October 18, 2012

Finding and Installing Unofficial Blogger Templates

In addition to the numerous templates provided by Blogger, you can find hundreds (if not thousands!) of Blogger templates created by independent designers. From simple, customisable designs through to industry-specific layouts and obscure themes, there is something to suit every taste and circumstance.

This post outlines the basics of finding and installing unofficial Blogger templates, both free and premium designs, so that you may enjoy changing the appearance of your Blogger site as often as you like!

Finding Free Blogger Templates

The majority of third-party Blogger templates are provided free of charge! Many talented designers choose to create and share their templates for self-promotion or as a taster of the quality of premium services they may provide.

A quick search on Google will demonstrate the popularity of free Blogger templates! To save time, here is a selection of quality sites where you can find and download free templates and find the perfect design for your site:

  • Btemplates – one of the oldest (and certainly the biggest) curated directory of Blogger templates which includes hundreds of designs by many different authors. Search by theme, popularity or release date.
  • Compartdisimo – A growing selection of beautifully detailed Blogger templates. This site is in Spanish, but can be easily translated to your native language.
  • Loefa-Cebook – An Indonesian site which offers an excellent selection of designs, many of which are converted from other template styles.
  • Urang-Kurai – Stunning modern designs for Blogger. You'll need to click through to see previews of the templates since the main page is text-based.
  • 54Blogger – Features a selection of contemporary original designs.
  • Dzignine – Stunning original Blogger template designs (plus some premium themes too!)
  • Templates Novo Blogger - An established site which offers a plethora of Blogger templates for download.
  • Bloggermint – A nice selection of templates, from business to personal designs.
  • BestTheme – Quite a variety of designs, many of which are converted from other template types.
  • Blogger Xpertise – A small but growing number of free templates from respected Blogger expert, David Kutcher
  • Blogger Buster – I've designed a number of free Blogger templates over the years, most of which are original designs, with a couple of irresistible conversions thrown in for good measure.

How to install Blogger templates

The actual file required for installation when you have downloaded a Blogger template is an .xml file. This may be contained in a .zip folder which you will need to extract in order to access the template.

When you have your template .xml file to hand, go to the Template section of your Blogger dashboard and click the Backup/Restore button in the top right corner. Click the grey Choose File button a little down the page and select the .xml template file you would like to upload.

It may take a moment or two to install your new design before the Template page will reload to display a preview of blog using its new theme.

After installation, you may choose to add/edit/delete gadgets in the Layout section of your dashboard, or make changes to the design in the Template>Customise section.

Premium Blogger Templates

If you are looking for a high quality design for your Blogger site, you may prefer to purchase a Premium template. Such templates feature original designs, advanced functionality and better support than those which are free, and can range in price from around $3-$300 USD.

The most popular site where premium Blogger templates may be purchased is ThemeForest (at the time of writing, there were ?? premium Blogger themes for sale). Several other Blogger developers sell themes through their own websites, including:
Premade Blogger templates and design elements (such as backgrounds and banners)can also be found for sale on Etsy and Ebay for various prices.

Tips and Best Practises for using unofficial Blogger templates

  • Take a look at the demonstration sites for any templates you would like to download and explore the functionality to get a feel for how your own site would operate under the new design.
  • Backup your existing template before uploading an entirely new one, just in case you decide to revert back later.
  • Be sure to read any installation instructions carefully – after initial upload, tweaks may be required to ensure the template operates properly!
  • Read the terms of use for any template you install – many designers offer their themes for free under the condition that their attribution link remains in the template (and may be offended if you remove it!)

What do you think?

Have I missed your favourite Blogger designer from the lists of free or premium designers? Do you have any further tips of your own for installing unofficial Blogger themes?

Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below!

Credits: Icon by Double J Designs

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