We've looked at free blogging services and platforms such as Blogger, WordPress.com, and Blogsome for launching a blog. Actually, we also looked at LiveJournal, MSN Spaces, MySpace, and AOL. I didn't care much for those four. But the other three, I like.
Now, it should be stated that I run active blogs on Blogger and WordPress.com. I also run blogs on the WordPress platform (yes, there's a difference between WordPress and WordPress.com). Just so you know where I'm coming from.
TypePad Has Three Flavors
SixApart, who owns TypePad, offers their TypePad service in three levels: Basic, Plus, and Pro.
The lowest level of TypePad will run you $5/month. Okay, $4.95 ... which might as well be $5.00, right? Or, if you buy a year, you get two months free. That is, a year is $49.50 ... the cost of 10 months at the monthly rate.
You get all the standard blog features like a professional design/templates, categories, comment management, selecting and rearranging the items in the sidebar (or sidebars), support for TrackBacks, and some customization (mostly colors) of templates such as colors, fonts, and borders.
With the Basic plan, you get 100MB of storage and 2GB of bandwidth per month. That's not bad for beginning blogs. Heck, it's not bad for most veteran blogs. It's more than plenty for my little blog.
The drawback for the Basic plan? It supports only one blog (which is fine for most people) ... and only one author, which means no co-bloggers or guest bloggers.
In addition to the Basic plan, TypePad also included a "Plus" plan. It'll run you $8.95/month, or $89.50/year, the same discount rate as the Basic plan: 12 months for the price of 10.
TypePad Plus has all the features of the Basic plan, of course, plus additional customization ability, like changing the blog header image.
Plus also gives you 500MB of storage and 5GB of bandwidth per month. And, though it only supports a single blog, you can have up to three authors.
The top tier of the TypePad family runs $14.95/month or $149.50/year (12 months for the price of 10 again). With it, you can completely customize ... or build ... your own template. There's no limit to what you can do with the code. It uses the MovableType platform and code standards for that.
The other big things are the 1GB of storage and 10GB of bandwidth per month, and unlimited blogs and unlimited authors.
TypePad is a stable platform. Although any platform can experience outages, my experience with them (about a year) was that they were there. Not a lot of downtime. And that's a very good thing.
It's actually pretty easy to use. There's no setup issues, since it's hosted by SixApart.
There is some spam-fighting functionality available. CAPTCHA can be turned on, as well as TypeKey authentication.
Comment moderation is also supported, as well as IP address banning.
With all versions of TypePad, you can use your own domain name. You don't have to, of course. But you can.
Besides not being free ($4.95 - $14.95 a month), publishing is a little more complicated that WordPress, but no more so than Blogger. The whole blog republishes each time you make a change to your layout or content. Most changes (new post or update to a post) requrie extensive republishing of files.
Although the platform doesn't experience a lot of downtime, the length of time it takes to publish a blog sometimes means errors and having to publish again. And again. At least, that was my experience.
When you have multiple authors, they don't have quite the range of ability you get in other paid platforms. TypePad falls way behind WordPress (not WordPress.com) in this respect.
Despite the spam-fighting functionality that TypePad has, it still falls way short of WordPress' Akismet and other plug-ins for battling spam.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention the thing about TypePad that really ticked me off most: Problems with TrackBacks. Their filtering system is buggy. And they were in a constant state of denial about there being a problem. Which was really, really irritating. (Thanks to RightWingProf for reminding me.)
Despite it's shortcomings, I like TypePad. It's relatively easy to use, relatively inexpensive for the Basic plan, and looks good.
Content is always the most important thing on a blog, but an ugly blog means no one will read your wonderful content. TypePad blogs look good. Unless somewith with no sense of style uses the Pro version and creates a really bad template.
All in all, I like TypePad.
Other Paid Platforms
We'll look at another paid platform: WordPress.com ... yes, the free platform has a paid version.