Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Manipulating the Blogger Template

Question: How does someone learn a new skill?
Answer: By asking someone who already knows.

This post will become a repository of blogger.com template tricks for the novice blogger user. For the unwashed few who have chosen to remain with blogger, these tricks allow us to add function without a lot of effort. Since I started this to answer questions, that's how I'll format this post.

Q1. How do I add a blogroll to my blog?
A1. If you know a bit of HTML, you can simply add the links into the template. An easier way is to use the Blogrolling.com service. They have a free version that allows you to maintain one blogroll. So let's add a Blogrolling.com blogroll to your blogger sidebar.

First, you will need to sign up at blogrolling.com, create your blogroll and add links to it. Then you need to generate the blogroll javascript. Copy the entire script (using ctrl-c) and paste it into notepad until you're ready to paste it into your template.

Next you want to decide where to place the blogroll. Down at the bottom of your template, there is a comment that talks about the "sidebar." This is everything that is on the sidebar of your site. On your template, I would suggest that you place the blogroll code between your "Archives" and the "I Power Blogger" banner.

Now, we will create the blogroll titlebar. Copy one of the sidebar header lines. If you use the "Archive" header, the line starts with "h2..." and contains the "Archives" in it. Paste the copy just above the line that says 'id="powered-by"'. Change the word "Archives" in your copied line to "Blogroll". This is your blogroll title bar.

Now it's time to paste in the blogroll code. Go back to notepad, copy the blogroll code and paste it under the blogroll title bar. That should do it.

Many people want to add more than one blogroll (in order to categorize the links into groups). Blogrolling.com charges a small fee for the premium service but it allow you to maintain up to 9 blogrolls. You can then add each blogroll javascript under its own header in your sidebar.

Give these instructions a shot. If you get stuck, feel free to leave a comment or email me. I will help when I can.