Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Google's Template Designer: powerful

I've been having this nagging urge to change the template of my website (www.nickballesteros.com).  There are a couple of reasons why I want to make the change:

  • the "read more" feature is a hack, and sometimes when I don't need it the "read more" link still appears
  • I had a word-linking ad campaign embedded in the code and I was not keen on sifting through the code to remove it (it was not exactly profitable)
  • I wanted to use Google's share functions.  I tried putting it manually but the customized template would not accept it
  • did I mention I had this nagging urge to change the template?



So yeah... there were more than a couple of things I wanted to get done.  So for around 4 nights I was scouring the net for new templates, saved some and tried them out on a test site.  But I was not really feeling great about my choices.

And then I decided to give Blogger's Template Designer a try.  It has come a long way since those times when you can only choose a limited number of preconfigured templates.  Now, you can select from a wide variety of layouts and even adjust the widths of the columns.  The fonts and colours are customizable as well.  I decided it was time to use this feature.  Besides, I do not really have a complicated requirement for my template, just space for my blog posts and easy integration of widgets.

It's been a week now since I have made the change and I am quite happy with the result.  One caveat though is that my Webmaster Tools report says there seems to be a robots.txt file that is generating errors with how my blog is being accessed by Google for indexing but discussions from forums (and also from Google itself) say just to leave it at that.  So that's that.

Here's how my blog originally looked like:

And here's how it looks now:
One thing I liked about my old layout was how simple it looked.  Just plain white background.  So that is carried through to the new layout.  What I am amazed about this exercise is, in order not to have a run-of-the-mill layout, you need to search for a customized template.  Either that, or you encode the template yourself.  That was a couple of years ago.  Now, Template Designer does a real great job at giving you loads of options.  Plus, you can now add pages to your blog as well!

Have a go at Blogger's Template Designer if you want to create your own blog.  And let me know so I can visit!  Actually, I'm thinking of using Template Designer for this blog as well...
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