Birthday Pictures Collections
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The WordPress.com Blog

Recently, I highlighted blogs and websites displaying custom colors and custom fonts, which you can enable on your own site with a Custom Design upgrade. Today, let’s look at a free way to easily transform your site: a custom background.

If chosen carefully, a custom background can reveal a lot about your site’s focus, as well as your overall aesthetic. I asked a few users about the backgrounds they’ve uploaded to their sites, and how they chose them:

Gherkins & Tomatoes, Biscuits & Gravy

Cynthia, the writer and photographer behind Gherkins & Tomatoes, Biscuits & Gravy, focuses on the cuisine and rich history of the American South. Her background caught my eye immediately — it enhances and unifies her image-oriented site.

Tell us about your custom background. Why did you choose it?

I downloaded this background from GRSites, which has all sorts of textures. I love the tiled…

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Birthday Pictures Collections
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The WordPress.com Blog

We all want our blogs and sites to feel like “us,” and there are tons of tweaks that can turn a plain ol’ theme into a bespoke web experience for the discriminating blog connoisseur. Last month, we looked at how one online mag transformed the Oxygen theme; today we’ll check out how one blogger took the third most popular theme on WordPress.com and built something entirely her own.

Say ciao to Mi Piace Kate:

Mi Piace Kate

“Mi Piace Kate” is Italian for “I Like Kate,” and we definitely do! Kate’s a graphic designer, cat aficionado, and handcrafting devotee who’s taken the free Bueno theme and run with it. Her blog is a stellar example of how some custom images and a $30 Custom Design upgrade can change a free theme into a million-dollar site that’s totally unique.

Take a look at the standard Bueno home page next to Kate’s:

Bueno Theme

If you…

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Birthday Pictures Collections
http://www.birthdayb.com/

The WordPress.com Blog

Today, we’re very proud to present a new premium theme that offers all of the features you’d typically find in a magazine theme, while taking it one step Further 🙂

Further, our latest premium magazine theme, masterfully designed by our very own Takashi Irie offers all of the traditional features you’d expect, in a feature-full, sleek, modern, and beautifully crafted design. This theme is ideal for professional web publishers or content-heavy websites.

The homepage of Further uses a battle-tested layout for magazines with multiple sidebars, and a prominent featured content area at the top. The carefully chosen typography and balanced use of white space provides your readers with expansive content, while maintaining the feeling of a breathable design.

Further is a premium upgrade for your blog; read more about its features on the Theme Showcase, or dive right into previewing it on your blog from Appearance → Themes.

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Birthday Pictures Collections
http://www.birthdayb.com/

The WordPress.com Blog

As usual, we were impressed by the fresh perspectives, different voices, and mix of topics in the WordPress.com Reader this week. Looking for something to read? Here are a few suggestions:

And Now For Something Completely Different

My point is this — I believe it would be incredibly naive to argue that the Pope’s decision is a reaction to scandal or contemporary issues that face the Church. This is not a cowardly man running away from the moment but an astute leader ensuring that the moment does not run away from his Church.

This week, Pope Benedict XVI surprised the world with his resignation announcement. Readers at What the Blackbird Said appreciated and responded to the intelligent and reverent discussion about this historical moment in the Catholic Church. The piece, a bit on the longer side, is thoughtful and crafted with care. “It is a heartbreaking decision that is incredibly brave…

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Birthday Pictures Collections
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The WordPress.com Blog

If you’ve ever had a question about WordPress.com, chances are you’ve visited our Community Support Forums. Forums are a great place to search for solutions and get answers. While our Happiness Engineers help out in these forums, WordPress.com enthusiasts — people who are passionate about WordPress.com and helping fellow users — provide the majority of answers.

Last month, we interviewed forum volunteer Sergio Ortega (airodyssey). Today, we’re excited to introduce another prolific volunteer: Mike Brough (auxclass, also known as captnmike). We asked him a bit about himself, how he got involved in the forums, and his tips for getting and providing great support.

Mike Brough (auxclass)You’ve been writing about boating safety for over five years. Tell us about your site, how you got started, and why you chose WordPress.com.

My site about boating safety tips, captnmike.com, dates back to August 2008, when the previous owner did not renew…

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Birthday Pictures Collections
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The WordPress.com Blog

We think it’s important that you own the content you create online, which is why we make it simple to import or export all your data — you wrote it it, it’s yours, and you can take it where you’d like. If you want to become a part of the WordPress.com community but have been posting on Tumblr, Blogger, LiveJournal, Posterous, or other services, you can move your whole oeuvre over with a few clicks. (It’s just as easy to leave, but we’d miss you!)

This also means that if you’re blogging with a service that’s phasing out, as Posterous is doing on April 30, it’s easy to keep your site going by setting up a WordPress.com account and importing all your content. (Check out the Posterous blog announcement for more details on the change.)

We know it can be rough leaving a tool that you know and…

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Birthday Pictures Collections
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The WordPress.com Blog

I’ve officially decided that any day with three theme launches occurring at the same time will henceforth no longer be known as Theme Day but Threeme Day! Yes, I took it there. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy threese — I mean these — latest additions to our ever-growing collection of themes on WordPress.com.

First up is Blocco, by Press75.

The posts on home and archive pages in Blocco are displayed in blocks, making it super-easy to navigate your blog and even more interesting to look at. The theme was designed specifically with blogging in mind, but it works perfectly for photos and video as well.

Blocco is a premium upgrade for your blog; read more about its features on the Theme Showcase or dive right into previewing it on your blog from Appearance → Themes.

Our second treat for you today is Crafty, a multipurpose blogging theme…

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Birthday Pictures Collections
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The WordPress.com Blog

David Gaughran is a prolific author and a veteran self-publisher who writes fiction and non-fiction. He uses his blog to share tips, insights, and excerpts from his books on self-publishing to encourage authors to direct their own book-publishing efforts. David’s about to release his second book on self-publishing: Let’s Get Visible: How To Get Noticed, And Sell More Books. We recently asked him some questions about his writing process, why he self-publishes, and why he gives so much of his trench-earned publishing knowledge away for free. Do you have a question you’d like to ask David? Post a comment.

You’ve got a new book coming out — can you give us a sneak peek into what it’s about?

Sure. It’s called Let’s Get Visible: How To Get Noticed, And Sell More Books and it’s the follow-up to my self-publishing guidebook Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why…

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Birthday Pictures Collections
http://www.birthdayb.com/

The WordPress.com Blog

When you become a part of WordPress.com, you’re actually getting two awesome services for the price of none: your blog plus your Reader, which brings every WordPress.com blog together in one easy-to-search place. Your blog is where your ideas come to life, and your Reader is where you connect with other WordPressers, our community hub. It’s the place to find bloggers who inspire you, teach you, tug your heartstrings, and make you laugh — and who just may be your next biggest fans.

When you log in to WordPress.com and go to the actual http://wordpress.com — as opposed to going directly to your blog — you’ll land in your Reader. It looks a little something like this — familiar?

reader

With several ways to discover content that speaks to you, it’s a powerful tool not only for finding great reads, but for making connections. We call it “your” Reader on purpose…

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