October 9, 2007
When you create a blog, you are given a ‘default’ template, which defines the layout for all of your pages and posts.This page explains what you get, and how you can use and customise it.
As set out in Getting Started, one of the first things you should do to customise your blog is to upload an Avatar to give your blog a face (or something else). Once you’ve done that, chances are you’ll have something a little like this:
The image is a screenshot from a new blog. On it you’ll find numbers corresponding to the sections below:
You can change this image – to edit, go into your BackOffice and select Presentation > Custom Image Header.
You provided the title of your blog when you applied. It is followed by your blog’s tagline, where you describe what your blog’s about in a short phrase or a few words.
- To Edit both: log in to your backoffice and click Options.
Don’t forget clicking on Update Options after you’ve edited it!
Below the tagline is your Avatar – find out how to give your blog a face here.
Beneath your avatar, there is a space for some brief information about you.
- To Edit: log in and choose the Users option. Choose Your Profile; scroll down and find “About Yourself”.
Don’t forget to click the Update Profile button!
The following elements are placed automatically:
- Your RSS feed allows readers to subscribe (free) for automatic updates from your blog on mobile phones, newsreaders, and other portable media devices. Learn more
- an auto-placed advertisement
- an Admin box, which allows you to log in and sign out of your back office (you can also ‘log in’ using the link in the top right hand corner of every page).
Below the ad are a number of boxes containing a variety of links and text. These are placed here using Widgets, a user-friendly technology allowing you to customise what users see in this section.
The default template features the following widgets:
- Pages – When you first start your blog there is already an example page made for you, entitled about. You can create a new page by clicking on write.
- Categories – In the Write New Post window you can either select a category that is already on the list or you can write in a new category. To manage your categories go to the Dashboard and clicking on Manage>Categories. Further information is available here.
- Blogroll – Two links will automatically be included in your blogroll. To change it, go to the dashboard and click on Blogroll. You will then see the manage blogroll screen, which includes an add a link and an import links option. If you are still not sure what a blogroll is, click here.
- Recent comments – In your default sidebar you will automatically see a list of the 5 most recent comments left anywhere on your blog. They can be managed from the dashboard by clicking on comments. Follow this link for detailed information on comment management.
- Recent Entries – Your blog’s sidebar will contain a list of the 5 most recent blog posts you’ve written. The recent entry list corresponds to the same list you find on the dashboard under Manage>Posts.
- Archives – You will notice a monthly archive which is part of the default layout of any new blog.
Rearranging, Deleting and Adding Widgets
If you want to rearrange the above widgets, then go into your BackOffice and select Presentation > Widgets.
From this page you can drag and drop any of the widgets in the lower part of the screen into the ‘right sidebar’ box. The first time you’ll do this you’ll remove all of the default widgets listed above.
So drag the widgets you want into position, editing them as required. A full guide to all of these widgets is under preparation, but here are a few tips on some of them:
- Customising a Widget: Always see if the widget you’re dragging into the sidebar needs customizing. You can tell if you see the button. Click on it and adjust things the way you would like them.
- Always remember to click Save Changes
- If you use the Pages widget, you can customize it by once again clicking on the in the pages widget drag & drop box.
- Like the pages widget, you can adjust how the Categories widget appears according to sort order.
- The flickr widget is so those with photos on Flickr.com can have them automatically appear in the sidebar, using an RSS feed from flickr.
- Text Widgets, you see them labeled as Text1 or Text2. They are useful if you want to just have some text appear in the sidebar.
- RSS widgets. If you know what RSS is, then in the widget you can insert the RSS feed of your favorite site(s).
- If you’re confused about what a widget is and does, read a full description here.