Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Adding a Blog Background

No need to settle for a boring blog!  There are a lot of free blogger "backgrounds" out there, as well as free "templates."   First, you should have an idea of what the difference is between the two.

A template has computer language code that determines all of the various features of your blog--font type and color, sizes of columns and various features.  Blogger has several "templates" built in that you can choose from. Check them out in your design portion of your blog:
(Click on pictures to make them bigger and easier to see!)

Even within these templates, you can "tweak" various features, like font color, background color, column width etc.  It is worth taking a little time playing around with these features. 

With the blogger templates provided, you can:
  1. Leave it as it is
  2. Tweak it using the design center
  3. Get rid of it altogether by purchasing a new template or downloading a free template.
  4. Use "backgrounds" to enhance the template.
Today we're talking about using a background to enhance your template.  One of my favorite sites to get a new background is  Cutest Blog on the Block.  I'm not affiliated with them; my experience has just been really good with them.  You can also google "free Blogger backgrounds" and come up with site after site of them.  I've also seen cute backgrounds from Shabby Blogs.  Do you have a personal favorite?  Let me know, and I'll compile a page with them.

The way that backgrounds work is, the designer provides you with some computer code and generally, all you do is paste it in to an html gadget in your blog.  Sometimes, the designer will recommend a particular Blogger template to use it with, such as Picture Window.  Let's see an example.

I've gone over to the Shabby Blogs site and found a cute new background for a wedding blog for my daughter.  I've chose the Southern Girl design:

 I click on the "grab the code" icon underneath the design and up pops this window:



Right click on the code in the box and choose "select all":        

Then, right click again and choose "copy."


Now, head over to your blog design center, and choose gadget:

Paste your code in an html gadget:

Click save and voila!

Troubleshooting--what if your blog doesn't look like you expect it to?

  1. Make sure you are using the recommended Blogger template for your background. If you go back to the fourth picture in this tutorial, you can see that ShabbyBlogs recommends Minima or Picture Window with this background.  
  2. Try playing with the design features in your template--I almost always go in and change the font colors or other little features to make the blog look like I want.
  3. Delete the gadget you just created to return your blog to its original state.

If you have a suggestion for an upcoming tutorial, leave me a comment!

My next tutorial will be on--adding a semi-customized Header using a free editing program called Paint.net.

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