Thursday, December 3, 2009

Blogging Tip #1

My first post was on December 2, 2008. Since then, I’ve fumbled my way through learning a few gadgets and tools that have made it better and easier to communicate with my followers and readers.

Still, I have so many unanswered questions, and I know there are more possibilities out there that I haven’t even imagined that will provide me with more blogging fun.

My question for this post: How did you decide “the look” of your blog background and template?

Actually, I have more questions.


I Googled “blog backgrounds” and “blog templates” and now I have a slight headache. And, my REALLY slow computer is not helping.

Let’s see…I found “The Cutest Blog on the Block.”
I found a “Photoshop” tutorial.
I found “Hot Bliggity Blog.”
I found “Scrap My Blog.”
I found “Blogger Templates.”

How do I decide?

Is it all safe to use?

And, how do you all get those big, beautiful photos on your home page?

I’d been thinking about a possible background change for a while, when one day, I pop in to visit my blogging pal, Menopausal New Mom, and there’s her new colorful caricature blog expressing a piece of her life. It made me smile.

I wondered, “Is it time for me to make a change?”

So, I asked her (blogged her) to find out how she’d done it. She replied, "Look for Mary’s button on my page."


“What’s that?”

After scanning “her page” for two minutes, I see it – right there in front of my face. It’s “Blog Rock by Mary.”

I head over to her sight.

But what do I ask for? Hmmmm…

So, until I make up my mind, I’ve decided to change to plain ol’ Blogger supplied Minima Lefty. Oddly, I like it.

How does a blog design impact your decision to visit and read the blog?
And...I'm all ears to "hear" what you used to create your blog "look."
Continue to comment on "hot topics" Holiday Weight, TV Commercials, or any other posts. Comment notification allows me to see all new comments.


Lee said...

Absolutely not! Oh, stop by my place on sunday because I have something for you!

Unknown said...

I love blogs that are easy to read and navigate. The highly decorated ones don't necessarily mean that they are better than the more simpler ones. I don't have the time to change my template often so I look for one that I can be satisfied with for a bit.

Tabor said...

I think that a blog design should be useful and not take to long to load. Those fancy blogs with bells and whistles can be most distracting from what you want to say.

Joanne said...

I cast my vote for simple. The more stuff on the blog page, the more distracting it seems, and takes longer to load. Let your words shine :)

Kasie said...

i like simple.
i use blogspots template #897. then i tweak the colors in the "fonts and colours" tab until they are the way I want them.

if you use a template from another site like "cutest blog on the block" you would just grab the html code from the template that you like & insert it in a widget gadget ("add gadget" link on your page elements tab).

For my header I've recently decided to just use my own cropped photographs w/ added text (using photoshop or piknic website)
there is another really cool website called "scrapblog". you can use that site to make your header by creating picture collages, different textures, text & layers etc. (much more user friendly then Photoshop)

I will email you button instructions (I had a friend email them to me bc I was completely lost). I like the button because friends can add it to their sites & it's a quick link over to mine. Easy way to share your site.

ultimately the great thing about a blog is you can make it anyway you want it, write anything you want to... make it your own.
it's yours... so create it to fit your own personality. That's what makes it great... no matter what how it end up looking.

Kasie said...

can't find your email.
if you send it to me I will forward button instructions...

yonca said...

I love the blogs that i can read easily. I don't look for too much decoration or color.Have a great weekend.

Cindy said...

I went for a background that reminded me of a mocha latte for the winter months. I go back and forth between using a plain white template or using something fancier. What I have now is somewhere between fancy and plain. I do want my blog to be easy to read. If a blog takes too long to load or has too many distractions I'm less likely to read it.

Menopausal New Mom said...

Hi Anita, I love the butterfly wings in your photo. If you seriously want a new look, I'd work in butterflies but really, your blog is fine.

Honestly, I look for content when blog surfing. A blog can have all the bells and whistles but if the content sucks, I probably won't go back.

Truthfully, when I see you've posted in my blogroll, I always make a point to come and see what you're up to.

If you really, really, want a change, contact Mary, she will send you a questionnaire to learn more about you and your blogging style to come up with a theme or look for you and she is very open to working with you and incorporating your ideas. She rocks!

Neuffj said...

I am a huge fan a simple design. As a blog designer myself I love the streamline look, but most opt for the bells and whistles. I agree that easy navigation is a must!
The real reason I came is because, I saw you commented on The Mother Loads new Blog Design, and I wanted to tell you to come and enter our Giveaway! You might just win. 14 giveaways total!!!

Anita said...

LEE, I'll stop by on Sunday!

CHOCOLATE, Easy to read is good...I agree.

TABOR, I agree. I blog because I want to hear what people have to say.

JOANNE, you're right...I have noticed that some blogs take longer to load. And when I'm eager to read, I do get a little impatient.

KASIE, thanks for all the details! I am going to experiment when I get a block of time to do so.
(You should have an email from me.)

Anita said...

YONCA, you and the others are voting mostly for simple. Thanks for adding your opinion.
And a great weekend back to you!

CINDY, I like the fact that you know how to easily change your blog depending on your mood. I'll get there - eventually. :)

MENONEWMOM-DEB, Butterflies...that's a thought. :)
Thanks for the motivation. And, I'm especially glad that you sticking with me! :)
I'm definitely keeping Mary in mind.

NEUFFJ, thanks for stopping by and for adding your opinion. I'll stop by your blog too.


MissKris said...

A wonderful site is: That's where I found my last template as well as the one I recently formatted. They have THOUSANDS that are compatible to Blogger and they're very easy to follow.

Blog appearance for the most part doesn't affect me one way or another but there are 3 things that will turn me off from visiting again. One is music that pops up out of nowhere and if I don't turn off the volume will scare the living daylights out of me when I do a lot of my visiting around 3:30-4 in the morning. Another is ads and/or too much junk on the sidebars...very distracting. And the worst culprit is the choice of font versus background color. With my older eyes, white on black is is any pale font no matter WHAT the background color. I had someone point out to me a long time ago when I was using white on black - but with a larger-sized font so I thought it was ok - for awhile. I wanted to become a member of Elderbloggers and she kindly told me that until I changed my font/background combo she wouldn't list me because any blogs she highlights have to be senior-friendly. At first I was slightly offended, but then I got to thinking about it and could see her point.

OK...and now I'll get around to why I came here in the first thank you for the comment you left concerning my poem "I Tell You". Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me what you thought.

gayle said...

I am so new to this blogging that I can't give much advice...I still don't know really what this "button" stuff is and the awards?? I love your blog just do what you like.

Nakamuras on Saipan said...

Hey you can tell from my ever changing blog, I like it to reflect "me". I can spend hours (when I have the time)looking at different blogger backgrounds. I look for ones that give me a certain "feeling" that I feel is "me". But then again I am very artsy in everything I do. My friends often ask me to come and help "design on a dime" their living room or bedroom because I have a knack for creating "atmosphere". It sort of spills over into my blog backgrounds. I do consider my readers, so I try not to have anything too complicated-one that takes hours to load. Hummmm...did you ask about how we choose what to write...??I'll have to go back and reread your post...after I take a shower...brb...!

Hilary said...

I used Cutest Blog on the Block, but I'm not wedded to it. When I first started blogging (two years ago- gasp!), I kept it pretty simple and had one big picture. Now, I've got the current design, but I will probably change it again. I haven't found anything that I think is really "me". I don't like lots of ads and runners and banners. I want my readers ('cause you know I've got tons ;) to be able to read and enjoy. I will definitely check out your links and maybe give my blog a face-lift for the new year. You'll have to tell me your secret for having such an extensive following!

Anita said...

MISS KRIS, you're welcome...I really like the poem.

Thanks for recommending the website; I plan to experiment one day.
And I will keep in mind all the things you mentioned that you find annoying. It was very funny to me as I visualized what you were describing. :)

GAYLE, I know how you feel-all the things that bloggers are into. After a year, I still consider myself new too, but I'm learning. We'll both be pros...eventually. :)
I'm glad you like my blog. Thank you.

Anita said...

NAKAMURAS, yes I noticed the vibrant red! :) I like it.
And I do think that you and everyone else should create whatever it is that serves you and your purpose.
I didn't ask how bloggers chose what they write, but that's a good idea. I may steal that one from you. :)

HILARY, You seem relaxed about your blog design, which is I think good.
I have learned a lot of "methods" to meet other bloggers, and I'm still learning and putting it all together. I'll have to tell you what I know, and we can discuss our opinions.


the mom said...

I like plain, easy blogs.
I love photographing, so blogs with photos - well taken, not well taken - add personality, I think.
Actually, I'll get back studying in January - Graphic Design, so you might soon see improvement in my blog, hihi.
And I have nothing to say about how to improve your blog technically, because there I'm way behaind.

Anita said...

THE MOM, thank you for adding your opinion.
Taking a graphic design class - How exciting!
And, I love photography too. I hope to get a new camera soon and learn to take better pictures.


Unknown said...

Here's a photo tip:
I load all my photography from flickr using the url there. I can upload any size instead of bloggers small, medium or large. That way my photos can be nice and big and not blur out. I hear you can do the same with PhotoBucket.

Julie Magers Soulen Photography
Blog of Note

Anita said...

JULIE, thank you - good tip! I am making notes from all advice I get, with hope and plans to use it soon.


Tracie said...

Mary did my blog, too. And honestly I had no idea what I wanted when I talked with her. I just threw out a few random phrases and she nailed it. She is awesome to work with.

Kate said...

Yes, it's difficult isn't it. I think I need to use more photos and stuff like that on my blog because it looks a bit same-y. On the other hand, putting my photos on my computer is always that one step too far in being organised. That's my ambition though!!

Anita said...

KYS, I'm seeing the style of Mary and it's shows her talent for expressing her clients needs. Who knows...I could be next. :) Thanks for letting me know that she did yours too.

KATE, I like your photo with the beautiful rainbow. :) but if you decide kto change it, I would underwtand your need for someting different.
All the aspects of blogging are time consuming, but it's worth it for those of us who need this form of expression. :)

Annie Z said...

I got my templates from a great site called Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates. The button for it is right down the bottom of my page. I think she does personal designs as well.