Rock Biz

The Tools I Use: Who Are Six Apart?

When I started this whole blogging thing last June I had no clue what I was doing. To me blogging seemed to solve the problem of removing technical obstacles for people who just wanted to write for the Web with minimal technical fuss and muss. It allowed me to start The Rock and Roll Report without having to worry unduly about HTML, FTP and Server Side Includes. It was like a breath of fresh air. The first two things I did once I decided to start a website dedicated to cool rock and roll resources on the Internet was start a free blog at Blogger and register a domain name.
Blogger (now owned by Google) is an incredibly easy way to get started blogging. Simple, free and quite powerful, Blogger kept up with me as I stumbled through the early learning phases of my blog (this phase of course will never end as I continue to stumble ever so ungracefully into 2004). Blogger is the perfect way to decide if maintaining a blog is something that you want to do as I rapidly came to the conclusion that it requires a fair amount of dedication and work to maintain a blog (not that I am adverse to work, some of my best friends work!). As I continued my blogging adventures I also started to look around to see what other blogging software existed and to analyze each in light of what I was hoping to do with The Rock and Roll Report. This brings up another important point to those in the blogging game. In my opinion, do not get so settled on any software platform that you are blind to other, possibly better solutions to your needs. Look around and see what’s out there as blogging is a rapidly growing activity with a rapidly growing support network.
One software program I kept reading about was a program called Movable Type by the company Six Apart. Everybody that used it seemed to think it was the greatest thing since pop-tarts so naturally I looked into it myself. While extremely powerful it did require some level of geek knowledge and the more I read the more I felt uncomfortable at this point in pursuing a Movable Type solution since I wanted to concentrate more on writing and less on, shudder, programming. Six Apart did offer a solution to my problem though. They were on the verge of releasing a program called Type Pad, which essentially is a hosted version of Movable Type. Easy, straightforward and built for blogging, Type Pad also featured domain mapping, something that really interested me since I owned my own domain name. The downside is that you have to pay to play but they do offer you a 30-day free trial so I took the plunge and signed up. So far I’m impressed and I haven’t even scratched the surface. One thing I like, aside from the domain mapping, is the fact that I will be able to easily migrate to Movable Type when (or if) the time comes. And the service from Six Apart and the Type Pad community in general has been great. Type Pad is working well for me and you should check it out to see if it could work for you. Six Apart as a company are small and responsive to their customer needs and their help desk is wonderful. All their products are platform independent so Macheads, Windows gurus and Linux geeks can all share in the fun. Type Pad really does foster your creativity by releasing you from the technical stuff and for this alone I would not hesitate to recommend them. With three different plans, one is bound to suit your needs from Basic to Pro and you can move a up as you become more and more comfortable with the software and blogging in general. While you have to pay you are paying for quality and extremely responsive tech support (which is worth its weight in gold when you are in a jam) so I don’t think this should be the overriding factor in your evaluation. Try it, test it and see if you like it. Even if you don’t let Six Apart know why. It wouldn’t surprise me if you received an answer back relatively quickly asking you for more details. You might even be convinced to give them a second shot. Go on, get out there and start a blog. You will be amazed at how creative you really are.
Next time I’ll talk about the importance of buying a domain name.