Tuesday, August 26, 2008

If You Want to Update Your Look

A new template may be a wondrous thing. It may also be the bane of our existence. However, we are all struck by the decorating bug every so often, so I wanted to share some tips.

Before You Look for New Template

Before you even start looking for a new template. Backup the old template. In Blogger, you simply click DOWNLOAD FULL TEMPLATE and you have your current template in an easy to use file. Save this copy until the next time you backup your template.

Another thing I would suggest is that you start a new blog on Blogger as a test blog. That way you may see, in real time, what the theme and format look like. No one has to see your test blog but you. After you create the new blog, simply go to Edit your profile and click Select blogs to display. Make sure the test blog is not checked.

Search for Free Templates

Now, begin your search. If you see a blog that has a template you like, leave a comment. Ask where they found it, who designed it, etc. You may also check the footer of their blog because usually the designer has a link. Search using directories and search engines using some or all of these terms:
  • free blog template
  • blog template
  • free blogger template
Of course, if you have a blog on another platform, like WordPress, simply add WordPress to the search phrase.

Words of Warning

You will find millions of free blog templates. If you click on a link and it opens 3 popup windows, those huge smilies or is a link farm to other places, close the window.

Take your time, looking for a professionally designed template that will suit your blog content. You may always change the header photograph, size of header, colors, fonts and other design elements. That is what you test blog is for, remember? Download 5-10 templates that you want to demo on your test blog.

When you download your new template(s), save these virgin templates in the same place you keep the backup of your current template. Install a copy of the template to play with on your test blog. Change it up a bit, you know, the color scheme and the header picture are good places to start with you just need to tweak the template a bit.

Sometimes you will install a template and it is not widget ready, does not work in Internet Explorer, or has serious design issues like a side column that is not wide enough to display advertisements. Some of these templates have been around for years. If you like it, you may be able to fix it or find someone to fix it for you. Put it aside and load your next new template.

Important: Check all links leaving the template. The designer usually have a link or two that you must leave in place to use the free template and that is fine. However, you do not want link leaving your blog to a poker site, adult site, pharmaceutical site or a site in a bad neighborhood.

Onward and upward, my friends!

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