Home > TypePad - Pros, WordPress - Cons > TypePad beats WordPress: How to create your TypePad theme from scratch

TypePad beats WordPress: How to create your TypePad theme from scratch

So far I have praised WordPress’ functionality and made it the main reason for why I would choose WordPress over TypePad. There’s one functionality, though, where TypePad takes the lead, and that is the ability to design your own theme from scratch, even without using any CSS.

WordPress: A little bit of CSS

In WordPress, using the CSS Upgrade, you can design your own theme in full using the “Sandbox” theme. That does take some CSS skills, and is probably beyond the skill levels of most bloggers. The other themes can be styled some, but not much. So basically, besides a little tweaking here and there, most WordPress users are stuck with the limitations of the theme they choose, for better or for worse.

TypePad: Theme modules

In TypePad (starting with the Plus account at $8.95/mo), using a modular approach, you can design your own theme, including number and width of columns, custom header, font styles and much much more. The interesting part is that all themes can be customized in layout and changed from 2-column to 3-column or designed as a photo blog. In WordPress, the theme decides the layout, and no changes can be made, in TypePad the layout is theme-independent, which allows for a much more versatile design.

A new TypePad theme – step by step

Go to Design > New Design.

Selecting blog layout

First, you need to select your blog layout: 2-column left, 2-column right, 3-column left and right, 3 column right, or 1-column for classic text blogs, or various layouts for mixed media or photo blogs.

Adding blog elements
Adding blog elements

In the second step you select which blog elements you want to add to your blog. In WordPress this would be equivalent to widgets. You can change this selection at any time later. Note that TypePad has something called “TypeLists”. This is a text widget where you can add your own HTML code, including scripts. WordPress can only do plain HTML and no scripts, so TypePad has a big advantage here, say, if you want to use AdSense or display badges from social network sites or other widgets, since most widgets do use scripts. There are also other TypeLists specificially for links, similar to WordPressæ’ “Blogroll”.

Ordering blog elements
Ordering blog elements

In the third step you need to order your elements. Simply click and drag. Same as WordPress.

Select a custom theme
Select a custom theme

In the fourth step you decide upon which template or theme you want to use, either one of the custom themes (above), or a theme you design yourself (below).

Design your own theme
Design your own theme

This is the fun part, where you select the exact design and style of your blog.

General style
General style

In the general style section you select the column width, background color, columns border styles and colors, and general link styles and color settings.

Header style
Header style

In the header style section you can upload a custom header or select a custom style and color for the header that comes with the theme.

Post style
Post style

The post style section gives you full control over how to display the date, the title, the body and the footer, in almost all conceivable ways.

Sidebar style
Sidebar style

Finally you can decide how your sidebar looks like.

This blog was designed using TypePad. I wanted a clean and simple design. WordPress doesn’t have anything that looks like this:

kopidunia.com - designed with TypePad

kopidunia.com - designed with TypePad


TypePad versus WordPress

TypePad gives you almost total control over your blog’s design, a control that in WordPress is only possible with a full CSS makeover and even then you would probably run into serious problems trying to duplicate in WordPress what is possible in TypePad. If you want to try TypePad, why not get a 14 Day Free Trial!


If you want to be able to build a blog design from scratch, without HTML-coding (as you can do in Blogger) and without CSS-coding (as you can do in WordPress), then TypePad has the tool you need.

TypePad versus WordPress: TypePad + 3, WordPress -1.

Current scoreboard

Share this

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

  1. August 17, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    You got me interested now to try out typepad. Good stumble site.

  2. August 17, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    You’re welcome. In some ways, Typepad is still way better than WordPress, and this is one of them.

  3. Matt George
    August 19, 2008 at 8:32 am

    I think you hit the nail on the head though when you said In TypePad (starting with the Plus account at $8.95/mo).

    WordPress, costs less than that. If WordPress had something that was 8.95 a month for styling themes, then maybe we could compare these apples, but as I see it, it’s just apples and oranges right now. You can’t touch my free WordPress. Maybe, I’m just a little biased. WordPress for Life!

  4. August 19, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Apples and oranges it may be, but apples and oranges usually don’t cost the same, so I think the comparison still holds, since the comparison is about what you get depending on what you are willing to pay for. Some may be willing to pay for TypePad and what they get in TypePad, some don’t want to pay, and go for WordPress. The purpose of this blog is not to advocate one over the other (albeit if you read all my posts you will see that I am leaning towards WordPress), but to point at the differences and why you should or should not choose WordPress or Typepad.

  5. lhartley
    August 19, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    I like the ease of setting up one’s page. I wonder why applications do not offer more user friendly applications for set up. Perhaps they do, but my experience is they do not.

  6. Kes
    August 20, 2008 at 2:02 am

    So umm..why did you choose to blog on WordPress :D

  7. chirax
    August 20, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Content is King !!!

  8. August 20, 2008 at 10:10 am

    My reasons for blogging on WordPress are many, but a highlight of my reasons can be found in my post on wordpress.com – not for serious bloggers?

  9. August 20, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Yes, content is King, but without a good theme you cannot create good content. TypePad allows you to do just that.

  10. artiphyone
    August 21, 2008 at 5:15 am

    I started with typepad, but most of my friends have blogger or wordpress accounts. I keep looking at free blogs, but after almost a year, I’m still hooked on typepad, and am staying there, inspite of the $$ I pay. For me, it’s worth it!

  11. August 21, 2008 at 8:02 am

    If you you think it’s worth the $$, then stay; that’s my point of view exactly. I moved, because I found WordPress’ overall functionality better suited to my needs, despite the obvious advantage that TypePad has, at least as described in this post. What it comes down to is that we must all choose the platform that matches our blogging needs.

  12. telepathicpebble
    August 21, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Wow. Typepad’s awesome. Perhaps one day I might make a switch. But for now my blog isn’t ready, and my wallet is half empty. Thanks for the info! =]

  13. August 22, 2008 at 12:15 am

    Yay, I think this is the one feature where TypePad really stands out against WordPress

  14. August 22, 2008 at 1:54 am

    Money rules but Word Press rules on my heart and soul..as No 1 and it is Free that suffices me ..Matt is what matters ..a cybernetic space beyond matter..
    Liked your post.Peace

  15. creeping
    August 22, 2008 at 5:41 am

    two questions for you – how do you get the share this links in your post, and also – i’ve been curious about how typepad manages comments and how robust that panel might be…started to sign up for the 14 day ‘free’ trial but got really annoyed when after giving my email they then required a credit card # to get the ‘free’ trial…thanks in advance

  16. August 22, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Hi and thanks for your comment.

    You can download the software to insert the buttons from here: http://hillelstoler.com/2008/05/18/getsocial-social-bookmarking-for-wordpresscom/

    A tutorial on how to use the tool is here: http://teckline.wordpress.com/2008/07/19/how-to-use-get-social-for-wordpresscom/

  17. August 22, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Typepad costs, wordpress nada….Typepad is great but WordPress is free…c”, Made me more appreciative of wordpress actually… c”, and for that GREAT article

  18. August 22, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    WordPress is so easy even I can use it, and I do, I believe it is content that is king so whats all the fuss about, wordpress rocks for me.

  19. Joe
    December 15, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    You did a really nice job in your comparison. I have been doing something very similar and you went deeper than I did!

  20. Phil M
    February 10, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Having read this post am I right to conclude that Typepad will give me a more sophisticated design AND is easier to get started for greenhorns like myself? I stumbled on to this website looking for a clear explanation about the pros and cons of the two blogging platforms. I’m totally ignorant about blogs and need to learn fast…Thanks, keep up the great work and please give me an answer to my question.

  21. Saarah
    June 15, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I’ve tried Typepad and WordPress for a short amount of time (as well as Blogger), but I still think that Livejournal is the best…maybe I’m just used to it :)

  1. August 24, 2008 at 4:17 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: