Some advice about CSS

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    I’ve just decided to move my blog to WordPress (I hear the cheers all round) and I’m wondering whether to buy the Custom CSS upgrade. I’ve done some CSS before (at LiveJournal) but I don’t feel hugely confident. So I was wondering whether those of you that do your own CSS think it’s (a) worth it and (b) manageable for the interested relative novice?



    If you’ve got the basic skills, why not play around with tutorials for awhile before buying the upgrade? That’s what I’m doing. Then, once you feel more confident you can go for it. I find the templates here are pretty good and with a customizable header or Garland, you can make them your own visually.

    I can tell you that the #1 kind of post in the CSS forum is “I’ve messed up my blog completely and I don’t know what to do!” and there are only three or four CSS-savvy people around the forum, so you’re pretty much on your own.



    Okay, that’s really helpful. I’d forgotten the bit about being allowed to play around and preview it before you decide to pay. And good to know about the levels of support in advance. I’m scared that I know just enough to really mess things up badly without knowing nearly enough to put them right again!



    I hear ya on that. I’m terrified of turning my blog into something that looks like a crayoned grocery bag. I’m trying these tutorials for now:



    I heartily agree with raincoaster. I also believe that if you are going to “play around” learning css the best place to do that is in a separate testing blog. That being said, here is the breakdown.

    At we are all working on a shared multiuser blogging platform. The reason no individual user can be allowed to edit the underlying template for their theme, is that doing so, would likewise effect all other blogs with the same theme.

    Personalizing Your Blog

    There are three options.

    • You can choose to use one of the themes made available at through your admin section -> Dashboard -> Presentation -> Themes
    • You can choose to undertake css customizing a theme.
    • Or, you can choose move to self hosting by downloading and altering a free template to suit.

    WordPress Options

    • You can edit your theme’s style sheet or create one of your own to personalize the appearance of your blog, only if you purchase an upgrade and undertake css customization yourself. (For more detailed information see CSS Customization Upgrade below. )
    • If you don’t purchase the upgrade, you can choose a theme from the admin area of your blog -> Dashboard -> Presentation ->
      Many themes provide for a customized a header and, sidebar widgets allow for posting of unique images, etc. to personalize your blog. Note that if you do not opt for the css upgrade then this link has information on point for you to read. Also take note that we are not allowed to use javascript, iframes, forms, some media embeds and styles, etc. for for security reasons.
    • Although some themes at and may appear to be the same they are not; the software is different. The “please read me first before posting” sticky at the head of the wp support forum outlines the differences between blogs hosted by wordpress at and self-hosted software.

    CSS Customization Upgrade

    • The 15$ you pay to upgrade a blog enables you to to alter the appearance of your theme and but not the underlying php code. Purchasing the upgrade entitles you to customize css on one blog for one year.
    • The upgrade is not recommended to bloggers who do not have css customization experience. Although there is a forum and other bloggers may volunteer from time to time to help you if needs be, there is no staff support provided for learning css customization. And if you mess up the css there is no staff assistance for “fixing” it.
    • CSS customization can be used to improve on any existing theme; you can define your own classes for use in posts; you can select the Sandbox theme and build on one of the Minimalist layouts or, opt for no stylesheet and do it all yourself. If you feel you are up to the challenge of customizing a theme then these link , link , link will be helpful. There are also css resources that you can access listed in the FAQs blog.

    As one other misconception has arisen I will deal with it here. The same policies with reagrd to “no advertising” apply to css customized blogs as to those blogs that are not customized.



    That’s all very helpful, thank you. I’ll see how I get on!



    Best wishes and happy blogging. :)



    Just to add my two cents. There is no doubt that learning CSS can be very challenging. But here is the thing. It is wierdly inconsistent. Some things are just so simple. Other things will drive you nuts with frustration. The real difficulty has not got anything to do with CSS at all. The real difficulty is that there are significant variations in how the various browsers treat some pretty elementary stuff. Some of those variations are quite enough to bring the whole thing down. The other thing is that in theory html and CSS are seperate subjects they are intimately related. It does not make any kind of sense to learn one without the other. All that said – for those with the necessary aptitude or sheer perseverance it is a richly rewarding and satisfying skill set to acquire.



    The real difficulty is that there are significant variations in how the various browsers treat some pretty elementary stuff

    Isn’t that the case!




    Yeah, CSS is easy compared to trying to get the dumb things to look the same on all of the freakin browsers. You pick up tips and tricks as you go along (like only putting margin/padding on general selectors like h1 instead of specific selectors like div.entry-content h1), but it doesn’t get easier.

    I heartily recommend using Firebug and FireFox for CSS design. Firebug is amazing for helping you find out why a page looks the way it does. It’s showed me all kinds of weirdisms I didn’t know about like how div.classname will override .classname even if .classname comes later in the file.

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