Chancellor’s Note: This post was written by Associate Professor Jan Husdal, the newest addition to the SMUG Faculty. Please join me in thanking him for this contribution, and also check out his excellent Typepad vs. WordPress blog.
For someone setting out to become a blogger, choosing the right platform is important. Once chosen, it is very difficult to reverse to a different platform. Not because it is not possible (since in most cases it is possible to fully export and import posts between blogging platform), but because every platform works differently and you get used to doing your blogging in a certain way. Apart from that, different blogging platforms cater to different audiences, so it is important to choose the platform that suits your needs.
Comparing “the big three”
In brief, although many may disagree here, my division is this:
If all you care about is a quick set-up and a free platform for making money
If you want a free platform with a lot of functionality and if you are in it for the blogging, not for the money
If you want a platform that is easy to use and that can be customized for business
So, what are the disadvantages and advantages of choosing TypePad for blogging?
TypePad – Pros
An interface that is easy to use and understand. The TypePad user interface is intuitively set up an easy to use. I had no problems finding out where which function was.
The ability to add scripts. This allows you add or embed practically any desirable widget you want, since most widgets are scripted. This means that TypePad can easily be integrated with other services.
The ability to have AdSense or other scripted ads. Since most ad content is scripted, with TypePad you can build a so-called make-money-blog or an affiliate website, e.g. for amazon.com
The ability to customize your blog theme. This is possible from The Plus level and up. For more information, see this post: How to build a TypePad theme from scratch.
A wide selection of themes. TypePad has some 200+ themes to choose from and they keep adding new themes all the time.
Unlimited number of Photo albums. TypePad is the only blogging platform that has integrated photo albums. Not the best I’ve seen, but it beats Flickr or other services.
TypePad – Cons
TypePad costs money. Their Basic account starts at $4.95/mo and although that may not seem like much, you can get a lot more functionality for free in WordPress or Blogger. The Plus level, which is the minimum I recommend for TypePad, comes at $8.95/mo. The Pro account at $14.95/mo gives you full control over your themes CSS and HTML templates, but as the name suggests, it is better left to the “pros”.
Very few integrated widgets. Although the upside to TypePad is that you can install any widget you like, the downside is that you need to hunt for it yourself. Many of these widgets come in free ad-based and paid ad-free versions. That adds even more costs to your Typepad blog. On a side note, in my opinion any blogging platform should come with an integrated search form, contact form and default Error 404 page. Only WordPress does that.
Limited number of blogs in one account. If you want to create more than one blog, you need to Plus account. If you want more than three, then you need the Pro account.
TypePad is a blogging platform that is easy and straightforward to use, and it has a vast selection of themes to choose from. It is fully customizable and also allows commercial content, which means that you can make money with your blog. But, TypePad comes at a cost, and there are free systems, like WordPress, that offer more functionality for free.
Here is a post I’ve written that hightlights some of the major differences between TypePad and WordPress: wordpress.com – not for serious bloggers? Many of the WordPress “pros” in the post are at the same time TypePad “cons,” adding to the above.