It’s an Oldie, but is it a Goodie? – TypePad Review

TypePad was launched by SAY Media in 2003. At its peak, it was one of the most popular ways to keep a weblog. A lot has changed since then, however.

Now owned by conglomerate Endurance International Group, the company’s platform still looks pretty much as it did nearly a decade and a half ago.

I signed up for the service to find out how well it’s aged and if it’s worthy of your money.

Pros and Cons

Pros

-TypePad is very easy to learn and use.

-You can create a custom blog in just minutes, enabling you to focus on your writing.

Cons

-Many of the themes look ancient compared to modern website offerings.

-The service is very expensive for what you get.

Getting Started

You can get started using TypePad by signing up for a 14-day free trial. It is important to note, however, that you will have to provide your payment details even if you are unsure whether you want to pay for the service.

This is not my favorite business model, especially since there are plenty of blogging platforms that don’t require a credit card at signup, but it’s easy enough to cancel the service and ensure that you don’t get charged.

To sign up, you will need to create an account and choose your blog URL. You can choose for it to be hosted on either the typepad.com subdomain or the blogs.com subdomain.

Once completed, you will be directed to choose the design of your blog and then you can begin posting.

Learning Curve

You will interact with and post from a customized dashboard. The dashboard is extremely intuitive, basic, and easy to use. That means that there is virtually no learning curve – just sign up and start writing.

The Manage My Blog section allows you to access stats, design options, settings, posters, user comments, and the blog composer. There is also a progress bar that indicates how far along in the setup process you have come.

TypePad is truly as basic as it gets and, while it is aimed at professional bloggers, it is also great for those with no prior experience managing a blog online.

Template Selection

TypePad has a good selection of different themes to choose from, but they run the gamut from fresh and modern to old and dated. This is, presumably, due to the age of the service and a lack of staff that cares to remove old templates.

Most templates provide users with multiple layouts to choose from. They are also customizable, allowing you to place elements, change colors, and add background photos. You can also edit the HTML if you have some coding knowledge.

You can also create your own theme using the Nimble Design Lab and Theme Builder, both of which are free to use and which are good for those looking to create something truly unique.

Blogging

TypePad has one purpose, but does it do it well? The answer is a resounding yes!

Like WordPress, the blogging platform has everything you need to create captivating blogs using headers, colors, images, videos, and more.

Despite a general lacking throughout the service, I had no complaints about the blogging feature.

Cost

TypePad has several payment tiers for your consideration.

Plus

The Plus plan costs $8.95 per month and includes nearly all of the features offered by the service. Although it includes unlimited storage, you are limited to just 150 MB of uploads and four blogs each month.

Unlimited

The most popular option is the Unlimited plan. For $14.95 per month, you will gain access to every premium feature on TypePad, in addition to a 1000 MB monthly upload limit and unlimited blogs.

Premium

The Premium plan costs $29.95 per month and includes everything from the Unlimited plan, plus an additional 1000 MB of uploads per month, in addition to priority support.

Enterprise

Finally, the Enterprise plan costs $49.95 per month and includes all of the features of the Premium plan with the simple addition of a co-owner. This is a necessity for businesses and would likely be seen as a negligible increase for the added security it offers.

Frankly speaking, TypePad is extremely expensive, especially compared to other services that are completely free and have a richer feature set.

Final Say

Many of the platform’s users seem to be holdovers from a simpler time (ie Seth Godin). If you are just getting started, however, I just can’t ever recommend this service over more modern options which are not only cheaper but more powerful and easier to use.

I mean, you don’t even get a custom domain name! It doesn’t get more basic than that. Skip this one.

A Relic Revisited – Blogger Review

Blogger is one of the oldest blogging platforms, having launched in 1999. Originally developed by Pyra Labs, it is now owned by Google. Although the service is still popular, there is now a lot more competition on the market to select from.

Does Blogger have what it takes to keep up with the competition or has age finally caught up with it? I signed up to find out!

Pros and Cons

Pros

-Blogger is easy to sign up for and use.

-There is a large community of people still using the platform.

Cons

-The service is unprofessional and less feature-laden than even the most basic modern blogging sites.

-There is no telling how much longer Google will support the platform.

Getting Started

You can begin using Blogger quickly and easily using your pre-existing Google account information. If you don’t already have a Google account, you will be required to create one.

Once you log in, you can begin using the service by choosing the title of your blog, a domain (hosted on the blogspot.com subdomain), and a theme. Keep in mind that you can change all of these settings later on.

Learning Curve

Blogger is known as the easiest way to start blogging because of its simplicity and lack of complicated features or options to weigh it down.

When you complete the signup process you will be directed to a user control panel where you can begin creating blog posts. Also accessible from the user area are:

  • Stats – Track page views, followers, audience statistics, traffic sources, and more on a clean and insightful page powered by Google.
  • Comments – View, approve, delete, or mark user comments as spam.
  • Earnings – Monetize your blog with Google’s AdSense if you meet specific eligibility requirements.
  • Campaigns – Grow your audience using Google’s AdWords.
  • Pages – Add pages to your website feature whatever content you wish to share.
  • Layout – Change the way your site looks with a foolproof ‘gadget’-based layout editor.
  • Theme – Customize your current theme or change to something completely different.
  • Settings – Change settings, including your title, domain, and editor permissions.

Because Blogger is a relic of a simpler time, it remains extremely easy to learn.

Template Selection

Blogger offers users 11 different themes. Each of these options has subthemes that have slightly different designs.

The templates are extremely basic and like the user area, serve as a reminder of a simpler time. But the whole reason why people use Blogger is that they love the simplicity and no-frills experience.

You can further customize your theme choice using the Blogger Theme Designer, which enables you to change your background, widths, layout, and other advanced features.

Alternatively, you can edit the HTML code if you have experience with the language.

Blogging

If you have ever used Microsoft Word or Google Docs, you should have no problem using Blogger’s blogging platform.

That’s because it works exactly like a typical word processor, providing you with a plain white document and the ability to add whatever you like. This includes links, images, videos, emojis, and headings.

You can even edit blog posts using HTML, making it easy to embed elements from other sites, such as the YouTube web player.

Also available on the platform are meta tags, permalink customization, scheduling, location, and other options. For such a basic platform, Blogger really lets you do a lot.

Cost

Blogger is completely free to use. Because there is no guarantee that Google will support it forever, however, there is no telling how long it will be around for. And Google is well-known for being fickle with its apps (see: Reader, Buzz, iGoogle, Latitude, Answers, Orkut, etc.).

If you don’t want a site hosted on the Blogspot domain, you can opt to use your own domain name which you will need to purchase off-site. I recommend doing this because, in the blogging realm, there is nothing lower on the food chain than a Blogspot blog

Final Say

Blogger is extremely basic, but even the most novice of users deserve better than the platform. As such, I don’t recommend using Blogger if you want to create a blog that will be held in high regard or that is highly customizable and feature rich.

If you want something that is free, try Tumblr. If you want something that is professional, try WordPress.

There’s Nothing Small About Microblogging – Tumblr Review

There are few who are unfamiliar with the popular blogging platform Tumblr. With nearly 360 million blogs hosted on the site, it would be hard not to at least have heard of it.

Unlike other services, Tumblr promotes the creation of microblogs, or content that is generally shorter and more concise than a traditional blog.

While I personally prefer long form, microblogging has become extremely popular in the 140-character generation.

As such, I signed up for the service to learn more about what people like about it about whether you should consider using it for your own blog.

Pros and Cons

Pros

-Tumblr is easy to use and requires very little investment of time to learn and master.

-You can find and be found by other users as part of a larger community.

Cons

-The content you post on Tumblr is never truly yours because you don’t own your own domain.

-Loaded with offensive and adult content.

Getting Started

To begin getting started using Tumblr, you must provide your email address, a password, and a username.

You will also be asked for your age and to confirm that you have read the company’s terms of service.

Once you create your account, you can select the kind of content you want to see from a list that includes design, comics, pets, autos, fashion, and travel. Some categories even have sub categories that you can choose from.

After making your selections you will be forwarded to your Tumblr dashboard where you can begin exploring.

Learning Curve

Tumblr is intuitive and extremely easy to use. In fact, the first time I logged in I pretty much knew exactly how to get started.

When you log in to your account for the first time, the system automatically begins showing you important buttons and elements you should know.

Once you get the hang of it, you can begin adding people to follow and even set up your own Tumblr profile.

Just be careful of Tumblr’s dark side, which is loaded with pornography and other potentially offensive content.

Template Selection

Tumblr has a nice selection of different themes.

Many are free, but some cost up to $49. That’s a pretty hefty price for a Tumblr theme. Still, there are plenty of worthy free options.

For a microblogging platform, Tumblr offers a ton of customizability. You can edit everything including your page’s background color, title color, accent color, logo, and fonts.

Blogging

Tumblr has specific options for each kind of post the system supports.

You can select from text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio, and video.

Clicking any of these will display a specific field related to your selection. For example, if you click photo, you will be able to either upload a photo or add a photo from the web.

The text option allows you to insert photos, videos, and GIFs, making it the best choice to legitimate blogging.

There is even a special section for adding tags to your post, making it easier for others to find.

Cost

Tumblr is completely free to use.

The service does serve ads, but in exchange, you get to create a really nice and customizable blog.

Unfortunately, this means that there is no premium version and, as such, it isn’t possible to use the platform on your own domain.

In other words, you are limited to your ‘.tumblr.com’ subdomain and if the service ever ceases to exist, all of the content you posted will be lost forever.

Final Say

Tumblr is a fun platform for, finding, creating, and sharing content.

It is fully customizable and offers a surprising number of options to help you set yourself apart.

Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee that all of your hard work will remain online forever like it would on WordPress.

Of course, this is a gamble you take on most microblogging platforms, but it should still be something you consider when selecting the platform on which you will begin blogging.

Can 60 Million People Be Wrong? – WordPress Review

WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) that has grown to become the backbone of the internet.

Trusted by over 60 million websites, WordPress is the driving force behind nearly 60% of CMS-based sites on the internet.

These are truly astounding numbers and should, on their own, pique the interest of anyone looking to start a blog.

But numbers alone don’t tell much of a story and that is why I took a deep dive into the platform to see if it is truly worthy of your consideration.

Pros and Cons

Pros

-WordPress has a vast selection of themes and plugins you can use to increase the functionality and usability of your blog.

-The blogging tool makes it easy to create new posts and manage old ones.

Cons

-WordPress has a steeper learning curve than other platforms.

-The open-source nature of the CMS makes it less secure than closed tools.

Getting Started

You can get started using WordPress by downloading the software from WordPress.org and uploading it to a hosting service.

Alternatively, some web hosts let you bypass that step by offering a one-click install through their control panel.

Whichever method you choose to use, you will need to sign up for a web host to get started and that process varies from provider to provider.

Learning Curve

Because WordPress isn’t a pre-installed platform, it has a steeper learning curve than other blogging services.

Not only will you be required to “go in blind” initially, you will also have to pay for a service to host it up front.

Of course, WordPress does offer their software through their own online service at WordPress.com, but it is much more limited than the truly free and open version.

As such, I highly recommend overcoming any initial struggles you have and opting for the real thing.

Template Selection

There is no better platform for theme selection, and, as of this writing, WordPress has nearly 15,000 different themes to choose from.

There are hundreds of free templates to choose from and paid themes generally cost around $30-$60.

Because of the abundance of styles, you can choose from modern and trendy, classic and ornate, and everything in between.

When it comes to WordPress themes, there is simply no other platform that can even begin to compete.

Blogging

The blogging tool is the central feature of WordPress.

It provides users with everything they need to create posts that are both reader and SEO friendly.

There are standard features, such as headers, lists, quotes, and styling tools, in addition to more advanced options like categories, media, and permalink editing.

The beauty of WordPress is that you can supplement the platform with plugins that make the blog tool even more powerful.

For example, if you’re really focused on SEO, there are tools that can help ensure that you cover all of your bases like alt text and keyword focusing.

Alternatively, if you’re more concerned about the reader experience, there are also tools that can help you customize how your posts look beyond the platform’s standard feature set.

Cost

Because it is an open-source platform, WordPress is completely free to download and use. However, as stated above, you will have to pay for a host to use it.

Generally speaking, hosting a blog on WordPress costs just a few dollars per month and there are countless companies out there who would do anything to have you sign up for their service, including heavily discounting initial plans.

You should also consider the cost of the theme of your choice, in addition to any plugins.

Thankfully, it is easy to create a professional and functional WordPress blog using the free templates and add-ons available.

Final Say

You would be hard pressed to find a better way to blog than WordPress.

The tools and features it offers are unmatched and there is no indication that it is slowing down.

After all, there are entire industries dedicated to supporting and augmenting the format, making it essentially future-proof.

There is a reason why so many trust the platform and if haven’t considered it before, I highly recommend giving it a look now.