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I can't get a demo of it - but it seems to me Movable Type publishes pages in HTML format, which is/ought to be good for SEO.
What are your thoughts/experiences, or suggestions?
I have found that MT blogs tend to routinely rank highly in Google, and I've been impressed at how quickly my blog entries are indexed (often in just a day or two!).
I have had some scaling probs with MT; with a few added plugins and a year of entries, rebuilds are getting pretty slow, as is comment posting, unfortunately :(. But I've not found any better static-page blog system out there!
Oh, and do look at TypePad, MT's sibling which is basically the next generation of MT but on a hosted platform. Very impressive stuff, though the monthly fees are a little high for my taste.
I think MT is the winner. I just need to check out one more - GreyMatter... if anyone has an experience with it, lemme know... and thanks for your comments so far.
Another CMS system, pMachine, uses dynamic content generation, but its new version is supposedly google-friendly (I don't know whether this is true in practice, but you might wanna check it out).
Since the pages are "compiled" (rebuilt) and sit statically, they are displayed lightning fast to visitors, even on heavily shared servers.
MT is also very powerful and very flexible. Think of it almost as simply as a tag driven system to tie HTML to mysql, perl and php. The free plugin community is terrific and has some seriously talented programmers.
Keep in mind though, MT is not free for commercial use. It requires a one time $150 fee (which is happily paid). If you have your own server you can use the MT engine to drive multiple sites and I believe you only have to pay the $150 once.
If MT has a weakness it would be in the user comments - it is far from the best at user management (personal settings don't exist unless you invent a system) and long interactive conversations like you would have here or other "bulletin board" type systems are difficult to manage for both the visitor and the site owner. Supposedly this will change with the upcoming MT "pro" version.
If you're looking for a much more sophisticated system for handling members / comments / threading, DEFINITELY check out pMachine. It can essentially double as a blog and rudimentary message forum.
As for MT Pro, there've been no hard-and-fast feature lists released yet, to my knowledge. However, TypePad is apparently built on top of MT Pro code, and there really aren't any more sophisticated member-handling thingies in there that I can see, so I'm not expecting to see this in the regular release of MT Pro either.
Do note, though, that these are my assumptions and speculations. I am not associated with MT or pMachine or any other blogging software.
Each of the sites that I use that are powered by MT do well in Google, partly because I pay attention to the SEO tips and tricks that I pick up in this forum, but also because MT produces a clean, well-structured site, particularly if you stick closely to the default HTML and CSS templates.
Google even picks up on all the "comments" and "trackback" pages, because they are static.
I would rate MT nine out of ten as a CM package. (Less one for some advanced features such as registration & site skinning, which, as another person mentioned, may be avaiable in the "pro" version).
the categories can be a bit of a pain though - especially if you regularly want to put a post in multiple categories - although the apprentice information architect in me says that is probably more of an indication of a problem with my classification & labelling system than the software :-)
1) you can configure MT to use categories and other fields in the directory and file names. the settings for that are in the "config > archiving" settings. just use MT tags in the path "archive file template" field. click the help for informative examples. use the "dirify" attribute to make the fields URL-friendly.
2) The "dirify" attribute uses an underscore by default. Consensus is that dashes are better for getting URL keywords picked up. Here's a hack to fix this. I'm no PERL expert so use at your own risk... but this does seem to work for me. NOTE: this will change existing MT folder and file names across any and all blogs you have set up already, if you have been using "dirify" to name folders and/or files.
Find this file: cgi-bin/lib/MT/Util.pm
Make a backup copy of the file.
Go to line 331 or so. It's in the "sub dirify" section of the code. It should look like this:
$s =~ tr!_!s; ## change space chars to underscores
simply change the _ to - and save. That's all it takes.