Howdie Lovelies, I am glad you all gathered here today for the next episode in my DIY Blog Design series. I know that you are all sitting at the edge of your seat to learn the real tricks, but before I even allow you to make any changes whatsoever I have to make sure you play safe.
So today is all about taking the necessary precautions in order to make sure you never ever have to be sorry about messing with your blog.
I know it is boring, but I do assure you, if you follow my advice there will come a time when you will want to drop down on your knees to thank me for saving your …
And if you are foolish and do not listen to me, you will be sorry. I know, I have been there…..
Back up your blog and template!!
Yes I mean you too! Listen to me here, this is important!!!!
You can make a copy of all your posts. That way, when and if someone highjacks your Google account or something of the sort and you cannot access your blog anymore – and yes that does happen! more often then you want to know -, you can start all over and your precious posts will not be lost. So back up your blog regularly. I would recommend at least once a month.
And your template needs to be saved regularly too. Your template is all the code that is used to make your blog look the way it looks. Even if you have not yet changed anything yourself to the code, you still need to back it up because all those choices you made when you first started working with your blog have been registered in that code.
I could tell you how to do this but smarter women have gone before me and explained it all in great detail:
- Donna from FunkyJunkInteriors did a full tutorial on how to back up your blog posts.
- Rita from the awesome photography blog The CoffeeShop Blog wrote a tutorial on how to back up your blog posts and your template.
Make a Print Screen
Ok we are home and craft bloggers here. And you all should know by know you should never start a makeover without a good before photo. And believe me it is fun to go back later and see how your blog has evolved. Now I know MAC users have some sort of neat special feature to make print screens, I envy you. But for the PC users who do not know how to do it. This is how I do it.
- Close up as many tool bars in your browser as possible ( in IE you can uncheck the toolbars under the menu Extra). You want your blog to really fill up your screen.
- Look for the key on your keyboard that says “Prnt Scrn”, the letters might be tiny but there will be a key (usually somewhere on the top or bottom rows). Hit it.
- Type Control C (as in the shortcut for the copy command)
- Go to programs and look for the program paint. It is usually in your folder with office accessories (where you can find your calculator and your game of solitary too). Open the program and type Control V (as in the shortcut for paste).
- There it is! Now you can save this file as a jpeg in any folder you choose to save it in. Done!
You know have a proper before picture. And while your at it make sure that your followers count is included in your picture, or make a note of it. Keeping tabs on a couple of statistics for your blog is also fun and shows you how you grow.
Make a test blog
Ok now we are getting somewhere. This is the first step to some real fun. You will want to try and test out lots of cool new things for your blog. But you do NOT want to test and play with the real thing. Create a play ground first where you can’t mess up. You all know how to create a blog, and the beauty of blogger is, that it allows you to make as many blogs as you would like. So go to your dashboard, click “ create blog” and make yourself a testblog. Mine is called Songbirdtestblog how original!
You can start all fresh with this blog and give it a whole new design, or you can upload your previously saved template (remember Number 1!) and start to change that.
Having a testblog has saved me many times over. Not only when I was messing with my blog design, but also when I had ‘special’ gimmicks in a post. I always try new stuff out on my test blog, including posting blog posts to it if I am trying to do something new (like adding a YouTube video) just to see whether it works like planned. And if I have changed my blog banner I always post it to my testblog first, so I can see if it looks like I wanted it to.
Streamline your profile
Now that you have a new testblog, you do not want to whole world to see how you are messing it up. So streamline your profile. Do this too if you have more than one active blog, please!!!
Thrust me it is easy. Log in to your blogger dashboard and look under your profile pic for ‘edit profile’
(My blogger settings are all in Dutch in this picture, sorry about that). So click on edit profile.
On the next page look for “ show my blogs” and then click on the blue link behind it “ Select blogs to display”. It will give you a list of your blogs, now unclick every blog that you don’t want people to find.
Ok, btw while you are on this page. Put a check mark into the box ‘show my email address’ and you will never be a <noreply.blogger> commenter again.
Important message for all multiple blog owners!!
Please, pretty please, if you have created a lot of blogs, do us commenters a favor and do NOT show all of you inactive blogs in your profile. So often I want to visit someone’s blog by clicking on their profile link in my comment section and I run into this 10 blog long list. Figuring which blog is the ‘active’ blog or the home décor blog can be so bothersome. Sometimes when I am really busy (thus in fact always) I just won’t bother figuring it out and leave.
And pretty pretty please, you can change the name of your blog. Make sure that the title you display distinguishes one blog from another. So if you have one active blog and one blog you have used for your links, or your awards or the photo’s of your dog, please let that be reflected in the title. It is completely safe to change that here in your settings, your blog address will not change!
Ok rant over.
Now people who visit you through your profile will not stumble upon your testblog. But the google robots still might and you don’t want that either. So from your dashboard go to ‘Settings’ – of your testblog – and right there on the first Basic tab change a few things.
Change the settings to NO for: “ Add your blog to our listings” , and to No for “ let search engines find your blog”.
Now you are safe. No one will find you. If you really want to make sure no one can read your testblog you could also go to the permissions tab and select “only blog authors can read this blog” .
Keep a log
Ok this last one isn’t necessarily a safety precaution, but just damn useful. Start keeping a log of your blog design work right away. Your log could be anything. A folder in which you safe all posts like this one, that taught you how to do something and maybe a word document in which you record some settings, or a simple notepad. But thrust me once you have carefully selected a color for your background, or chosen your favorite font for your sidebar titles, you want to remember it.
Somewhere down the line you will experiment and change something, and then when you want to change it back later, you can’t remember how you did it, or what the exact color code was. Your log will save your sanity many times over. Start one right away!
Ok that’s it for now. Next week I’ll work with you on a real design issue. Shall we start with your blog banner? I have already some questions about that in my file, but if you have any Blog Banner related questions let me know, and I’ll see if I can answer them.
Was this useful at all? Did I hash up a lot of things you already knew or was there a bit of new information for you! Please let me know I am open to all feedback. And if you have more safety precautions let us all know in the comments.