Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Seven Month Itch

I've been blogging for about seven months now. For the vast majority of that time, I have appreciated the convenience and cost (free) of Blogger enough that I haven't seriously considered moving to a more upscale hosting service. Indeed, I would continue to encourage anyone who wants to start a blog to use that service first. It's really easy, incredibly fast to set up, and has all the basic services a new blogger needs. If it meets your needs - great! No need to go to a host you have to pay for just for the heck of it.

But I have to admit, I'm thinking of making a switch myself. Not so much because of Blogger's famous outages. Those have actually been much better lately. But I am finding my ideas for blog-improvement bumping up against some of Blogger's limits.

Having an occasional tendency to ramble on (wipe that smirk off your face Jo), I've always thought it would be nice to have one of those little "expand this post" features, where casual readers can just scan through the first couple of paragraphs, and only expand a longer post if they were interested. Makes it a lot easier for readers to scan down and find something you posted about that really interests them. Blogger sort of has this feature. But it's an all-or-nothing deal where you have it at the bottom of every post - even those that have nothing to expand - or none.

I also like the convenience of Blogger alerting me by e-mail when someone posts a comment, but I've had complaints about the annoying way it suggests that every commenter register for a Blogger account (even though I do allow anonymous comments).

It also doesn't support trackback without using a third-part tool, like Haloscan. But if I go to Haloscan, I have to take Haloscan comments, and that means losing e-mail notification when people comment.

Then there are other features I'd like that Blogger is a long way from ever supporting. Like assigning posts to a category, so, for example, someone who wants to see all my posts about wine has a way to look them up.

So anyway, I've been looking around and, presuming I decide to make the leap, Dean Esmay has me leaning toward Powerblogs. Anyone around here have experience with it, or other recommentations?


Blogger Margaret said...

I don't know about Powerblogs but I know that there are some blogger blogs that do catagorize their posts. Maybe there's a hack for this. If I find out before you do, I'll implement it and let you know.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your site. I enjoy your posts.

Blogger is free - something that I'm seeing less of every year on the Internet. By using it, you're showing it off to others who just might start one up; especially if they register to comment. At that point they're already in.

I just added a Google search to Jo's Attic. That's something you could easily do so we could look up all your posts that contain the word 'wine.'

We looked at Haloscan too, but pop-up blockers might block some users out.

There must be some code you could find to get that expanding feature. I'll keep an eye out. Besides, we all read every single word you post! ;-)

12:54 PM  
Blogger Kurt (aka Noodles) said...

I switched over to HaloScan awhile back but was hesitant because I did not think they offered email notification for comments, but for a nominal fee (I think it was $12.00 for a year) you can add it your account. It has been working well since I installed it, except for the fact that I lost all of my previous comments from the Blogger version.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Lessee, here...

If you do Margaret, please do share.

Dr. Jonz, good points (especially the one about reading my every word - this would make the whole world a better place if only everyone did the same). The only code I have found is the "all or nothing" stuff I mentioned. Derek is using it over at Freedom Dogs if you want to see.

Noodles, I didn't know that about Haloscan. Thanks! But I sure would hate to lose all my old comments.

8:28 PM  

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