Alright. Blogger Hacks: The Series. If we're going to do this then I should make some effort to be systematic & cover topics in a sensible order. Let's imagine you've got a new blogger blog, & a default blogger template, but you haven't messed with the code in the template too much & you'd like your blog to be visually distinctive. A new template may be a big part of the solution.
Blogger offers default templates when you register for a blog, & some of them are pretty cool. You can dress them up pretty well too, by changing the colors of links etc. If you want to move beyond the defaults, though, here's some places to look:
- Updated 5/9/06: This blog uses a template generated by PsycHo. (Freshblog eval.) This is a great tool, and your template will validate straight off the site, at least until you paste in all your old code chunks!!
Noipo.org has a selection of templates. Some of these have related images. See “images” below.
Blogskins.com has over 17,000 “blogger main” templates. You have to dig a bit to find a good one.
BloggerTemplates is a blogspot blog of different templates.
Some things to know before you change your template:
Images - Although they'll let you add images to posts, blogger doesn't have a way of handling images for templates. The work-around here is to have web space somewhere else that you can upload the images to, & then modify the <img src="http://myotherwebspace.com/image.jpg"> tag to point to the location of the image. It will slow your template down a bit, but I think it's the only way to keep the images tied to the template.
Updated 5/9/06: You can host your template images on blogger if you upload the image in a draft post, then grab the image URL out of the draft & use it as normal in your template. This is probably quicker than hosting images on an external service, but I haven't tested it...
Existing Modifications – If you've already made some changes to your default template, they won't make the move with you unless you cut & paste. I recommend changing your template while your blog is young, before you've customised your sidebar too much!! I also recommend wrapping features that you add in begin & end comment tags to help you remember what all this stuff does, like this:
<!-- begin statistics --> put sitemeter code here <!--end statistics-->
Posts – If the template you pick is already set up for blogger, & has <blogger></blogger> tags with post formatting information between them, your posts will make the move. I can't guarantee that the template you choose is really blogger ready, so backup your existing template and preview your new template before you save it.
Disclaimer: There may be other things that you should know.
Whichever template you pick, here's how to make the switch:
Log in to Blogger
Click on the “change settings” gear-wheel on the dashboard
Click the “template” tab at the top of the screen.
Select & Cut (ctrl-x) your existing template text. Paste it into word, an e-mail or a text editor so that you have it as a backup.
Paste in the new template text
Click “preview” to see how things will look.
If you like it, click on “save changes”
Republish your entire site
And there's your new, cool, unique “no-one else has it but me, & it didn't cost me a dime” template.
Disclaimer: None of these links are recommendations or endorsements. I haven't tested these templates
Other Resources for template mods:
Noipo.org PDF “How to change your template” - with screen-caps from Blogger.
Good luck changing your template. Remember – backup & preview!!
See other posts in Blogger Hacks: The Series