Three Bullets: Why I Haven’t Moved to WordPress.com

It’s not that I don’t want to, but because I’ve found that it’s almost always been more fruitful to wait for the dragon boat race to resolve itself.

Nobody makes it easy to move from one blog to any other, and in particular it gets worse the more experience you have. Not even WordPress’s Blogger import is enough.

So here are the Big Three, problems I’ve run up against when considering a move to WordPress, and that I hope WordPress resolves at some point.

And, in the interests of being fair, I will also list the Other Big Three, problems that have made me even consider moving away from Blogger to WordPress.


Photography: nzphotopro1


Why I Won’t Move to WordPress

  • Permalinks from Blogger are not preserved by WordPress import.

    I’m amazed that the WordPress folks haven’t added intrinsic support for this, instead relying on others to hack the import code. I’m no spring chicken when it comes to programming, but that says something to me about how much WordPress doesn’t want to be accommodating to Bloggers with hundreds, maybe thousands, of posts.

    With that many posts, repairing all internal links is nearly infeasible without some hackery via the database and a script (which WordPress does not provide).

    And with that many posts, the blog is likely old enough that dropping external links will screw the Google Pagerank, Technorati ratings, etc–other things that take months to years to build up.

    And we can’t simply keep old posts at one site and new posts at the other site–hostnames cannot be shared between the two, which means breaking links on one or the other.

    This is perhaps my biggest beef.

  • Custom themes are not allowed on WordPress.com.

    I’m talking about going beyond the freaking CSS (a $15 upgrade for not very much). I’m talking about doing magical hackery to thoroughly implement the blog of my dreams which, frankly, none of the current default templates would do. There is only so much you can do with CSS.

    I do have some nightmares about the amount of work it would take to convert any template over to a WordPress theme, but if I hadn’t learned about this limitation–which you can’t even pay to remove–I would have been truly, truly pissed off.

    This is a pretty damn big beef too, although one that is resolvable by using my own hosting–which is a headache and a pain.

  • Javascript and Flash are crippled on WordPress.com.

    I do not, I admit, use much in the way of Javascript or Flash. But if I do, I do not want to be limited in the kinds of widgets I can add or cook up myself, nor do I want flash to be nuked.

    If Google can deal with that sort of thing, I sure hope WordPress can.

    Again, resolvable by going through the pain of my own hosting.

Look, guys, I’m willing to pay money for you to allow me themes and uncripple the Javascript. And you won’t do it. So please do it some freaking day.

And now…

Why I Want to Move to WordPress (But Won’t Until Above Three Are Resolved)

  • Blogger Beta doesn’t support post summaries, and moving back to Old Blogger is not an option.

    This is so annoying, especially since I typically have long posts, and my readers don’t have time to scroll through to find out what’s here on the front page. Front pages are so important to blogs–big or small, professional or not. A lack of this feature alone is enough to drive me to the other side–if the other side weren’t so… argh… see above.

  • Blogger Beta automatically disables blogs upon spam flagging.

    Since this happened to United Hollywood, which is a fairly prominent blog what with the writer’s strike on and everything, I was not amused.

    I’d like to be somewhere where that didn’t happen–although I admit that at some point WordPress.com could do the very same thing and all you folks wouldn’t be able to do a thing about it. This certainly happened to all my Livejournal friends.

  • Not Exactly Encouraging Commenting

    I do like the word verification. It saves from having to muck about with Akismet and all such spam filtering ilk.

    However, I don’t like the fact that a comment form is not provided at the end of Blogger posts. I think this goes hand in hand with providing article summaries on the front page. Making people have to click on a link to leave a post is not a great user experience, not these days with WordPress around.

There; I’ve said some bad things about Blogger. And at least one of them is pretty major, but could happen anywhere. However, one thing that I do have is faith in Blogger. That alone hasn’t made me abandon them entirely: they do bring change fairly frequently. And I am not, in many respects, all that “believe in things” of a person. In the past year I’ve seen them add Open ID commenting, bunches of new widgets, a great layout system (way, way better than WordPress’s), etc.

I have no doubt that two of my biggest beefs will be taken care of. That leaves the flagging, which is more of a policy thing, and I have no idea if Google will actually update their methods of enforcing it.

In the end, though, if I do end up moving to my own hosting, at least I can install a WordPress blog on it.

Sigh. Nothing’s ever easy, even when it’s in someone’s best interests to provide the easy. But then again, providing easy to someone else means working extra hard on your part.

But what do you think?

Yes, what do you think about all this? Have you got alternatives out there from The Big Two? Or more cons to weigh me down on one side or the other? Tips and tricks? I’m extremely interested.

I actually used to be quite fond of JRoller. I did a site design once, and the pages there were extremely flexible (mostly because I’m a whiz at learning template systems).

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4 thoughts on “Three Bullets: Why I Haven’t Moved to WordPress.com

  1. You’re welcome. Sorry to put you off of WordPress.Over the next week I’m going to be testing out a third-party add-on to Blogger to take care of problem #3.And a new problem for all blogging software, which is “How do I do a backup that can actually be exported to another blog?”I’ll report what I find out–I have a distinct eye for trying to find easy ways rather than junking through code. Even though I have no problem junking through code myself.Stay tuned.

  2. Hmmm. Thought I’d provide an update.

    I never played around with that add-on because I moved to WordPress on my own site (not WordPress.com…).

  3. I noticed someone reading this page.

    Yes, it is extremely ironic that I’ve moved over to a self-hosted WordPress installation (although I’ve stayed away from putting anything but backups on WordPress.com itself).

    You may laugh at me. Sometimes faith just doesn’t hold out.

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