How To Create a Development Blog in Blogger

In a recent post titled Developing a Blog Process I described how you can use a separate development blog to test your blog changes. This allows you to change your design at will without impacting your visitors.

One point I didn’t touch on was how to create a development blog. In this post I will explain how you can easily create one in Blogger.

Development Blog Requirements

As mentioned earlier, a development blog is where you can try out different template changes without having an impact on your visitors. This means that if a design change completely breaks your current design, your visitors won’t know since they will be accessing a separate production blog.

There are a few requirements that you may want to include in your development blog:

  1. No indexing by search engines. Since this is a development blog, you don’t want any posts published to this blog to be indexed by search engines. Many posts you create in this blog will probably test out your CSS, so they probably won’t be actual posts.
  2. Should not be included in listings. By default, Blogger will add your blog to its listings so others can visit your blog from Blogger. You will probably also want to disable this as well since you don’t want visitors to visit your blog.
  3. Should not show up in your profile. Everyone with a Blogger account also has a profile page. This page allows an author to provide details about themself, as well as list the blogs that they author. We don’t want to include development blogs in this list.
  4. Only the author(s) should have access. (Optional) If you want, you could also restrict the access to your development blog to only the authors.

Within the Blogger platform, these settings can be changed easily. In the next section I will show you how you can create your own development blog that meets the above requirements.

Creating a Development Blog

Use the following steps to create your own development blog in Blogger:

  1. Login to Blogger and then click the Create a Blog link at the top beside Manage Your Blogs.
  2. Complete the blog details. For a development blog you may want to give it the same name as your current blog, but add “Development” at the end. Once you are done, click the Continue button.
  3. In the next screen choose a template. If you will be using your existing template from your blog, you can just choose any template. Click Continue.
  4. A message stating that your blog has been created. Click Start Blogging to continue.
  5. The new post page should be displayed. For now we will not create a post, but will first setup the requirements oulined above. Click the Settings tab to begin.
  6. The Basic settings page should now be displayed. Change the following options to the indicated value:

    1. Add your blog to our listings: No

    2. Let search engines find your blog: No

  7. Click the Save Settings button at the bottom of the page.
  8. Now we will be restricting visitor access to out development blog. This step is optional. Click the Permissions link.
  9. Below the Blog Readers section, select the Only blog authors option. This will make your development blog private.
  10. In the popup window, click the Allow Authors Only button to accept and save your change.
  11. You may be prompted by an alert window indicating that you are navigating away from the page. If you see this window, click the OK button.
  12. Next we will ensure your blog doesn’t display in your profile. Click the Dashboard link at the top to return to your dashboard.
  13. Under your profile picture to the right, click the Edit Profile link.
  14. Your profile options should now be displayed on the screen. Beside Show my blogs click the Select blogs to display link.
  15. You may be prompted by an alert window indicating that you are navigating away from the page. If you see this window, click the OK button.
  16. Click the checkbox next to your new development blog to clear that box. Click the Save Settings button to save your changes.
  17. Once a message indicating your settings have been changed is displayed on the page, click the Dashboard link at the top to return to your dashboard.
  18. Before you begin using your development blog, you may want to copy over the template from your current blog to ensure that both blogs are the same. You may also need to change your widgets to ensure that they work properly.

After completing the above steps you have now created a development blog that you can use to test out new template designs, publish your posts to see how they look without impacting your visitors.

Summary

Creating a separate development blog will allow you to test out design changes to your blog without affecting your production blog. I have read many times about someone changing their CSS and then their template becomes “broken”. If they had a development blog, they could easily make the changes, and if something went wrong, they could simply copy the template from their production blog and start over.

I’m curious if you have a development blog, or have developed a process for updating your blog. Let me know in the comments.

2 Responses to “How To Create a Development Blog in Blogger”

  1. Frank J says:

    Insightful and well written. I truly appreciate when someone looks beyond 10 feet!

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