Frustations with TypePad: Hideous trackback URLs - and inability to easily link between sites
July 15, 2010
Overall, I've been very pleased with TypePad's service. It's generally always worked... no major outages... quick and simple to put up new sites, complete with domain mapping... support has been relatively quick.
But I'm finding myself increasingly hitting limits or encountering challenges with the site - and I'm starting to think about potentially moving my sites... although the headaches involved with doing that make it fearsome to contemplate. Over a couple of posts I want to outline some of the limits I've run into and perhaps find out what other TypePad bloggers have done to combat those issues.
Linking Between Sites
Perhaps my greatest frustration with TypePad right now is the difficulty involved with linking between sites within my own account on TypePad. For instance, today I wrote a post on my Blue Box Podcast blog that linked to two different posts (here and here) over on my 7 Deadliest UC Attacks blog. Given that I have referenced those posts on one of my other sites, I would like to have some mention of that reference on each of the 7 Deadliest UC Attacks posts.
Essentially, I want a trackback or pingback from the one new post to the two old posts.
You see, I guess I've gotten spoiled... WordPress just makes this trivial and automatic. For instance, over on Voxeo's blog portal, here's a post in one blog (Voxeo Talks) that references a post on a different blog (Emerging Tech Talk). Look at this second post... down there in the comments is the reference from the newer post:
What did I have to do to have this cross-blog linkage happen other than link from the new post to the old post?
WordPress tries to send Pingbacks and the pings "just show up" on the other older posts. I don't have to think about it... I just link and it happens.
In contrast, here are the steps I had to go through to link my posts in TypePad.
- Go to each of the old posts and find the Trackback URL - which involves scrolling down to the end of the post to find something looking like this:
- Copy the Trackback URL- For each post to which you are linking, copy that big ugly Trackback URL.
- Switch back to your new post - Either in the web interface or in an offline editor like MarsEdit (what I use).
- Open the Trackback field and paste the URL.
- Repeat the above steps for EACH post you reference.
- Publish your post.
- Approve the Trackbacks in the target blogs - For your own sanity, you pretty much have to run comment moderation if you blog is even remotely popular. The result is that Trackbacks get stuck in the moderation queue. So you have to go into the admin GUI and approve the trackbacks:
- Repeat the preceding step in the admin interface for each blog referenced - In my case, the two posts I referenced today were both in the same blog, so I could go to one admin interface and approve them both. In cases where I reference posts across multiple blogs, I have to switch to the admin interface for each blog and approve the trackback. Not difficult to do... just tedious and extra time I have to spend.
So... eight or more steps in TypePad - versus zero steps in WordPress.
Can you see the frustration?
What I want is that if I link to a post in one of the other blogs that I own, then there should be some link automagically created back to my new post.
Hideous Trackback URLs
The existing process might be a bit easier if the TypePad Trackback URLs were easy to create. Consider this Trackback URL from WordPress:
And then look at this one from TypePad:
What is simple about the first one? Easy, it is just the blog post URL with "/trackback" added on to it!
So if I am linking to a previous post on a WordPress blog, I have to just visit the page once to get the URL of the post (or get the URL from another post) and then simply append "/trackback" to the URL to send a Trackback over to it. I never have to go back to that page. I never have to look down to the bottom of the post to find the Trackback URI. I just add /trackback and go on with writing. Easy to do after the fact as well - you never have to visit the page again.
Now, again, with WordPress supporting Pingback automagically, I don't need to use Trackbacks within my own site... but if I want to - it's easy to do.
The TypePad Trackback URLs, on the other hand, have no pattern I've seen... I must go back to the post page, hunt for the URL at the bottom of the post and copy/paste it back.
Again... not hard to do... just time-consuming.
In the end, I want to run a network of blog sites - and quickly and easily link between them as I post new content referencing older posts.
TypePad really needs to make this easier.
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