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20 June 2012

Blog Appearance Comparison

Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress let you adjust the appearance of your free blog to varying degrees.

Blogger


Blogger has several templates, 34 at last count, that are categorized as follows: Dynamic Views, Simple, Picture Window, Awesome Inc., Watermark, Ethereal, and Travel. I chose a simple template whose layout allows me to do the following:
  • Upload a custom favorite icon
  • Choose a navigation bar color and style
  • Enter a blog title and description and upload a header image
  • Add gadgets — such as an About Me link, a search box, a Google +1 button, blog archive links, etc. — and place them in a location and order that I choose within certain constraints
  • Add a copyright footer line

Blogger Template Layout
Blogger Template Layout



Tumblr


Tumblr has a multitude of themes that can be customized. Many cost money, but there are quite a few free ones. I chose the one called Minimal, which allows me to do the following:
  • Add a title and description
  • Change the color of some of the text
  • Upload a header image
  • Choose whether to show an About widget, a Stuff I Like widget, a Latest Tweets widget, and a People I Follow widget
  • Set the number of Tweets to be shown
  • Add a Google Analytics ID
  • Set a Disqus shortname
  • Add a static page
  • Set the number of posts per page
  • Choose to open links in a new window, use an optimized mobile layout, use descriptive URLs, and show a Follow button to non-Tumblr users
  • Add custom CSS
There's also an Edit HTML button that shows colorized HTML text for the page layout in an edit window where I can make whatever changes I want. I made some tweaks to date formatting here.

Tumblr Theme Adjustments
Tumblr Theme Adjustments

WordPress


WordPress has an enormous number of themes available, both paid and free. I chose Twenty Ten, designed by the WordPress team, which allows me to do the following:
  • Add widgets to certain areas of my blog pages — There's a primary and a secondary widget area for the right-hand column, plus four footer widget areas. Quite a few types of widgets are available, such as Text, Pages, Search, Follow Blog, Archives, Categories, and Recent Posts, among others.
  • Create custom menus — These can contain items like pages, categories, or custom labelled URLs.
  • Upload a header image or select a preset image
  • Change the background color or upload a background image
  • Set some mobile and iPad options
There's also a Custom Design option that, for $30 a year, allows you to choose among quite a few fonts, plus create and edit your own custom CSS.

WordPress Widgets Options
WordPress Widgets Options

Ranking


For the choice, style, and customizability of the free themes available on these sites, I rank them as follows:

1 - WordPress
2 - Tumblr

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