Recently Blogger introduced a new Template Designer to its blog hosting site that enables its users to create their very own personal templates and themes for their blog and I have been busy trying it all out. I personally welcome additional features on any blogging site that allows more ‘personalization’. We aren’t all whizzes at HTML/CSS etc and from my own personal point of view, at my age I think I’m a little too old in the tooth to begin learning it all now. So, how does it work out? Is it easy to use? Could it help any user create an attractive looking blog? Let’s take a look shall we?
Firstly you need to enable the Blogger Template Designer by going to http://draft.blogger.com/home and making it your default Blogger Dashboard. If you need more information about it take a look at this video below.
All you do then is click on Layout for your blog, where you will then be able to access the new Template designer feature.
I found it fairly simple and easy to work my way through all the features on offer. At the moment there are only four separate Templates to choose from, Simple, Picture Window (which features rounded modules) Awesome Inc, and Watermark. You current blog theme is shown below the Blogger Template Designer area so that you can easily see your changes as you make them.
As I tend to prefer my blogs to look fairly simple and uncluttered I have to confess that I did prefer the Simple one, but I also like rounded corners as well which area available in the Picture Window template. It’s best if you work your way through all four of the current Templates, they are not applied to your blog until you click on Apply to Blog at the top right hand side of the page, so you can’t really spoil anything.
Under the Background choice you can choose a ‘colour scheme’ for your chosen template where set colours that look good together are available for you to apply to the Template. You may decide to choose a background picture or texture by clicking on the Background Image. There are lot’s to choose from, but I found some of them to be rather ‘fussy’ and distracting, but that’s just my own personal opinion.
Many of them would of course be useful depending on the content of your blog posts. For example there are some backgrounds for the Arts, for Business, Family, Hobbies and Crafts, Home and Garden etc, and your sure to find at least one that suits your particular content.
Next in the list of choices is Layout, and here you can choose the Body Layout, such as full width, one side column, side column divided into two, left and right side columns. You can also choose the Footer layout and here you could in theory have all your widgets placed below you actual post instead of in a sidebar at the side. Lastly you can adjust the width of your blog, including the total width and the width of any sidebars that you have chosen. When you are in the Layout area, the Blogger Layout page is below where as usual you can ‘drag’ your gadgets around the page and place them where you want them.
Lastly at the bottom of the list is the Advanced feature and its here where you can change details such as fonts, colour of fonts, size, etc. You can adjust these for every element of the whole Blog page. The page text, the Background colours, Link text, Blog Title etc. Its a pretty comprehensive list allowing you to adjust exactly how your blog looks. My only criticism is that there are not a lot of choices of fonts at this time and I hope that a lot more will be added in future.
To summarise, I like the new Template Designer. Its fairly easy to get to grips with for newbie's and more capable users alike and allows the user to create their own look for their blogger blog. However, Blogger already has a multitude of blog themes that users can make use of already via sites such as Btemplates and other sites. There are literally thousands to choose from, many ported from Wordpress.org etc. Of course this new Template Designer goes some way in allowing users to create something original that they can call their own and is as near as many of us will get to feeling that we are designing our own webpage. I look forward to its expansion and to far more choice of Templates, backgrounds and fonts being made available it the future. I just wish other blogging sites would take note and offer something similar to their users.
Here is my finished result so that you can see just what is achievable with this new Blogger Template Designer. Try it out for yourselves!