I’ve helped several people get started with blogging using MovableType and Blogomania and I host several blogs for family members myself. Getting started with a system like MovableType can be tricky for those folks who aren’t already somewhat familiar with working with scripts or HTML and who don’t have a resident geek like myself to assist them. As a result services like Blogger and Live Journal are very popular despite the limitations they may have over do-it-yourself systems like MovableType. If you wanted the extra flexibility of something like MT then you needed to start educating yourself or find a friendly geek to help.
TypePad is a remotely hosted, all-in-one blogging service similar to Blogger and Live Journal, but with the flexibility and features in packages like MovableType. They’ve been working on this puppy for awhile now and for the past week they’ve been releasing details on some of the special features TypePad will offer.
Things like a built-in Template Builder making site design easy for beginners, but allowing advanced users to build from scratch if they want. There’s Moblogging support for folks that want to post entries while traveling using their mobile phone or PDA. Built-in support for fully customizable Photo Albums for your digital pictures. Then there’s TypeLists for creating everything from a blogroll to listings of your favorite books or music CDs. It’s very impressive what they’ve built into TypePad so far.
So what does all of that cost you? There are three levels of service for different needs: Basic, Plus and Pro. Basic has the smallest feature set and offers 50MB of storage along with 1GB of bandwidth a month for $4.95/month, Plus offers more features along with 100MB of storage and 2GB of bandwidth a month for $8.95/month and Pro offers all the features with 200MB of storage and 3GB of bandwidth a month for $14.95 a month.
A lot better than I thought it would be. Consider that the hosting service I use costs me around $12 a month for 200MB and 13GB of bandwidth. My bandwidth is much better, but I still have to install the script, setup the database, design the templates by hand (if I want anything other than the limited number of defaults MT comes with), update the script when new versions come out, add in extra scripts to recreate some of the functions TypePad has built in and so on. For me, this constitutes a good time so it’s worth it, but for folks who just want to get online and start writing about their kids or how crummy their bosses are it’s a little overwhelming. About the only thing I would be concerned about with TypePad’s offer is the small amount of bandwidth it offers. Initially that won’t be a problem for most bloggers, but if you site does become popular it won’t take long before you’re exceeding that limit. The folks at TypePad promise reasonable rates for increased storage and bandwidth, though, so that may not be much of a problem. TypePad is the sort of service I would point my Mom to if I weren’t already hosting her blog for her.
Sign ups for the service will open up on Monday, August 4 at 11:59 pm (Pacific). The system is still in development so new features are still being added, but it looks robust enough for folks to start using it. So if you’ve been wanting to get into blogging, but were worried about the learning curve, well, now you’ve got no excuse.