Why We Went With Movable Type

For the technical folks wondering, we've gone with Movable Type software for our blog. I know, that's somewhat ironic for a site that covers search engine marketing issues. Anil Dash, vice president of Six Apart that makes the software, has written recently of having a pretty low opinion of the search engine optimization industry.

Tangent time here. I largely agree with Dash that the industry has gained a bad name. Our long forum discussion, Improving The Reputation Of The SEM Industry, explores this more. But there are plenty of people who do indeed focus on content. In fact, having great content and not spamming is something I've talked out in my search engine placement tips published on the site since it began in 1996.

But it's also true that Dash's victory in the recent nigritude ultramarine search engine optimization contest had little to do with great content and much more to do with a link bombing campaign he invited on his behalf. There's a bit more about that here.

That's ironic, given that one of the things many bloggers have been plagued by are those using comments solely to gain links (and for a really sad tale on this practice, see this past article we ran from Mike Grehan, Google PageRank Lunacy, on how link spam spoiled a memorial site for his friend.

Tangent over! The debate on my end was between WordPress, a great, free open source blogging system and Movable Type, a great and inexpensive blogging system. I played with them both and was especially impressed with the ease of use WordPress offers. But categorization is going to be a big part of our blog.

Both offer it, but Movable Type seemed to make it easier to recategorize or completely move things around. That was the clincher -- though the system desperately need to solve the problem of subcategories not being listed hierarchically when you add a new entry. More on that issue here. I'm using precisely the same "cat:subcat" workaround as someone else describes, but no one should have to.

Our categories will light up in about a month or so, primarily for the paid members of our web site. Search Engine Watch already has a robust categorization system. Anything that runs in our newsletters eventually migrates to one of the many pages we maintain on various topics. But the updating of this information by hand has been incredibly time-consuming. The new blogging system will automate this, leaving more time for fun things, like writing more articles!

Finally, some technical thanks are in order. Rob Matthews is a good friend who helped me get going with Movable Type. I'm link dropping in appreciation -- need hosting? Rob's company Tiger Technologies has done a great job for my personal needs. And want to change things in Movable Type like how file names are written? Learning Movable Type from Elise Bauer is a great site with tips on that issue and more.