How to Choose a Blogger Template for Your Personal Blog


We are truly blessed to be living in a period where beautiful, easy-to-install, responsive templates are just waiting to be personalized. It’s not hard to find a free template that meets all of the criteria. In fact, you'll find hundreds for Blogger.

If you search for the best Blogger template, you’ll find everyone has their own version of what they like. And every year new templates are being introduced to the market. The trends of last year may be the bug of today. So how do you know which one is for you?


Think mobile first

When you’re laying out your blog content on a desktop or a laptop and everything looks perfect, think of your audience. Chances are they’re not going to be looking at the desktop version. They’ll be checking it out on their phones!

Before you choose a template, always check how the blog will look like on popular devices. Really check it firsthand to know what you’ll be dealing with. Look out for the usual irks (err, irksomenesses):

  • 'Subscribe' text goes over the subscribe button. On occassions, the subscribe text is cut off due to awkward positioning on the bottom of the page. 

  • Menu looks out of place when truncated, but even uglier when clicked. The mobile burger menu—the three stacking stripes on the top of the page—that summarizes your blog’s menu is already looking out of place. (I mean, a burger?!) Sometimes these templates make the content of the menu look even more gruesome, with long arrows, or alienating question marks.

  • One of the article cards doesn’t fit. Not a big deal if you can live with one odd card, but it won’t hurt to get it fixed, don’t you think?

  • Photos that don’t fit the post area. 

  • Text over image looking clumsy or cut-off.

  • Widget contents are a little bit to the right or to the left. Not centered. Sometimes you can fix this by manually centering the div, but other times.. meh..

  • Article thumbnails looking rather skewed. It gets even more frustrating when it’s your profile pic that is stretched.

  • Social media share button behaviour on mobile. Sometimes they don’t align, or one button differs in size when you install a developer script, etc. 

  • Slideshow not working!

    You can check the way a template looks on various types of gadgets with the help of tools such as Responsinator. It’ll show you how responsive your site will look on popular devices. Just copy and paste the link to your blog on the Responsinator.

    If your blog doesn’t look good on a mobile phone, then forget it. All the parallax scrolling and the nifty slider won’t mean a thing if the images don’t even fit the screens or the text area cut off in a weird way...


    Remember why you started

    An academic blog would certainly look and feel different from an e-commerce website selling weight-loss products online. Are you aiming for a personal blog? An eclectic one? More of an artistic self-expression, political-dissent, not-for-profit blogging project? Just remember these goals when going through all those beautiful themes.


    Focus on your images (or lack of them)

    Having high-resolution, full-size photos on your site is a must for visual impact. It is a known fact that blog posts with visuals get more reads and more shares (HubSpot, 2020). Research studies have also shown that people are finding it harder and harder to recall information from text alone. People have the ability to recall up to 65% of the visual content that they see almost three days later.

    Posts that consist of only texts are like postcards without stamps. Even if you’ve got the address right, the message doesn’t get delivered.


    Understand the features

    When using a free template, some features might not be available. If you want them, you probably would have to get a paid version. Fortunately, most Blogger themes today are already designed with mobile in mind, are SEO-friendly, with stylish widgets, and are minimal or clean. However, before you invest hours and hours customizing your blog template, why not sort through the features?

    List down features that your template must have. For example, if you want to showcase your work, then you need the grid style feature. If your blog will be focusing on lifestyle and interior design, find a template that has large header images or hero images. If you’re going to be mostly selling your artwork, find one that is shopping cart ready.


    Plan your widgets efficiently

    Let’s take a look at the standard profile widget. An about me section is vital to create a sense of community and to establish readership. However, when someone opens your blog on a mobile, your profile widget is not going to be the first thing they see. In fact, that widget will come very, very low at the bottom, after the last article on the homepage.

    Sidebar widgets are pretty special. Blogger has every imaginable widget type you want already built-in. Plus, you can customize the HTML/JavaScript widget into anything you wish. So don’t just get the widgets that everybody else has, think about your own style. Think about your blogging goals and purposes.

    When you plan your widgets, consider the experience you want your readers to go through. Template designers suggest choosing only 3 to 8 sidebar widgets. So maybe you don’t need a profile sidebar widget after all.

    But your template could also come with an under post widget area. This is a nice addition to organize all your lists and keep things in healthy clusters. In some rare cases, you’ll also see designs that make use of the left sidebar widgets.


    Aim for the ‘professionally designed’ look

    We’re hoping that people aren’t judging books by their covers, but people have eyes. If your website is poorly designed, people will be able to tell. A professionally designed site is not just beautiful but also functional.

    If you want readers to actually read your blog on their mobiles, according to Google’s Material Design and iOS styling standards, you should keep the body fonts at least 16px, the button texts 14px and error messages/labels at 12px.

    Very often these labels can be small text that is kept in uppercase for increased visual weight. Meanwhile, headings should at least be 20px and up. You might want to tweak the codes a little to get the font sizes right. This process will take some time.
       

    Social media feed

    I position this way down on the list of things to consider but for you, this could come first. You can add as many social media icons as you want to your blog and people would still not see them. This is why you need a template that has a place for your feeds.

    Having your social media feed on your blog will spike your audience’s interest. If they see that you’re into health and nutrition from your Instagram feed, then they might want to follow you and interact with you there too. When they see your entertaining tweets, they’ll consider connecting with you on Twitter.  They’ll want to collaborate with you on Pinterest if you share the same mood in artboards.

    This is a personal choice, but having at least one social media feed displayed on your blog can help build your social media following. Which one? Choose one where your readers are spending most of their time at.

       

    Switching it up

    If you’re feeling quite adventurous, you can also try out a few free themes before actually paying to get the bottom credits removed. You can take a deep breath because thankfully Blogger doesn’t take much time to set up. 

    People are getting things up and running in just 15 minutes and without paying a dime.

    You don’t really need to pay for anything if you’re using a free Blogger template. Using a paid theme doesn’t mean you should purchase a new domain either. Having a .blogspot.com is already something to be proud of.


    To sum up, you're free...

    • to choose a Blogger template that suits your personal blog's purpose and goals. Some might find it hard to make a decision based on looks alone, but we hope our pointers have helped you in staying focused on what matters. 

    • to make changes to your template's codes, widgets, header area, basically every part of your blog even if you're using a free template. But there are limitations.

    • to pay for a  template you like and have the footer credit removed or customized. If you have a template installed already and just realized that something needs to change, you can follow our guide to switching templates here, or learn how to make the necessary adjustments in more detail here. 

    • to use and modify Blogger's built-in templates using available tools like Dreamweaver, Inuit, or Artisteer. 

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