Customized ActiveRain Blogs for Free – No HTML or CSS Knowledge Required.

By
Real Estate Agent with Dakno Marketing

I recently discovered a way to customize an ActiveRain blog. I then shared the idea on ActiveRain and even wrote a tutorial on how you can do it. The problem was that it required "coding" skills and had a potential problem with a few pages on ActiveRain. So I went back to the drawing board and figured out a way to easily create a customized Active Rain blog without any CSS/HTML knowledge and without interfering with AR's "Blog Roll" pages.

The Active Rain Custom Blog Generator

I realize that for most of you, your job is to know about Real Estate, not Web Design. With that in mind, I created the Active Rain Custom Blog Generator. It requires no knowledge of CSS or HTML, you simply answer a few questions, and it does all the hard work for you!

No More HTML Editing

Another problem with the old approach was that you had to manually add HTML code to every post that you wrote! With this new system, you simply add one line of code to your sidebar, and every post you have ever written will have your customized style!

It Plays Nice with Active Rain's Blog Roll

When Bob from ActiveRain saw my fist blog post about customizing the Active Rain blog, he pointed out that there are certain areas of ActiveRain that shows multiple posts from different people. Under the old approach, if multiple people customized their blog, then it could "break" those pages. The new approach addresses this and plays nicely with these pages. This is because with the new approach, you don’t add anything to individual blog posts. I felt bad that ActiveRain would have to change their system in order to accommodate my old approach, so I am glad that the new one fixes this. AR doesn’t have to change a thing to their code.

I am still waiting on the official "okay" from AR on this but given their feedback so far, they seem to want to work out a way to keep this feature available to the AR Community. Once again, kudos to AR for being so open minded and forward thinking!

The Active Rain Custom Blog Generator is located here. Feel free to play around with it and let me know what you think. This is just the "beta" version. I hope to add more features and flexibility in the near future. If you want to stay updated of enhancements to the Custom Blog Generator, just click here to subscribe to my ActiveRain blog.

By the way, the design that you see on my ActiveRain blog was created using the Generator. I didn't write any CSS or HTML to achieve this look.

Disclaimer: This is not a feature from ActiveRain, I do not work for AR (unless they want to hire me) :-) and I am sure ActiveRain will not provide Technical Support for this. So proceed at your own risk. I am not responsible for anything that you do to your ActiveRain blog.

Thanks,
Brad

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Rainer
81,330
Bobby Carroll
Dakno Marketing - Emerald Isle, NC
Real Estate Marketing
Carlie - Just a thought....To really make it pop, try using all the same variables except use a navy blue on the background to make it standout! Your choice!
Apr 09, 2008 03:34 PM #121
Rainmaker
969,021
Georgie Hunter
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
Thanks for sharing this.... I find that 950 x 125 wasn't filling the whole header though.  Then I tried 1000 and it's still not wide enough.  Later for that.
Apr 09, 2008 04:48 PM #122
Rainmaker
101,363
Ray Nellum
Envision Real Estate Group, LLC. - Fort Smith, AR
Fort Smith Real Estate
Brad, I've got some bling now!!!  Thanks so much!!!
Apr 09, 2008 05:56 PM #123
Rainer
50,520
Kim Carpenter
Coldwell Banker - Alton, NH
Lake Winnipesaukee REALTOR -Lake Winnipesaukee Real Estate, NH
Yeah!  It worked for me today!!!  Thanks so much!  This is just another aspect that makes us unique here in the rain. You did a great job!
Apr 09, 2008 07:39 PM #124
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
Brad~I just wanted to stop in to tell you Thank YOU for providing this for us.  I sat down yesterday with some focus and completed my background and header.  It was easier than I thought it would be.  I just need full focus or it was going nowhere. I commend you on this. I love have a fresh look on my blog. Enjoy your night!
Apr 09, 2008 09:06 PM #125
Rainer
41,102
Tara Colquitt
Tara Colquitt, The Credit Woman, LLC - Philadelphia, PA
Credit Counselor
Brad: Thank you and I will try this. If anyone can find a way to make it NOT work, it is me. 8-)
Apr 10, 2008 02:20 AM #126
Rainer
32,531
Kelly McDonald
Lagrange, KY

Brad, I need help please. :)  I tried emailing you through the Questions box on the AR Blog Generator site, but got a "Database Error".  Anyway, I've resized my header to the required size and uploaded it to several different sites (Flickr, Photobucket, and one other that slips my mind), and the image isn't showing up at all on AR.  Am I not doing something right?

Thanks so much for doing this for everyone! It's a great tool!

Apr 10, 2008 07:55 AM #127
Rainer
122,256
Pam Winterbauer
Pam Winterbauer Real Estate - San Ramon, CA
"Providing Blue Ribbon Service"
Brad......thanks for the update.  for the life of me I still am unable to add a header.  is it because I do not have photo shop.
Apr 10, 2008 08:49 AM #128
Rainer
122,256
Pam Winterbauer
Pam Winterbauer Real Estate - San Ramon, CA
"Providing Blue Ribbon Service"
Brad......thanks for the update.  for the life of me I still am unable to add a header.  is it because I do not have photo shop.
Apr 10, 2008 08:50 AM #129
Ambassador
2,424,805
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

O.K.  I'm customized.

Love it.  Thanks.

 

Apr 10, 2008 07:10 PM #130
Rainmaker
47,743
Kim Dillon
Creative Eye Home Staging - West Chester, PA

This is so cool!  Hope I'm not too dense to use it!  Thank you!

 Kim Dillon, Creative Eye Home Staging

Apr 12, 2008 10:34 PM #131
Rainer
9,221
Amie Varney
Prudential Verani Realty - Epping, NH
Brad - When I get home to my computer I am going to try it, wish me luck and thank you!
Apr 14, 2008 09:23 AM #132
Rainmaker
623,209
Randy Prothero
Island Style Realty Inc. - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645
This is very exciting.  The beauty of Active Rain is the way it is continually growing and improving.
Apr 14, 2008 01:10 PM #133
Rainmaker
145,471
Charlene Storozuk
Dezigner Digz - Burlington, ON
Home Stager - Burlington Ontario
Hi Brad!  What an awesome idea.  I just have one question though.  I've created my header and saved it to a draft blog on AR to get my URL (just like Jeff instructed in his tutorial).  The URL for my header starts with "/image" and goes on from there.  I tried adding "//http:" in front of it but I'm not having any luck.  What exactly do I have to type in front of what comes up as my URL?  I tried a few different variations but it doesn't seem to work.  If you have a minute to let me know I'd really appreciate it.  Thanks!
Apr 16, 2008 12:43 PM #134
Rainmaker
124,386
Brad Carroll
Dakno Marketing - Knightdale, NC
Real Estate Web Designer
Charlene, You no longer have to worry about uploading an image with the new version. Visit ActiveRainCustomizer.com
Apr 16, 2008 01:19 PM #135
Rainmaker
145,471
Charlene Storozuk
Dezigner Digz - Burlington, ON
Home Stager - Burlington Ontario
Thanks Brad!
Apr 16, 2008 02:01 PM #136
Rainer
8,649
Tanya Johnson
Tanya & Co./Keller Williams - Ashburn, VA

Brad,

 I am excited to check this out! I was excited when I saw the Talk2tanya.com website on your featured agent sights:) Hope things are going well.

Apr 21, 2008 09:12 PM #137
Rainmaker
175,880
Donna Galinsky
Pugatch Realty Corp | Five Towns Long Island, NY Real Estate - Hewlett, NY
Five Towns LI Real Estate Expert

OK - as great and easy as this is I feel really dumb. Why is hy header image not showing up on my blog? it seems to be sized right. I don't know what is wrong PLEASE HELP!! Thanks. 

Jun 22, 2008 06:17 PM #138
Rainer
19,404
Edie Lomason
Michael Saunders & Company - Venice, FL
BA, ABR

Ok!  I am just so happy to have color and my logo!  Thanks for this easy stepwise process.

Jul 22, 2008 03:08 PM #139
Rainer
229,782
Scott Hoen
First American Title Company - Yorba Linda, CA
VP, Director of Marketing Systems & Tech, ePro, MB

thanks for the ideas and list of sites

Sep 11, 2008 01:07 PM #140
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Brad Carroll

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