If you change your template often then you need a test blog. Just installing an innocent looking widget can wreak havoc — everything is real time. So adjust the widget size and colors on a private test blog then copy to your public blog for the world to see. It also helps if you want to have a widget go live on a certain date, just copy it when ready.
In the beginning I make template tweaks on the fly, just saving a copy and doing previews before making changes permanent. But you can still make mistakes, especially late at night. That’s why I add comments, as breadcrumbs to help me undo anything.
On my team blog I absolutely need a test space. We have a template that can be customized as you install it, but later we wanted to make changes. A change such as post summaries on the home page or tabbed widget content is very complex and could take more than one session to get right! As a matter of fact the last one did not work, so I had to remove the code — will try again later. We also made changes to the header background which should not be done on the live blog.
Another time a test blog comes in handy is when you create a script for a new gadget you want on your blog, direct it to your test blog first. Then just change the blog name/url in the code before copying over to your live blog.
I found this great tutorial on Creating A Test Blog On Blogger Platform. The author covers everything quite nicely so head on over there to get started.
Avoid the ‘oops’ syndrome and remember, template and widget changes are best done after a good night’s sleep.
photo by by ktpupp