Templates and Tools

This looks like the most comprehensive list of Blogger template sources I’ve ever seen. I’d heard of some of them, but there are a whole lot I hadn’t, so I’ll want to check them out. Do I need a new template? Well, I don’t think so, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look!

If you’re looking for a new template, I’d say this is the place to start.

Free Blogger Templates

Once again I am talking about free blog templates. I can’t help myself – when I see a blog layout I like, I want to know who designed it, where they found that layout. So, I click. This time I found Our Blogger Templates. They have over 100 free templates available and the instructions for installing them on your blog and adding your own header image. There is even a tutorial for designing your own template. With all these great, easy to customize templates available, I don’t know that I will ever need to design my own, but I would love to learn how.

I installed one of the free templates from Our Blogger Templates, created and added my own header image, and customized all my colors. I actually found another template I thought would go with my new header better than the one I originally installed, but I was having some troubles getting Blogger to cooperate with me, so I just changed the colors of the one I had already installed. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the ‘New’ Blogger, but it does make changing colors easy. Most of these free templates say that 99% of the colors can easily be changed, and I have to believe them, because I changed an awful lot of the colors.

I grabbed my header image from Pixdaus. I hadn’t heard of it before, but Our Blogger Templates used some images from there for their blog headers, so I clicked and found all kinds of interesting images. I liked the frogs, 1) because I like frogs, and 2) because they look like they’re so excited about something that they just can’t keep their mouths shut and they ‘just gotta share this’ – or am I stretching things a bit? Anyway, lots of images on Pixdaus.

When you click template installation guides and instructions on the Our Blogger Templates site, there’s a link to more sources for header images. I figure, with enough sources, you’re bound to find the right image or template, right?

Browsershots

I use Firefox. Sometimes I use Netscape. I never, never, never use Internet Explorer. I just don’t like that browser. One of the main reasons is that it just doesn’t play nice with normal web design and web elements that the other browsers have no problem with. What I tend to forget is that other people still use IE. Yes, I’m always asking “Why?” – and I really don’t think, “Because it came on my computer” is a good enough reason.

Whatever. They use it. When I put together a web page or change my blog templates I need to remember to check what it looks like in IE. I usually forget to do that until someone complains that they can’t load my page properly. Tonight I found out about a web page that will make screenshots of any web page using multiple browsers. So, even if I don’t have every browser available on my computer, I can see how my page will look to someone who has a different browser than I do. There are browsers listed here that I’ve never even heard of. All the screenshots show up on the page, and then you can click on each one to see it better and find out more information. You can even download them all to your computer.

If you’re wondering what your web pages look like in different browsers, visit Browsershots and test it out. It is a free open-source online service created by Johann C. Rocholl, and I think it will come in very handy.

I noticed that IE does not like my blog Beth & Cory’s Mom. I knew that. I did my best to fix it, and it looks fine on my IE browser (I do have it – under protest), but these screenshots say different. What I don’t know, is how to fix it!

Design and Layout for Your Site

#2 from the list I mentioned before, 75 Ways to Increase Your Site’s Traffic is:

  1. Have a good design and layout. If your site or blog’s design is messy, sloppy, hard to navigate, a rainbow of colors that don’t match or are hard on the eye, or full of errors, you will instantly go down the drain.

We certainly don’t want to go down the drain, do we? I keep an eye out for nice looking blogs and websites. When I find one, I look to see if I can find out where they found that design. Some people pay to have a professional design their site. I’m cheap, and I look for the free designs and layouts. I know they say you get what you pay for, but I have found quite a few very nice FREE layouts.

  1. FinalSense.com, where I found the layout for this blog, has some really nice ones with all kinds of themes.
  2. Blogskins, layouts and designs of all kinds. Not all of them are good as far as being easy to read, but there seems to be something for everyone.
  3. Pyzam also has a whole bunch of free Blogger templates. The hard part is picking one.

Once you find a layout you like, it doesn’t hurt to know a little html and css so you can tweak it and make it yours. Just watch that rainbow of colors!