WordPress.com now offering premium themes

If you’re using WordPress.com, meaning your blog is hosted by Automattic / WordPress, then you have two new theme choices as of today. These two new premium themes will set you back around $50-70.

If you’re on your WP.com account, head over to Appearance -> Themes and you’ll see choice one is  “Headlines” by WooThemes.

It’s probably suited for for newspaper/magazines with a very clean layout with two columns, choice of 15 duo-tone color schemes, featured post, and previous posts and thumbnails. This one will set you back $45 for a life-time license.

The second one is “Shelf” by Theme Foundry. This one looks beautiful – it’s designed for posting your latest photo, music track, and thoughts.

This one is price interestingly at $68 – close to $70. We’d be curious to see how many takers there would be at that relatively higher price point. I think this is definitely a test to see what the upper end of consumer appetite (or tolerance) is for a cool looking theme. Consider that self hosted WordPress themes range any where from $20 to $80 or more.

It’d be interesting to be a fly on the wall to listen to the royalty negotiations between Automattic and the theme publishers.  The varying price and starting with only two themes right now indicates that it’s experiment and Matt Mullenweg himself confirms the experimental status thought in a blog posting at Themeshaper. He says “…very explicitly this is an experiment.”

TechCrunch
estimates that Automattic brings in around $1 million dollars a month – most of it from premium service so we’re guessing this new theme model may become an important revenue stream in the long run.

In that posting, Matt also says this “premium theme” project was a long time in the making with code licensing compliance issues being worked out by the major theme studios. He also reveals that an internal team at Automattic worked to bring 29 new/redesigned themes to WP.com last year. He ends with a note that 2011 should bring a “significant number” of new themes both free and premium.

More: Official WordPress.com Post | TechCrunch


A few more thoughts on Mars Edit 3

I bought Mars Edit 3 a few weeks ago and wrote a quick review. So time for an update! Here are some things that I really think make it an indispensible tool.

My favorite is that it’s easy to use to cross post from one blog to another. Simply open an existing post to edit, then from the drop down menu select a new blog site and click on publish. You can use this to cross post between multiple WP.com accounts for example without having to login/logout into your accounts. You will loose the existing categories and need to re-define them (understandable) but the tags will stay in-tact.

I also realize this maybe a good offline back up tool for your content especially if you increase the number of posts for it to sync. Update: Just noticed the dialog box to increase the post limit has a performance warning. I’ve asked the developer for clarification.

So four things that I wish it would have are…

I wish Mars Edit had the ability to schedule posts to publish on a future date.
Update: I was informed by the developer that you can actually do this. First, open up the selected post to edit and once open, go to drop down menu for “Post”, select “Edit Date” to specify the future date to publish on. It’s too bad this feature is kind of hidden away and not part of the post editor window.

marsedit-edit-date.jpg

Secondly,  it’d be nice to be able to set line spacing aka leading in the editor. The default font is a bit too small for me but it can increased but I don’t see a way to increase the leading.

Thirdly, I wish the keyboard shortcut to define a link was not so complicated, a simple Apple + l (for link) would be nice. And why not also allow a right click to assign a link?

And one last feature wish would be for a way to change the author attribution when editing a post.

Other than these relatively minor issues, I readily recommend Mars Edit for writing if you’re on the Mac.

Get it: Mars Edit 3


Offline WordPress.com editor: Mars Edit 3

I bought Mars Edit 3 a few weeks ago and wrote a quick review on my other site. So time for an update! Here are some things that I really think make it an indispensible tool.

My favorite is that it’s easy to use to cross post from one blog to another. Simply open an existing post to edit, then from the drop-down menu select a new blog site and click on publish. You will loose the existing categories and need to re-define them (understandable) but the tags will stay in-tact.

How have I tested this? I’ve used it to cross post items from one my main WPVerse site to this WordPress.com blog. So I can also say Mars Edit works well so far with a WordPress.com hosted site.

I also realize this maybe a good offline back up tool for your content especially if you increase the number of posts for it to sync.

So four things that I wish it would have are…

I wish Mars Edit had the ability to schedule posts to publish on a future date.

Secondly,  it’d be nice to be able to set line spacing aka leading in the editor. The default font is a bit too small for me but it can increased but I don’t see a way to increase the leading.

Thirdly, I wish the keyboard shortcut to define a link was not so complicated, a simple apple + l (for link) would be nice. And why not also allow a right click to assign a link?

And one last feature wish would be for a way to change the author attribution when editing a post.

Other than these relatively minor issues, I readily recommend Mars Edit for writing if you’re on the Mac.

Get it: Mars Edit 3


What’s new in WordPress 3.1?

The WordPress.org team is busy getting WordPress 3.1 for self hosted sites ready to go in the next few weeks. So what’s inside?

Some of the more interesting features that could make the final release:

New front end admin toolbar
This new feature adds a similar toolbar used on WordPress.com and currently available through a 3rd party plugin to the top of your self hosted site. The admin toolbar gives you easy access to posts, pages, and other settings while viewing your published web site.

Enhanced theme search
Remember a few months ago, WordPress.com was upgraded with a slicker new theme finder? Some of these will be headed over to your self hosted WordPress site.

Simpler password reset
Instead of two emails to get your lost password fixed, it’s going to be reduced down to one.

Internal page/post linking
When inserting links on posts/pages you can now select the destination post or page through a pop up window.

There are also various admin UI updates including sortable columns, new pagination style, and enhanced user administration page.

We’ve noticed the sortable columns can already been seen in WordPress.com admin sites.

Note that some of these changes may not make the final release so cross your fingers.

Here’s the full list of 3.1 updates at WordPress.org. We’ll keep you updated on the release of version 3.1.


Quick Tip: Preview a Theme without a Plugin

Did you know that you can preview an installed WordPress theme without having to install a new plugin? This would be useful if you’re switching over a WordPress site to a theme that’s a work in progress but didn’t want public visitors to see it yet.

Simple add this to the end of your published site’s URL:

?preview=1&template=twentyten&stylesheet=twentyten

For example, this site with the Twenty Ten theme would be:

http://wpverse.com/?preview=1&template=twentyten&stylesheet=twentyten

Simply replace the name of your theme in the example after both template and stylesheet equal (=) signs.

What if you’re not sure what the exact theme name is – for example if the theme name has spaces in it? To find out, go to the “Manage Themes” page, then hover your mouse over the “Activate” button of the theme you want to try out. In the bottom status bar of your browser, you’ll see the theme name that you’ll want to use.

This tip works with both WordPress.com and self hosted sites!