Sunday, 24 April 2016

Where have I been? | Blog Design Tips For Beginners

Normally, you'll notice a new post pop up from me about once a week - but recently I took a short break from blogging. This is because a couple of things went wrong with the template and design. I took a months break so I could get it sorted. Even though it was all a bit tricky, I'm (sort of!) glad it happened because I learnt a lot in the process. I'm typing everything up here to help in future or to give some of you a bit of a head start if you go through a similar thing as me.
  • Back up your old template 
 It sounds like a simple one, but this was my main mistake! Saving your current template before you download a new one is really important because, if anything goes wrong, you can just switch it back to how it was. Also - when you download a template it automatically goes straight onto your blog, before you can see how it looks. If you're on Blogger, all you need to do to save your current template is click template --> back up/restore --> download full template.

  • To edit most downloaded templates, you need to use HTML  
When I first downloaded a template, I panicked because I couldn't edit anything (the words on the menu, links...). I then found out that all of this could be changed but via HTML coding. To be honest, I've always avoided HTML because it looks so scary - but, once you actually go onto it and have a practice, it's not as terrifying as it looks. To access your HTML on Blogger, all you need to do is click template --> edit HTML. You'll know when you're there because you should get something that looks a bit like the image at the top.

Scary, right? Wrong! For me, the most important thing that I wanted to get sorted was the headings in the menu beneath the title. They all had titles that didn't really apply to my blog and links that didn't work. To change this, on Blogger, you need to find the Top Menu in the HTML. Using 'search' in HTML makes it so much simpler. Click Ctrl and F to search. Search for '<!-- Top Menu -->'. The text in black is the text that will show on the menu bar. You can edit this. You can also replace the links with your own. There may be links there that you can edit or a #. It just takes a bit of practice and experimenting. You can do the same for social links. Usually, you'll find directions on Google for different HTML codes or you'll get some information with the download.

  • Create Another Blog
If you're a bit unsure, you can do what I did and open a second blog. You can download templates onto there, mess about with the HTML, see what works and what doesn't. Once you're sure that everything looks exactly how you like it, download the template to your proper blog and copy and paste the HTML over. I liked doing it this way because it meant that I could spend as much time as I needed to work on it, without having to worry about it going wrong or looking odd on my blog in the process. You can easily get all your posts and comments to appear on your 'practice' blog by using the same ideaas earlier. Save your current blog template (see tip one) and then, on the new blog, go to template --> back up/restore --> browse.

Do you have any tips for your blog design?
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