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John T. Unger

TypePad Levels + This Blog

John T. Unger March 22, 2006

I just got a comment from Molly, who is upset that I took Category RSS feeds off the Agenda after Bud pointed out that it can already be done in Advanced Templates. If I understand the comment correctly, Molly feels that Category RSS feeds should be available in the Basic and Plus level subscriptions. I should probably do a little clarification about which features are being advocated for which levels, then.

First, you might want to take a look at this handy chart that compares service levels between TypePad Basic, Plus and Pro subscriptions. (Note to Six Apart: it should be easier to find this chart from the initial subscribe page… Although the free 30 day trial is an easy way in, I think people will want to see what the different pricing levels mean right up front. It's almost impossible to find this page before subscribing.)

The most important difference between Basic and Plus is customized blog design, the ability to have three blogs rather than just one, and additional bandwidth. By upgrading to Pro, you get full html editing, custom CSS, twice the bandwidth of Plus and a host of other important features, including unlimited blogs, authors and guest authors.

My feeling is that if you plan to take your blogging seriously, and especially if you plan on monetizing it in any way, you really need to consider upgrading to a Pro level account. To get the numbers of viewers needed for a successful business blog of any kind, you'll quickly find that the Basic and Plus level bandwidth just isn't sufficient. To stand out from the (quickly growing) crowd, you're going to want the design features of Pro. To implement any of the hacks I discuss here, you'll need to be using advanced templates, which are only available at the TypePad Pro level. It's worth it. Do it. Thank me later. I can't promise you'll recoup your investment, but I can strongly caution you that it's unlikely you'll be able to get the most out of your blog at the first two pricing levels. On the other hand, if you're just blogging for friends or family they're fine.

Now, there are some features which could be implemented on the first two levels of service, and it seems like the easiest way to call that out would be to mention it on the posts where I discuss each feature in detail. I jumped straight from the Basic level to Pro, so I'm not as familiar with how the interface works on the Plus level account. That makes it a bit hard for me to guess what could be implemented there, or not. I think it's a safe bet that most of these features are really going to work best on a Pro level.

So, Molly, I'm not trying to be elitist. Honest. But the key issue is going to be whether your subscription level fits your goals, and whether the interface for it is designed to do the work you want to accomplish. Some of the features I most hope to see implemented may only end up happening at the Business Class Level… My real goal is to get those implemented at the affordable rate of Pro, where they will be accessible to small business and home entrepreneurs. Do feel free to dispute me on tihs in the comments, if you like.

More Like This: Agenda: Analysis , Community , Dialogue , Issues , TypePad

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