Six Apart TypePad.com is a paid blogging service, so it's not surprising that it offers more features than Google Blogger, which is free. That's not to say that TypePad.com is expensive. TypePad Basic service, for one individual, starts at a reasonable $4.95 per month, while TypePad Pro service, allowing multiple authors, costs $14.95 per month. If you're ready for serious yet easy blogging, it doesn't get much better than Six Apart TypePad.
TypePad's setup is easy and quick. To create a new account, simply choose a username and password, then add your billing information. Next, you'll need to decide how you want your blog to look and pick from nine layouts and six styles. Finally, you must choose whether you want your blog to be public (anyone can read it), private (only you can read it), or password protected (anyone who has the password can read it). That's it.
Once you understand TypePad's tabbed interface, you'll start to have fun playing with all its features. If, for example, you want to create your own personal photo album or lists of favorite people, books, Web sites, or music, TypePad makes these tasks easy to accomplish, providing appropriate templates and buttons. TypePad offers more custom tools than Blogger, such as mixed-media templates, built-in photo uploading, and guest accounts. TypePad recently also added the ability to easily mark your posts by content so that the blog-search-engine Technorati can find them. In addition, you can incorporate Widgets into your blog by visiting TypePad's gallery of tools such as custom Web searches and links to the Del.icio.us bookmark service. Previously, you had to hunt for such third-party tools, then cut and paste the code on your own.
Yet for all its ease of use, we do wish there were an easier way to integrate your TypePad blog into your own domain name, something Blogger does with ease. To do this within TypePad, you must enable domain-name mapping, a process of pointing your domain to TypePad.com, which requires some tinkering with TypePad and your Web host. Blogger makes it easy to publish via file transfer protocol to your own Web site. Both Blogger and TypePad allow for RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds for your online content.
When a service costs money, you expect first-class technical support. Thankfully, TypePad comes through in this department. We submitted an e-mail support request to TypePad late Sunday night and received a timely response Monday morning. You probably won't need to use TypePad's tech support often, however, since the online knowledge base and user manual are thorough and well written.