Since releasing the Bel Canto theme for WordPress, an awesome theme for infopreneurs, bloggers and businesses, I’ve gotten a lot of requests for a Blogger version of the design.
At first, I was like “no, that’s not possible with Blogger…no one’s done a Blogger template like that because…”.
Blogger is a much more limited system than WordPress. To put it in perspective, Blogger uses 1 (one) single code file for the theme/template. Most WordPress themes use 20 – 100+ files.
Blogger was intended to be a very simple blogging system. WordPress is a whole website solution not limited to just blogs.
However, I like a challenge and I like to push the limits. Our shop was the first to add the “Promo Boxes” to a Blogger template. (Now you see them everywhere…)
So, I think it’s time to raise the bar again and push the boundaries of what Blogger can do. So, meet Piper + Paige…
I Do Like a Challenge
Even though Blogger was built as a simple blogging system, many users would like to be able to use it more as a full website, with what is known on WordPress as a “static home page” and a separate blog page.
Blogger was not built to work this way. It is possible but it’s pretty messy and you kind of have to hack the system.
I’m not a fan of hacks. If the system wasn’t meant to work a certain way, there’s a reason and generally hacking it leads to less than perfect User Interface (how your visitors are able to interact with your site).
But…I do like a challenge. So, I set out to find a way to create a “static home page” with separate blog on Blogger without hacking the system and instead by using the tools Blogger comes with.
I also do not like solutions that require customers to edit a bunch of code. I try to stay as far away from that as possible.
So…I learned to do some really interesting things with Image gadgets while creating Piper + Paige like:
- A hero header with an overlay + CTA button
- CTA widgets with buttons (like on Bel Canto)
- Testimonial widgets with buttons (like on Bel Canto)
- A split screen Events section
- A Contact Section with image background
- And a few other things that are top secret…kidding!
A Separate Blog Page
Blogger was designed to have the home page as a blog page. Period.
I did not want to mess with that by hacking and re-directions. That’s a total pain and not the best solution.
Instead, the home page on Piper + Paige has a number of custom widget and widget area PLUS a minimal style blog grid section (called “From the Blog”).
This leads to better User Interface because visitors can see the latest posts in a non-traditional layout and still click on the “Older Posts” link to visit older posts in the right spot.
Additionally, a separate blog page can be created by taking advantage of the Blogger search pages. This even allows you to set how many posts to display per page. It’s a clean User Interface rather than a hacky one.
The result is a static-style home page plus a separate blog page.
All the Extras
In addition to a bunk load of custom widgets, I’ve added a few other bonuses.
The template includes a Contact widget that can be embedded into a page rather than sidebar. Now you can easily create a Contact page that looks professional.
In addition, on the demo, I’ve added a few features that can be created using some outside apps:
These widgets can be embedded onto a Blogger shop to create a full-fledged shop and event signups and ticket sales. (There is a price to run a real shop and sell premium tickets for each app.)
These are just 2 of many apps that can be used to extend your Blogger site.
The Usual Questions
So, in anticipation of a few questions I can see being asked:
Can I change the home page layout?
All sections on the home page are optional EXCEPT the “From the Blog” section. You can change the # of posts displayed in this section, however.
You also cannot swap the order of the sections EXCEPT above where the CTA widgets are shown in the “Time to Get Your Yoga On” section, there is a row of Promo Boxes that I left off the demo. You can use the Promo Boxes and/or the CTA Boxes. You can swap the position of the CTAs and Promo Boxes easily.
You could also remove the default custom widgets from one of the sections and add your own widget like a shop widget from Ecwid, etc.
The home page layout is flexible to the degree we can make it in Blogger.
Can I customize colors and fonts?
Yes, as with all of our designs, Piper + Paige is very customizable. Probably more so than our other designs. It has a lot of options, like the ability to change the background color and padding of each home page section. You can even customize the corners on the buttons if you prefer square corners…yeah.
Can I have a sidebar on the home page?
No. This is not the design intent of this design.
But you can choose your layout for the rest of the site: right sidebar, left sidebar or no sidebar. We also have a tutorial to hide the sidebar on a per post or per page basis.
Are the home page sections easy to set up?
They are as easy as I could make them. Most involve setting up an image widget or adding a title with an HTML widget. Nothing crazy.
A couple of the widgets involve minor editing and copying and pasting of included scripts. Detailed directions will be included.
If you are a total beginner or not the most techie person alive, this may not be the theme to get started with.
If you’re willing to take a few hours and learn how to use Blogger and get very familiar with widgets, then you should be fine. But because of the very custom nature of this design, it will take more work to set up than the normal template. Just bein’ honest here…
So, you don’t need to be a code expert. We will include written and video tutorials as usual, but you have to be willing to do the work to get it set up. I’ve made it as easy as possible but…
Can I have the hero header on all my blog pages?
There will be a tutorial with the theme directions that will show you how to have the hero header on ALL pages on your site.
Keep in mind this means all of them. We will also include a snippet you can use to hide the hero header selectively on a per post and page basis.
Also keep in mind having the hero header on all your pages is not the best for SEO. Google does not like this design on all pages.
Can I have the hero header and a regular blog on my home page?
No, not with this theme, but we will be previewing another theme soon that will have that design concept (regular blog with hero header and CTA/Promo section).
Can I show full posts on the “Blog” page?
This theme uses auto excerpts. It uses the longer version of Blogger excerpts but the excerpt and Read More button are automatic. This is better for load times for the Blog and Archive pages.
Ready for the Sneak Peek?
Well, let’s do this already!
Here it is:
I anticipate releasing Piper + Paige within the next 2 weeks.
Release date depends on how long it takes to create all the help documents. There are a few more than usual. And I want them to be awesome and do justice to this amazing design.
We will post on the blog when it is available for purchase.
The cost for this design will be $35. This is due to all the custom widgets required to make this design work.
Stay tuned for another sneak peek coming soon of the “blog” version of this design with the hero header, CTAs and a regular blog page below!