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HELP - questions from a real newbie

  1. OK - so I want to join the world of blogging. I open a wordpress.com account and start playing. Some nice looking template options.......but just not quite what I'm looking for..........I'm a busy mom of four, not afraid of technology, but not at all familiar with html or css and don't want to put a ton of time into learning something new. So here are some specific questions that I have:
    1. If I bought the CSS upgrade would I have any other template options?
    2. If I buy the CSS upgrade can I add pictures to more headers even if it is not a part of the original design.
    3. What are the options of the CSS upgrade (in layman's terms beyond)changing font color or background color?
    4. What in the world is a skin?
    5. If I joined wordpress.org instead - what would main pros or cons be. I know that through my server I have 10 mg of webspace that I could be using. Would wordpress.org be more complicated or better for me.

    Basically, I would like a 3 column template with a photo header that I can tweek a little. I would also like to be able to add RSS feeds so that I can have things like a Bible verse of the day or word of the day on my site. I would also be able to join in on some other homemakey type things like Five Ing. Friday and Wordless Wednesday. I also love photography and taking pics of my kids.

  2. G'day - I'm going to take a run at answering your questions and if I don't meet the muster don't despair our Moderator drmike will step in.
    (1) I'd like to suggest that your read this pink sticky post from the head of the forum called "please read me first before posting". It contains a comparison of the differences between wordpress.com and wordpress.org that may helpful when making a choice http://wordpress.com/forums/topic.php?id=3700&replies=1

    (2) As far as css customization of a wordpress.com theme goes it can only be used to change the appearance or the "skin" of a theme. It cannot be used to change the php of the underlying template. IMO if you don't know what it is or how to use it then it won't meet your stated goal which is: "don't want to put a ton of time into learning something new".

    (3) Currently 16 of the wordpress.com themes allow for custom headers that include photos of your own choice. None of these is a 3 column theme with a customizable photo header - all of those with custom photo headers are 2 column themes.

    (4)At wordpress.com there is unlimited bandwidth for your text posts so space is not an issue. The limitation for images is 50 megs and the recommendations are use third party (free) storage and use linked thumbnails on your blog that your readers can click to get see original size if that it their choice. This means that page loading will be much faster than posting full sized photos on your blog.

    (5) There are specific image size limitations for posting images to fit into each wordpress.com theme that you can find by using the frequently asked questions link at the head of the forum. The recommendation is to optimize all images before posting them and you will also find instructions regarding optimization in the same FAQs blog.

    (6) All wordpress.com blogs have rss feeds.

    (7) As far as religious verses of the day or dictionary words of the day goes you can add any text you want to a text widget and display it in your sidebar but due to security reasons. You may use html but you cannot add any code containing javascript nor iframes nor media embeds.

    (8) I don't know what you mean by the social groups you have listed above. You may however join any ones you know of on the web but here at wordpress.com we do not have chat forums.

    I hope this is helpful. :)

  3. 5. If I joined wordpress.org instead - what would main pros or cons

    Most would host their own sites if they knew how to but aren't tech savy, like me. :) If you're that busy at home and don't want to be bothered with all the technical stuff, then stay here at WordPress.com with your free blog. And the three column templates here are Andreas04 and also Andreas09 by Andreas Viklund and Ainslie Johnson.

  4. Just a quick aside that you don't join wordpress.org. You download the software from that domain, find a host and have to deal with running a site. If you don't want to spend the time dealing with that, I'd stick with wp.com.

    But to run through the questions:

    1) The CSS upgrade would allow you to change the colors and most of the images of the theme that you would be using for your blog. It does require editing a CSS file which may be strange for you. You would be having to deal with it though no matter where you wound up at though.

    2) Actually I changed the header image over on my webcomic using that method. I just declaired the image as the background for that portion of the theme.

    3) Width of the columns as well. I think that's it for the most part. You may want to look at the CSS file for your blog and see what's there.

    4) A skin is another term for what we call a theme here. It's the design that wraps around the blog.

    5) With the downloadable version of the server, you would have to deal with installing the software, running the site and upgrading the software when a new version came out. If all you want to do is blog, I'd lean more towards a blog here at wp.com.

    Hope this helps,
    -drmike

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