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.
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.
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”.
In the third step you need to order your elements. Simply click and drag. Same as WordPress.
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).
This is the fun part, where you select the exact design and style of your blog.
In the general style section you select the column width, background color, columns border styles and colors, and general link styles and color settings.
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.
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.
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:
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.