Hi guys. Thanks for the nice feedback on my new blog design. I worked really hard on it and then got nervous that I shouldn't have changed it, so it's nice to get positive feedback :) Today I wanted to share a little bit of my process and some tricks that worked for me. Hopefully it will help you out if you decide to redo your blog.
First of all, I created a new blog just to work on my new template. I was scared of messing up my current blog so my new blog was kind of like a dress rehearsal. To do this, go to your main blogger page and click the "New Blog" button. I just called mine "Jenny's Test Blog."
I then found a blog design I liked from this website. You will be able to change your template a little, but the less you have to change the easier it will be. I downloaded it and got a file for a template. It will be an .xml file. You can then upload it to your test blog. In your dashboard, click on Template and then the Backup/Restore button. You can then upload your template file.
Now you have your design. This is where the fun begins. I went through and tweaked a lot of the template to get it to look the way I wanted. I don't have any sort of training in this, so I just did a lot of trial and error. The nice thing is you can find a tutorial on almost anything if you search online. Also, if you are editing you HTML, you can preview each change before you save it. That way if something is completely wrong, you have the option of clearing the edits without saving.
If you feel totally lost looking at the code, try searching for a key word. I found this helpful when I was trying to change the names on some of the header tabs. I would search for what it was and then type in what I wanted it to be instead.
Once you have it looking pretty good, go back to the Backup/Restore button and this time click "Download full template." Then go to your original blog. MAKE SURE YOU DOWNLOAD THE TEMPLATE TO BACK IT UP. If you have that saved, you can always put it back the way it was. Once that is done, upload your saved template and prepare to tweak it all over again.
One more tip. Back it up. If you think you should back it up, back it up. If you don't think you should back it up, back it up. And name your files. Otherwise you end up in tears, scrambling to find a way to put it back the way it was before you deleted that one piece of code (yeah, that was me Saturday night).
Wow. I thought I would share more but that is a good starting point. So much of what I did was specific to my template that I won't really try to explain it. But feel free to ask if you have questions; I would love to help if I can. I'm still working on things. My comment reply button wasn't working so my temporary fix was to delete it until I figure it out. Oh well :)