Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress let you adjust the appearance of your free blog to varying degrees.
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|
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|
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|
For the choice, style, and customizability of the free themes available on these sites, I rank them as follows:
1 - WordPress
2 - Tumblr