Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blogger Basics I

Hi everyone. I actually have a few internet acquaintances that've asked me
before how one would go about making the blog more easy on the eyes
for the fellow readers. I'll try my best to show you all you need to know
to make it look good, if not better.

In this post, you'll know where all the blogging design functions are and
you'll have a very brief tour on all the basic templates offered by Blogger.

So lets start. First thing's first, you need to know where all your options are.

Enter your Dashboard and click the blog you wish to edit. In this case, it's my own blog.
Then it should take you to your blog overview page by default.

See the Layout thing? That's where you arrange all your [Page Elements]. You can drag most of the
elements all around the place and keep Previewing until you feel that it's kind of right. You can always
add more [Gadgets] and make your blog more funky from here. But know that the core designs don't
come from here, but from another tab at your left. The [Template] tab.

And before we go further, you might wanna check this simple guide if you're really new to blogger.
You can access it from here for now. But do a little tweaking around your dashboard and test all
the buttons. You'll find out how to access it sooner or later. ^^

*tip - the button looks like a gear and is located on the top right of your dashboard.

Ok back to Template.

The [Customize] button you see there will be how you choose to edit your blog to your liking.
That includes width, height, alignment, colours, background and etc. But I'll get to that a little
later. Let me tour you around all the other basic templates first.

Dynamic Views is really awesome actually. It's elegant, crisp and looks beautiful on its own. It
the best thing for you if your blog is filled with beauitful and crisp images and you're not that much
of a sucker for the top banners. It's something like Tumblr. Only that it's still Blogger.

Pros : Both you and the viewer can choose to swap the looks and hierarchy of your posts anytime.

Cons : Not much room for editing. Can't include ads and other gadgets. And definitely not
a banner-loving design.

And to read more about Dynamic Views, I'll redirect you here.

Simple is... what it says it is. It's Simple, it's easy to customize, and unlike the Dynamic Views
counterpart, people with old computers can still see your blog even without all the most important
updates. It's easy to customize too!

Pros : Easy to customize and edit. Works for all computers regardless.

Cons : Well... I guess it's a little tricky to make it look good.

If you prefer having a picture within your background, this is usually the better way to go. Because
if you attempt to add in a picture to your background in the Simple template, you'll notice that
the image doesn't stay static and moves together as your scroll your blog up and down. And
at some points, it even makes it show up at odd points in your blog. So if you're a very
picturesque person, go for this. The overlay is a welcome addition too. But just make sure
the words you put up on your header are readable.

Pros : Was designed with the picture being the focal attention of the background. So if you're
gonna use a blank or bland background, you might as well go simple.

Cons : You have to choose your font colour carefully or when they go through certain
parts of your blog where the picture is to bright or dark, they might become illegible
to your readers.

*The golden rule to making things legible on web is simple. Always have contrast. Never
put a light colour against a light colour and never do the same for darks. Test the colours
out until you feel a harmonious vibe looking at the colours of your entire template. If you
don't, keep trying. Or if you're lazy, you can always just use the colour suggestions
in the Customize tab mentioned before.

Next is Awesome Inc. which is awesome in my opinion. It's the current template I'm using now.
It has the same traits as the Picture Window template, with the difference of alignments and
you'll notice a slight drop shadow under each window in your post. You can try this out and
see if you like it or not. If you don't, you can always go back to the rest up there.

Pros : I really like the tab that separates the header with the posts. The drop shadow isn't all
that bad too.

Cons : Making you gadgets match your entire design is a real pain unless you go for the more
classic looking ones.

Then there's Watermark, for people who like a good texture behind their designs. It gels well better
with textures compared to the other ones above. It has a similar overlay style with Picture Window,
but only in the post areas. But do bear in mind that that you can never change your background
colour for your post area if you use this template.

Pros : Like Picture Window, this was designed for Textures in the background.

Cons : You just can't edit the colour of your post background.

Ethereal is for gradient junkies. It's the only template that gives your header a little slick metallic
feel on it when you use the right colours. If you don't like it, just don't go for it.

Pros : Has a gradient. Lol.

Cons : The gradient might create some unwanted contrast in places you don't intend on
having it being too loud.

Last but not least, there's Travel... which I'm not very fond of. I don't see how this is any
much different from Awesome Inc. and Picture Window, other than maybe it's second
template that gives you a fence-like border at the top. But you're welcome to give it a try.

Pros : I guess you can have a picture behind or not. And you have header tab that's only
unique to this design. Whether it really enhances the experience of travelling or not. That's
up to you to decide.

Cons : I honestly don't know. I mean... It's so similar to Picture Window. So I guess you
also have to be wary of the font colours you choose, especially when the overlay effect is on.
Besides that, nothing much.

Also, if you don't like what's offered by default in blogger, you can always Google up
[free blogger templates]. What you can find is almost limitless.

And if you're not sure what to do or which to choose, go find one of your favourite blogs
and try to imitate the style. It's like a quote I used to hear, something that rings like
"an act of greatness is greatness in itself." So look up the good stuff and follow
what you'd like to see reflected into your own blog design.

Hmm... I suppose I'll continue the Customize section in another post. A post that's too long
and has too many pictures will spoil the readers mood anyways. So till next post!

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