Terapad pushes a slick hosted blog and site-publishing service
Terapad is a hosted blogging service with a bit of a difference: It's overflowing with features that go well beyond blogging.
Terapad is a hosted blogging service (like WordPress and TypePad) with a bit of a difference: It's utterly overflowing with features that go well beyond blogging. Want your blog to have a store attached to it? Terapad has a store module. How about a jobs board? A discussion forum? An events calendar? Check, check, check. What's really surprising is that the additional modules are not bad. Although it's billed as a blogging platform, Terapad is more: it's really a small hosted site management solution. But it's as easy to use as a blogging tool, which is its killer feature.
Now, while the additional features in this system will be good enough for a lot of users, none are best of breed (although there is a very nice WYSIWYG blog post editor). If you want to run a serious online store, check out a dedicated solution such as Shopify. If you want a calendar, use something such as Trumba. Also, I didn't see an easy way to add sidebar widgets to Terapad sites. And if you want to choose from more than the six built-in templates, use a another blog host or prepare to dive into Terapad's CSS files. Finally, there's no bulk uploader for media files.
But if you stick with the simple modules Terapad offers, you'll find a coherent and simple user interface (compare, for example, SiteKreator), which is a big bonus. I can think of no easier way for an individual or a small business to experiment with different content types. To top it off, Terapad is free. (If you pay, you can get your site without ads.) You can also use any Web domain you own for your Terapad site (instead of a generic URL, such as http://rafe.terapad.com/), and you can have multiple authors on the site and on your blogs--most other hosts offer these features only in their premium packages, if they offer them at all.
I hope Terapad sticks around for a good long time. It's a great product, and it's sure to put pricing, feature set, and usability pressure on existing services too.