Back in January, we praised Time for really embracing blogs as a key part of their redesigned website. The new collection of blogs are all hosted on TypePad Business Class or powered by Movable Type, and there’s also a great new blog that covers all the areas that are in Time’s domain, called The Ag.
Great sites like this don’t just happen — they come into being with the help of members of Six Apart’s Professional Network. In this case, Time turned to the expertise of a longtime Movable Type stalwart, Chad Everett of Everitz Consulting.
Now that the blog’s been up and running successfully for a while, we thought we’d ask Chad some questions about how the site came into being.
6A: How did you first find out that Time was looking to redo their blogs?
EC: I’ve been working with Time since November of 2005 on a variety of projects. That came from a referral via Six Apart, to work on the redesign of Andrew Sullivan’s “Daily Dish” blog when he moved over to TypePad Business Class (and to Time). I don’t think that he’s part of Time any longer, however - it looks like he left earlier in February to move to The Atlantic - but he still uses the design that I implemented, for the most part :).
6A: And which blogs specifically did you work on for the Time team?
EC: In a variety of capacities, I’ve worked on: Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish, The Global Health Blog, The Allen Report, Real Clear Politics and of course The Ag. Though not strictly blogs, I’ve done some other work for Time, including their White House Photo of the Day site and an implementation of a new design for their various search results pages.
6A: Which platforms were they using for their blogs? Did your skills transfer between the hosted TypePad blogs and the Movable Type-powered blogs they hosted themselves?
EC: What is perhaps most interesting is that when we started, all of their blogs - of which I am aware - were on the TypePad platform. While the hosted platform offered some nice features, it didn’t allow others, so before too long, we ended up implementing Movable Type as well. Now, the pendulum has shifted, with only the “Global Health” blog still existing on TypePad (Andrew Sullivan is as well, but he is with someone else now). It’s a big change. Plus, even more blogs are on the Movable Type platform.
The skills transferred easily between Movable Type and TypePad, because the templates are nearly identical - there are only a few tags that don’t transfer between the two platforms, which made moving a breeze, and Time seemed to appreciate how quickly things went. The hardest thing was getting the right web host for the new platform. Once that was in place, getting things rolled out took no time at all. In fact, we were able to mostly copy the existing templates for two blogs that we were getting ready to roll out on TypePad, and they were up and running quickly.
6A: What were the biggest surprises of working on the project?
EC: The biggest surprise was that, even though this was probably the largest project - at least in terms of marketing/impact - it was very likely the smallest in terms of how long it took us to scope it and get it out the door. All of the knowledge that we had gained to this point allowed us to get The Ag up and running very quickly. While the first project we did isn’t exactly the same, because it was more of a one-off project, it took much longer to put together. But The Ag was a much faster turnaround, and we were really able to leverage the knowledge that we had been building. So in turn it was a huge return on the knowledge we had built.
6A: Was it nice working on a site where everybody knows the company you’re working for?
EC: Though working for Time is nice, I don’t know that it ultimately matters much. I’m more like the Wizard of Oz, the guy behind the curtain, so it doesn’t really matter that much which project I’m working on at the time. The interface looks the same to me whether it’s a large multinational or a mom-and-pop, so it ultimately isn’t all that important in the end.
6A: How has being in the Six Apart Professional Network helped you with your work, if at all?
EC: Being in ProNet helps on two fronts. One is that referrals like this can make a difference. Here is a job that originally came in well over a year ago, and there is still income being generated from it, because the lead was a solid one. The other is that it provides a group of generally like-minded individuals where you can share success stories and help to foster a community of support for one another.
The great news is, Everitz Consulting isn’t just for newsmagazines that are a household name — they work with regular bloggers to help them get their sites running perfectly, too. Thanks to Chad for taking the time to talk to us, and for being part of the community for so long, including contributing many popular plugins that Movable Type bloggers use every day. Be sure to check out the Everitz Consulting to find out more about their work.