View Full Version : Just built a skin using the new Blogger

04-09-2007, 01:28 PM
It took me several days of coding and tweaking, but I finally completed creating a new skin for my blogger blog (http://EnvironmentalChemistry.blogspot.com) so that my blog looks like my main environmental chemistry site (http://EnvironmentalChemistry.com). That was really challenging. I'll probably never get it to validate to W3C specifications, but it does display correctly in Firefox, Opera, IE6 & IE7, so I figure I'm pretty safe.

Overall the new Blogger development tools are pretty cool, but I would have liked more control over some things. Better documentation would have been really helpful.

If anyone is going to attempt to build their own skin for Blogger, I would really advise to make sure that you have upgraded your templates to the new Blogger first. Yes you will lose your old modifications but working with the new template design tools is really critical.

Oh one really cool (if overloaded) design feature I have in my site is my JavaScript based horizontal drop down menu. This gives me the ability to provide a common menuing system between my main site, my blog and partner sites that can be updated from one point. What is really cool is that even though it is a JavaScript based script, I programmed it to pull the last eight blog posts via RSS and add them to my Blog drop down menu. Thru some really careful coding I was able to get this menu down to just over 8kb (when transmitted as GZip) even though it has around 500 links so despite its comprehensive nature the menu adds very little extra overhead to the download requirement for my site. Basically the idea for the menu was to be a universally accessible site map that only got loaded once per visit. Of course I still use a traditional HTML linking structure via a vertical menu on pages for SEs and non-JavaScript users.

04-09-2007, 05:10 PM
Thats pretty cool Ken :)

I haven't had a good look at blogger yet - mainly because I wasn't aware you could make your own skins... I thought you had to use the supplied templates.

Can I ask why you choose to use blogger rather than a Wordpress install?

04-09-2007, 05:39 PM
Thanks agua,

There was no major reason I choose Blogger, just a few small ones:

1) I didn't want to have to install something on my server (e.g. risk security breaches);

2) I wanted my blog on a separate domain;

3) I wasn't really sure I wanted to do a blog at first so I didn't want to spend too much effort on it at first;

4) I don't need to worry about allocating server resources.

I could put the blog on my own domain (e.g. blog.environmentalchemistry.com) and still host it on Blogger, I just don't know if I should make the transition or not.

04-09-2007, 07:52 PM
Thanks Ken - I think I'm going to use this method on my latest project

04-10-2007, 10:47 AM
Looks good, but I would have definitely installed it locally.

04-10-2007, 11:26 AM
Looks good, but I would have definitely installed it locally.

There is an option to put the blog on one's own domain without having to install it locally. I've set up http://blog.EnvironmentalChemistry.com for this purpose, which should take effect by tomorrow. Blogger will forward requests to the blog's old domain to its new domain. It is a very simple change and I still get the benefits of Blogger actually hosting and managing the blog's infrastructure.

Essentially this will allow me to control the domain name and migrate my blog later if I need to without significant loss of "link history".

04-10-2007, 01:50 PM
Nice work, it fits in perfectly with your site. I didn't realize blogger let you do that with using your own domain, interesting to know. Do you plan on monetizing mainly from the blog itself or by referring to the rest of the site (I guess both.).

04-10-2007, 02:34 PM
It would take a fantastic success of the blog to become a primary source of revenue. My goal is for it to be a promotional tool to help expand the popularity of my main site. I'm also hoping it will become a significant source of supplemental traffic.

At the very least, this provides a place for quick and dirty "off-topic" stuff and user comments.