Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Blog Templates

John Marine | 5/03/2011 01:02:00 AM | |
(UPDATED: July 5, 2012)

As much as everyone has a dream house, us bloggers have our own dream templates for our houses: our blogs. The process by which to build blog templates is an challenging one. You can go almost anywhere to find Blogger/Blogspot layouts. The most stylish ones are Wordpress templates converted for Blogger/Blogspot. In recent times, I have considered editing my blogs to offer a new feel as a whole. One such method was by editing the look of the sidebars. This is a blog post discussing blog templates, and it also has insight to what I am trying to accomplish in making over my blogs.

The one thing I've learned about making blog templates is that you have to learn from other blog templates to make your own blog look its best. Especially on the Blogger/Blogspot service, it sometimes feel like you can only do so much to make your blog's template stand out. You either have to make your own test blog or use some sort of program to play-test features. I've done some play-testing of blog layouts recently.

"John's Gran Turismo Space" is the least-viewed of my blogs, and since I felt I had nothing to really lose editing its template, I went ahead and used a different layout for it as a test blog. I was actually happy with it at one point. I do still wish I could edit the XML to something I could be most happy with. This is part of that "more to be desired" discussion point. I can't be truly happy with such layouts because one pre-made layout vs. my own edits and visions usually don't end up in my favor. You can only do so much with someone else's blog template. Then too, trying to come up with that unique and exclusive feel for your own blog can be immensely difficult. That is even if you take someone else's blog and modify the holy heck out of it with your own graphics and HTML editing.

If you're wondering, "how come you don't use Blogger's new templates?" Let me answer this with all due respect. Fancy and stylish as the new templates are, I don't like the new options. They are rather slow for my tastes. I prefer efficiency with my work. That's why I stuck with the older layouts I currently use. In fact, I've modified the Stretch Denim template because it is the best template to allow for the most amount of customization. I've started out with the Minima templates for a good deal of time. Then, I moved on to the Thisaway template. Because I needed something stylish and different, and to be able to post wider images and videos, I moved to the Stretch Denim template. As with most things on the Internet, though... I'll somehow have to assimilate to a newer format *because I have no other choice*. I sometimes feel like you find something you like... until somebody/something screws it up. So sooner or later, I wouldn't be surprised if I can no longer use any of the older templates for my Blogspot blog.

My blog is like life- a work in progress. At some point, you will need to try new things to reach new levels or give things a new outlook. Same goes with blogging. I want to edit my blog to look stylish while also being efficient. I want to add new features and looks to keep blog posts functional. One of the most recent changes was in replacing the sidebars with graphical sidebars. They give the sidebars a new look. I designed the sidebars by taking inspiration from another blog template. I downloaded one template and examined its XML code. XML is the big key in blog templates for Blogger/Blogspot and archived comments.

Some websites offer free templates while some others offer premium templates. Believe me when I tell you that not every template is built equally. Some templates are meant specifically for certain TYPES of blogs. In other words, some templates allow you to only view so much of your most recent blog posts. Almost like a news site, if you will. Some are very driven on videos and pictures. Therefore, massive blog posts with lots of text are cropped down to almost a digestive form. Also, many of the Wordpress-type templates for Blogger/Blogspot aren't as easy to implement. That's what I learned when I used one template for my Gran Turismo blog. Don't get me wrong- the templates will work; just that it will require some extra work on your behalf to customize them happily and freely. Unless you REALLY know CSS and XML, it's best you learn from other templates to make your own template look and perform its best.

Having said all of this, I am happy to be on Blogger/Blogspot and learning how to make the most of my blogs to make my own unique blogs with inspiration (but not blatantly copying) other blogs. Is there ever going to be a perfect blog template for every blogger? No. What we think will be a perfect layout will change over time. You have to try some new concepts in the future. You have to evolve EVERYTHING about your blog if you are a dedicated blogger. That even includes your blog's template. Your blog is like your home away from home- spruce it up and make someone else's template (unless you made your own from scratch) YOUR template for YOUR blog. That even includes making your blog more mobile-friendly. I have NO experience in the mobile department, so I'm just adding whatever features are there just to make my blog more friendly for mobile devices.

I won't list any sites you can visit to download or sample other blog layouts for Blogger/Blogspot. You do have the Internet at your disposal, so feel free to use your favorite search engine to find templates for Blogger/Blogspot. The main reason is because I don't want to link to any possibly suspicious websites offering Blogspot templates. So while you're using cyberspace to view my blog, use cyberspace to search for blog templates. It's a "better safe than sorry" measure I'm taking.

My blogs will be in periods of remodeling to help make them more stylish and accessible. Thank you for reading!

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John B. Marine said...

Hi John! It's ikert24kfan and I just want to tell you my blog's attack status has been lifted! I hope you drop a line and visit again. I've been having some problems with the internet but I'll try to visit and give support again as I've done before.

John B. Marine said...

So true...the template is probably the most important feature of a blog. It s the first thing that hits you when you enter a site, but I think it s so hard to find a perfect one. I haven t, yet!thank you so much for your beautiful words!Have a great day, John!

John B. Marine said...

Ikert24kfan here. Man what a bummer! Some put a spam comment in my blog and google sent me a 3 day notification. I've already remove all the comments save yours and some genuine ones. Some said that I should remove the post where the spam was found as well. Should I do that and what else should I do? Hoping for your quick and kind recommendation on this urgent matter.

John B. Marine said...

I think if the notification came from a certain spam comment, I think you should immediately get rid of it and make a new one. I recently started changing the comment system to my own blog so that I can weed out the comments of spam volume. Not to promote DISQUS, but I changed to the DISQUS format for better control of comments from others. Too many spam or suspicious comments have been popping up recently. So I had to take some initiative to keep my blog in good shape.

Anyhow, I would probably remove that blog post and make a new one. Some bloggers take old blog posts, delete them, and make new versions. The best way to do so would be to copy-and-paste all the contents from your post and save it in a text file. Delete the old blog post once you've copied everything to a file. Then, copy-and-paste all that data when making a new post. Now if your post contained something that may have contributed to the Google notification, be sure to check for any errors or something.

Other than that, that's the only advice I can give to you.

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