Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Redesign Your Blog #3: DEALING WITH PESKY HTML

First: PLEASE forgive me for not having continued this series until now. If I told you about my month of January, you would understand why I haven't blogged very much, but suffice it to say I have had a very busy and exhausting month.

Click to read PART ONE and PART TWO of the "Redesign Your Blog" series! This third and final post will deal with the html aspects of blog redesign, and will be fairly simple, as I'll try to just address the html issues you guys have asked about. At the end of the post, I've included a final list of all the links I've found helpful in doing my own blog redesigns.

***As I warned you before, please save your existing template in a word doc before you begin fiddling with it. Then you can play around all you want to and rest assured that if you mess it all up (which happens sometimes for us non-experts), you can go back to "normal" without any problems!***

BLOG BACKGROUND
In the last post (part two), we talked about some options for selecting a background design, or using a solid color for your background. Here is a great link that will show you how to use a background design and implement it into your blog design. It tells you specifically how to insert the saved graphic file into your template... If you'll scroll down, you'll see a headline that says "How to make an image repeat across the whole page (like wallpaper)"-- this section contains the exact instructions I followed to get this lovely brown graphic as a background on mine, so I know it works, at least in blogger format. Here's another how-to about backgrounds.

BLOG SIGNATURE
In the last post (part two), we also discussed how to design a nice little signature to wrap up each post you write. Blogging Basics 101 has a great post about how to add your blog signature into your html. This blog gives information about blogger, wordpress, and typepad, so check it out! It's very helpful and she tells you precisely how and where (in your html) to insert the file so that it will automatically show up on each post you write.

GENERAL TIPS ABOUT HTML
* Have fun trying out new colors using the html 6-digit color codes. Use the color thesaurus I've mentioned or your design program to select colors, and then play around with them-- there's a whole section of your html that controls the colors on your blog (background color, text colors, sidebar widget colors, etc.). You can play with these to your heart's content, and come up with some interesting combinations that will make your blog stand out. I think it's best and easiest to read a blog that has dark text with a white background... but you can play with yours and see what you like. The great thing about doing it yourself is that you don't have to stay committed to anything. If you don't like it, change it-- no harm, no foul!
* The more you play around (even in small ways) with your html, the more familiar you'll become with it. You'll start to notice patterns: how the lines end, how new sections are added in, what a widget portion of html looks like, etc. So keep looking at it, and as you increase your blog's visual appeal, you'll be adding to your own understanding of html. I've found this to be true, and I'll bet it will hold true for you too.

BLOG REDESIGN: HELPFUL LINKS


Finally, if there's something you want to know that I didn't answer here, you can always google it (of course), or check out Blogging Basics 101-- she has some great posts about design, html, graphics, and more. Hope this helps you put some finishing touches on the blog redesign you're doing... while this may not be comprehensive, I wanted to make it as simple and user-friendly (in non-expert language) as I could while still giving you the basics for a good redesign. I hope I've done that. If you have any big questions or see a huge gaping hole of something I didn't discuss, let me know- it may just be an oversight. (I've had the flu for over a week, had sick kids for 2 weeks before that, and just got a wisdom tooth pulled last night, so my body and mind aren't exactly working like normal!)

Blessings and Happy Blog Redesigning!

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