A pleasant blogging experience at WordPress.com, so far

I mentioned in my earlier posts that, compared with self-hosted sites which I am very much familiar with, a blog at WordPress.com is restrictive. For one, I could not really do much about customizing a theme unless of course I buy credits to allow me to add custom CSS. Also, I could not install my favorite plugins which of course I understand – considering that plugins are not for everyone.

But even within a small playing area so to speak, I thought running a non self-hosted blog could also be a pleasant online experience. I am quite happy with the way my blog here at WordPress.com is shaping up.  Its structure, content and looks are metamorphosing to those of  my self-hosted blog, thanks to the wonders of widgets. Widgets are something I would like to share with you in my next posts.

In the meantime, you may wish to check out my personal site including some Twitter updates @romycc.  Again, if you have a subject you would like us to tackle before the widgets posts, let me know.

How to upgrade your WordPress theme

After selecting your WordPress theme and you are still not happy with some of its elements like theme’s font sizes, column sizes and other similar styles, you can customize the theme’s CSS through custom CSS.

Unlike with self-hosted blogs however, in WordPress.com blogs, you need to buy credits from WordPress.com via PayPal. (I have not tried buying credits for this purpose, but I imagine that with the purchased credits, you will be given an extra command in your dashboard control panel which would allow you to “edit” the stylesheet.) Based on the WPMU version I am using, to upgrade a WordPress theme, you need to pay something like $14.97 which is good for one year.

Did I hear you asking “What is a custom CSS?” If you did, then the Upgrade is not for you. The upgrade is for advanced users only. As the “Upgrades” page on my WordPress.com dashboard page states:

“This upgrade allows you to add custom CSS to customize any theme on this current blog. This is recommended mostly for advanced users who understand CSS.”

With that upgrade requirement, how then do you customize your site?

Yes, the operative word is “site” and not “theme” since customizing a theme would mean adding custom CSS which may be outside the current knowledge of a beginner or outside his/her budget.

But don’t fret. Even if you cannot add custom CSS to a theme under the current WordPress.com free blogs environment, still you can change the looks of your site and make it a little bit different from other sites using the same theme.

We will tackle that in our next posts.