Terapad for Authors

This is post is part of the ‘Choosing the right blogging platform – For Authors‘ series started eight days ago. We’ve covered Blogger, and three blogging platforms that use WordPress, so now we’re going to take a look at Terapad – a new player in blogging, but one with quite a lot of promise.

Terapad is a fairly new member to the blogging world. Apparently their creators took a look at what was available out there, saw that there were all these disparate functions on blogs, and then decided to bring it all together in one nice package, free of charge, but ad supported.

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Ease Of Use

Terapad is above average in ease of use. You sense that they absolutely refuse to allow you to touch code, giving you little blanks for sidebar categories to paste your sidebar elements in, and allow seamless integration with third party services like Meebo and Google Analytics. It may take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with where the shiny ‘new post’ button is, but once you do it works slick and fast and easy.

The dashboard for Terapad is tabbed, and cleanly labelled, and each of these tabs when clicked shows you the options page, with a short explanation for what all the elements on page are about at the top. I’d have preferred it if there were little pop-ups telling me what the various options did, but all I got were non-informative little icons.

When it comes to handling text and the written word however, Terapad works brilliantly with no complaints on my part. It has a good editor, plenty of functions, and an easy to understand file system for organizing your pages and/or posts.

Looks

Terapad looks extremely polished. There are only 4 themes at the moment (unfortunately), and you can only touch the CSS for these themes, but everything from the ‘front-end’ to the ‘back-end’ looks beautiful. The Mac icons on each of the menu pages scream OSX, but at the very least it’s plagiarisism that oozes cool.

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As for the blogs themselves I’ve yet to see anything jaw dropping, as most of the ‘top 10 sites’ all use one of the four themes (yawn). But a look at the style sheets behind each of these blogs told me that there’s quite a degree of custiomization available to the end user, and as time goes by I’m sure we’ll start seeing good, unique looking blogs powered by Terapad.

Features

Terapad comes bundled with its own stat service, as well as forums, a store, a careers page, an events page and an image gallery. When you actually think about it, all of these tabs can be used by authors, with the possible exception of the careers page. The blog section will be for the blook, the events section can be used for book tours and readings, forums are just another way of reaching out to the reader, and the store can be used for eBook selling and/or blatant self promotion.

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In other areas, Terapad provides RSS2.0, categories managed through the control panel, as well as an upload section. Unfortunately it only provides four themes at the moment, and you can only edit the style sheets, not the theme files itself. This isn’t a particular loss, since so much of the actual theme is open to editing through the control panel.

Terapad makes money with adsense in your sidebar. It isn’t that unsightly, but I’d have prefferred it if they chose an adsense template that blended in with the theme. You can, however, pay $5 a month to remove these ads and up site bandwidth from 20 gigabytes a month to 40 gigabytes per month.

Support

Terapad is pretty ‘happening’, nevermind the implications of the word. Features are being added on as of press time (something to do with Widgets, which I can’t wait to try out), and there’s a new community page that has that new car webpage smell about it. It’s cool, it’s pretty, and even though there’s no huge archive of help files (think WordPress codex) it looks set to stay. Site developers seem on top of what users have to say about it, so at the moment I’ll say that support for Terapad (which is small, anyway) is top notch. We’ll have to wait for active forums, though to see how good the support for such a platform is. But all in due time.

Reliability

Reliability is a big blank: Terapad is very new, and it’s too early to say anything on how well the platform holds up. All the features I tried out worked though, and I must say what they plan to do with it is a one stop blogging service that does ‘everything you’d like your personal blog or corporate site to do, and does it a lot better than your current solution – all free of charge.’

Which is clear vision. Mostly.

Conclusion

Terapad is this as-yet untested Blogging platform that looks exciting, and is flexible enough to accomodate all your blooking needs – be it for promotion or as the location for your next book, online. The only things to watch out for is its reliability, which we’d surely see over time as Terapad establishes itself.

Read the last in the series: Vox reviewed!

Possibly Related Posts:

Category: Blog Platforms · Writing Web Fiction
  • amanda
  • http://novelr.com Eli James

    Okay, Amanda … sounds, urm, cool.

    What does koolim have to do with blogging again?

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  • http://www.terapad.com/ Stephan Tual

    Thank you for this in-depth review! I’m surprised I hadn’t noticed it yet. Couple of comments:
    – We do have inline help, you can mouse over the blue question mark icons and it will tell you what each option does.
    – We have 6, not 4 templates, and we’ll have 20 more by the end of April 2007. The level of CSS customization we allow is unheard of – we spent 3 month building the most flexible CSS framework in the industry. Any layout is possible.

    Overall, we never saw ourselves as a blogging platform, in fact the blogging module was added a year after the first release of Terapad. We think people are going to need integrated online presence solutions, with their shop/cms/blog/forums etc all under one roof, all sharing the same unique and consistent look and feel, at very low cost (if any).

    Thank you again for giving us a try! We take your comments in stride an I hope we’ll impress you next release :-D

  • http://www.novelr.com Eli James

    Heh. This review is quite old, and I think most of the features presented here are quite outdated. Well, I’ll be making periodic checks every once in a while – thanks for commenting on this review!

    PS: I’m pretty sure I’ll be impress next release: I’m already impressed with this one…