Lately I’ve been seriously contemplating moving my blog to another host. Actually I contemplate moving almost every year, but end up staying with Typepad partly because of certain key features and partly because of inertia. But things are different this year. Amid much fanfare, Typepad recently “upgraded” its platform, and it’s been a disaster (not that they’ll ever admit it because they are into being “positive”). Oh, the blogs are still up, but the system is riddled with bugs that are taking months to fix and which never should have been there in the first place. I’ve actually had to switch to composing posts in Windows Live Writer (which is excellent, by the way) to save time and frustration. Typepad did add a few “new” features, but they are things the free blog hosts have had for quite some time now, and we are still lacking features that are standard elsewhere. That’s just not good enough for a paid host!
So, I’m looking at WordPress.com. One downside is the lack of design options, but for a mere $15 a year one can edit the stylesheet (CSS). It’s not quite as easy as Typepad’s more automated design functions, but my level of discontent has gotten to the point that I’m ready to try it. I know a little CSS but not enough to design a whole page from scratch, so I’m trying to learn more now. Whether I move or not I’m sure it’ll come in handy.
CSS design tutorials and websites abound, but I wanted to share one that pausetowonder sent me. The CSS Zen Garden is a showcase of what can be done with CSS. Designers are invited to take the bare bones content of the page and apply their own styles to it. The result is a truly mind-boggling diversity of looks and layouts. You can browse the designs here, but I’d also like to point out some that might be of interest to a bookish crowd: Ballade (Gorey-esque); Odyssey (Homer-esque); Angelus (inspired by medieval prayer books); and Kelmscott (inspired by master printer William Morris). It’s an inspiring collection and makes me think I could perhaps come up with a much more interesting design for my blog. Like everything else it’s a question of time. It’s nice to know what’s possible, though.