in that you don't *have* to get into the code if you don't want to, but really, to add anything with Blogger at all you have to edit your template. (Which is not a bad thing, mind, but if one doesn't want to....) With TypePad's widgets and typelists people are helped in that, and prevented from really screwing things up in the template itself by getting things wrong.


How's reliability with Typepad though? I seem to recall reading somewhere recently that the servers kept going down which wan't doing them too many favours in the blogging community.

As for regrets... I don't think there's just a thing, it simply all adds up to experience!


Well, they had one bad day a while back. I'm new to TypePad so don't know how frequently that will happen. I have to assume it was unusual.


I hopped over from problogger....i think the learning process is so much of the journey. I think we tend to appreciate thing when we look back o them, though at the time we can get caught up in the tiniest of details. I do the same thing on differet projects I work on. Best to you.


I never did use Blogger.. I had enough knowledge of HTML, PHP, and the other basics to be comfortable hosting my own blog — haven't regretted it since.

And I couldn't agree with you more on the content issue. We are who we are from the mistakes we make and the things we say. :)

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Reading Herodotus: A Guided Tour through the Wild Boars, Dancing Suitors, and Crazy Tyrants of The History. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

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