Typepad: A blogger’s friend?
As blogging increases in value — and more people come online as evidenced in Dave Sifry’s State of the Blogosphere — giving people the tools they need is critical. Statistics on pageviews and referring pages that brought people to a post or a blog is one thing (as long as they’re working), but with the acceleration of use of news aggregators, it’s absolutely imperative that a blogger knows how many people have subscribed to their RSS feed and are reading posts through an aggregator!
Here are two examples:
1) Pageview/Referrer Stats: Typepad (my blog hosting provider) has had outages recently and their customer’s have not been happy. Though Typepad offered compensation after their first major outage, I find an amusing lack of transparency in this company and also a woefully inadequate use of the tools they sell. For example, their statistics have been offline quite frequently over the last several weeks. On January 26th, stats were down and they refer customers to a SixApart status page where it said this:
Jan 26, 2006
We have temporarily disabled the display for visitor stats in the app. Status updates to follow.
Updated 1:26 pm PST
It was like that for 17 hours before I emailed Barak Berkowitz, Chmn/CEO of SixApart (though heard nothing). Why does this company not blog and keep their customers informed? Are they afraid of being found out that they’re not yet reliable or can’t really scale yet?
Stats are table stakes to be in the blogging game and bloggers need to know who is reading, where they’re coming from, what search strings in a search engine brought them there and more.
But there is another HUGE area where Typepad doesn’t even play!
2) RSS feed analysis: Why should a blogger care about how many people are reading them via a news aggregator? Let’s take my blog as an example. I use Feedburner as the feed for my podcast page, since I wanted to take advantage of their Pro version. Pro allows me to know *exactly* how many people have clicked on one of my podcasts from within iTunes or another reader (and states which ones) as well as a bunch of other extremely useful information.
Typepad’s feed analysis? Nada, zippo, zilch.
Typepad’s support recommendation? They’ve suggested replacing the Typepad feed with the Feedburner feed. Oh yeah…so all the people who’ve subscribed to my feed and placed it in their aggregator, all have to change? It’s pretty common blogger knowledge that changing a feed causes huge losses in readership (though no one has ever quantified that). Maybe if I was an A-list blogger or in the Top 100 people would do that, but I’m not.
So I’ve been on the Feedburner support forums trying to figure out how to use Feedburner to analyze the Typepad feed. The kicker? Typepad would have to implement an RSS feed redirectso that a blogger like myself could redirect it to any 3rd party reporting package (Dave Winer has an explanation of how easy this is to do — even by oneself without the support of a company like Typepad — but it still has to be supported by them or the hack doesn’t work).
So why can’t Typepad implement something that is seemingly trivial but has HUGE payoff and benefit to a blogger?
About Steve Borsch
Connecting the Dots Podcast
Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.