Thursday, November 19, 2009

Slow on the Uptake

One of the first decisions I had to make when starting a blog was whether to go with a free service, such as Blogger, that uses ready-made templates, or to build a site from scratch. The second option allows more freedom, but requires more work (and some programming knowledge). I decided to go with the former because I love instant gratification. But I’ve discovered that I don’t love working within the constraints of the limited design templates offered by Blogger. I want my blog to look a certain way and I’m frustrated that I can’t manipulate the templates to make that happen.

It’s been suggested that I can overwrite some of their code if I know enough HTML, and that perhaps I should take a class in HTML for this purpose. I think this is a bad idea for several reasons. 1) I have no free time. 2) I want to write in my no free time. 3) I hate HTML, and (4) I am married to a very talented programmer. If I need a little programming done, I just need to ask nicely. In all fairness, I’m sure it would never occur to my husband to take a class in nonprofit finance (and babe, if you ever need deferred grant funds allocated across eight different programs of unequal size, please don’t hesitate to ask).

But my husband, like me, has more work than free time and not a lot of leisure to dink around with side projects like this. While I can call upon him for something critical, I don’t want to have to interrupt him every other evening to help me figure out how to maneuver through some of the more trivial elements of the blog. So I decided to order a book on Google Blogger, hoping it would give me some insight into how to crack the system. I went onto Amazon and noted that Google Blogger for Dummies had 5 stars, and the Amazon star system never lies, so I ordered it.

When the book arrived I eagerly opened it to discover it included such helpful hints as: how to open a Blogger account (including a half page screen shot of the log in box), choosing a blog template (okay) and how to choose a topic to write on (not exactly what I was looking for, but thanks). It even showed me where to find such popular search engines as Google and Yahoo so that I could list my blog. Hey, thanks guys! I was beginning to think I should have at least ordered Blogger for the Moderately Intelligent. I set it aside. Here was a book, at the very least, that one could judge by its cover.

As I sighed loudly for the umpteenth time while looking at the limited elements of the Blogger layout, I remembered something that my husband had said the week before (after we tried for 20 minutes, to no avail, to alter the header template so that it would actually look like a header). Isn’t the whole purpose of this blog to write?

Oh. Yeah. I wanted to write.

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  1. I agree - I developed a website for my husband and team who do banger racing here in South Africa. We went with Free Webs and eventually bought our domain name. I've also felt frustration at the limitations of a free service, especially as I am creative enough to design and develop my own 'look', which is actually far from what it is currently. But you couldn't have said it better - free time = 0. I am here to write.

  2. Banger racing... I have no idea what that is! One of these days I plan to switch to another template and see if I'm happier with that. But again... it all requires time. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

    The pic on the home page should say it all!

  4. Aha - I believe that's what we in the states call demolition derby. Safe as houses, I'm sure. ;-)

  5. Go with wordpress. Blogger is great to start out with while you are finding your voice.Wordpress is better for uploading photos as well. I really dislike commenting on blogspot blogs because there are so many extra click involved. Yes I am probably lazy.but also a little bit time poor as well.


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