29 April 2020

refreshing my Blogger blog


Man, does anyone even read blogs anymore? I find the answer is still a qualified "yes" based on the feedback I get from some posts but for sure blogs are VERY old school these days... which might just be why I persist with mine. :)

Like any tool or skill that you let languish, it starts to suffer. This blog is no different. I spent some time updating it and here is what I did in case anyone else is in the same boat.

I didn't just refresh my existing blog, I created a whole new one. I had customized the HTML and CSS of my old one so much I wanted to start over and see if the out-of-the-box Theme would work. In my experience, if you can stick with the stock Theme you are usually better off, and it's easier to troubleshoot problems.

BACKUP
Before you mess too much with anything you should back everything up. Blogger lets you easily back up your Posts, Pages, and Labels by logging into https://blogger.com and then going to:

Settings > Other > Import & back up

THEME
Blogger blogs have way fewer themes than Wordpress but that's okay for me as I like to keep things really simple. For that reason, I chose the "Simple Pale" theme. It does what I want.

GADGETS
I used to use Flickr, then I got tired of paying for my Pro account so let it lapse. Since free accounts are limited to 1000 pictures, my new uploads stopped showing up in my feed long ago. So I replaced the Flickr Gadget with an Instagram one.

I got the widget (what everyone except for Google uses to refer to a "gadget") from SnapWidget.

https://help.snapwidget.com/en/articles/90737-how-do-i-create-a-new-instagram-widget

I chose SnapWidget because it's free and it supports HTTPS.

Starting fresh was also a good excuse to modify the settings in some existing Gadgets and move some around. I had not been utilizing the footer previously, now I am.

CONTACT
There are a ton of different ways to get contacted... you can use a Google Gadget, you can use a variety of forms and tools, etc., etc. I used to use a Google Form with some complicated code add-in to send me the email but it looks like that is all included with Google Forms now so I created a new Form using these instructions and embedded the Form code on my Contact Page.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RFZ16ybdaI

RESTORE
Once I had all the Theme settings and the Layout and Gadgets dialed in I restored my Posts, Pages, and Labels.

Then, because this was a new blog, I had to configure the options on each Page per what they were on the old blog. Luckily I only have a handful of Pages.

I also had to restore my favicon as this is a new blog. I had to switch back to Classic Blogger to do this and I used this favicon generator: http://antifavicon.com/

DETAILS
Then it was time to wrap things up.
  • I removed my custom domain from my old blog.
  • I renamed my old blog.
  • I updated the name and description of my new blog.
  • I added my custom domain to the new blog. This required me to re-verify my domain but that just took a few minutes.
  • I entered my Google Analytics ID in Settings > Other
#doneanddone

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