I happened upon a blogging thread in which a group of bloggers are debating which blogging platform is superior for SEO. It appears the battle is still raging on the WordPress vs Typepad debate. I discovered this thread right after I received an interesting email from a client about her WordPress self hosted blog. More on that later.
For the record, when I am talking about SEO website design and SEO website development, I am talking about SEO for non-technical people who are at the beginning of the learning curve when it comes to the web. These are people who are searching for easy and economical SEO.
Under the circumstances, SEO is really too strong a word. Rather than call it SEO, instead I refer to it as SEARCH ENGINE FRIENDLY web site rather than search engine optimization.
For the record, I’ve worked with clients who came to me with entire sites consisted of images (nothing but images… all the content was “hidden” inside the images!!!) with site navigation provided by crudely constructed image maps. (shudder!)
My clients include a lot of folks who don’t understand the difference between a blog and a static HTML website. For them, Andy Beard’s WordPress SEO Masterclass For Competitive Niches might as well be written in Latin.
As far as most of my clients are concerned, when they see PHP, HTML, CSS, they figure someone dropped food that got stuck on the keyboard. It’s been my experience that when these people get “sold” on blogs as a CMS for the website, they are the very people who tend to FAVOR Typepad blogs over WordPress blogs. Typepad blogs, in general, are easier for the “average” person to get started using.
SIDEBAR: If I were appointed marketing director at Six Apart, the marching orders I would give my marketing minions would be as follows; “Talk about how EASY it is to get started blogging. Typepad blogs are SO EASY… you don’t have to learn how to FTP… you don’t have to worry about updates… it’s the worry free blogging choice! END SIDEBAR
So when a high caliber blogger such as Fools Wisdom’s Lloyd Budd voices a strong opinion on the Search Engine “friendliness” of Typepad blogs, he’s speaking way above my client’s heads. His opinion, by the way is easily discerned from the title of his post, “TypePad SEO Blows…” (I love GREAT titles like that!!!)
In his “blows” post, he gives his “wish list” of things he wishes Typepad would fix to improve their product’s SEO. In that blog post, he references Michael Krotscheck’s WordPress vs. TypePad, Round 2. It’s titled “round 2? because in the previous post, Friends don’t let Friends use TypePad, Six Apart Vice President Anil Dash lead the comment parade with a comment that Michael felt was a bit vitriolic in nature.
So the battle is raging and I’m sitting on the sidelines. I’m not commenting, I’m not posting but I have noticed the skirmishes. I’m amused but I’m busy in my own little world. Then, I get the email from my client mentioned above.
This client is relevant to the discussion because she cut her blogging teeth so to speak on Typepad blogs. She still has three active typepad blogs, but over the past year, she’s been experimenting with WordPress blogs. She’s gone from dipping her toe into the WordPress blog waters to diving in head first. Last week, she launched yet another WordPress self hosted blog.
We spent some time choosing the right domain name. She installed WordPress using Cpanel but I installed the plugins, themes and set her permalinks for her. She quickly populated the blog with about 10 pages of keyword minded content and began posting. Finally, we applied a Revolution Theme and the blog was launched.
Today, I got an excited email from her. She’s always been happy to find one of her sites on the first 5 pages of Google… but this week, her newly launched blog is #4 on Google for her desired keyword. She didn’t hire a writer to compose her content or anything else “special” other than researching the domain name and making sure it contained her desired keyword phrase.
I think it’s important to note that my client would NEVER have had the courage to tackle WordPress without me acting as her safety net. WordPress is WAY too “technical” for her. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t own an FTP client. The only reason she began blogging is she heard her favorite WYSIWYG web development tool (MSFP) was going the way of the dinosaurs.
It’s also important to note that this client did NOT achieve this feat with WordPress as it comes “raw” from Cpanel’s Fantastico.
So when it comes to which blog platform is best for SEO website design and development, here’s my “recommendation.”
- Pick ANY blog over a static HTML website because a website you don’t EVER update isn’t worth the cost of hosting it.
- Typepad beats a free blog and is a more “cost effective” choice, especially if the thought of FTPing frightens you.
- If you’re serious about your business, you’re willing to make an investment AND you can find someone to hold your hand and set up your self hosted blog for you, WordPress is by far the best choice of all. Make certain though that you’ll have to budget for (frequent) updating of the WordPress blogging software. (You can update using Fantastico, but the updates may require new versions of your plugins.)