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The Top 10 Blogger Template Resource Sites

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These days, Blogger users are spoiled for choice by the variety of free Blogger templates available to them. What’s more, as blog designers push the boundaries of blog design, the quality of templates just gets better and better!

Whereas not long ago, Blogger templates seemed to all have the same two column layout with no extra functionality, Blogger template designers now add features like navigation menus; tabbed widgets to include much information in a small space; three (and even four) column templates, and even magazine style layouts which previously were only available to those using WordPress.

In this post, I’ll present the cream of the crop for Blogger templates: the top ten resources where you can find the best quality and variety of free Blogger templates to enhance your blogs.

B-Templates

B-templates probably has the largest collection of Blogger templates available online. Featuring a collaboration of templates by many different authors (and many unique designs too), B-Templates organizes templates by layout, style and color.

Top picks

  • Visionary: An adaptation of Justin Tadlocks simple and functional blog template for Blogger, with tabbed navigation in the sidebar. Easily customized to suit your own blogging requirements.
  • Ads Theme: a professional layout with plenty of room for ads and widgets.
  • Made in Spain: To date, this seems the most downloaded Blogger template on the Btemplates site. It features a journal style background, enabling your blog to appear more like the pages of a book than a regular, digital publication!

Jackbook

Jackbook is written by Jacky Supit who specializes in converting WordPress templates for those using the Blogger platform.

To date, Jackbook has offered some of the most popular Blogger templates available, some of which have even been showcased by Mashable.

Top Picks

  • Rainbow Garden: This is a stunning and elegant Blogger template with a colorful background and three column layout.
  • Lemon Blogger Template: Simply put, this is a fabulous template! The “Lemon” title refers to the color scheme (which is actually a combination of yellow and green). This features many useful functions including navigation and search functions built into the code.
  • Dreamwork Redux: This is a very elegant template with a darker layout and unique widgets in the sidebar. It also includes three columns in the footer section, and built in feed links.

eBlog Templates


eBlog templates features a huge collection of templates for Blogger, many of which are WordPress conversions. You can also find a great selection of Blogger tutorials here too.

Top Picks

  • Dilectio: This popular template is a conversion of the WordPress theme developed for Smashing Magazine. It includes a navigation bar in the header, and well styled sidebar sections.
  • Minyx: This is a professional styled theme with a feed icon integrated into the header; built in blog search and stylish sidebar headings.
  • Natural Essence: This is a simple, elegant template with built in widgets for navigation and recent posts/comments.

BlogCrowds


BlogCrowds is one of the most established communities for bloggers, and their Blogger template offerings are well worth a look. Here you will find dozens of excellent quality templates to doanload, many of which are not available elsewhere.

Top Picks

  • Hemingway: I have to admit, this is one of my all-time favorite Blogger templates! It features a unique layout on the home page which displays the two most recent posts side by side. On post pages, you will see meta-data for the post in the left hand column. It is one of the most professional Blogger templates I know of and well worth a look.
  • Probama: Here’s a political theme which would certainly suit many of the political bloggers sprouting up in the run up to the US elections… Of course, you could change the header banner to suit your own blog’s theme, though overall this is surely a professional and well designed template.
  • Magic Paper: This is such a beautiful design! Featuring three columns and a parchment style layout for each section, this would certainly suit a blog with ethereal overtones.

GosuBlogger


Goasu provides some beautoful templates with excellent functionality. Some of the templates available are WordPress conversions, but you will find a range of original templates here too.

Top Picks

  • Freedom Wall: This has a lovely wall effect background and stylish header section.
  • Dark World: Simple yet stunning, this dark template has a built in search function and navigation bar.
  • Angelic: This template includes Ajax functionality for an accordion style link list.

Blogger-Templates

This is one of the oldest resources for Blogger XML templates, and is among the most popular Blogger powered sites online.

Top Picks

  • Ratatouille: This Disney themed template has many unique features, including the built in movie preview!
  • Colibri: A beautiful floral theme for Blogger with a wide two column layout.
  • DarkSpark: A striking blue on black design with integrated navigation buttons and a stylish header image.

Zona Cerebral


Zona Cerebral includes some truly stunning templates for free download. Most are original templates, though recently the trend for WordPress conversions has ensured some of the best blog designs from across the web are available to Blogger users from this site.

Top Picks

  • Revolution: Yes, this is a Blogger conversion of Brian Gardner’s fabulous theme! Almost all functionality has been retained for this Blogger version. You certainly won’t be disappointed with the download 🙂
  • Yoghourt: This stunning template is in shades of brown with a seemingly simple layout and excellent features.
  • Clean and Dark: This is a simple template with few images which is optimized for ad integration.

Gisele Jaquenod

Gisele offers unique and premade designs which are specifically made for Blogger. Generally speaking, her templates would appeal to a more feminine audience. Many include her recognizable “birdie” logo, though all are presented beautifully.

Top Picks

  • Birdie’s Good Life: Probably the most famous of Gisele’s creations, this epitomizes the style she projects through her template designs.
  • Birdie’s Secret Garden: With three columns and a pastel color scheme, this is a feminine and girly design.
  • Bloggin Out Loud: This template features a more masculine, musical theme and excellent design work in the header section.

Template Godown


Template Godown offers some beautiful Blogger template designs, most of which are WordPress conversions.

Top Picks

  • Japanese Fleur: This is one of the most beautiful ornamental designs I have ever seen, with a search bar neatly entwined in the foliage of the header section (you really must check this one out to understand what I mean!).
  • Atlantia: A simple theme with integrated navigation bar and RSS icon in the sidebar.
  • Naga Geni: An eastern themed almost monochrome template with a three column layout.

Blogger Themes at Blogging Tips

Here at Blogging Tips, you can now download a great selection of my own Blogger XML template designs! Most of these were originally designed for Blogger, though I have also begun to convert Kevin’s WordPress themes too.

Top Picks

  • BT Dark Green: This is a WordPress conversion of the original Blogging Tips theme. It features an integrated navigation section and mouseover effects for links in the sidebar.
  • A New day: This pale theme features a wide sidebar and image transparency effects in the header.
  • Butterfly: Of my own designs, this is one of my all-time favorites (and probably the most downloaded). Featuring a striking red on black contrast, this theme is feminine without being overly girly!

Yet more resources to be found…

These ten featured sites offer a great selection of Blogger templates for free download, but are only a small percentage of the complete list of resources available.

Over at Blogger Buster, I maintain a complete list of Blogger template resources (including premium blog designers) which you may also find useful. You may also like to check out a few showcases of Blogger template downloads to see the variety of designs available now for Blogger users:

These days, Blogger templates are available to download from all corners of the world wide web, and as more designers are turning their skills towards this niche of the web design industry, we can only expect the quality of templates to keep on improving!

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Amanda is a freelance blogger and web/blog designer. She writes about Blogger at www.BloggerBuster.com and maintains several other blogs on various subjects.

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Oh, Now I Get It! How to Explain Complex Topics to Your Audience

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Technical writers have a great number of skills, but perhaps the most important is the ability to adapt your language to the level of comprehension your audience has. A highly technical and complex article can overwhelm readers or even bore them.

“But it’s impossible to delight my readers and keep them engaged when I’m talking about the

IEEE 802.11ac principle of broadband technology,” We hear you cry. And, we get it. Turning a technical article into a sexy piece of content can feel like a daunting task, but it’s not mission impossible.

Here are a few content creation tips that will help you explain complex topics to your audience in a delightful manner.

Imagine That You Are Explaining the Subject to a Non-Tech-Savvy Friend

One of the most important things when creating technical content for a more broad audience is consistency. So, as much as possible try to use the same tone, level of knowledge, complexity of vocabulary, and so on. The easiest way to calibrate your writing style is to imagine that you are writing for a friend or a relative that has nothing to do with your area of expertise.

Imagine you are trying to explain a particularly complex topic to them, in a friendly and light discussion. How would you approach the subject? What elements you think would bore or frustrate them?

What helps you in the real world is adapting your style and vocabulary to the other person’s knowledge. You know that you don’t have to explain what an Internet browser does, but you might have to tell them more about the coding behind it when discussing responsive web design, for instance. Use common words and keep them engaged with a lighter, friendly style.

Adapt Your Vocabulary and Structure

Let’s take a look at how you can flip your technical writing to be more approachable. First of all: use concepts that your audience is familiar with or at least has a general idea about them.

A good start is to check what search words visitors use when browsing your website. You will identify commonly used terms that are related to the technology that interests them. Use those keywords yourself to keep visitors on your page.

Also, be careful about the structure of the text when writing online, especially when you are trying to explain something complex. Make sure to split your text into readable chunks. You can also help the reader understand the subject better by using titles and subtitles to separate the main ideas of your article.

Build up the Knowledge of Your Audience, from General to Detailed

Once you have established a common language and vocabulary between you and your target audience, start methodically presenting your topic, from general level information to more detailed aspects. Applying this rule will help you readers understand the topic better without wasting too much time. Online readers tend to ignore content that is, irrelevant or hard to understand.

While it is important to get the basics straight before getting deeper into your subject, make sure to summarize the purpose of your article at the very beginning, as it will let your audience know what they will learn about after going through it.

Use Style Tools That Help Your Audience Relate to the Topic

The fun part of writing about technical topics for a general audience is getting creative with it. Because you can’t use the “boring,” “stiff” technical jargon, you must come up with expressive comparisons, examples, and analogies. You can even evoke anecdotal evidence to support the facts since they are highly relevant for many of the users.

Helping them relate to the topic you are writing about is the key to grabbing their attention. Use day to day examples for the systems and processes you are describing, or mention the best-known similar thing. Give them examples of possible situations when they can come across the topic you are writing about and enable them to talk about it themselves.

Ultimately, is all about correctly identifying the level of knowledge your audience has. Encourage them to comment and ask any questions and keep the conversations alive.

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IT Management Solutions: What is the Key to Improving Employee Efficiency?

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There are many ways you can improve your employees’ efficiency. From decluttering the workspace to encouraging a stress-free environment, there is a whole range of things you can do to make your work life run smoother. One such technique you need to adopt for your company is an IT management solution.

What Does It Do?

An IT management solution such as SysAid takes all of the day-to-day programs that a business will use and consolidates them into one easy-to-use package. Every employee should be able to log on and complete all their work without having to leave the initial program.

It can contain such subsections as project management, customer relationship management, billing and invoicing, and a whole host of other features.

Why Should Employers Implement Such a Solution?

A system such as this allows managers to have better visibility over the company as a whole. They will be able to tell if an employee is completing their daily tasks to the best of their ability and will also allow them to see where they are lacking.

The data from the completion of these daily tasks can easily be tracked and analyzed to see where employees are struggling with efficiency. With some adjustments, efficiency can then be improved in these areas.

Project Management

One of the key reasons to install an IT management solution is for the project management aspects. A good project management program lets all employees know where they are with their projects at all times. Whether you are just working on the project or a project manager, you will be able to see the stage that the project is at and all the steps and processes that still need to be completed.

This collaborative nature helps improve speed and efficiency and stops the project becoming grounded in a lack of communication. If you are not yet using a project management system, you will notice that many small but important problems like misuse of resources will be greatly reduced.

Customer Relationship Management

By having your customer service staff use one portal for all their needs, you will see a great improvement in efficiency when it comes to handling customer enquiries. An IT management solution can contain a database with all your customer’s information. This means that if a case needs to be passed from one team member to another, there is little to no chance of any relevant information being lost in the transfer. Everything should be in place in the one database.

Invoicing and Billing

Keeping your various accounts and invoices in different places can lead to items being forgotten or double-charged. By using an IT management software, your managers and accountants will be able to successfully keep track of all costs and reduce unnecessary spending. This will improve efficiency as multiple enquires are not being made to complete invoices and other reports.

There are just some of the ways an IT management solution can improve your business. If you feel you need to improve your company’s efficiency, consider implementing one today.

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7 Less Obvious Keyword Research and Content Analytics Tools

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Digital content has several powerful benefits over print content: It’s cheaper to distribute, it’s open and global (especially when it’s in English which most of the world can understand) and it offers an unprecedented opportunity to understand your audience better.

Actually, technology and digital content do wonders: Having both you can target your customers precisely when and where they are most willing to engage.

“Content and technology are strange bed fellows. We are joined together. Sometimes we misunderstand each other. But isn’t that after all the definition of marriage?”

To get an idea of how powerful digital content metrics can be, read and bookmark these articles:

Here are a few free or cheap content analytics options any blogger can afford:

1. UberSuggest

UberSuggest

UberSuggest is a free keyword research tool that offers quite a few cool content analytics features.

This tool is a bit broad but I felt it deserved a place on the list. It works by letting you put in key phrases and then gives you data on that and alternatives, including the power of that phrase on Google. You will be getting an idea of what phrases are already being cornered by competitors, as well as which ones are easier for you to target.

I also like this one as a content planning tool as I can find ideas for content related to an idea I had. I have come away from UberSuggest with my editorial calendar full many times.

2. Cyfe

Cyfe web analytics

Cyfe is not just analytics tool. In fact, you can use for anything under the sun, it’s a Swiss knife of business monitoring. And it has some cool analytics integrations that will make your analytics reports much faster and easier to access.

Use Cyfe to integrate your favorite Google analytics reports, monitor your social media growth, traffic spikes and more.

3. Tweriod

Tweriod might not be quite as relevant as it once was, but it is still a useful tool if you post a lot of content on Twitter. Find out what times your followers are most active. Discover optimal posting time. See what content was most popular and when.

All of this will help you use Twitter more effectively as a content marketing platform, as well as an engagement platform for one on one and influencer marketing.

4. Scoop.it

Scoop.it is pretty cool but the free plan is very limited. Basically you get a single page and up to ten “scoops” per day. Basically it is going to curate relevant content to give you insights into what is working well within your industry.

As an overall marketing tool, the professional version is a pretty cheap way to improve your ROI and get more bites when it comes to clicks. It is worth signing up for a free account and getting a taste of what they are about.

5. HotJar

HotJar

HotJar is a cool heat map generator allowing you to clearly see which parts of your content attract most attention.

Heat maps are pretty cool. They work by tracking what visitors to your site are spending the most time looking at and clicking on. Then it gives you a visual of hot and cold areas of your site, which can point to anything from design flaws to lackluster or thin content. You can try them out for free and get a more complete picture from both a website and content perspective.

Here are more options for data visualization which will help you understand your audience and analytics reports better.

6. Social Mention

Is your content being shared or talked about? Is your brand being mentioned? You can find out on Social Mention, which allows you to search for proof of that very thing and find out what people are saying about you and what you post.

It is a bit simplistic, but very helpful.

7. iSpionage

ispionage

Adwords and SEO keywords are a bit part of what you and other brands on competing for, not just customers. iSpionage gives you a look at what it is that those competitors are using and how it is working for them.

It is surprisingly affordable compared to many other similar tools and has a decent features list. I would definitely give this one a try.

Are there any other affordable content analytics tools except for the most obvious ones (like Google Analytics)? Please share them in the comments!

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