Best Blogger Templates - 2014

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So, this might be one of the most difficult posts that I have written on BloggerTipsPro.com. I have to start off by first apologizing to the creative authors out there that have produced some amazingly beautiful Blogger templates for the world to use. That said, I have some unfortunate comments to make to my readers that may or may not persuade you to use what Google provides out of the box or just to go get one of these templates.

Here it goes - I have spent many, many hours and days trying to find any template out there that qualifies as a 'best Blogger template' and found nothing - absolutely nothing. I've gone through hundreds of websites all pitching either free or paid Blogger templates and not a single one has made the grade of what a Blogger template should be. People have pitched their templates directly to me to add to this site but still did not qualify in my mind.

Blogger Templates are not Wordpress Templates

The problem - web designers totally understand page layout and design - however, they do not understand Blogger templates. Part of that must be blamed on Google for not adequately explaining the technical aspects of the template.

You see, Blogger templates are not Wordpress templates or vice versa. Yes, CSS design is the same but the deeper technicalities are not. What I have found in almost all cases (there are some exceptions I will explain) is that the web designers have taken Wordpress template CSS code directly or modified and just replaced it in Blogger.

Most of the websites pitching 'Best Blogger Templates' out there are all using the very same core of templates from a Creative Commons set that have be placed in the marketplace for free - many come from these sites (Templateify, Soratemplates, Templatism, Premiumbloggertemplates, Bloggertipsandtricks, Mybloggerlab, etc. dot-com. I won't honor these sites with links since I personally don't think they are in the spirit of what a blogger template should be - you are free to add the .com to each and take a look). These are great designs - don't get me wrong.

The Blogger Template Designer

What they all missed was the very essence of a Blogger template - the core template designer from Google. Since you the readers are aware of the Blogger template designer in out of the box templates you know that you can modify many of the parameters of each template - from colors, fonts, widths, outlines, etc. If you're not familiar with what I'm saying - here is an image of the designer with the sections I just mentioned outlined:

blogger template designer

However, in the case of the templates offered in the marketplace, they've missed this point completely by stripping out the template designer code from Google and just pasting in other CSS code. The template designer is configured to allow you to modify CSS without knowing CSS - a key point!

Now, is that a bad thing overall? No, it isn't earth-shattering. However, by removing the template designer you're stuck with what you get with their templates and cannot modify them without having deeper CSS knowledge to edit the CSS code directly. Many bloggers do not understand CSS code - and the beauty of the template designer is that a template author could provide user enabled modifications down to the deepest CSS levels - it is fully extensible.

Consequences

What that means for you the reader is that if you install one of these free templates you are stuck with the look-and-feel unless you know CSS (Want to learn? Go to Code Academy - Web Fundamentals). Your only other option is to install another template from scratch. If you don't mind doing that then by all means do so - there are some very nice designs out there. Just be aware of the consequences when you do that.

I did find a few template offerings out that that did use the template designer - but, unfortunately, they just modified the Google templates directly which I think is a copyright violation since there are no Creative Commons licensing statements in the Google free templates. You are much better off just using a Google template and extending it directly as I showed in the tutorial - Build a Basic Wordpress Theme in Blogger.

Or, if you're really ambitious, learn how a Blogger template works, strip out all of the CSS and build your own resell-able templates with the template designer.

I would love to hear some feedback from both users and authors on this post. What have you found? Are you an author that I missed? Are you wondering if some templates you have found qualify?

6 comments:
  1. I've come to this post, and quick search the article where to find best blogger templates. It turns out the article is misleading. You should add "(there is no)" in the title. FYI, I do know you feed the search engine bot with that title.

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    1. Good point! I should have something in the title stating that. Thanks, Izza!

      - Don

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  2. I really enjoy your writing style and the passion you have for blogger. I just subscribed. Keep it up!

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  3. Don, I've scoured the So-called Blogger template market for years trying to find the native Blogger mods that marry the Google platform in every way. They just do not exist, as you note here. I have zero interest in learning the codes of all the latest page fads, so I basically gave up on several blogger projects I have started.

    Recently I took up the search in earnest again and Met David Kutcher and his awesome Google-bending work, and between him and you several wannabe Blogger design twisters.

    From non-English speaking designers with brilliant minds that I can't understand to copycats, there's not much authentic native Blogger design material online, or anywhere I know of.

    So, thank you, Don.

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