Monday, August 18, 2008

Easiest Blogger Hacks: 3-Column Template, Favicon, Label Cloud, and Navigation Bar

I added new photos and updated my recipe for sweet corn tomalitos in case you missed it the first time around.

Sweet Corn Tomalito 1

More importantly, do you like the redesign? I finally, finally found a hack that made it easy for a non-techie like me to figure out.

I've Googled and tried various hacks, only to screw up my format and revert back to the original. The lovely Amy of Nook and Pantry sent me several links that she used in her redesign. I tried multiple times and only succeeded in screwing my format yet again.

I was resigned. I could live with a 2-column format, but what I really wanted was to install a navigation bar below my header. Thanks to Julian of The Beginner's Blogging Guide, I was able to convert my basic Blogger Minima to a 3-column format, install a tabbed navigation bar, and install a favicon.

Seriously, the easiest Blogger hack ever. It's just a matter of cutting and pasting. Julian explained how it works, what section of code to look for, and what code to paste in its place. Once I finished cutting and pasting from his directions, it automatically created the extra column in my Layout's "Page Elements" and I was able to drag sections around. Then, since he explained how the code works, I was able to tweak the sizes of each column. So if you're interested, please check out his Blogger 3-column Minima Layout.

After I did that, I guess it released the "lock" on my "Page Elements." I was able to drag stuff up to the top of the page, below the header and have it centered over the main body and side columns. So it was easy enough to create an HMTL/Javascript and link up my categories, separated by | to create a "tabbed" navigation bar.

For non-techies, this is how I did it. After creating 3 columns per Julian's directions, go into Blogger's Layout "Page Elements." Click "Add a Gadget" and choose HTML/Javascript. Type in what word you'd like for your "tab" such as RECIPES. Then create a link for it like so: RECIPES. Then separate with the heavy colon | and create another "tab": RESTAURANTS. In a row, the categories look like a "tabbed" navigation bar: RECIPES|RESTAURANTS| and so on and so forth.

If you look at the top by the URL, you now see a favicon of the little fish face from my chopsticks holder. Favicons, or favorite icons, help to personalize your blog. It's quick and easy to generate an icon with, but no other site would explain how I was supposed to upload and store it on the internet. I tried just uploading it to photos but that didn't work. Again, Julian's directions for How to Add Favicon to Your Blogger Blog made it so easy. Just one clarification though. He suggested using Google Page Creator, but it doesn't allow new sign-ups so I was redirected to Google Sites. Create a site, with Google it's all linked up. Upload the favicon you just created. Then click on it to get a URL that ends with .ico. Then go into "Layout" and "Edit HTML" and follow the directions given in "Custom Favicons Disabled in Blogger - A Fix."

And since I'm on this tangent of easy hacks, last fall, tipped off by Oanh of Halfway Between Ca Mau and Sai Gon, I found Phydeaux's hack for Code for New Blogger Tag Cloud/Label Cloud. It's also a matter of cutting and pasting. Easy enough that each time I screwed up my format, I quickly and easily re-installed my label cloud.

So there you go folks. The easiest Blogger hacks I could find online to customize your blog. Hope this is as useful for you as it was for me.

1 year ago today, Cuban Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken.


  1. I really like your new template look a lot! Actually, I'm totally envious, because I like the 3-column look with the two side columns on the right, but I'm too chicken--by myself-to try and convert the Cutline theme I use over to that even though I think there is a Cutline version that does that. It looks really good Wandering.


  2. hooray for this info!! i want to do some cleaning and organizing on my site too!! this will really be handy! and did i say delicious too!!

  3. I like the change. This picture should be on Tastespotting.

  4. Thanks for the hack info! Too bad it doesn't work for WP. I've been looking for ways to customize my blog but WP is harder than blogger to customize unless you pay for it. Poopy! PS. Love your little fish.

  5. Nice new template! I'm kinda excited about the easy-to-install label cloud...
    I'm so nervous about tomorrow!!! Haha.

  6. Layout? What layout? I'm looking at that delicious looking tomalitos!!

  7. I redesigned the layout of my blog once and decided that would be the first and last time i do it. I ended up losing all my data!

  8. I like the new look, WC. Very clean and things are easy to find. But I don't see the favicon thingy you were talking about, unless I'm looking in the wrong place. Right now, there is just a page icon next to your url (I'm using firefox for my browser, so maybe it doesn't work in that.)

  9. Ok, I just opened you up in Explorer (that sounds bad) and I still don't see a favicon next to your URL.

  10. Wow! There are full of surprises whenever I visit your site. The food look delicious and you are very creative!!! Well done!!!


  11. Hey WC -
    Love the new layout!
    But I don't see the favicon in either Firefox or IE...?
    I've been thinking about going to 3-column...maybe with your tips, I'll finally do it!

  12. Wow, I almost didn't recognize your site! Great job, I like it! Also, I wrote a person at Food Buzz, I am having trouble with my new account, but I did indicate that you were my referrer!

  13. cool! i'll try the tips whole blog is suchhh a mess and i am too lazy to fix it T_T

  14. Hilton,
    Thanks! It's nice to know all that hard work I put into the redesign paid off.

    I don't know why Blogger doesn't give us a 3-column option to begin with. Seems simple enough.

    I've been gravitating to Food Gawker, but apparently this photo is too backlit and they don't like it. Oh, well, plenty of other people do like it. :)

    WordPress already has some great designs though, don't they? I love my little fish too. :)

    The label cloud was dead simple to install. I've had to re-do it many times and it's just a matter of cutting and pasting. Looking forward to meeting you!

    It looks like we cooked pretty similar dishes at the same time.

    I hate that. I get annoyed just having to re-install my label cloud each time. I'm so, so glad I discovered these hacks. Relatively painless compared to previous attempts.

    Darn it! I dunno then. I can see my little fishy on my laptop. Maybe I'm the only one? :(

    Thanks! I'm glad you're still visiting my blog.

    Apparently I'm the only one who can see it? :(

    Thanks for the compliment and for listing me as your referrer.

    I still want to clean up my design a bit, but the extra column gives me more options. And it beats scrolling down and down to see all the info.

  15. Your how-to-food-blog series has been answering so many nagging questions for me. I really appreciate the effort you put in as well as the useful links you include. It's all very helpful. And this particular post helped me fix up my blog immensely--wider and better, yeah! Enjoying YOUR new look as well.

  16. Prof Kitty,
    I'm glad you're enjoying the series. What nagging questions have you had? It'd be great to know if I cleared up any questions. And do let me know if you have any others.

  17. Thanks for a great post, but now you have me hooked on food I have time for this! LOL

  18. Ray,
    Getting hooked on food blogs is bad. Sucks up your time and expands your waistline. :P

  19. Just a belated comment to thank WC for this post which, as she knows, resulted in me converting my blog to a 3 column layout and adding a favicon (2 things I had been trying to find out how to do for ages). So, apparently, this site not only tastes good, but helps you look good... Thanks!

  20. Alex,
    Thanks again for your comment and your post expressing your thanks. Much appreciated! :)

  21. Thanks for all the useful info on this site about starting a food blog. I just started a blog, after thinking about it for the last year. Your site helped me sooooo much. You've got a forever fan.

    Best wishes,

  22. Tenaya,
    You're welcome. I'm glad the info is useful. :)


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