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Monday, March 12, 2007

A Prettier Blog (continued)

THE LAST TIME I POSTED, we were taking a tour of Blogger's options for making your blog more attractive. To rejoin the tour, log into the account you established on Blogger and find yourself at your dashboard. While we're here, let's take a quick detour to that upper right-hand corner and click on "edit profile." This area gives you an array of options for describing yourself to readers of your blog; unless you've already decided that you don't want to have any information about yourself on your blog, it's worth taking some time with this section in order to make sure that it represents you as you want to be represented. Pay particular attention to the text you write in the "About Me" section, as this will be seen by every visitor who goes to your blog.

OK, now, go back to the dashboard, find the blog you want to work on, and click on "layout." This takes you to the "page elements" page, a page full of boxes. At the top of the page is a box called "Navbar." This is the bar that runs across the very top of the page, containing the Blogger logo and a search box. If you click on "edit," a window will appear that will allow you to change the color of this bar.

Immediately below the Navbar box is a box containing the name of your blog followed by "Header." Click on "edit," and a window will appear containing the title of your blog and the descriptive information that can appear under the title. This is your chance to change this information if you're not entirely happy with what you decided earlier. (If you want to change the appearance of this section, you'll have to go to the "colors and fonts" page. I talked about that in a previous post.)

Back to the page elements page: On the right side of the page elements page is a column of boxes. The top one is "Add a Page Element." This takes you to a window with a lot of options--too many to explore today. However, here are some that are worth looking at right away:

  • "Add a picture" will allow you to upload a digital photo from your hard drive if you happen to have a photo you want to use. (Of course, you'll need to know where the photo is located on your hard drive. I can talk more about that some other time.) This photo will always be displayed at the top of your blog, so be sure it's a photo you like and that you think your readers will enjoy seeing more than once.
  • Another option on this page is "text." This allows you to write some text that will be permanently displayed on your blog. This is useful if you would like to explain what your blog is about or tell your readers any other information that might not be covered in the "About Me" section of your blog.
  • "Links" and "lists" allow you to add lists of anything you like. Because I have other blogs, I like to offer a list of my other blogs with links so that people can check them out. You might prefer to list your favorite books. It's up to you.

If you make changes in these elements and save them, when you return to the dashboard you'll see that they've been added to the boxes on your page elements page. You can now move these items around: Click on the item you want to move, hold down the left key on your mouse, move the item to where you want it, and then release the key. (This is called "drag and drop.") I like to put the photo at the top of the column followed by some text explaining what this blog is about.

The page elements page also allows you to change how your blog archive will be set up (I left it the way Blogger had it), and if you click on "About Me" you can change your profile or even decide not to show it at all.

Note that you don't have to place all your page elements down the right-hand side of the page. Blogger also gives you the option of putting page elements down at the bottom of the page.

Finally, if you click on "edit Blog posts," you can customize the way your posts appear.

Now you have a blog that has been customized to suit you!

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