Templates: Choices to make


Once you thought about the content of your blog, it is time for choosing the right template. This step is important not only because it tells a lot about who you are and what you want to convey to your readers but also because you need to think about which one is most convenient to your needs: Do you want a two-column blog, one with three columns or even more? There are in fact three options to choose from:

1-Templates that come with blogger: They can be accessed from the site’s interface: From the layout tab, you can opt to pick a new template from a number of available ones. Here are the pros and cons of this option:

Pros Cons
  • You don’t need to be a web savvy to implement them. Choosing a new template is easy and almost intuitive.
  • They are simple and you can maintain, change and add widgets to them as you wish.
  • They can serve as a good starting point if you intend to “manually” change the look of your blog later.
  • They often lack sophistication and look plain and boring.

2-Templates that one can download free from other sites: There are a couple fo great websites that allow bloggers to download from a variety of awesome templates. You can strat by having a look at Amanda Fazani’s bloggerbuster which displays 125 awesome templates along with the links to download them. Better still is another post by the same Amanda Fazani that talks about the top ten sites that offer free blogger templates .

Pros Cons
  • They look awesome.
  • There is a wide variety of templates to choose from.
  • They are free.
  • They are sometimes hard to control, maintain and less prone to adding widgets.


bloggingtips has a lot of tips for bloggers.

3-The start-from-scratch approach: If you are not satisfied with the existing templates and you want to have a “personalized” look for your blog, you may try to change the whole look of your blog by changing its layout, colors, fonts, menus, etc..

Pros Cons
  • You have almost total control over the look of your blog. You can add menus, tabs, scripts, etc.. The limit is your imagination.
  • You need to master or at least have a basic knowledge of Html, CSS and maybe even JavaScript and Ajax.
  • It is time-consuming.

Some basic knowledge of Html and CSS is usually enough. In fact, you don’t want mess up your code while trying to add a hack or workaround. Here are a excellent and easy tutorials to begin with : html basics , CSS basics from w3schools and Besides, there is no need to reinvent the wheel every time you want to add a feature to your blog. A Google search about free code, menus, cool buttons is often all you need. These are must-see sites that both inspire by their look and help with their content and tutorials: smashingmagazine (fonts, turorials, css tips, freebies, graphics, etc..) , webdesignerwall ( awesome tutorial about css menus) and noupe (check great tutorial about a sexy drop down menu with Jquery and CSS).

Side note: Jquery and JavaScript are great for adding nice features to websites that are otherwise not possible but they have client side browser limitations and they may not work on some browsers by default unless support for it is enabled (which is not always the case as users may keep it turned off). For examples and best practices, you may have a look at this article on smashingmagazine.


WebDesignWall: cool tutorials and web design resources.

Next post: Widget power


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