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Friday, January 06, 2006

Blogger Template Hacks

In a previous post, I talked about the substantial learning curve for someone new to blogging. One of the greatest challenges for me has been to gain control over the Blogger template and find ways not only to put my own stamp on it, but to remedy limitations.

There are strong arguments for taking the time to customize a template. While the default Blogger templates are attractive and well-designed, there's a danger in using a canned template right out of the box, with no modifications. Your blog will not stand out. Worse, depending on the template chosen, it could look just like thousands of others out there.

To avoid that, I chose a bland but attractive template that would lend itself to subtle changes. In the past few days, I have made a number of modifictions, including:

If you're used to having complete control over HTML and/or CSS, tweaking the code generated by an automated content system like Blogger can be disorienting. If you're not used to XML, there's an even steeper learning curve.

I'm thinking that perhaps what I've discovered through this exercise will be of use to others, so I'll post the details here over the next few days. To get these automatically, take a moment to subscribe to my feed.

25 comments:

Dirty Butter said...

I'm in real need of a way to add a category for Searching for a Toy on our Plush Memories blog, using Blogger on our own domain. For now I've moved all the old Search posts to the May, 2005 archives, and linked to that. Crude, and I don't like it.

I've been thinking about starting a new blog, copying these posts over to it, and linking to it that way.

There's gotta be an easier way! HELP!!!

Pam said...

Hi, I've posted before on this topic, and there IS a fix! Check out this post, and stay tuned. In just a few moments, I will be posting on a way to refine Dan's solution.

mwgrl5 said...

Hey, I love your site. I've utilized the 3-Column edit; and I love it.

I tried using these instructions but couldn't get it to work. Somewhere I had limitations on my header size. Anyways, as a work around I posted the image in my settings for title and manually inserted my page title into the initial html. My site still comes up on Google. I thought you might like to know.

Keep up with the blogger work-arounds. I love them!

Pam said...

Thanks for the great feedback. Glad the blog's helping people.

PUK said...

Of all the weird ways to create categories this has been my favourite all along. So if Blogger doesnt offer their solution, then I will start using it soon. But I am wondering how you get the search-results to show within your own template? When using the generator from net comnpact framework it directs me to the blog search main site. Hope you'll reveal your secret?
PUK

Pam said...

Hi PUK. I'm afraid I'm not that clever. The solution belongs to Amit Upadhyay. I have been using it for some time, without problems. I blogged about it here. Good luck.

ian said...

I just found a blog that containing very many useful articels. It's very help me to learn to create a blog. Thank's alot Pam.

Pam said...

You're welcome Ian. Glad to help.

skrockodile said...

Hi -- thanks so much for your site -- it is very helpful. I am new to blogging although slogging through the technical stuff but have a running list of ~8 "hacks" and things I want to learn but am having trouble teaching myself. Are you aware of any consulting services which provide blogger help and instruction? I'd like to sit down with someone for a couple of hours and learn what I need to live. I'm in New York City.
Anything you are aware of would be helpful.
Thanks so much

Pam said...

Hi skrockodile. Glad the site is of some help, and sorry, but I can't offer suggestions for on-site coaching. I'd be happy to help, but we live on opposite sides of the continent!

You might try searching for some New York City oriented blogs, and contact one of their authors for some one-on-one.

The Wager Witch said...

OK - could you do me a fabulous favor?

I am great at making graphic designs - AND I want to put a graphic picture on my blog - but keep the same blog layout.

I'm talking the top bar of the blog part.

The one that holds the Title of the blog, etc.

Have you got any way that I could do that?

You can email me: wagerwitchad at yahoo dot com

or you can post on my blog - if you have a link already describing how to do this.

Could I upload it to blogger? Or is it even possible without changing the entire template?

Thanks way way way way way way in advance - if you have the time.

Wager Witch - http://wagerwitch.blogspot.com
Free No Deposit Casino Promotions, Repeat Deposit Deals, New Player Bonuses with no purchase necessary, Savvy Online Casino Gambling Advice and fun promos!

The Wager Witch said...

Oh - and I need it viewable in both IE and FF

Pam said...

Wager Witch, I have addressed what you're trying to do already in posts on this blog. The Blogger templates are completely customizable, and you don't have to upload the image. You can just point to it with a link. See the post on adding a logo to your header. You might also want to check out the other template hacks on the page where you posted this comment.

Bob Afifi said...

Hi Pam,

I found your site Googling for more info on the Blogger help post (specifically using the Minima template):
"How can I list my archives by title?"
http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=42209&topic=8932

Wondering if you know how to get this to hack to work in Minima and if so, can you please share how you do it?

Many thanks in advance,

-Bob

Pam said...

Hi Bob,

I took a quick look at the help page you cite, and find it rather confusing. Unfortunately, I can't really advise you on how to proceed without testing it myself on my own blog, which I am reluctant to do.

Suggest you back up your template, then print out their help document and follow their instructions step by step. That way, if you get into trouble, you can restore your originl template.

Sorry not to be of more help.

Bob Afifi said...

Thanks Pam for the reply! :-)

I couldn't figure the hack out either after several attempts so I'm not sure what to do about it at this point. oh well.

What I'm really after is a way to get all the posts - including those in the archives - could be ported to a page where all the titles are listed alphabetically. I'm using MySQL for this now with the blog posts entered manually (http://jennifercluff.com/sitemap.shtml)

Google Reader has a nice javascript which does what I'm looking for but only for the Main Page posts (http://jennifercluff.com/).

anyhow...

Thanks again,

-Bob
http://www.jennifercluff.com/blog/

Pam said...

Sorry I couldn't help more, Bob. I couldn't make heads nor tails of their instructions. Maybe another reader can help Bob?

GoneFishing said...

love the tips
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Shayon™ said...

Hi...the template for my blogpage http://my-labyrinth.blogspot.com/ was originally built keeping 800x600 resolution in mind. But, given the fact that most of my readers use a resolution of 1024x768 or more, I'd like to increase the width of the page. Could you help me out a bit on this?

Frank and Sue said...

Hi Pam,
Really love your site and excellent, clear descriptions of all things blog related. I have had a look around and I can't find a fix for the problem I have which is strange underlines under the blog title link, it looks like they start about 2cm in and then wrap. any ideas???
Frank p.s. subscribed today, many thanks for your information

Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings said...

I just found you and I was wondering if you knew how to make the comments numbered (as in 1, 2, 3, 4 beside the commenters username.

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Morning Song eStore said...

i see at the bottom of your pages that you have the "older post, home, and newer post" links. i need to know how to do that. i'm sure it's easy, but i don't know how to do it. do you have any instructions that you could pass my way?

Youssef said...

cool writer woman love ur blog so much have a good time

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