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Reconsidering TypePad

I’ve always been a little skeptical of the TypePad blogging platform. I’m not really sure why that is – perhaps I always saw it as a poor cousin on MovableType, or perhaps it was because it was a paid service, or perhaps I was just too lazy to check it out.

This week I’ve been consulting with two bloggers to help them set up their own blogs – both after looking at the options have chosen to go with TypePad. Whilst it’s probably still not my first choice for a blogging tool, in playing around with it and helping them to get set up I’m actually beginning to come around.

Whilst you do have to pay and whilst it’s probably not as powerful or as versatile as some other blogging tools it is a very usable platform. I’m especially impressed with the ease in which I’m able to communicate with completely inexperienced bloggers the basics of not only posting but design. I particularly like it’s commenting options (they just announced comment moderation today) which put a stop to spam (or at least slow it right down) and it’s ability to add advertising options quickly and easily.

I’m not about to move all my blogs over to TypePad, but I’m toying with the idea of running an experimental blog with it to fully immerse myself in it’s functionality and I’ll definitely be keeping it as an option in my consulting with beginner bloggers.

In other Six Apart News – they’ve also today released the beta version of MovableType 3.2.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Ken says:

    I’ve been contemplating whether to move to a hosting service and try my hand at MT or WordPress. Although I love BlogHarbor, I find it a bit limiting in what I want to do.

  2. Cary says:

    Hey Darren,

    My blog is running on TypePad, and I’m quite happy with it’s ease of use, and it’s features. TypePad seems to be going through some growing pains, with a few new bugs popping up with the realease of their newest features, (for instance, if you leave a comment on my blog right now, and try to preview it, the preview page has lost all formatting) but I’ve found their support team is quick and helpful…not something I can always say about online entities in general ; )

    I particularly like the support for categories & comment moderation, but there are a few options I’d like to see added:

    1. A way to manually or automatically back-up my entire site to my local drive.
    2. The ability to host my blog on my own server.
    3. With their newest changes they’ve wrapped up the majority of template HTML code in tags, and so far haven’t documented what’s in those tags, so overnight they went from offering highly customizable templates, to much less so. (ie, all of the code for a post body is wrapped in one tag, so on a new TypePad blog i can’t customize this code to place an AdSense ad IN my post. Luckily, my current blog was created before this change.)

    Overall it’s a great service. Hope some of this info helps!

  3. Thanks for that, Darren, I was on the point of putting my new project into Typepad, and I hear what you say. The new upgrade seems to be quite extensive. However, Cary’s point #3 has given me second thoughts. Back to the drawing board.

  4. Cary says:

    John,

    I’ve been assured that documentation for the new Tags is forthcoming, and I assume this means that I will be able to replace any of these tags with the actual code from the documentation, thus allowing for customization (though I think it was a very unfortunate oversite to change the code they offer without simultaneously documenting it for advanced users.) As I pointed out to the staff, customization of my code is the reason I pay for a PRO account in the first place. I think they just got ahead of themselves with the new update, and are scrambling to cath up. Great service overall, though : )

  5. FMF says:

    Darren –

    Come. Join us. You don’t know the power of the Dark Side. Together, we could rule the universe!!!!!

    Sorry, lost my concentration for a moment. Good thing for me that TypePad is so easy. It makes those “brain spams” a thing of the past. I love it (or at least strongly like it). :-)

    FMF

  6. duncan says:

    It might be good out of the box but is it a serious long term option, particularly given that your binding yourself to SixApart’s TOS and servers? I suppose as a control junkie that I want to have total control and you cant beat a DIY option such as WordPress or MT for my liking. Having said this, most people aren’t like me :-)

  7. Vix says:

    I think that TypePad is a good alternative to blogger but like Duncan, I’m too much of a control junkie to have all of my content on someone else’s server.

  8. I’m a WordPress user myself, and I can’t say enough about it’s ease of use and intallation, plug-in functionality, support from the community…. and you get that total control that you crave….

    It’s performed flawlessy for the past year.

    Gary

  9. geez, sorry for the typos, I think I should go to bed…

    (installation, flawlessly)

  10. Life’s too short for servers. Let the servants do the serving, I say. Hiring a virtual server through a host is probably marginally better than something like Typepad, but only having physical servers on your own premises gives you real control. Now why would you do that and leave yourself open to all those perverse pingers out there? Blogging is about writing, not living in an electronic Fort Knox :-)

  11. Hi Darren,

    I started at TypePad and loved the clean interface and short learning curve. Then, because I knew we’d soon have many more blogs on the go, I decided to move to Movable Type. (Rather than pay $14.95/month per blog.)

    But after just a week of trying MT, I’m right this minute moving my 3 current blogs back to TypePad!

    MT’s code doesn’t scare me, but it was going to take a LOT of time to completely master all the Ins and Outs, and then stay on top of plug-ins and more.

    So to save a few bucks a month — and get a bit more control — I’d be spending MANY hours mastering and tweaking MT. It didn’t feel like a good Return on Investment. I’d rather be creating new infoproducts, or marketing. Bottom line: I’m very happy to have made the decision to return to Typepad.

    And to echo an earlier poster, the Support is first-rate. (And I notice that in the latest upgrade, they’ve added a feature I suggested to them.)

    Cheers from Canada,

    Sheila

  12. Anil says:

    Just to address the point above, we’re working hard on documenting all the new CSS and XHTML options in TypePad. But in general, we’re trying to encourage TypePad users to *not* have to think about such technical details, but rather to focus on their writing and content and let the service give them simple tools for customizing display options and tweaking settings.

    In all, TypePad’s about convenience. I obviously run my main blog on Movable Type, but when I’m starting a blog for a project, I prefer TypePad to get up and running easily.

  13. Byrne Reese says:

    I am happy to announce that the Advanced Template documentation has been updated as well as the new CSS classes and styles:

    http://help.typepad.com/tips/custom_css.html – TypePad CSS Reference Manual and Guide

    http://help.typepad.com/tags/ – Advanced Template Tag documentation and new default template listing

  14. Swade says:

    Hi all,

    I started on Typepad and can thoroughly recommend it for ease of use and functionality. The one issue I had was bandwidth. I was fortunate in that I struck a subject that hadn’t beeen blogged and had an audience straight away. I exceeded Typepad’s bandwidth restrictions within a few months. I’ve now relocated to MT and yes, it is ominous to start with, but once you get it under control, it works pretty well.

    Tip: if you migrate from Typepad to MT, use Typepad’s templates to set up your MT templates. They’re the same company, so the architecture translates prety well from one ot the other. This saved me a heap of setup time.

  15. Swade says:

    Just realised my personal info on the previous comment was linked to the Typepad site that no longer functions. Now updated.

  16. I am a happy Typepad user and the reason I am happy is that it allows me to concentrate on writing my blog instead of coding it. I have no problem paying for the ease of use that Typepad gives me and the recent additions to the service only make things that much better. For someone who doesn’t want to have to deal with the techical minutiae of running a blog, Typepad is just the ticket.