Suppose you find a free WordPress.com theme among the hundreds available that you love, but you aren’t quite crazy about the color scheme. You cannot build or use your own custom theme built from scratch at WordPress.com, but you can spring forward and green, or blue, or red or otherwise bring some spring into your your blog by purchasing a CSS editing upgrade.
Green is a popular color in most cultures because of its natural association with spring, nature and the environment, growth and abundance. In the US the color green is often associated with money and wealth and in this way can be a good color choice for a website concerned with marketing a product or service. — Designing in Green: Spring Designs Inspirations
By CSS editing any free theme you can include a logo in the header or background or in a text widget at the top of your sidebar, and change font colors and sizes to match the new color scheme you choose to create for your blog. There are two free themes, Sandbox and Toolbox designed to allow maximum flexibility for CSS editing and creating new “skins”. Toolbox is more modern and includes a lot of support for CSS3 and HTML5, so it is really only limited by your skills and knowledge.
If you have CSS editing experience the upgrade will allow you to stylize the appearance of themes you find here > Appearance > Themes, but will not allow you to change the functionality, by editing the underlying template. It does not allow you to remove footer links to the theme designer or to WordPress.com. Also note that CSS is theme specific, so you cannot use the CSS stylesheets from other themes with the themes at wordpress.COM.
I recommend that you don’t buy the upgrade unless you have at least moderate understanding of HTML and CSS because you must be prepared to do the work on your own. If you are considering purchasing the upgrade, you can go to Appearance > Edit CSS. There wordpress has provided a preview function where you can try before you buy. If you do purchase the upgrade, it’s important to know that when you alter a theme’s stylesheet, you only need to put in the Editor the modification/additions to the CSS, not the entire thing. It’s also important to know CSS is theme specific. If you have custom CSS and later change themes, you need to delete whatever CSS you have in the Editor, otherwise, you’ll get undesired results. To ‘reset’ a theme, you need to delete the CSS in the Editor, make sure the “add to existing CSS” radio button is checked, then save. Things should go back to normal.
When the CSS upgrade was announced I was disappointed that it was a paid upgrade. Since then I’ve viewed some really fabulous looking CSS edited sites, and now I’m considering buying a CSS upgrade for my two blogs. I really enjoy changing themes, colors and headers frequently and would also like to be able to change font colors and links colors throughout my blogs. The Zen Garden site is so inspiring CSS Resources for Bloggers and I’m an artist so I don’t think I will ever be happy with a single unchanging theme on my blogs. How about you? Are you consdering “freshening” your WordPress.com blog theme this spring with CSS editing?