Saturday, October 11, 2008

Our Blogger Templates

From Humble Beginnings
The one thing I love about the Internet is the abundance of valuable knowledge and advice that is given for FREE! Unfortunately, there’s also loads of junk out there. It’s a painstaking process to discover diamonds from the endless desert of junk. When I first started this blog back in April 2008, I began by using the default Harbour Template. At that time, I thought it was a great template and my blog was looking pretty good. It looked something like this.

The Faults of Default Blogger Templates
As time went by, I started reading more and more blogs. It wasn’t long before I realized that my blog began to look a bit inadequate. The main thing that annoyed me was the lack of a menu bar. Further, the customization allowed was limited. It was difficult to change the color of the various elements in the template as well as the font size. It was an either take it or leave it situation.

A Failed Experiment
After all the hard work that went into making my blog presentable, I simply refused to give up my cherished Harbour template. However, the lack of a menu bar really upset me. After doing some research, I inserted some HTML code into the blogger template to make it work. Voila, my blog now had a menu bar. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked. Guess what? The next day, my blogger template crashed [edit: due to my inexperience and lack of understanding of HTML].

Great Value for No Money
With very little choice, I started searching for a free Blogger template that would meet my needs. There were plenty of free blogger templates at various sites vying for my attention. However, I finally decided on the Minimalist G design by
Our Blog Templates.

Why did I settle for the Minimalist G design by Our Blog Templates?

(a) It’s Free
What more can you ask for? Free as in FOC.

(b) Vast amount of customization
Every element of their blog templates have been soft coded, so you can customize the color and font size on every element in the blog template. From the title bar, menu bar, side widgets right down to the comments section. The amount of customization available will make your head spin!

(c) No funky codes
Unlike some other blogger templates, I have had minimal problems adding other widgets, stat counters and meta tags into this template. For me, this means that the blog template is quite well constructed allowing for further customization.

In terms of fully functioning and customizable templates, this is the site you’re looking for. [Edit: If you are fussy like me], forget about the default Blogger templates and drop by to choose one of the 150+ snazzy looking templates available. You’ll thank me for it!


dr strange

Obviously Blogger cannot satisfy every users' needs but it is great for what it is: a free website for a wide range of bloggers, from newbies to experienced users.

The sample templates provided by Blogger are basically there to help you get started with blogging. They are not meant to be the solutions for all the needs of all bloggers who uses the service.

To expect otherwise is naive.

The fact that you can so easily make use of a 3rd party's template is actually an indication of Blogger's flexibility. For me, this is a plus point, and not a weakness as you have chosen to see it.

Also, the fact that a 3rd party template can provide the features that you wanted but which you yourself have failed to do through customisation, seemed to point more to your own inexperience and lack of understanding of HTML, than an inherent weakness in the Harbour template itself.


Dear Dr. Strange,

Ah...the Sorcerer Supreme speaks.

1. Yes, I agree that Blogger offers great service for newbies and experienced users.

2. I concede the fact that the sample templates are to help newbies get started. However, I disagree that to expect further improvements in the blogger templates is *naive*. Blogger has been constantly improving their services by offering additional features such as followers and etc. Why am I *naive* to expect they should make an effort to upgrade their default templates? Some of the features like a menu bar should be there by default.

3. I have no problems with the services blogger is providing. My above post were from a perspective of a total lay person without experience in HTML and customization. I freely admit my inexperience and lack of understanding of HTML, as you so eloquently phrase it.

Look, the main purpose of this post is not to *rubbish* the Harbour template. It is to point out to my readers that there are perhaps, better templates out there available for free.

Kind regards

dr strange

However, I disagree that to expect further improvements in the blogger templates is *naive*. Blogger has been constantly improving their services by offering additional features such as followers and etc. Why am I *naive* to expect they should make an effort to upgrade their default templates?

Not what I said. I didn't said we shouldn't expect Blogger to continuously improve the basic templates it provides.

I said we should not expect these templates to provide the solutions to all the needs of all the bloggers that uses Blogger.

Look, in the real world, no product or services will ever have all the features that meet all the requirements of all users; at best what they can hope for is to meet most of the needs of most of their users.

Seen from this angle, Blogger is no different. To expect Blogger to be different is naive, although that shouldn't preclude us from hoping for future improvements.

But to rant about it? Seemed a bit like biting the hand that feeds you.


Dear Dr. Strange,

Before I say anything, thanks for dropping by and commenting. I didn't expect you to be such a passionate fan of Blogger.

I can agree with most of what you are saying except for the ranting part.

IMHO, I was merely pointing out the lack of certain *basic* features such as a menu bar in the default blogger template. Of course, you might argue otherwise. Depending on who we ask, you may well be right.

The intention of this post is to highlight to potential bloggers that there are more useful templates available for free rather than the default offered by Blogger.

I feel my post was fair and frank review of my experience with Blogger. It's unfortunate that you feel otherwise.


Andrew Chua

avatar & dr strange,

interesting discussion you guys are having... :)

1) I agree with dr strange that Blogger is doing a great job of helping people getting started with blogging. Although their templates are not perfect, I have found no problems with inserting HTML/Java widgets... The only thing I could wish for in addition is better categorization for easier navigation... The 'Labels' method just doesn't cut it. But still, we shouldn't 'bite the hand that feeds us'.

2) I would like to thank Avatar for sharing 'Our Blog Templates' resource. I see it as an act of sharing something good with the readers, and while reading the post i did not feel any negative connotation or criticism about Blogger, though after reading dr strange's comments it did seem possible to interpret it this way...


Dear Andrew,

Well, some good has come from Dr. Strange's comments.

There were some unwritten assumptions in my original post, resulting in it being too one sided. I've added this in after some reflection. And I've learnt to be more careful in drafting my posts :)


Myspace Layouts

thanks for these templates


Dear MySpace,

You're welcome! :)



"Small opportunities are the beginning of great enterprises." : Demosthenes

Avatar : least you got things rollin'. I won't even have a good idea WHAT to post if I were to start a bulletin log. Maybe somethin' 'bout the world's most desirable girls or somethin'... You've any idea HOW to make some renumeration out of all this?


Dear YT,

I think your idea would probably make good money. Unfortunately, the market's quite saturated right now.

Well, there are some people making good money off blogging but I'm not one of them. Ah well, this blog is a very niche one which fails to appeal to most people.

Try my Blogging Resources link. People like Problogger have very good tips on how to succeed in blogging.



Nice review. Really a great list of top blogger who are making thousands of dollars! I've learned a lot of useful thing from this post. Thanks a lot for sharing such an incredible post with us. Keep blogging. Looking forward to reading your next post.

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