For the longest time, modifying your blog on WordPress.com to make it custom has been a pipe dream. There have been many advances over the past few months, but nothing as big as today’s. Now you can edit the CSS file. This will allow people to go much farther than they ever have before in customizing their WordPress.com blog.
Unlike some of the other amazing releases and updates from the WordPress.com crew, being able to customize your CSS file is a paid upgrade. The good thing about this is it really seperates those that just want a custom header, which is free, and those that want basically full control over the look and feel of their blog.
The Custom CSS upgrade is set at 15 credits, where $1 USD is 1 credit. So that makes being able to edit your CSS file for a year, $15 USD.
With the release of the Sandbox theme, you have a clean slate with some of the best markup ever generated by WordPress. Add to that our new Custom CSS, our first paid upgrade, and you are on your way to creating a blog like no other.
The Sandbox theme’s skins can help you get started by providing flexible layout options; it comes with one-, two- and three-column themes with sidebars on either side. Or you can select No Stylesheet and do it all yourself. Additional skins will be provided as we develop them.
Currently, it looks like you won’t have access to the CSS files of all the popular themes out there, just the Sandbox theme, but for many, that should be good enough. I think that at $15 for a year of being able to edit my CSS file, I would want to be able to edit the CSS file of any theme, as changing their Sandbox theme, might be more difficult for those that are used to another WordPress theme’s code. Looks like I was way off base on this. The team at Automattic are one step ahead of me. It is all themes CSS that you can edit. It is going to be fun!
Darren Rowse, of Problogger.net, chimes in with his two cents on the new additions.
Looking at the ‘upgrades’ page it seems like this is probably the first of numerous upgrades that will be made available to users.
I think this is a pretty good way to go for WP in attempting to find a way to monetize WP.
Many of us have used their platform for free for a long time and hopefully some of their 287,000 blogs will purchase the upgrade and help inject some money back into the system so that they can continue to develop this great product.
I totally agree with him that this is a great way to monetize the WordPress.com audience, I just worry that people are quickly going to get sick of paying $1 here, $15 there to get features for their WordPress.com blog that are 100% free with WordPress.org.
For $15 USD, I could get a domain name, and a month of hosting. While that does not seem like much, having your own domain name can be a pretty powe
Update: You can use Custom CSS to improve on any theme on WordPress.com.