Having been hijacked into switching to New-Blogger a few weeks back, I’d been toying with the idea of upgrading to their new template system. The draw had been the “Labels” option, which wasn’t available on Old Blogger.
My blog has always been a rather eclectic mix of posts and different visitors tend to be looking for different things. I have those who relate to the Down’s Syndrome posts, others who like the fatherhood stuff, some who respond much more to my struggles to figure out my existence in the universe and others who just have a fetish for an English accent and get excited when I do an audio blog.
A while back I thought I would respond to this by categorising my blog posts and using drop-down menus for people to find something of interest. However, in order to update the menus I had to periodically go into the template and get my hands dirty in the HTML and the whole thing was messy and time consuming.
New-Blogger’s Labels system puts an end to all that. I can label each post as I write it and it will automatically get added to the appropriate category on the sidebar. However, in order to gain this useful function for my site I first had to choose a new template to customise. Five-minute job, I thought. 2 hours later I finally had it looking the way I wanted.
The problem with choosing a new template is you lose anything you’ve done to customise your site, and in my case, this was rather a lot. In fact I had little idea just how much customising I’d done over the last 18 months or so until I had to rebuild the site.
My page is wider than the standard template, for example, and of course I created my own header. I had my links ordered in a particular way and extras like Sitemeter, Technorati and award banners added to the sidebar. I’d also changed the link colours and put in Google Ads in the vague hope of generating a few pennies (about $11 in 16 months at the last count).
Each bit took longer and was harder to change than I’d expected, but I think you’ll see the results speak for themselves…
Which of course they don’t. I’ve ended up putting in hours of work to make the blog look essentially the same as it did before I upgraded it.
Anyway, the one change I wanted is now there. If you look over to the right you’ll see a section in the sidebar called “Find your favourite topics”. I doubt whether it will be used much but it does give new visitors an at-a-glance idea of what my blog is about to help them decide whether it’s worth investigating further or just clicking on to Next Blog