See it at Cook County Blog - screenshot to follow when I have more time.
I am very interested in seeing if I can somehow work the theme switcher hack...

Check it out! 

This one has a striking image of the Chicago skyline in the header.

It's a relatively new blog, so the sidebars and other tweaks should be realtively simple to implement.

Blogger allows you to download your entire blog.  Go to "settings" "basic" and you will see the choices - to import blog, to export blog, and even to 'delete blog'.

You'll want to "export" and it will save to your desktop.  That way, if you make a mistake while tweaking your blog or need to delete it and start over, you can upload all your posts and comments (provided you are using the blogger commenting system).  I'm not sure how this works when using disqus because I haven't tried it yet with a blog that has disqus installed.

Time is short, but I managed to tweak this one and get it out there.  There are a few Illinois blogs that need facelifts and I'm hoping to offer my services to them.  Illinois Crime and Politics can be seen here, but there is some tweaking that needs to be done to the sidebars and to the commenting system.

As I mentioned before, I favor the Disqus commenting system because it's somewhat robust; and you can moderate the comments with more control than comes with the blogger system.

Some type of statcounter or sitemeter should be installed so you can track visitors, too - or use something like Google Analytics.  I'll be covering analyzing visitors in a post soon.

The picture on the right is the old template, I just installed the new template which is the one with the red header.
For the heck of it, I did a search for that. And lookie what I found:

Why blog?

My blog:

  • is a place where I think, plan and reflect
  • forces me to read in order to gather the input I need for my output
  • is a place where I play with technology and ideas
  • often surprises me
  • is a place where I collaborate
  • is currently the most satisfying part of my job
  • is slightly dangerous
  • is compulsive

Why blog for business?

From a business perspective there are several potential reasons to blog. But, as always, it depends on what you want. Blogs are no different from channels like video, print, audio, presentations and so on. They all deliver results - but of varying kind. The kind you can expect from blogs is mainly about stronger relations with important target groups.

Why I Blog - The Atlantic (November, 2008)

For centuries, writers have experimented with forms that evoke the imperfection of thought, the inconstancy of human affairs, and the chastening passage of time. But as blogging evolves as a literary form, it is generating a new and quintessentially postmodern idiom that’s enabling writers to express themselves in ways that have never been seen or understood before. Its truths are provisional, and its ethos collective and messy. Yet the interaction it enables between writer and reader is unprecedented, visceral, and sometimes brutal. And make no mistake: it heralds a golden era for journalism.
But this one really caught my attention:

Why Blog? Reason No. 92: Book Deal (NYT)-March, 2008

That one is particularly interesting because it shows how blogs are busting through some of the difficulties writers have faced regarding getting published. The story is about a funny blog that garnered enormous popularity and in the process, a book deal.

All in all, there are a lot of reasons to blog - it all depends on what motivates you.

I've found it to be an outlet for what's happening in the War in Iraq; how things are touching my family; politics; elections; religion; my personal faith; discussion on music; culture; books; just about everything under the sun.

Why do YOU blog?
Here is what I thought was an unusual color can see the test blog here.

I like how the headings almost glow in this design...and of course the header image can be changed to whatever it is you'd like.

Now...I will be presenting free templates as time goes on (in this post are two examples), but I will ask for your sign in information so that they can be installed automatically with Artisteer rather than have you mess with it yourself. Some people are simply not very technically savvy and I'm here to help you so that all you have to worry about is writing and content.

The problem as I see it with some of these "free templates" for blogspot in particular, are that the designers have embedded ads and references in the code that they make money from. That strikes me as a little bit tacky. Some of these free templates are broken; and don't even support someone writing on them for very long - that's a problem I personally have run across in my blogging adventures.

You will find no such thing on my Artisteer designed templates except for a link to Artisteer and a link mentioning Top Hat Designs.

I have a number of ideas for free offerings as I think that one huge segment of people that designers have forgotten and or purposely avoided are the regular gun-toting God loving American who loves his country and family and wants to blog about them. So I will be presenting some family-friendly designs and patriotic designs - and Christian designs - and even Christmas designs in order to provide some balance to the unbalanced offerings of "free templates".

And what do you know, I'll offer the free service of installing the template FOR YOU for FREE.

If you need some tweaking, however, that will cost you about $35.00.

I'll be updating this post with some examples of templates that I have at the ready for upload and minor customization - yours for the taking - just ask - and fill out the contact form (tab below the header).

Here's an example of a template I just kicked out for a woman that wants to blog about her life...if you want to take a look at what it would look like on blogger, check out the test blog here.

This type of template can be easily customized with a picture of you; or you and your kids;- and of course you'd pick the name of your blog...maybe you've already started writing and are just frustrated with the limited number of templates blogger has and want to liven it up a bit.

Whatever your motivation, I'm convinced that cosmetic overhaul will give your blogging a lift.

I know every time I've done it for myself, I've felt a sense of elation...but maybe that's just me?

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I'm a kind, loyal old soul--until you cross me.