WordPress.com – First Impressions

WordPress.com is a very impressive system that combines the ease of use of a hosted system with all the power of WordPress. The new UI is very visually appealing, and is instantly familiar to anyone who’s used WordPress before. The service is quite snappy, which is impressive considering the demand that must be placed on it as everyone wants to get in on the action.

A few minor drawbacks – it would be nice to have a wider variety of themes to choose from, especially if you could create a custom theme. Then again, WordPress themes are basically PHP files, and most hosted services aren’t going to let you run arbitrary PHP code on their server. However, it would be nice if you could select a base template and specify your own CSS file – think of it as a kind of WordPress Zen Garden – in fact, it would be nice to have some kind of “standard” form for blog templates that would make it easier for template authors to have a standard bunch of classes/IDs to style.

Then again, the vast majority of WordPress.com users won’t need more than the pre-approved themes and won’t be worried about hacking into and extending the WordPress engine – and if they wish to do that, then they can move on to the full version.

Is this easy enough that Grandpa could use it? Probably as much as any other service. WordPress.com is fast, visually appealing, and easy to use. As a quick and effective way to get one’s feet wet into the world of blogging, WordPress.com can’t be beat.