For Bloggers Using Blogger
Blogger is the platform bloggers and designers LOVE to hate.
I completely understand and acknowledge the cons of Blogger, as each platform has its own pros/cons, but I also understand why people love using it.
I offer it in my design packages as a choice for my clients based on their needs and make sure they can fully get the best use out of it. They, Google, are making changes to Blogger to make it more useful (they’ve been trolling a bit it seems) and on the design side, you can make it look like a “ not typical” Blogger. Before we go there, let's bust a few myths:
"You only get 1GB space for your photos."
Let's break this down-- Your photos, even at the biggest dimensions should be no more than 900kb, and that's big. Yes, it adds up, but I'm saying that to say you need A LOT of photos to use that much storage or have few really big files, which is unnecessary.
If that's still a concern, upload your photos to Google's new photo storage (you get 15GB of full resolution storage or unlimited high-quality storage), then add the link to each post. You can also do this with Flickr and Photobucket as well).
"Google owns your content."
Not any more than Tumblr owning your content if you use Tumblr, Wordpress (.com) owning your content if you're using Wordpress, etc, etc. And honestly, no one can be 100 percent sure that they own their content, no matter what platform they're using.
The way the Internet is governed, no one fully owns their content.
"Blogger will randomly delete your blog."
American Horror Story: Deletion of Blogs on Blogger. I've read a couple of posts on this, but Blogger isn't the only platform to do this, and I wish this would stop being a scare tactic to get people to switch. Understand, any platform can delete your blog/site if you've violated any terms and agreements. The stories I've read (two) seemed to be some copyright issue. Follow proper link back rules and get permission from photos you use and you should be fine. If they start going on a deleting spree, we'll revolt together. Avoid posting spam, malware or adware and you should be fine. If your blog gets unfairly deleted, submit a request and go from there.
Note, all platforms and hosting sites have tech issues that will give you a headache. It's just the way technology works.
"You won't be taken seriously."
Stop this. Stop this lie right now. You can be taken seriously as a blogger if you a) have great content, b) great design, and c) engaging with your audience. If you're serious about your business, people will notice. If it's designed right, people won't be able to tell what it's run on at first glance. Which leads me to...
"Design is limited."
It can or it cannot, depending on how in-depth you want to go in the back end. The good thing? With some basic knowledge of HTML/CSS, you don't have to be a developer to make some changes. There are a few things that can help you make your blog go beyond looking basic:
1. Get rid of the Blogger Navigation bar.
It’s ugly and doesn’t fit in with your blog’s design, I promise.
2. Utilize “Add CSS” in the advanced section.
Does CSS scare you? Don’t let it! You can do minor tweaks here and there to make your blog have a more refined and clean look to it. Here's a list of CSS codes to copy and paste.
3. Create your own color palette.
Once you choose which layout you want, it will customize a pallet based on your choice. Nix it and create your own. color.adobe.com (formerly Kuler) allows you to mess around and find which color combinations work best together with your main color.
4. Utilize transparency (.png) for your header.
When uploading your headers, use a png format. JPGs don’t support transparency, which is why there’s a white background. PNG allows the transparency, removing the white from the background. Don't worry, .pngs will not eat up your photo storage (what's the difference between a JPG and PNG?)
Header as a PNG
Header saved as a JPG
In the "layout" portion of the interface, you will see "Favicon." After you create a square image (usually a smaller version of your logo), select edit and upload it. Boom.
6. Stay away from script font in your posts.
When I browse bloggers sites (on Blogger) I see a lot of script font and it's distracting! Script is always tricky because few are legible AND not outdated, therefore killing your blog’s design. Save script for your logo and have a partnering sans serif instead.
7. Choose “yes” and custom for mobile.
Custom adapts your mobile template to your customization, so the feel carries out on mobile/tablet devices without extra coding.
8. Think symmetry and flow.
Bears repeating: content and design work together to keep your readers on your site. If there's no organization to your design process your site is a done deal. This isn’t just Blogger, but man, I’ve seen people not take care of their blogs just because it’s Blogger (so what’s the point). Absolutely not. That’s like, “well I’m just renting, not buying it.”