One that I recently enjoyed watching rebrand and update was Liz Morrow's blog Delightfully Tacky. But switching over to a new template can be annoying without planning ahead and that's what this week's Hypertext Helpline is all about. And, obviously, I just did a redesign myself (and am still cleaning things up, urgh). There is coding involved, so this is totally relevant!
This is for Blogger blogs, I will be doing a Hypertext Helpline on WordPress themes as well.
UPDATING YOUR BLOGGER THEME
Maintenance mode or using a different, "private" blog to tweak things
This is a trick to work around the fact that Blogger blogs don't have a maintenance mode option. That's when you can have a page come up to tell people loading up your website that it's under construction and they won't be able to view any content until everything is ready to launch.
In order to do this, it's best to create a secondary "test" blog that is private and can't be searched by Google.
This is the "test blog" for Nerdjoy and you can see in the Privacy line that the test blog is not listed on Blogger or visible to search engines. This is crucial as duplicate content can lower your score with Google and make you lose page views.
You can upload your new theme on the test blog as well as all of your content from your blog to see how things fit into one another. To download your content, go to Settings --> Other --> Export blog and then vice versa on the test blog.
Think of this secondary blog as your sandbox. Try out a new menu set-up, test out HTML, and make sure your new template is working correctly! Get everything how you want it or within the general area.
Transfer over theme without content
When you've got everything how you want it to look on the test blog, it's time to download everything except for the content. You already have your blog posts on your main blog and you just want to update the template. To do this, simply go to Template and in the upper right corner is the Back/Restore button where you can download the full template.
Simply upload your new template on your real blog. For the best results, download your old theme (just in case!) and then install your brand new template. This is where the fun begins.
Fix any minor issues such as formatting, buttons, etc.
Quality testing is always happening when it comes to blogs, so give your blog another look to make sure everything is good. Here's a checklist:
- Remember to update any links that might have broken in the transfer process and check all of your buttons, search bar, email, and so on. Test, test, and then test some more!
- Delete duplicate sections in the sidebar, header, footer, and even body. This may happen when you go from one template to another.
- Clickable buttons might not transfer properly but thankfully you can copy & paste the HTML from the test blog to the real blog (just remember to link everything to the right places!).
- Images also might reformat themselves, so try to go through your posts at some point to check up on them and re-align, re-size, and so on.
And that's it! What about the theme itself? To cut down on time, I buy my themes from designers. The last two have been from 17th Avenue Designs and Feeric Studios. Some others to really consider are Minty Fox Designs, xoSarah Shop, or going through Theme Forest.
What are some of your favorite types of blogger templates? Also, if you have any questions, you can find me on Twitter or comment below!