Anyone who creates a WordPress.com account can set up a blog or website for free, and we’ve emphasized here, and in our Customizing series at Hot Off the Press, that you can customize a site with personal touches without an upgrade — using features like a custom background, header, and image widgets.
But we often read comments on our blogs and in the forums asking if it’s worth learning CSS, and whether the Custom Design upgrade is appropriate for you. Learning CSS, even if just a bit, is helpful — especially if you’d like to make custom tweaks and have more control over your site’s design. Here’s a primer on what CSS is and what you can do with it, examples to illustrate the types of design and layout updates you can achieve, and resources to learn more and get your hands dirty.
What’s the difference between these two blogs?
Need a hint? It’s not the theme (both are using Twenty Thirteen). It’s not CSS modifications, or anything that requires an upgrade or any special skills.
Ok, I’ll just tell you: the second example is using Post Formats! Post formats add visual variety to your blog by displaying different types of content in slightly different ways.
Never experimented with post formats? You are in for some fun!
We’ll be posting a short video tutorial here every Saturday during Zero to Hero, to help out you visual learners. Today, we’ll walk you through choosing and activating a theme.
If you’ve been following along with Zero to Hero, you should have tried out a few different themes this week. If you weren’t quite clear on how best to explore and try out our over 200 themes, don’t worry! We’re here to help with this video tutorial.
Congratulations, it’s a blog!
It’s January 1st, and we know what that means: lots of you are starting your first blogs, and many more are re-committing yourselves to blogs you already have. The next few weeks here on The Daily Post are all about tips and tools to help you kick off your blog resolutions (blogolutions? resoblogs?), starting with a two-day crash course.
Even if you’ve been blogging for a while, it’s worth revisiting the building blocks — there’s always room for improvement. And if you want a blogging immersion, check out the Zero to Hero 30-day Challenge, starting tomorrow.
Okay, enough yakking. Time to blog.
With 219 themes (and counting) to choose from, you are sure to find the right one for your site, whether you’re looking for a magazine layout, a photography portfolio, or a tumblelog theme. With so much variety, though, bloggers both new and seasoned sometimes find it tough to settle on one. Here to help you ask the right questions are bloggers just like you, walking us through their own decision-making process. Read more
Building a blog you’re proud to share isn’t just about high drama, stunning photography, or sublime comedy. You also need to love the way your blog looks and functions.
Customizing your theme, getting creative with widgets, or tweaking your settings can be nerve-wracking on an active blog — what happens when that perfect new header image is off-center? Your custom font illegibly small? Your attempt at CSS makes your widgets disappear? Luckily, there’s a simple way to ensure that your readers never see a site you’re less than thrilled with: welcome to your own private bloggy playground, AKA a test blog. It’s free, it’s easy, and it’ll let you put your best blog forward.
In the last Intro to CSS post, we looked at how to identify selectors that you can target in your theme. Remember, a selector is the code a site uses to make changes to how things display.
Today, we’re going to explore one particular part of the Developer Tools, the Matched CSS Rule pane, and see how you can use it identify declarations and start tinkering with your site. A declaration is the part of the CSS rule that tells the CSS what to do — make this font bigger! Change the background color! The Matched CSS Rule pane shows us how selectors are currently being used on the site, which can teach you what kinds of declarations you can use, show you why your declaration might not be working, and let you preview CSS edits on your site.