Friday, June 11, 2010

2 Basic How-To's in Layman's Terms

Last night, I got a brand new shiny toy... A 24-inch, HD LCD widescreen monitor. I mean, wow. Considering my old monitor was from 2002, this thing is...beautiful. It's actually a television with a VGA output, so we got two birds with one stone! Lemme tell ya, LOST looks amazing.

I've been meaning to address this for a while, but the new monitor has inspired me, so in lieu of my usual scintillating *ahem* post, I thought I'd do a drier, though hopefully helpful, addressing of two blogger-related topics.

1. Comment Reply

   I've seen a good many people wondering how one directly replies to a follower's comment, rather than doing a cumbersome @@@ reply in your own comment box. This answer is actually very simple, but it depends on one HUGE detail:
   Having your email address enabled in your public profile. If Blogger doesn't have access to your email, then the address that the comment will show is this:
    In order to enable your email address, just take the following steps:

   1. Go to Edit Profile on your Dashboard (beside your photo)
   2. Under Identity, make sure there's an email address entered.
   3. At the top of the Profile, under Privacy, check the "Show my email address" box.

 If you follow all these steps, then whenever you leave a comment on someone's blog, they will be able to reply directly to your email!
  And the way to do this is as simple as can be--just hit "Reply" on the email with the comment, like you would with any regular email.

   The upside to this method is that you can often make a longer, more personalized response to the commentator, and sometimes they'll respond and you have a nice little dialogue! Yay, friendliness!
   The downside is that the folks who don't have this enabled may think that you are stuck-up and unfriendly for not replying to your followers' faithful comments.
   Catch-22! I'm just telling you how to do it; I'll leave the moral dilemma up to you.


2. Customizing a Blog Header! 

   This is pure vanity, but if you've been following me for any period of time, you know that I change my layout about as often as I change my contacts. I'm an artist and a writer, so visual interest is important to me. 

  As you may or may not know, Blogger recently introduced Blogger in Draft, which gives you the ability to further customize your blog design past the Minima Dark or Minima Blue variety. B-I-D is pretty fun, but still somewhat limiting, unless you're really HTML-savvy. 

 Personally, I think that headers are what make blogs stand out from each other. I know 4 blogs that have the exact same design, but each heading is different, and that makes all the difference. 

  Making a customized header is about as easy as anything you could hope to do, and you can do it with the simplest of Windows-included software: PAINT! 

  The first thing you want to do is find a picture that's to your liking, whether something from the public domain or something from your own photo files. 
   Size: an image width of 660 pixels will perfectly fill the header space; height is really for your own discretion. I like pictures in the height range around 400 pixels, personally. 

  Now that you've selected the picture that you want, it's time to gussy it up with your blog name, your name, and anything else that you'd like. 

   In Paint: open the picture. In your Toolbar, select the text tool, then make sure you choose the transparent text box option--it's the bottom one. Next, simple drag the size box you think you might need, then type in everything you want. Be sure that you have it as you want before you click anywhere outside the text box--otherwise, you'll have to start all over again, as there's no going back in to edit the box. It takes some experimentation with font size, colors, etc, especially if you're using a highly-colored picture. 
    Note: fonts are really where it's at, if you ask me. And since this is my blog, I'm going to assume that you are indeed asking me. There are plenty of websites where you can safely download all kinds of crazy fonts that might be perfect for a blog header (and nothing else). Just Google Free Fonts and go crazy! FYI: the font name in my current header is Pad Thai. Fun! If you need help figuring out how to implement your newly downloaded fonts, feel free to email me! 

  Now that you have a beautiful header image, head back to your Blogger Dashboard. 
  First and foremost, if your Template is "Classic," you need to change it, preferably to a "Minima" style. This will allow you greater flexibility in editing. 
  Next, click on the Layout tab. 
  Click "Edit" on your header box. 
  Choose a File from your computer, then find the picture you just beautified and select it. 
  Under Placement, select "Instead of Title and Description" 

  I don't select "Shrink to Fit," but you can experiment with that, if you'd like. 
  Finally, Save! 
  Then view your blog and its lovely new header. 

  Note: If you don't want to be that complicated, you can just find a pretty, simple picture that's right around 660px wide/ 200px tall and when you go to the Header tab in your Layout, choose "Behind Title and Description." You'll have to use the Fonts and Colors to edit your blog title until its readable. 

I actually use Picasa to edit my pictures--you can rotate the font on a complete 360 axis, which is a bit more fun. Picasa is extremely intuitive, and it's a great place to store all your photos and keep them organized.

Anywho, hope this wasn't too boring...
Hopefully the weekend + my shiny new monitor will restore some of my mojo, so next week I'll have some hi-lariously good posts.

Happy weekend! 


Old Kitty said...

Oh wow!! I love your tips on how to change blogger banners! Thank you! I just need to print it all out as I'm a bit slow with techie instructions and need to do things one at a time!!

Your banner is lovely btw - and your wallpaper is just so pretty!

Have a great Friday!

take care

Aubrie said...

I love customizing blogs! Your heading is fantastic. And congrats on your new monitor!

Stina said...

Okay, where were you when I tried to do something cool-looking for my blog. I spend hours finding the right template, then a few more hours trying to download it onto my blog. By then I was determined to get it to work, especially since I loved it. Still do. :D

It took a me a while to realize not everyone was receiving the replies to their comments via email. Now I check if the email address is linked before I type the reply.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm glad I found blogger in draft and could do a custom header. Looks better. And the cool Matrix background helps, too!

Lola Sharp said...

Congrats on the new fancy monitor. :)

The header part of this post, as you know, went WAY over my head.
You'll be looking at my plain, ugly, non-tricked-out blog until my boobs are down to my knees.

I love your blog decor right now. It's my favorite of all your layouts.

Happy Friday, love.
(It' almost cocktail hour! :)


Congrats on you new toy, must be wonderful, I have been changing templates this week I got fed up with the old black back ground so got a brighter one, then I found a website for backgrounds and ended up with the one I have know. I would like a different header but still don't know how it's done despite your post,

Take care.

Hannah said...

I like my banner, thank gawd! I'm usually really picky and like to change things all the time but I'm doing pretty good with the one I have and I like it a lot.

I was commenting back to people in their email but then I kept getting confused and keeping track of who I commented on and who I emailed started driving me a little crazy so I've gotten lazy.

I do prefer reply back to someone via their email though. It's much more personal and you can insure they get your reply. :)

Sarah Ahiers said...

oooh the header info was very useful, thanks!

I'm thinking about changing up my template in the near future. we'll see how it goes

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

love the extra info on header! thanks!

like Lola I love your current design!

Visit My Kingdom Anytime

DL Hammons said...

This was an awesome post and one that was really needed. I hope that everyone takes your advice about the e-mail address because it really does make responding to comments easier. And a tip of my own. For those comments that are from, I add a comment just for those so they're not excluded. :)

Happy walker said...

nice blog.. have a view of my blog when free.. .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

Talli Roland said...

Give your new monitor a little pat for me - how exciting!

Thanks for the tips, Summer. Have a great weekend!

Kimberly Franklin said...

Thanks for the helpful tips! I'm going to try out the heading one.

Enjoy your new monitor!

Unknown said...

Great tips, Summer! If you like using Windows Paint to design your own headers, you should check out Paint Shop Pro. I LOVE LOVE the software, and the design elements allow you to make three dimensional fonts that stand right up on the screen. But beware! Playing around with it is addicting :D

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Luna said...

Thanks for the tips! Your layout and header are lovely. Such talent, girl!

Hope you are doing well...:)

Guinevere said...

Thanks for the post - this was really helpful, since I'm in the midst of trying to update my blog's look!

The Words Crafter said...

Hey, thanks for the header info. I'm also a visual person (kind of) and I change my background about once a, of course, I'm going to be looking for a definitive pic to customize...Have a great week!

The Words Crafter said...

Hey, thanks for the header info. I'm also a visual person (kind of) and I change my background about once a, of course, I'm going to be looking for a definitive pic to customize...Have a great week!

prashant said...

Great tips, Summer!
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