Classroom Blog Part 5 of 10 – Customising your blog

Posted: September 1, 2011 in Education
Tags: , , , ,

MapHello and welcome back to the classroom blog. If you are new to this, the series of ten blogs I am creating will hopefully create a resource that educators, students or anyone interested for that matter can use to develop their own blogs. The posts are directed towards people who are new to blogging, like me. I encourage any comments or feedback that will improve and develop this resource.

There are many things you can do to customise your blog, rather than just having a page of text for people to read. One of the simplest things to do is change the theme of your blog.


Using the dashboard on the left hand side of the screen open the drop down menu for Appearance. In there you will find a sub heading, themes, open this up and simply click on any of the themes that take your fancy. Most of the themes are free but there are a few premium ones you have to pay for. There are a number of ways you can search for different themes whether you use the A-Z or most popular functions is up to you.  Find a screen shot that you like the look of and then hit preview. If you like the preview hit apply and your blog will be changed to this format, if not move on to the next one.


Widgets, like the map at the top of this page give you the opportunity to embed small pre written programs. These programs have been developed and written by a number of people around the world and as a result there are many unique and interesting widgets out there.

Widgets in the Appearance Menu

The first, and easiest way to install widgets is using the widgets that are available in the appearance menu. The email subscription button is one such widget, as are the Facebook Page like button and my live twitter feeds. Simply choose the widget you like, drag it acroos to the location boxes on the right hand side of the screen, make sure you save the changes and return to the post. When you preview the page the widget you have just installed will appear. If you don’t like it simply go back to the widget screen and remove it.

HTML Widgets

The second way of installing widgets is by copying and pasting html text directly into the post. This is how the world map and the guest counter are generated. Use a search engine to do a web search, use key words that suit your needs but try and add plug-ins or widgets somewhere in the search criteria. What you need to look for then are sites that will give you the html code. Chose your design and style of what ever widget you require then copy the html code generated by the website(i have absolutely no clue how to read this so have very little understanding). Once you have copied the text return to the post. YOU MUST post the html code on the HTML page or it will not work. You can enter this by clicking on the tab at the top right of the box you type in. Choose where on the page you want the widget then paste the html code there. Return to the visual page and, fingers crossed, the widget should have appeared. Below are a couple of web pages where you can find widgets.

Guest counter

World Map

A blog about which plugins to use


The menu option, within Appearance, allows you to create a custom set of links from your page. my menu appears at the top of my page but this can be changed and is also dependent of the theme you have chosen. This is a really handy function for scaffolding students in the web direction you want them to take or simply sharing some of your common interests. To use the menu option click on the link in the appearances section. Choose a title for your new menu then using the boxes to the left of the screen add content.  The process is quite simple, I had two web screens open and simply cut and paste web addresses into the boxes.

Custom Design

Unfortunately because this is a paid feature, and I’m a tight Yorkshireman I can’t really offer any insight into this. I suppose it is pretty much as described on the page. If anyone has purchased this feature and would like to share their expertise all comments would be most welcome.


The iPad feature allows you to make a few changes to make your sight more visually appealing to people accessing it via iPad. The instructions are fairly simple and basic changes can be made. It might be quite a nice feature if you are using iPads within your educational setting. If you are accessing this sight from an iPad I have got the settings turned ON if not you wont be able to see any differences.

Some interesting Reading from the Department of Education WA

Blogs in Education

free hits counter
free hits counter


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