What Makes a Brief Blog Post Memorable?

The most successful posts on your blog won’t necessarily be the posts in a standard post format.  These days bloggers blog on the go, and WordPress offers 10 unique formats that can be assigned to posts including: Standard, Aside, Audio, Chat, Gallery, Image, Link, Quote, Status and Video.  Continue reading

Colors! We have colors!

color wave

color wave

There is an exciting new color palette feature addition that WordPress.com bloggers using eight free themes will enjoy. Eight free themes, including Superhero, Writr, Spun, Panel, Zoren, Fontfolio, Twenty Thirteen, and Typo,  now offer free color palettes you can apply. Read the announcement. Hopefully, more themes will be graced with the same feature soon. Continue reading

Responsive Web Design: The Gold Standard

tabletsConsidered to be a fad when introduced, Tablets are quickly replacing PCs and Tablet sales are likely to surpass PCs by 2015. Worldwide PC shipments are down 11 percent.  So, as Peter Cashmore predicted, 2013 is the year  responsive design has taken off and soared. Continue reading

WordPress.com Theme Choice: Twenty Eleven

1 responsinator viewBetween 2011 – 2012 I noted those visiting my blog using mobiles and tablets were on the rise. I also noted the affects the mobile explosion was having on blog design and learned either selecting a mobile friendly theme or responsive width theme was a choice I could make. That’s when I began experimenting with all of the free WordPress.com responsive width themes.

I have now tested all of the free responsive width themes and have used Able Adelle, Blaskan, Misty Lake SightSundance, Twenty Eleven, Twenty Twelve, Twenty Thirteen, Visual and Yoko on my blogs. Continue reading

Searching for the perfect WordPress.com theme

visualWordPress.com bloggers do not have FTP access to free hosted WordPress.com blogs and we not able to upload third party themes. However, we have a fabulous selection of attractive themes with many customizable features in the Themes Showcase, which currently contains 154 free themes and 61 premium themes and the collection is growing weekly. Continue reading

WordPress.com Archives and Categories Page Display

How do you prefer your posts to be displayed on your Archives and Categories pages?

  1. Do you prefer an excerpt display?
  2. Do you prefer a full post display?
  3. Do you prefer only a permalink post title display?
  4. Do you prefer the inclusion of a thumbnail sized image?
  5. Do you prefer to create your own customized excerpts? Continue reading

Is Your Blog Mobile Compatible?

mobiles The mobile web is growing at a phenomenal rate, and is forecast to overtake the desktop web in 2014.  Then more people will access the internet for the first time using a mobile phone rather than using a desktop or a laptop.

Do you know which sites are getting  the most mobile web traffic across the world wide web? Continue reading

WordPress.com Changes Bylines for Authors

people In case you missed it there has been a change made by the Theme Team to the display of Author bylines on WordPress.com free hosted blogs.  Previously, there were theme specific variations. Many but not all theme displayed an Author author byline in the post metadata.  Some themes displayed Author bylines and some also displayed Author profiles below their posts.  Continue reading

WordPress.com Theme Team Stellar Performers

themestrip Choosing a well designed theme is important because your image is important and a well designed, easy to navigate,  professional looking theme will create an immediate impact on  first-time visitors.   There are now over 130 very attractive WordPress.com themes to choose from in a wide range of styles.

This wide array of  themes available to us is due to the stellar performance of the WordPress.com Theme Team.  They are responsive to user needs and eager to introduce innovative designs to the WordPress.com community. Themes are added regularly based on user requests.

Artistic, ColorfulPlayfulClean, Conservative, Corporate,  Business, Fashion, JournalLifestream, , Craft, Photography, Travel, Design, Magazine, News, DesignPortfolio , Professional, Music, Real Estate, Scrapbooking, SportsTumblelog, Wedding

Many themes allow for custom image headers, custom backgrounds,  featured posts, featured images, post formats and other special features. The Themes Showcase live demo site search has feature filters to narrow your searching.

a collection of thumbnail images of wordpress.org themesSwitching themes is easy and nothing in your blog will be lost.  (All widgets currently in use will migrate into the Inactive Widgets box and you can replace them after the theme change.)

Locate a theme choice, click “preview” and see how it displays on your blog, then click “activate” if you like it.

You can further customize your blog’s look by using widgets.

You can also  purchase a custom design upgrade and customize the appearance of your WordPress.com blog theme.

In 2010 WordPress.com’s Theme Team introduced 29 new themes and upgraded many existing themes. In January 2011 the Theme Team had 61 themes supporting Custom Menus  in their top navigation and provided custom menu widgets for themes that did not have top navigation.  Now 76 free themes support custom menus in their top navigation.  In Februray 2011 WordPress.com’s Theme Team  began Introducing Premium Themes.

We have now surpassed the half way mark for the year 2011, and in that time 27  new themes have been introduced by WordPress.com’s Theme Team.

WordPress.com themes – from oldest to newest
WordPress.com themes – from most to least popular (July 2011)

I have changed the theme on my personal blog this time – this space to Chateau. I’m considering changing the theme on one cool site to Twenty Eleven.   Your  reader feedback on both will be welcomed.

Questions for readers:

  1. Which theme are you using?
  2. How well do you know your theme?
  3. Have you changed WordPress.com themes in 2010 or in 2011?
  4. If you did change your theme, which theme did you choose, and why did you choose it?
  5. If you didn’t change themes then why not?
  6. Are you on the lookout for a new theme?
  7. If so which features are you looking for?

Related posts found in this blog:
How to select a WordPress.com theme
Select a WordPress.com theme 2
Select a WordPress theme Part 3
Blog Simplification: Changing WordPress.com Themes
Changing WordPress Themes: A Mid-Life Blog Crisis

Freshening your WordPress.com Theme

spring pathSuppose you find a free WordPress.com theme among the hundreds available that you love, but you aren’t quite crazy about the color scheme. You cannot build or use your own custom theme built from scratch at WordPress.com, but you can spring forward and green, or blue, or red or otherwise bring some spring into your your blog by purchasing a CSS editing upgrade.

Green is a popular color in most cultures because of its natural association with spring, nature and the environment, growth and abundance. In the US the color green is often associated with money and wealth and in this way can be a good color choice for a website concerned with marketing a product or service. — Designing in Green: Spring Designs Inspirations

spring leavesBy CSS editing any free theme you can include a logo in the header or background or in a text widget at the top of your sidebar, and change font colors and sizes to match the new color scheme you choose to create for your blog. There are two free themes,  Sandbox and Toolbox designed to allow maximum flexibility for CSS editing and creating new “skins”. Toolbox is more modern and includes a lot of support for CSS3 and HTML5, so it is really only limited by your skills and knowledge.

If you have CSS editing experience the upgrade will allow you to stylize the appearance of themes you find here > Appearance > Themes, but will not allow you to change the functionality, by editing the underlying template. It does not allow you to remove footer links to the theme designer or to WordPress.com. Also note that CSS is theme specific, so you cannot use the CSS stylesheets from other themes with the themes  at wordpress.COM.

spring grass I recommend that you don’t buy the upgrade unless you have at least moderate understanding of HTML and CSS because you must be prepared to do the work on your own. If you are considering purchasing the upgrade, you can go to Appearance > Edit CSS. There wordpress has provided a preview function where you can try before you buy.  If you do purchase the upgrade, it’s important to know that when you alter a theme’s stylesheet, you only need to put in the Editor the modification/additions to the CSS, not the entire thing.  It’s also important to know CSS is theme specific. If you have custom CSS and later change themes, you need to delete whatever CSS you have in the Editor, otherwise, you’ll get undesired results. To ‘reset’ a theme, you need to delete the CSS in the Editor, make sure the “add to existing CSS” radio button is checked, then save. Things should go back to normal.

Discussion

When the CSS upgrade was announced I was disappointed that it was a paid upgrade. Since then I’ve viewed some really fabulous looking CSS edited sites, and now  I’m considering buying a CSS upgrade for my two blogs. I really enjoy changing themes, colors and headers frequently and would also like to be able to change font colors and links colors throughout my blogs.  The Zen Garden site is so inspiring CSS Resources for Bloggers and I’m an artist so I don’t think I will ever be happy with a single unchanging theme on my blogs. How about you? Are you consdering “freshening” your WordPress.com blog theme this spring with CSS editing?

Related posts found in this blog:
Changing Your Blog? Start With the Colors
Blog Design: Which colors do you use and why?
Crayons, Colors and Blog Design
Swing into Summer: New Themes and Headers

MistyLook at WordPress.com gets some welcome updates

Guest post by Richard

mistylook screenshotMistyLook, with its clean and pleasant design has always been a very popular theme around WordPress.com, but being a very old theme, it had limitations, especially when compared to all the new themes that have been released over the past year. MistyLook also suffered from some top navigation issues due to the placement of the built-in search box which was at the right end of the navigation area. Continue reading

WordPress.com Fonts and Background Changes

Today Ian Stewart made a WordPress Theme Team announcement that concluded with:

I love the idea of meeting the ‘expectations and hopes’ of everyone here by delivering to you the best in WordPress themes. Pretty, painless, perfect-fit ones that just plain work.

Well that’s  good news. What would be exciting news is that WordPress.com has installed an editor that allows us to change fonts and background colors by clicking buttons. Just saying that I believe these are among the  very reasonable expectations and hopes that WordPress.com bloggers have. Continue reading

WordPress.com Blogging: Changing Themes

3 theme thumbshots New themes are being introduced at WordPress.com more frequently than ever before.  That’s probably because the “stylist/designer/theme wrangling” Staff members have grown in number and are continuing to grow.

“Today marks the first day of my employment as a Theme Wrangler with Automattic and it feels great. I’m more than excited to finally let you know what I’ve been up to for the last little bit.” — Ian Stewart joined Automattic

Continue reading

Review of the WordPress.com iNove theme

Guest post by Richard

This is a initial review of the new iNove theme recently introduced at WordPress.com. This theme offers a lot of useful features, but it is not without some drawbacks that could trip up bloggers. I would have like to have seen this theme massaged a little more to limit some of the drawbacks. Perhaps staff will get around to that in a future update of the theme.

Continue reading