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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Blogger template tutorial Part 2

Update: I see from statcounter that people searching for Blogger beta (now New Blogger) are landing on this site. For those who want to add stuff to their sidebars, etc., looking for 3 column templates, etc., but using the New Blogger templates, please visit
How to add ads., hit counters, etc in New Blogger (formerly Blogger Beta)
Blogger Beta (now New Blogger): 3 column template
More Blogger Beta templates modified by Stavanger
New Blogger (formerly Blogger beta) templates for posting large photos, etc.
New Blogger (formerly Blogger Beta) 3 column template modified by Stavanger



Click on the screenshot to enlarge it. For an expanded screenshot, go to
Blogger template tutorial: Adding stuff via the template

You can customize your blog by editing the template or adding stuff like texts, hyperlinks, images, etc. to the template. Where in the webpage they will be displayed will depend on which part of the template you add the stuff in. The most common place to add stuff is the sidebar. For this, you will have to add the stuff in between the tags





As an example, let's say you want the stuff to appear before the profile section. You will then add the stuff just before the <$BlogMemberProfile$> tag. The rest, I think, is self explanatory in the screenshot.

If Blogger store of templates does not satisfy your appetite, and you want something more than some personal customization, you can always download ready-made templates. There are a number of free Blogger templates available online. Here is a listing, by no means complete:

http://blogger-templates.blogspot.com

Thur's template (3-column)

Random Bytes: Another 3-column template

Blogskin

Point of focus

Blog Templates

noipo.org

Galeria de Templates

Pannasmontata Templates

Blogger Templates by Angelicfx

Blogger Templates by Caz

Final Sense

Gecko & Fly

Blogger Templates for Blogspot Powered Blog

Maldita's Template for Free


Templates for Blogger Beta


At the moment, there are very few third party template for Blogger Beta available. Have a look at the following posts:
3 column template for the new Blogger by Ramani

More Blogger Beta templates modified by Stavanger

New Beta 3 column template modified by Stavanger of Blogcrowd

Christine's templates for Blogger Beta (Not free. Include photoblogging template for beta Blogger blogs, with maximized space for image display while not causing a side scroll on screen resolutions of 800x600px or larger.)

Please note that other than Thur's template, Ramani's template and Stavanger's templates, which I have used for some of my blogs, I have not tested any of the others and cannot vouch for them.

For an updated version of this tutorial, go to Blogger template tutorial: Adding content via the template.

Books from Amazon

Publishing a Blog with Blogger: Visual QuickProject Guide

Book: Blogging for Dummies

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Blogger template tutorial

Update: Blogger has updated their default template which uses LAYOUT. However, this post is still relevant for those using the old classic Blogger template.

Blogger template

A template is a set of HTML files which define the appearance and functionality of the blog. You can use the templates that are provide by Blogger, customize the provided template or write your own.

To access Blogger template, log into the Dashboard, select the blog, click TEMPLATE tab. You will see the template displayed in the edit template window. If you have already done some customization, it is a highly advisable to always backup your template. To backup the template, highlight ALL the text of the template, right-click and copy (or ctrl+C), paste into Notepad and save under a suitable title like dummies17april06. Saving a template has saved the woes of many a blogger.

The Blogger template has 3 main components - HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Stylesheet) and Blogger tags. HTML tags tell a web browser how to display the page. It is a good idea to have some knowledge of HTML and a good place to learn is the online W3schools. CSS control the style and layout of the webpage. You can also learn about CSS in W3schools. When you submit a post to Blogger, it is saved to their database. When you publish something, the Blogger tags tell Blogger publishing program which information to fetch from their database and put it on the webpage.

HTML

Here are some examples of HTML tags to give you an idea of what it is all about. The heading of this section was coded as <h3>HTML</h3>. HTML tags occur in pairs - opening tags like <h3> and closing tags like </h3>. If you look in the template you will see this block of codes:

<h2 class="sidebar-title">Links</h2>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://news.google.com/">Google News</a></li>
<li><a href="http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=110">Edit-Me</a></li>
<li><a href="http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=110">Edit-Me</a></li>
</ul>


<ul> and </ul> are the opening and closing tags for an unordered list, while <li> and </li> define a line of the list. This block of codes was put in the Blogger tag so that you can conveniently edit it to suit your wishes. You can easily replace http://news.google.com/ and Google News with an URL and description of your own. Similarly for http://help.blogger.com.... and Edit-Me.

You may want to customize your blog by adding stuff like HTML, etc, to the template. For more information on this, go to Blogger template tutorial Part 2.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheet)

The cascading style sheet is placed at the beginning of Blogger's template and surrounded by the <style> and </style> tags and it will look like something like this:

<style type="text/css">
/*
-----------------------------------------------
Blogger Template Style
Name: Minima
Designer: Douglas Bowman
URL: www.stopdesign.com
Date: 26 Feb 2004
----------------------------------------------- */


body {
background:#fff;
margin:0;
padding:40px 20px;
font:x-small Georgia,Serif;
text-align:center;
color:#333;
font-size/* */:/**/small;
font-size: /**/small;
}
.
.
.
</style>


*/ and /* surround things meant as comments (information). It is only meant for the person reading the template and is not taken into consideration by the browser.

body {
.
.
.
}

means that whatever is surrounded by { and } are properties of the body of the blog. For example, background:#fff; means that the background of the blog is white in color. You may change it by changing background:#fff; to, say, background:red;

To learn more about CSS, go to W3Schools.

Blogger tags

When you submit a post to Blogger, it gets saved into their database, and this is where Blogger tags come into play. Blogger tags tell their blog publishing program which information to fetch from the database and put on the webpage.

There are 2 main types of Blogger tags: item-level tags and page-level tags. Item-level tags are those tags that have the $ sign in them, such as <$BlogItemAuthor$>. The tags get the actual information from Blogger's database and put it on the web. <$BlogItemAuthor$>, for example, display the blog author's name.

Page-level Blogger tags deal with the design and structure of a page. They tell item-level tags when and where they have to perform. For example,

<BloggerArchives>
<$BloggerArchiveURL$>
<$BloggerArchiveName$>
</BloggerArchives>

commands that this is where the browser have to display Archive URL and the Archive Name.

To see an example of the placing of Blogger tags when the information from Blogger database is not fetched from the servers, see example

For more on templates, go to Blogger template tutorial Part 2.

Books from Amazon

Blogging: Genius Stragies for Instant Web Content by Biz Stone, former Senior Specialist on the Google Blogger team

Book: Blogging for Dummies

Thursday, April 13, 2006

How to build traffic to your blog

You have shed blood, sweat and tears to put up your blog, you wouldn't want the blog to languish in a corner. You want people to read it. You want traffic. How does one increase traffic to one's blog?

There are a number of settings you can do in Blogger towards this end. Sign into Dashboard, select your blog, click SETTINGS tab, then BASIC. Set "Add your blog to our listings" and "Show Email Post links" to Yes. And still in the SETTINGS tab, click FORMATTING and set "Show Title Field" and "Show Link Field" to Yes. Then still in the SETTINGS tab, click PUBLISHING and set your blog to ping weblogs.com.

You should also ensure that Post Pages are enabled so that each individual post will have its own webpage and url. Go to SETTINGS > ARCHIVING and set ENABLE POST PAGE? to YES. Also modify the permalink to something more prominent. See Tip: How to make permalink more prominent (Close new window to get back to this page).

Also, you must have good, original, informational and interesting content that will bring repeat visitors. Good content also attract the search engines, which is important. Write often and regularly so that both readers and search engines will visit your blog regularly.

Get a keyword research tool and research for the right keywords to use for your blog. Optimize your posts for search engines. Keywords in url's are important for search engines. If possible, make sure the url of the blog and the post title contain the primary keyword. Separate the words by hyphen - as search engines cannot distinquish between separate words written as a single word. (Update: Please note that search engines CAN distinguish between words written as a single compound word. For example, google for blogger for dummies. You will find the link to http://bloggerfordummies.blogspot.com with the words "blogger", "for", "dummies" highlighted. Try it yourself! The url of this blog would have been better if it had been http://blogger-for-dummies.blogspot.com. (Important note: this advice is for people who are just starting new blogs or have just started a blog recently and have not been indexed by search engines nor have many inbound links, not for those whose blog have been on the web for a long time and whose blog have already been indexed by search engines and have many inbound links.)

UPDATE 8 November 2006: On a lighter (funny) note, another reason why you should separate words in the URL. See The top 10 unintentionally worst company URLs (close new window to get back to this page).

As the post title is part of the url of the individual posts, use keywords for the post title.If you want to see how the URL of your individual post page (permalink) looks like, go to that page or right-click on the time stamp at the bottom of the post (which is a permalink) and select "Copy short cut". This is for IE. The wordings will depend on the browser you are using. You will notice that part of the title is in the URL. This is important for search engines as they give priority to words in the URL.

Sprinkle your post body with secondary keywords especially in the beginning and end of the post. You may also choose to optimize your blog for the search engine with the help of free, non-expiring software like WebCEO (close new window to get back to this page), which also contains other useful tools like automatic search engine submission and tools for researching keywords. It will be a good idea too to take the course to learn about search engine optimization, etc. at WebCEO. It is free.

Get statcounter (click "Back" button to get back to this page)or something similar to track your visitors. It will tell you where your visitors are coming from, which search engine they use and what search terms they used to find your site. Use these information for your keyphrases. Statcounter also gives system statistics which will tell you screen resolution your visitors are using, and to optimize your blog for the majority of your visitors. In my case, I found out that there are still 10 to 20% of my visitors using 800x600 and that discouraged me from continuing with the 3-column format for my blogs. See update in Blogger for Dummies is now 3-column (click "back" button to get back to this page).

When you have updated your blog, ping the blog services designed specially for tracking and connecting blogs. When you ping the services, you are letting the services know that your blog has been updated and they will crawl and index your site, publishing your blog contents and in this way increase your blog's popularity. A good pinging service to use is Pingoat (close new window to get back to this page). You should also ping Google Blog Search Pinging Service (close new window to get back to this page)

Update: Tried the Google Blog Search Pingging Services. When I tried it, it gave a message "Thanks for sharing your blog. We'll do our best to add it to our index as quickly as possible". I am thus not sure if I am really pinging them to tell them that my blog has been updated or just tried to add my blog to their index, which I believe have already been done.

Join blog and traffic exchanges. One of the best blog traffic exchange is BlogExplosion (close new window to get back to this page). Read How BlogExplosion can explode traffic to your blog (click "Back" button to get back to this page). If you want to join other blog and traffic exchanges, you can go to Support Enviroman (close new window to get back to this page) for a listing. (Note: If you have an AdSense account, it may be wise to not put your sites which have AdSense ads. See the update at this post: How BlogExplosion can "explode" traffic to your blog (click "Back" button to get back to this page).

The best way to get indexed quickly is to get an inbound link from a site that is already indexed by the search engines. If you have such a site, or if a friend has such a site, you should put a link to your site there, even if only temporary. Submit your blog to search engines and blog directories, especially major ones like Google add URL, Yahoo and DMOZ (close new windows to get back to this page). You may find other directories to submit your blog at this list: Best Blog Directory and RSS Submission Sites (close new window to get back to this page). If your blog is new and you want your blog to be indexed quickly by Google, a good idea is to add Google sitemap to your blog (some think that this only get your site spidered better). You can learn how to do that at "Adding Google sitemap to your blog" (close new window to get back to this page).

You may also add your blog to My Blog Directory. Click on My Blog Directory and at the bottom of the page, you will find a button Add Your Blog. Read more about how My Blog Directory can build traffic for your blog here: How to make a Blog Directory for your blog.

Add Google Sitemap to your blog. To see how, surf over to "Adding Google Sitemap to your blog". And each time you update your blog, ping Google Sitemap. Towards the bottom of the page there, there is a form for you to ping Google Sitemap. Bookmark that page so that you can return to it to ping Google Sitemap whenever you update your blog.

If your blog is not being found by the Google blogsearch, you can submit your blog here: Add your blog to Blog Search

Participate actively and meaningfully in relevant online forums, and leave a signature with a link to your blog. Comment (not spam) on other blogs. When visitors comment on your blog, return the visit and leave a comment on their blog, thanking them for commenting on your blog.

Build links to your blog. Offer to exchange links with blogs of similar content. Search engines will rank your sites according to the number of incoming links. Note: You have to be careful of who you link to. Do not ever link to a site which have been blacklisted by a search engine, or you think may get blacklisted by search engine. Also, it will be advantageous to you to exchange links with sites that have PageRank higher than yours. An easy way to find the PageRank of your blogs and other sites is to use FireFox with Google toolbar. See post How to get the PageRank of yours and other sites (close new window to come back to this page). You can get FireFox with the Google toolbar from that site or even this site itself. If you see no value for the PageRank, then it means the site has been blacklisted by Google.

Books from Amazon

101 ways to Boost Your Web Traffic: Internet Marketing Made Easier

Blogging: Genius Stragies for Instant Web Content by Biz Stone, former Senior Specialist on the Google Blogger team

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

How to backup your blog

Backing up your Blogger blog

Why is it important to backup your blog? You got to protect it from accidental delete (not rare). Another matter to consider is the stability of the blogging and web hosting service and its hardware. Blogger, even though backed up by the giant Google, faced some hiccups recently because of a hardware problem and caused a real scare among bloggers recently. How to backup your blog?

Using Blogger to email you the post you publish

One simple way is to set up your blog so that each post you make is emailed to a chosen email address, preferably specially created for that purpose. Click SETTINGS tab, then Email, and add your chosen email address at BlogSend Address. These, however, will be pure text, and does not include the HTML and that means you will have to reupload your photos and redo you links, etc.

Using Blog Collector

There is an easy way to backup your blog. Download and install Blog Collector Lite (close new window to get back to this page). This is an easy-to-use non-expiring free software. There is a provision to Synchronize Blog, which means that subsequent backups only backup the new updates. When you have collected enough material, you can even choose to publish it as a book, either in Word or PDF format. They also have a paid version.

Using HTTrack to mirror your blog

Another way is to download HTTrack Website Copier (close new window to get back to this page). It allows you to download any WWW site from the Internet to your computer, building recursively all directories, getting HTML, images and other files.

Copying each post into Notepad and saving it somewhere safe

This method will be a bit labourous if you had not done it right from the beginning and have tons of posts. In the post editor, make sure you are in the EDIT HTML mode. Highlight everything inside the post editor window (click inside the window and press ctrl+A), right-click and select copy (or ctrl+C) and then paste it into Notepad (right-click and select paste or press ctrl+V). With this method, you will have all your links, photos, etc backed up.

IMPORTANT: Backing up your blog template

One should not forget to backup the template. To backup the template, sign into Dashboard, select blog, click TEMPLATE, highlight all the template, right-click and save to clipboard. Then paste it into Notepad or NoteTab (close new window to get back to this page). Save it under a file name like blog title-date each time before you make any changes to the template.

What if I had neglected to backup my blog or template

Well, if you have neglected to backup your blog and/or your template, what you will have to resort to is to follow the steps outlined in "How to recover from an unintended delete" (click "BACK" button to get back to this page).

Update: April 24, 2006
Blog Collector Lite has worked well for me because I used the standard Blogger Minima template for my blogs. If you are using standard Blogger templates, you will be able to backup all your posts right up to the beginning. If, however, you are using non-standard non-Blogger templates, or have modified the Blogger template extensively, Blog Collector only backup the posts in the main page. In this case, it is probably better to use HTTrack Website Copier for your backup.

Books from Amazon

Blogging: Genius Stragies for Instant Web Content by Biz Stone, former Senior Specialist on the Google Blogger team

Complete Idiot's Guide to Creating a Webpage and Blog

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Introduction to del.icio.us

In an earlier post "How to do categories" a simple method was described using del.icio.us as a workaround for doing categories for Blogger. However, a reader has indicated that she is not familiar with del.icio.us tagging system. That is the reason for this post.

Del.icio.us is a popular online public bookmarking system that is now owned by Yahoo and is a big improvement over the conventional bookmarking system. In the conventional bookmarking system, the bookmarks are stored in individual computers. This means that when you are away from the computer, the bookmarks are not available. Also, when the bookmarks become too numerous, they become difficult to find.

The advantage of Del.icio.us bookmarking system is that the bookmarks are available wherever you have access to the Internet. You can also organize bookmarks through tags (words that describe an item saved on del.icio.us), which make them easy to find later, you can see which are the sites popularly tagged by others, or find related sites tagged by others. For example, you have an interest in astronomy, you do a search for astronomy, and there you will find a tag for astronomy. You click on the astronomy tag, and you will see all the sites which had been tagged with the tag astronomy on the page.

Del.icio.us is a wonderful resource I would recommend to anyone. To sign up for Del.icio.us go to http://del.icio.us/ and choose your user name and password. After you register, you will be taken to a page where you can install an extension for Firefox as shown in screenshot. (If you are still using only Internet Explorer, I would highly recommend you to switch to Firefox as it is a better and more secure browser. To read why you should have Firefox, and also to download Firefox with the Google toolbar, go to Firefox Alert. After you install the Firefox extension, you will see 2 buttons on the toolbar - "My del.icio.us" button and the "Tag this" button. This is very convenient. When you click on the My del.icio.us button, you will be taken to a page where all your tagged sites are displayed. When you want to tag a site, all you have to do is to surf to the site, then click the "Tag this" button and a pop-up will appear (see second screenshot). Here you will enter the name of the tags for the site (you can name one or more than one tags). You can also select the recommended tags shown below. In the screenshot (click on image to enlarge it), I have selected the tags blogger and tools for the site. You may also jot notes in the 3rd box (not compulsory). When you are satisfied, you click SAVE and it is done. When you click the My del.icio.us button you will now see the tagged site displayed. See http://del.icio.us/dummies. Also, on the top right hand corner, you will see all the tags you have use. The tags I have used for an account I set up for this blog are Introduction, Basic, General, Blogger_specific, Popular_or_useful, AdSense and Increase Traffic. If I click on General, I will see all the sites I have tagged with the tag General. This property can be used to do categories for Blogger.

Blogger has no provision for doing categories. Del.icio.us has been widely used as a workaround to make categories for Blogger. To see a simple method which this blog used, go to "How to do categories".

Book: Blogging for Dummies

Publishing a Blog with Blogger: Visual QuickProject Guide

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

How to do categories

UPDATE 22 July 2008: This is an old post done before LABELS were introduced. For those blogs still using old Blogger classic template, please refer to Label (categories) list for old classic Blogger template and Scroll box for labels (categories).

Currently Blogger has no provision for doing categories, a very useful feature. If you want this, you will have to hack or do a work around. There are various ways, but I think this is the simplest:

1. If you don't already have a del.icio.us (close new window to get back to this page) account, create one. This methods uses del.icio.us tags. I already have one but I created another account specifically for this purpose. This is highly recommended. (If you are not familiar with del.icio.us, go to Introduction to Del.icio.us (click "Back" button to get back to this page)
2. Go to the post page for the post you want to tag and tag it. If you are unfamiliar with how to do these, click this link: Introduction to Del.icio.us (Click "Back" button to get back to this page). On the top-right hand side of del.icio.us page click on the tag you just created, and on that page note the url. The easiest way to do this is to highlight the url on the address bar and copy it. An alternative way to do it is to right-click on the tag and select "Save link as..." (this is for FireFox. For other browsers, the wordings will be different).
3. Log into Dashboard, select the relevant blog for which you want to create categories and click the TEMPLATE tab.
4. Creat a new "paragraph" or "links" in the sidebar by adding the codes you see in the screenshot below into the template where you want the "Categories" to be.
click on the screenshot to enlarge it


You will have to modify the url and the "description" to suit your own circumstances, for example, changing
<a href="http://del.icio.us/dummies/general">General</a><br />

to
<a href="tag url">tag description</a><br />

5. Change the url and "description" of each tag you have for your "categories"
6. Repeat for the other categories you want to add. Add more links if you have more than mine shown in the screenshot, delete the excess if you have less.
7. Preview the changes (by clicking the PREVIEW tab on the template editor to make sure this is what you want. Make corrections otherwise.
8. Save the template and republish.
9. Surf to each posts and tag them with one or more categories.
10. A reminder. It is always a wise move to save the template before you make any modifications to it.

To familiarise yourself with how the system works, why not try it by clicking on some of the categories at the top of the sidebar.

P.S. Got the idea for this from this website.

For other more complicated ideas on how to do categories for Blogger, go to Fresh Tags, Blogger categories with del.icio.us, Freshblog, Labelr.

Books from Amazon

Publishing a Blog with Blogger: Visual QuickProject Guide
Content

Monday, April 03, 2006

How to recover from an unintended delete problem

For a more comprehensive and updated post, refer to How to recover deleted post (updated).

Recovering from an accidental delete

You have accidentally deleted some posts or links, etc., or you may even have messed up your template, and you need to recover from the mistake urgently. What do you do?

This is what you can do. Do a search (Google, Yahoo, etc.) for some terms in your past post and see if it turned up some cached copies of your post. For example for this blog, I did a search for "how to add addsense to your blog" and the result was this:

Blogger for Dummies: How to add AdSense to your blogHow to add AdSense to your blog. First, you must have an AdSense account. If you don't have one, click on the button on the sidebar to the right that says ...
bloggerfordummies.blogspot.com/2006/03/how-to-add-adsense-to-your-blog.html - 21k - Cached - Similar pages


Note that it is a cached copy and not the current corrupted copy. Copy what you need from this cached copy. If it is something in the template, do a View>Page Source to get the template. You cannot copy the whole of the source codes to paste into your template as it also contain the codes for your post/s. Only can only copy the relevant part of the source codes (for example, customization such as links) to make easy a transition from a corrupted or accidentally deleted template to a new template.

Alternatively, you may type in the full url into the search box and it should turn up most of your posts.

If you can't find any cached copies in the search engines, another place to try is the Wayback Machine.

Related posts:
How to recover deleted post (updated)
Recover or restore accidentally deleted blog

Book for Dummies: Blogging for Dummies

Sidebar pushed to the bottom of the page

(For an updated version of this post, go to Sidebar slide to the bottom of the page: What to do?

For an example of how I go about trying to solve this problem, go to Trouble shooting sidebar sliding to the bottom of the page problem. An example)

A frequent complaint of bloggers is that the sidebar (profile, links, etc.) is pushed to the bottom of the page. This is a very common problem and may occur when viewed with both Firefox and Internet Explorer, or it may be OK with Firefox but not OK with Internet Explorer. This is usually caused by some content such as photo, table or long link exceeding the width of the content or sidebar column. Sometimes it is caused by incorrect coding such as missing or mismatched tags. Rat reported that once it was caused by a closing comment tag --> that had no opening comment tag <-- (HTML tags come in pairs, opening tag and closing tag). Look for these and correct it, and the problem should go away. (If you want to familiarise yourself with HTML, a good place to learn is online at W3schools.)

Other things you can try is to do some detective work. Think back to what you did before it happened. Undo that and see if that helped.

Another way to try to solve the problem is to change the width of the content and sidebar (the total width must not be less than the sum of the two). Look for these block of codes

/* Header
----------------------------------------------- */
@media all {
#header {
width:660px;
margin:0 auto 10px;
border:1px solid #ccc;
}

and

/* Content
----------------------------------------------- */
@media all {
#content {
width:660px;
margin:0 auto;
padding:0;
text-align:left;
}

For the minima template, change width:660px; to for example width:800px;

Then look for

#main {
width:410px;
float:left;
}
#sidebar {
width:220px;
float:right;
}

and change the widths to, for example, width:500; and width:270; respectively (note that they total up to less than 800).

Preview and see if the changes are what you want. If so, save the template.

Always remember to backup your template before you fiddle with it.

The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaing Your Blog

Blogger for Dummies is now 3-column

Update 4 November 2006: For those looking for 3 column template for Blogger beta, please refer to post
Blogger Beta: 3 column template
More new Blogger (formerly beta) templates modified by Stavanger
New Blogger template for posting large photos, etc.

(note: Blogger for Dummies went back from 3 column to 2 column is back to 3 column again. See updates below.)

Finally made the switch to a 3-column Minima template for the blog, curtesy of Meneer Thur. I think it is much better now, but am worried about those with small screen. Will appreciate you leaving your reaction to this change in the comments section. There was a small initial snag. The content of the first post was way down from the post title. To solve this little snag, go to SETTINGS > FORMATTING and set the "Enable Float Alignment" to no. When the setting for the "Enable float alignment" was set to NO, the problem went away.

If you want to have a 3 column template too, you can get it from here: Thur's" Template. Just download the template you like and replace your current template with it . (This is an easy way for you to add a third column to a 2 column template. For those using the more common Blogger template where there are lots of blank space on both sides of the screen, this is also an easy way to get rid of the blank spaces.) Don't forget to save your old template before you do the replacement. In addition to acting as a backup in case anything goes wrong, you can also copy things like links, codes, etc, to paste into your new template. Doing this has saved me some work in changing over to the 3-column template, and also quite a bit of work when I decided to change back to the 2-column format. If you want to roll your own, you can try to follow Meneer Thur's 3-column template tutorial.

Update: 9.4.06

Got 1 negative feedback against a few positive ones. Then got a tip from Semavi Lady that one could temporarily resize window by typing "javascript:top.resizeTo(800,600)" into the location bar. Tried it and it worked like a breeze. Only problem, the result in 800x600 screen resolution was horrible. The sidebars width were unaffected, and the content column was narrowly squeezed in between the 2 still wide sidebars. Statistics says visitors to my sites with 800x600 res. was still between 10 to 20%. I sadly made the decision to revert back to the less desirable 2-column template. Sigh!!!

If you want to see for yourself how a 3 column blog with Thur's Minima clone, surf over to Digital Camera - choosing and caring for your digital camera. Type javascript:top.resizeTo(800,600) to view it in a 800x600 window.

Update: If you check the 3 column blog above and resize to 800x600, I think you wouldn't like it because the main column get squeezed into a very narrow column. I have modified Thurs template by making the sidebar width a bit narrower. When done, the blog when resized to 800x600 resolution doesn't look so bad. Refer to this post: Blogger template tutorial - 3 column template

UPDATE 2 November 2006: Blogger for Dummies is back to 3 column again. This is because I found a way to make the blog acceptable for those with 800x600 screen resolution. See post Blogger template tutorial: 3 column template (close new window to get back to this page.

Also, for those who have migrated to Blogger Beta, see this post: Blogger beta: 3 column template (close new window/tab to get back to this page)


Books from Amazon

Blogging: Genius Stragies for Instant Web Content by Biz Stone, former Senior Specialist on the Google Blogger team
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