Saturday, March 12, 2005

Blogger/TypePad Comparison

I just discovered Emily's blog, How to Blog, and her recent post comparing Blogger and TypePad. She compares them in order to decide which is the easiest way to get started blogging, focusing on these two because each includes hosting and requires no knowledge of HTML. I found the comparison particularly interesting; I use Blogger for this blog, but have been trying TypePad recently.

Emily comes down on the side of TypePad, having compared the two services under a variety of headings. I'm going to give a few comments under some of those headings, and then add a couple more headings.

Cost. Blogger is free. Emily considers the "nominal cost" of TypePad to be worth it. I presume that she's referring to $4.95/month for the Basic (as opposed to Plus or Pro) level. As I said in a previous post, I found Basic TypePad rather inflexible. In a more recent post, I noted that you can now get a free TypePad blog via Friendster, if you are willing to put up with ads.

Categories. I agree with Emily that this is a very important feature, and that Blogger's lack of it gives a huge advantage to TypePad.

Trackback. Again, advantage to TypePad, since this is another feature that Blogger lacks. By the way, I currently use the Wizbang Standalone Trackback Pinger in order to do outgoing trackbacks from Blogger. In fact, as soon as I've posted this, I'll use it to link back to this post from Emily's blog.

Images. It's hard to disagree with Emily's giving the nod to TypePad again, since, it has far more built-in support for images than does Blogger. However, I find including images in Blogger posts easy, due to the wonders of Flickr. Even if I switched to TypePad, I think I'd still keep my images at Flickr, and blog them from there more often than not.

Templates. Emily gives the advantage to TypePad. But I don't like any of TypePad's templates as much as I like some of Blogger's. For example, I really like Minima, which was the starting point for this blog.

Customization. Emily finds TypePad's templates more customizable. I can see what she means, but I found Basic TypePad extemely inflexible. Plus is better. But you have to go to Pro in order to be allowed to get at the template HTML. In contrast, Blogger lets you at the HTML. There are Help pages telling you how to do some of what are probably the most-requested tweaks to templates. My template for this blog is the product of multiple changes to the original Minima.

Visitor statistics. Emily points out that Blogger does not provide visitor stats, so TypePad's decent stats give it a big advantage here. However, Blogger's lack of built-in visitor stats doesn't bother me very much. Blogger Help points to a bunch of stats add-ons. I'm using StatCounter, which was simple to add to this blog and is working fine.

Now, here are a couple of things that Emily didn't mention.

Number of blogs. Blogger lets you have as many blogs as you want. Basic TypePad restricts you to one, and Plus to three. You have to go to TypePad Pro to get unlimited blogs.

Hosting. At Blogger Forum there are many scathing posts about the low quality of Blogspot hosting. I get the impression that TypePad hosting is better, but I'm not sure.

Emily's post is very fair and informative. She amply justifies her preference for TypePad over Blogger. I still lean toward Blogger. Free is a very good price point. My biggest problem with Blogger is the lack of categories.

Tags: , .

31 Comments:

Anonymous Emily from "How to Blog" said...

Hi Andrew -

Thanks so much for reviewing my TypePad vs Blogger post!:)

First, I should point out (and update my post to reflect) that I use the Pro version of TypePad. It provides tremendous flexibility in ways I've only just begun to explore and understand. I've never used Basic TypePad so I didn't know that it prevented you from modifying the HTML - thanks for the headsup on that point.

re: Images - I've also yet to explore Flickr, although I've used Hello BloggerBot. Hello requires each picture posted to be it's own post, rather than allowing individual posts to include various inline images, which makes it quite inferior to TypePad for various purposes. Will be interesting to see if Flickr has the same limitations.

As far as Templates go, there are various reasons why I find TypePad's template system far superior to Bloggers. The first is that there are so many different layouts to choose from, including 3-column layouts, mixed media layouts, etc. Blogger only has 2-column layouts that have various design changes in fonts, colors, etc. Not only does TypePad provide more templates to choose from, but modifying them look exactly how you want is a piece of cake - and no need to know HTML to do it. Blogger's only means of modifying the template is to edit the raw HTML. TypePad instead has a 'design' tab in the control panel that let's you customize every element of your blog template - from font and color used for posts to the headlline to the border for a section, etc. It is extremely user friendly and intuitive to use. Furthermore, the 'layout' tab allows you to drag and drop where you want your blog elements to go (Archives, Categories, TypeLists, etc). This is a really nice touch. And if you do want to get into the nitty gritty of the html for the templates, you can modify not only that of your index page, but also of your individual post archive pages, category archives, etc.

re: Trackbacks - Wizbang sure did work, as that's how I found out about your post :). HaloScan provides a similar thirdparty trackback solution that Blogger members can use. However, it's a lot of extra steps when in TypePad all you need to do is paste the URL for the trackback in the "trackback" section of your post.

With regards to cost, obviously Blogger's can't be beat. However, keep in mind that the Pro version does allow for unlimited blogs and unlimited authors - given that there is such a strong community amongst many Bloggers, a group could conceivably band together to share a TypePad Pro account at what would then be a very cheap cost. But there's no getting around that without some sort of collaboration, TypePad does have a monthly charge - and whether it's worth paying that depends on your personal blogging requirements. Again, for my needs TypePad is well worth the price.

Your post is very well written, and I look forward to checking out the rest of your blog :)

BTW - it's been my impression that many bloggers are fiercely loyal to Blogger - and won't even consider switching to TypePad, regardless of cost. I'd love to get some insight into why that is - any ideas?

Best,
Emily

3:33 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Emily,
Thanks for commenting here. I hope that you enjoy the rest of my blog. I'll follow yours with interest.
I'm not fiercely loyal to Blogger, but appreciate the free service, and will probably stay with it unless I see a very good reason not to. I don't know many other Bloggers, or bloggers in general for that matter, and so can't speak for them as to how they see the Blogger/TypePad comparison.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

I recently got back into the blogging arena.

A few years ago I played with movable type, wordpress, b2, and a few other blogging scripts that allowed me total flexibility. I also used Blogger. I understand that Blogger has changed since Google took it under its wing, so excuse me ignorance here.

The one thing that annoyed me about blogger was something you touched on. The constant need to rely on separate external accounts for day to day blogging tasks. Typepad has centralised everything I need under one account and I am happy to pay for the convenience.

Nonetheless, we will see as time goes on. It has only been a couple of days!

8:06 PM  
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5:32 PM  
Blogger Steve Sherlock said...

I miss having categories but I can have multiple blogs (free). I miss having trackback but Haloscan works (free). I would like to do something else with the template but the available options are free.

Free is compelling!

5:57 AM  
Blogger fairplaybeach said...

Which one is best for video? I would like to hyperlink video into my blog regularly.

10:17 PM  
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8:38 PM  
Blogger Radu said...

I liked the review and the comments. I use Blogspot, and today I started a plus - free trial account on Typepad. Because Blogger has very few templates, mostly, and Typepad got me with the cool designs bragging. But I am seriously dissapointed in them, as I found out that actually they have only a few, very very basic.

But the best thing is that you can try for 14 days, free.

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5:29 AM  
Blogger Mohammad Mustafa Ahmedzai said...

I agree with Andrew's statement "Free is a very good price point"

I agree that typepad has a lot more functionality than blogger does but I would comment that you can't have everything for free. BLogger is just like a free lunch. I am an undergraduate student and blogger has helped me communicate with millions of people just for free.

Can typepad offer you a lifetime free lunch?

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11:06 AM  
Blogger Luke said...

Nice post good luck, I am amaze to your post.

12:00 PM  
Blogger HansThane said...

Nice post! i haven't tried out typepad yet, but i'm fine with blogger.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous sayen said...

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Anonymous Celeste said...

I am huge fan of TypePad having worked with Blogger, WordPress.com and TypePad. The one thing not talked about is being able to sell products from a blog site. WordPress.com doesn't allow this. It is my understanding that you can sell from Blogger and I know you can with TypePad. Here is another problem with TypePad. If you want to change the name of your TypePad's Main blog all the sub-blogs created under the main blog required file extension changes. I have am working with this problem currently. You do get a one time change with an account, but I have three sub-blogs and I dread having to change all the files. Make sure your main blog is a name you want for a while. Also, your can get a 10% for life discount if you participate in a TypePad webinar and two free months if you pay for a year subscription. Thanks for the great post! Two of my my blogs: www.LoriWyatt.com and KimonoSilks.com.

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I used Typepad or Blogspot recently, I am satisfied with both actually, both are good. great comparison between typepad or blogger.

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I am happy to use blogger free service.
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Anonymous Sitikantha Pattnaik said...

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Blogger Umer Munir said...

I use Blogger and Wordpress. TypePad is very good, but I don't see any reason to come on a paid service instead of being free!

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