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Setting up a Blogger Test Blog


If you're installing a premium template on a Blogger blog that has existing content and is live, we strongly recommend you first install the template on a test blog, setup and tweak your blog and then export your new setup to your live blog.

There are a number of advantages to using a test blog:

  1. Test the template on your content prior to installing it on your live blog
  2. Practice the setup instructions so installing on your live blog will be quicker with less disruption to your live blog
  3. Transfer some of your test settings to your live blog to also reduce disruption to your live blog
  4. Transfer any changes made in the Blogger Template Designer (Customizer) to your live site from your test site

NOTE: Some settings do not carry over when you transfer your test blog setup to your live blog, these include Social Media icons settings, Menu settings, gadget settings for gadgets like Popular Posts and Labels. The content you cut and paste into any HTML/JavaScript gadgets also does not carry over but the empty gadget itself will transfer over as a place to insert your code.

STEP 1: Export the data from your live blog

So that your test blog will look as much like your live blog as possible, you will want to export all your posts, images and pages to use for testing with the test blog you will be creating.

  1. Go to your Blogger Dashboard Overview page for your live blog.
  2. On the left-hand menu, click on the Settings link to visit your settings pages.
  3. Under the Settings pages, click on the Other sub-page.
  4. At the top of the Other settings page is a section called Import & back up. Click the Back up Content link.stagingsite1.png
  5. The Other > Back up Content popup will appear. Click on the gray Save to your computer button.stagingsite2.png
  6. A download popup should appear (depending on your operating system). Click the appropriate button to Save the file to your computer into a location of your choice or your designated download folder.
  7. Go the folder that you chose to download the blog export into. You will see an XML file with a name like: blog-11-10-15.xml (the 11-10-15 will be substituted with the appropriate date abbreviation for the date on which you exported the file). This is the file you will need to upload your posts to your test blog.

STEP 2: Export Your Template

  1. If you want to export your current template and install it on your test site, go to the Settings > Theme page on the Blogger Dashboard.
  2. In the upper right corner of the page, click on the gray Backup/Restore button.stagingsite3.png
  3. The Theme > Backup/Restore popup will open.
  4. Click on the orange Download theme button.stagingsite4.png
  5. A download dialog box will open on your computer.
  6. Save the file to your Downloads folder, desktop or file of your choice.
  7. The file will look something like: theme-#################.xml.
  8. You can then upload this theme to your staging site like any other theme from the Themes page.

STEP 3: Setup Your Staging Site

1. Create a new blog

  1. Sign into your Blogger Dashboard. On the main dashboard page, at the top left you will see the name of your current blog. Click on the down arrow to open the drop down list.
  2. At the bottom of the list is the option New blog...
  3. Click on this link.stagingsite5.png
  4. The Create a new blog window will open. stagingsite6.png
  5. Give your test blog a Title and enter an Address for your blog. You don’t need to worry about selecting a specific default template as you will be uploading your premium template.
  6. Click the Create blog! button to create your test blog.
  7. After you have created your new test blog, you will be directed to the main Blogger Dashboard page for that blog.

2. Import your live blog posts into your test blog

  1. For your new blog, visit the Settings > Other page as described in the section above.
  2. At the top of the Settings > Other page, under the Import & back up section, click the Import Content button.stagingsite7.png
  3. The Import Content popup window will open.
  4. Prove you're not a robot.
  5. Then click on the Import from computer button.stagingsite8.png
  6. Find the file you downloaded in Step 1 way above. (blog-##-##-####.xml) Select this file to upload to your site.
  7. Your content will begin to automatically upload.
  8. When upload is complete you will be directed to the Posts page and existing posts from your live blog will now populate your staging site.

3. Install your premium theme template

Follow the directions in the Install Your Blogger Template tutorial included with your template to install your new template on the test blog 

Or install your downloaded template from Step 2 above.

  1. Go to the Theme page on the Blogger Dashboard.
  2. Click on the Backup/Restore button.stagingsite8.pngstagingsite3.png
  3. Under the "Upload a theme from a file on your hard drive." option, click on the Browse button.stagingsite9.png
  4. Find the downloaded template file on your computer (theme-###################.xml) and select it.stagingsite10.png
  5. Click the Upload button.
  6. Your template will be uploaded.
  7. A yellow success message will flash on your screen when uploading is complete.Screen_Shot_2017-09-08_at_11.02.07_AM.png

4. Set up your staging site

Follow the instructions included with your template to setup all your menus and gadgets on your test blog.

You may also customize your blog using the Blogger Template Designer. These settings will be exported and then imported into your live blog during the next step.

STEP 4: Export your blog setup to your live blog

1. Download your test template setup

Once you have finished setting up your gadgets and customizing your test blog, you can export your setup to your live blog.

  1. Go to the Theme page on your Blogger Dashboard.
  2. Click on the gray Backup/Restore button at the upper right corner of the window. stagingsite3.png
  3. The Backup/Restore popup window will appear.
  4. Click the orange Download theme button.
  5. A file save popup box will appear (depending on your operating system). Chose the option to save the file to a location of your choice on your computer or to your designated downloads file.
  6. On you computer, open the folder to which you downloaded the template file. You will see an XML file named theme-############.xml (the # symbols will be replaced by a long string of numbers. This is the file you will be uploading to your live blog.

2. Install your test setup on your live blog

Install the XML file you downloaded in the previous step onto your live blog following the instructions in the Install Your Blogger Template instructions that came with your premium Blogger Template.

A few notes about what will be installed on your live when you use this method:

  • All gadgets will be installed, however, any of the HTML/JavaScript gadgets where you cut and pasted code, the code will not be transferred over but the empty gadget will be. You will need to setup these gadgets by pasting the code into the gadgets.
  • Social media icon settings will not carry over. You will need to add your links on the live blog.
  • Some gadget settings do not carry over like settings in the Labels, Popular Post or Archive gadgets. You will have to re-adjust those settings.


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