Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blogger Basics II

If you haven't read the first one, it's alright. I'm sure you're here because
you want to know how to customize your blog effectively.

So back to the Customize section.

If you're not HTML literate (like me), don't bother with Edit HTML. 
Hit the Customize Button and it should take you to the Template Designer.

*Some important things to know about Template Designer.

The Apply to Blog button is your save button. If you've liked what you've done so far
with your blog, click it periodically to not lose any changes you've made after all the
tinkering. But if you're not happy at all with what you've done, or you already have
a good design and you're just fooling around to see what works best, then don't press the
Apply to Blog until you're sure.

Ok, so, from the screenie above, you can tell that you can also swap your design templates
anytime from the Templates tab. So don't worry about always going back to the Layout Page
just to switch your templates. You can do it here. No fuss.

That being said, lets begin with Backgrounds

If you leave it blank, the background will follow whatever it is you've set as the colour of
your background. Now, lemme share you a little secret.

Click on the arrow or the square in the middle. Doesn't matter. It'll open up this lovely window.

Selecting the background images is a no-brainer. But look at what happens when you hover over
the image with your cursor. You see a name with a link. Click it and it should take you to an
iStockphoto webpage like this.

Doesn't matter which picture you've selected. Click the image or the [Get this image now] button. It'll
take you to this place.

Pay attention to the sizes offered. Use the measurements if you want to Upload Image. The medium one
is usually fine. But also look at the amount of bytes that particular image has. Why? Look down here.

Yes. YES. Your image must be within 300kb in size. Kinda ridiculous right? I too have
no idea how such crisp and clear images are still readily available through the free images
given. But fret not, there's a way to solve this.

*P/S 1800x1600 in img size will guarantee you an image that'll always be there, unless
if someone uses a really REALLY big screen then.. oh well. Maybe it'd look a bit off.

I hope you have Photoshop or Illustrator because these are the only ways I know to solve
this problem haha.

Go to image sizes. And you'll see this window.

See the Resolution there? Uncheck all the 3 options you see there and change the resolution.
72 is usually low enough and is a good resolution to go with. For the Sizes, check the total width
and height on your blog first at the [Adjust widths] tab. And voila, your picture should be good
to go for the background should you want to put it in.

Also, remember to set the alignment to middle. Tile won't matter if your picture
is big enough. If you're looking to make a pattern background with a small image,
then use Tile.

Scroll with page will determine whether your background moves as you scroll or not.
Uncheck to keep it static and Check to let it slide up and down as you do with your page.

Now, there's Adjust Widths

It's pretty basic actually. Just slide the indicator there to raise or lower your width.
You can also type in the numbers manually and all your previews can be seen below
the gray option window ^.

*Tip, if you're a fan of using BIG images, like using Extra Large setting, you'll notice that
if your blog borders are too narrow, and if the image was set in landscape, it'll bleed over
the borders of your post, making it larger than life I suppose. 950 width is a good place to
start. I remember any less than that and it'd create a suffocating atmosphere around your
blogpost with the Extra Large images almost kissing your borders.

Now, if you go to the Layout tab, you'll see the same interface as what you'd see in your Layout
tab in your normal Blogger dashboard. You can also move around stuff here like what you can do
there. But the space is kinda squished out, thanks to the gray window above it, so.. suit yourself!

But in my personal opinion, too many columns just spoil your blog. So keep it clean. Only use one
side column. I've already tried the other kinds but it didn't really suit my taste. So if you feel otherwise,
feel free.

All the layouts given are pretty straightforward. But if you're not really good with the alignments of
all the extra square and all, going single column is usually the way to go. You can use my setting up
there haha. Footer barely matters since it's only the extras down there. Experiment and see which
one you like best :)

Ok, here comes the fun part.

options is the one that really sets apart your blog from any other ones out there.
It changes the colours of literally every component in your blog and even enables you to
set transparency settings for your blog with certain templates.

And the designer is pretty friendly too. Everytime you click on something, it'll highlight
your preview with that red dotted line to tell you which part you're changing. So it's
quite a hassle-free tool.

But if anything, pay attention to your Font Size. Keep it between 10-14. You don't want
it any higher or any lower, unless if you're trying to emulate a newspaper press or create
templates for babies books on a blog.

Any font type is fine. But avoid the ones that come out too fancy. It looks good with one
word, but aches the shit out your eyes when you see a hundred. And if you're looking to be
taken seriously in a blog, then never touch Comic Sans. Because.. well.. I'd let you check
this site out instead. It's a designer/typographer joke but really, Comic Sans is just ugh.

And if you were wondering how to put the transparency thingy, this is how you do it.

See that small box that says transparent? Just click it. But remember to make sure your fonts are
dark/bright enough to create enough contrast against your background to be legible to your readers.

And on another note, try your best to resist the urge of making quirky colours the default colour
of all your page words. It looks the most ridiculous with serif fonts (like Georgia). Sans-Serif always
look good regardless (like Arial). But if you're the kinda person who like to write long-ass shit,
then by all means, go for serif. Google, those keywords if you donno what they mean :)

Also, if you're really not sure how to mix and match your colours, you can always try the
suggested colours and see if you like any of the suggestions. If you don't then.. haha, it's
time for another experiment X. But a quick trick would be to use complimentary colours.

Ok, this ends the beginners tutorial. Now that you know all the functions in Blogger, it's time
for some personal explore-time~


Joey said...

ahhhh found it...i wanted to reset it last night but was too lazy to hahha. very informative. thx ..btw, most people are willing to use wordpress or tumblr instead of blogger u still make an effort go do these really thx alot

Joey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
O C said...

Tumblr's really nice with their designs. Just don't really fancy the repost functions and all. Kinda confusing and doesn't do much.

Wordpress is great for people who like to experiment with html. It offers more flexibility with coding compared to blogger.

But the thing I find lacking from Wordpress and Tumblr is the dashboard function from Blogger that I've gotten used to. It's so hassle-free and you don't have to check them out one by one. Everything's just there.

But of course, this is just my biased opinion. I've already used Blogger for so long anyways.

Anyways, thanks for checking this out. And share this post to whoever you think might find it useful ^^