The Navigation Bar
OK, first some background: I build blogs for small business owners. What happens when your blog is also your website? (a good example is here) You need some extra pages: Perhaps one to describe your services, one for your public speaking schedule, another for your press releases, etc. Maybe even one for your online store.
The logical way to provide visibility and access to these pages is via a horizontal nav bar, typically positioned just below your banner or header. Many (but not all) Wordpress.com themes support a nav bar.
The Wordpress.com nav bar has two serious deficiencies:
- If it's not a page, I can't put it on the nav bar. I may want to have a link to something on another site (such as my website, an online ordering page, another blog for my podcasts) up there on my nav bar. Can't do it with a Wordpress.com blog.
- I'm stuck with my page titles as navigation items. My page may be titled "Explore our exceptional, personalized services" but I probably want something shorter like "Services" on the nav bar so it doesn't take up so much space. Again, I can't do it with a Wordpress.com blog.
Typepad Gets It Right
Want a nav bar item pointing to something offsite? No Problem.
Want to use something other than the page's actual title? No Problem.
Want to use a special post category as a navigation item? No Problem.
Want to point to another blog containing your podcasts or videos? No Problem.
This is the way it should be: empower the user. Yes, there is a little more copy-and-paste involved, but since Typepad introduced this functionality I've taught dozens of business owners how to add pages to their site. And They Love It. They love the fact that they can do it themselves without relying upon a webmaster who may later hold them hostage. (I'm working with a client for whom their ex-webmaster disappeared with the only copy of their website passwords.)
Understand that I use both Typepad and Wordpress. When I have a new client, I spend time with them understanding what they want to do now, as well as what they may want to do in 2-3 years. Then I pick the best platform for the circumstances. Typepad's implementation of the navigation bar is one of the reasons the client usually ends up on Typepad.