Here are some of my favourite themes ~ for now

WordPress themesChoosing a theme for a WordPress.com-hosted blog is more difficult than choosing a theme for a self-hosted WordPress.org site.

For one, you cannot customise a theme in WP.com unless you go for the premium theme or custom-designed theme ($30 a year fee) route where you are given access to change the fonts or the CSS stylesheet of your selected theme.

For those who prefer to stick to “free themes”, there are a number of excellent themes that you can choose from.

I select themes which meet my requirements like –

(a) The theme’s layout is appropriate for the type of content I want to create for my blog. This means that if I want my blog to be a photoblog, then I use a theme for photoblogging. For newsy content, I use a theme that has the look and feel of a news or news-magazine site.

(b) The theme’s overall appearance (color, typography, background) is suitable to the readership I intend to reach.

(c) The theme is updated to leverage on WordPress new features including social media functionalities.

The fourth criterion I also apply in choosing a theme is that the theme’s coding should be SEO-compliant. Since I use only “free” themes for my WP.com blog, I apply this requirement to themes for my self-hosted sites.

From the range of free themes available at WordPress.com-hosted blogs, the themes I like most ~ at least for Working and WordPress-ing ~ are the following (theme descriptions as per designer’s blurb):

Rusty Grunge

A somewhat dirty, grungy theme with two widget areas and several customization options, including Custom Background, Header Image, Post Formats, and more.”

Remarks: This is the theme this site is using as I write this post.

Twenty Eleven

The 2011 theme for WordPress is sophisticated, lightweight, and adaptable. Make it yours with a custom menu, header image, and background — then go further with available theme options for light or dark color scheme, custom link colors, and three layout choices. Twenty Eleven comes equipped with a Showcase page template that transforms your front page into a showcase to show off your best content, widget support galore (sidebar, three footer areas, and a Showcase page widget area), and a custom “Ephemera” widget to display your Aside, Link, Quote, or Status posts. Included are styles for print and for the admin editor, support for featured images (as custom header images on posts and pages and as large images on featured “sticky” posts), and special styles for six different post formats.

Remarks: This is WordPress’s current default theme.

Selecta

With a featured posts slider on the front page, a wide, one-column template on image and video posts, and archives displayed in gallery format, Selecta is well-suited for blogs which focus primarily on showcasing videos or images. It comes with six color schemes, support for video, image, aside, gallery, quote, chat, and audio post formats, custom header, custom background, and four widget areas — one in the left sidebar and three in the footer.

Remarks: I should try this next time.

monochrome

This theme supports widget, theme-options, and translation is ready. Also including page-navigation and multi level dropdown menu.

Remarks: I should try this next time.

Bold Life

A bold, colorful theme that lends itself well to personal blogs and daily journals.

Remarks: I will try this next time.

Greyzed

A dark and grungy theme with drop-down menus and a widgetized footer.

Remarks: A very impressive theme. I installed it last month for this site, but used it only for 3 days because it was displaying a bottom-page ad over which I do not have any control. Not really sure why ads were showing up.

Bueno

A stylish and fun theme with a custom header, custom background, and multiple alternate color schemes. Supports featured images for index and archive pages and in the Bueno featured posts widget.

Remarks: I am using this in one of my self-hosted sites, www.pinoykomiks.com for demo.

Skeptical

A theme featuring a custom header, custom background, and five widget areas – one in the sidebar, four in the footer. The footer also shows a maximum of three featured (sticky) posts. It comes with four different color schemes. It supports several post formats including aside, gallery, image, quote, link, chat, video, and audio.

Remarks: I am using this in one of my self-hosted sites, www.justanotherbloodywebsite.com

Mystique

Packed with six layout options, six color schemes, a spot for you to link to four popular social network profiles, and support for aside, image, and quote post formats, Mystique can meet the needs of many types of blogs. Further customize the design by adding a custom header and background.

Remarks: I am using this in one of my self-hosted sites, www.crazyprices.ws

Prologue

A group blog theme for short update messages, inspired by Twitter.

Remarks: I am using this in one of my self-hosted sites, www.cooltext.org

Which theme are you using? What features does your theme have that you are happy about? Please share.

Updating your blog with a photo attachment

This is a post with a photo attachment.

Note: Since this is the first time I am sending a post with photo attachment to my WP.com site, I am not sure how this photo will be positioned – whether centered, left or right. (In my self-hosted sites, I have access and can customize my Postie configs.). WP.com does not appear to give us access to the post-by-email app. My Media settings are 150 ppx for thumbnail, 475px for medium and 1024px for large photos. I am sending a 1024px wide photo from my camera.

Updating your blog via email

For those who, like me, are on the road most of the time, apps like “Postie” are heaven-sent.

I have used Postie for a majority of my self-hosted WP personal sites and the app has produced wonders – at least from my own experience.

This mini-post in fact is being prepared as an email message which I will send shortly.

For WP.com users, simply enable the app in your “My Blogs” and send your post to your blog’s secret email address.

Revisiting WP.com for my “Working and WordPress-ing” notes

It has been more than a year since I made my last post on this site. At the request of some dear friends, I thought I give the control panel of my site at WordPress.com another look to see if I can continue with my experiments.

I am quite pleased to find a number of niceties and functionalities.

1. On new themes: I counted five pages of 30 theme thumbnails per page. I am not sure if there are 150 themes in there as some of thumbnails keep repeating, but anyway, I found some beautiful themes and some, premium themes too (meaning, you need to pay to use the theme).

For a change, I decided to use Greyzed, a dark and grungy theme with drop-down menus and a widgetized footer. (Updated: 2011-09-29: What you are viewing now is a Rusty Grunge by Chris Wallace. I will write in my next post why I dropped Greyzed – after only a day!)

2. In the editing page, there is now a “Writing Helper” which allows you to use an existing post as a template and Request Feedback for getting feedback on your draft before publishing. (It’s good that the Share A Draft plugin for self-hosted blogs had been ported to WordPress.com.)

3. Also under Appearance panel, there is “iPad” which when activated displays “a beautiful app-like experience to visitors browsing with an iPad.

4. Under Appearance, there is also this “Extras” which you can switch on or off by simply clicking on “Update Extras” for your selected option. If activated, your blog will be displayed with a mobile theme when viewed with a mobile browser.

Obviously, this is an alternate to “iPad” for viewers who do not use an iPad like me.

5. Under Settings, there is “Webhooks” which I passed over as I am not into “hooks” yet. (Perhaps, later.)

6. Under Widgets, I found a number of new apps. Depending on which theme you use, you can put these widgets to enhance the appearance and functionality of your blog. From memory, these are the new widgets: Facebook Like box, Flickr (or has this been there since last year?), Twitter (I am sure this was not there before because I even posted “How to twitter your WP.com post”), Vodpod videos, del.icio.us, and Authors for multi-author site, obviously.

These are my impressions. I will probably have a closer look at some of the recent changes to WP.com so I can share my observations with you. Meanwhile, it would be great if you can start exchanging notes with us by sharing your impressions and comments.

My experiments are now over

Thanks for dropping by. I have essentially finished my experiments with WP.com blogs with answers to most of the questions my friends have asked me in the past. With that, I would like to focus my energy on managing my company’s websites. But if you still have questions about WordPress or on my posts on this site, feel free to contact me.

Again, thank you for your visits and comments.

Public education, ACMA, and anti-spamming

Public education, ACMA, and anti-spamming

We tip our hat to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for its relentless fight against spamming.

The ACMA is responsible for the regulation of the broadcasting, radiocommunications, internet, and telecommunications industry in Australia. With approximately 540 staff spread over its principal offices in Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney, the organisation is not small.

I have followed the activities of the ACMA during the last 18 months or so, and noted the organisation has not minced any words so to speak in making public its findings. The government watchdog has pursued its charter with no regard to whether the delinquent parties are large or small organisations. Continue reading

Australia wins its biggest anti-spamming case

Australia wins its biggest anti-spamming case

This post is out of my ordinary posts, but I thought I’ll let you into the latest developments in Australia’s fight against spamming.

Today, the Federal Court in Brisbane imposed Australian $6.5 million in penalties to two respondents who were allegedly involved in SMS spamming. The two respondents are part of a group, according to the government watch dog Australian Communications and Media Authority, that was likewise penalised Australian $22 million in a landmark decision last 23 October.

You can find out more about these developments in two of our company’s websites, The Filipino Australian, and SPAMWATCHERS.

tweet-this-wp

How to put a text widget in your blog’s header

In an earlier post, How to customize your blog with widgets, leanpearl asked: “How do I put text widget in my header? I wanna use it for social networking sites’ icons.”

I thought I use my response to that question as a separate post so it wouldn’t get lost as we progress.

Here is my response:

That’s a very interesting question. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have an expert answer to that.

But here are some thoughts and observations:

1. The widgets in a WP blog are dependent on (a) the plugins installed and active in a site, and (b) the structure of the blog theme, ie, whether the theme had been coded to allow widgets in the header, sidebar or footer.

2. As we all know, most WP themes display widgets in the sidebar, and some themes also display widgets in the footer. I have checked the more than 70 themes in WordPress.com, and I have not found a theme with the options you have in mind.

That said, you may wish to check your theme options including its Custom Header, if any.

For example, this theme I am currently using has several options to customize its header. I can insert a standard 468×60 banner to the right of my site name (which obviously I did not do). The banner can be replaced with other displays like SNS icons using HTML, or anything within the TOS of WordPress.com.

In short, the key to customizing your header is to look for a theme that gives you that option – to change the image, to change the color, to change the text or to insert other objects.

Hope this helps.

This is me, of course. Others may have differing views or ways of customizing a blog header.

Let us hear from you.

tweet-this-wp