Through the use of Entrecard I have come across the most unique Blogger.com blog I have think I have ever seen. It is called Blogger Buster and it offers tips, tricks and templates for Blogger.com bloggers. I was so curious about the site that I got in touch with Amanda, the owner of Blogger Buster, to ask her some questions about the site. Below are the questions I sent Amanda and her answers. The only edits I added are some links and screenshots to the appropriate places.
Q. How long did it take to put together the template for Blogger Buster?
It was roughly two weeks of solid work in total. I barely had the time to post on my blog during the redesign as I was so engrossed in testing and experimenting with new ideas!
I wanted to create a showcase of what is possible to achieve with a Blogger blog, but in the end I had to compromise a little. The result is actually two blogs and a PHP based (off blog) section which are all made to appear like the same site, with the use of sub-domains and external hosting.
Overall I’m pleased with how this turned out, though I still make little tweaks now and again!
Q. You have some unique Blogger templates available at Blogger Buster. What is the most popular? What is you favourite?
Of all my templates, I think “Butterfly” remains my favorite. It certainly seems to be the most popular download on the site! I also like the “Web 2.0” templates too (red, pink, blue). These were designed as a more user friendly template which work a little like BB, but are much
simpler to use and install.
Q. Where do you get inspiration for your templates?
Online I regularly visit sites like Smashing Magazine, Deziner Folio and Weblog Tools Collection. I’m always hunting for articles showcasing the best in web design and blog templates which I also use to inspire me.
The Designers Republic has always been inspirational to me (they’re based in the town where I live). But anything related to great design can be useful;: the Butterfly template was actually inspired by the color and design of a T shirt I saw while out shopping!
Q. Do you recommend that people using Blogger for blogging use FTP publishing or should they use Blogspot hosting? How is Blogger Buster published, FTP or on Blogspot?
These days, I would strongly recommend Blogspot hosting. Now you can link a custom domain to your blog (this is how Blogger Buster is published), and Blogger will host your blog for you, with no limitations on bandwidth or page views. It seems to be the cheapest method, and is certainly more user friendly!
Publishing by FTP does give slightly more control over your blog, but FTP blogs cannot use the Blogger layouts (XML based templates with widgets)
Q. What do you like best about using Blogger to blog?
I love that you can edit Blogger templates using only one file, especially that you are able to preview changes before committing to them! Also, Blogger is very simple and easy to use. Anyone can start a blog with Blogger, without needing any prior knowledge of HTML, databases or code.
Q What do you dislike most about using Blogger to blog?
Unfortunately, Blogger can be more restrictive in terms of what can be achieved, with regards to both templates and publishing options. I’ve worked with Wordpress too, and am often frustrated by the lack of Blogger’s functionality in comparison to Wordpress. But then I’ve always loved a challenge, so finding ways around such problems is something I enjoy doing.
Q. What feature would you most like to see Blogger add?
It would be tough to choose just one thing, as there are two main features I would love Blogger to add!
Firstly is a built in post summary feature, so users can choose how much of their posts are displayed on the main pages, without having to hack their templates so extensively!
Secondly, I would love to see a “plugin repository” for Blogger, which would enable users to add so much more functionality to their blogs and posts. Currently Blogger does provide many different widgets for the sidebars, but for everything else we have to rely on externally hosted
Q. What is your most popular Blogger tip?
Of all my posts, the ones about “creating a three column template“, and “setting up a custom domain” are the most popular to date. Lately, I’ve been publishing a series of posts in the “Customizing Blogger Templates” series in which I’m helping my readers through the process I use to create a completely customized template, and these tips are also quite popular.
Q. You released your ebook “A Cheats’ Guide to Customizing Blogger Templates” recently. How has it been received?
I’ve been thrilled with the responses so far! I’ve had loads of comments and emails from readers who have downloaded this to say how useful it has been in learning the basics of Blogger template customization.
In the future, I will also publish a follow up (“The complete guide to Blogger Template Design”), which will be a much longer, and more detailed ebook based on my Blogger Template Design series.
Thank you Amanda for taking the time to answer my questions. I hope things go well with Blogger Buster. It is a blog that was needed for Blogger.com bloggers.
If you don’t want to deal with some of the more technical aspects of running your own website, I still recommend Blogger.com to people. It is easy to use and offers bloggers a way to easily create their blog without some of the more technical hurdles that can get in the way for people. If you do use Blogger.com for your blog take a look at Blogger Buster and some of the templates and tips that are offered there. They could save you a lot of time and make your blog stand out from the crowd of other Blogger.com blogs.