Blog,  Blogging

When Drop Down Menus Won’t Work

The humour of me giving blogger technical tips hasn’t escaped me, however I’d like to share a few tips I’ve recently re-learnt. My technical knowledge is random, I’m quite technically challenged in some basic areas and yet lately I’ve been reading and discerning html code and am going to chat on the topic. I’m still shaking my head in bemusement.

A few months ago I was determined to install drop down menus here on my blog.  After reading several blogspot tutorials and hyperventilating over how difficult it seemed, talk of searching within my html code and installing code tends to have that effect, I found this tutorial by Ro Little (thank you Ms Little:). Three steps and I would have my drop down menus, as it didn’t include changing my template’s html coding manually, this I could do. Forthwith I began following Ms Little’s steps and they do work and should have worked except….I ran into a few glitches along the way. After much frustration, googling and searching I eventually discovered why I was having problems and how to rectify them. Fast forward to this week when a friend asked for assistance in installing drop down menus on her blogspot blog, after hours and hours of trying to discover just why the menus weren’t working when they should have been I remembered my similar problems and how I solved them.  Can you believe I’d forgotten my frustrations and then my solutions! Sharing the reason we had troubles installing drop down menus for anyone struggling to do so, and so I never forget again;)

Click back over to the tutorial.
Step 1
The planning part is simply fun, organising out how your main categories and sub-categories drop down menu will look like, be still my heart.

Step 2
You must be sooo precise, every dot and dash must be exactly as the coding is written. It takes time for your brain to click into a coding groove, and this step could be your waterloo. I had many more categories and subcategories than Miss Little supplied and this is where I initially had problems, I didn’t always copy exactly so then spent much time finding and correcting my mistakes. I can’t stress enough how precise you must be, just one missed dot or dash can cause problems, eventually though your brain starts to read coding a little, and you understand where and why you are having trouble. I found it easier to work on my coding in a word document and then pasted over(see tutorial for instructions). At this stage all going well you will see your category heading and your sub-categories spread across the blog, not dropping down yet.
Step 2 is straightforward enough, just an exercise in patience and attention to detail (areas I need to hone) Once done it should work and often does work, except when……

Step 3
You’ve followed Step 2 precisely, you’ve correctly copied and installed the CSS code according to Step 3 and you still can’t get your drop down menu to work. You are soo frustrated, why is it not working?? The problem has nothing to do with Ms Little’s tutorial, nor any of the many similar tutorials out there, if you have a problem at Step 3 the problem could well be your template!! It baffles me that I couldn’t find any tutorials explaining this, I had to cobble together information here and there after much searching.

Template problems can be caused by a few factors, like me perhaps you initially tried many tutorials to solved your drop down menu vexations and you may have tried to add code directly into the template and then left traces behind when you cancelled it. Sometimes a click on revert to default template will rectify the matter, sometimes not. After much frustration I realised my friend’s problem was she had installed blogger’s watermark template which apparently doesn’t allow drop down menus, potentially any changes you have made to your template at some stage could be causing your drop down menu to not work. Hours and hours of frustrating problems can perhaps be easily fixed with a click of a button!

**The button to click? – Switch your template back to a Simple template, then add the CSS code! If you change to a different simple template, you must re-install the CSS code once again.

Any problems installing a drop down menu will either be your coding or your template.

If you are wanting to install drop down menus I’m happy to help and guide you through. If you have lots more categories and sub-categories then the tutorial’s coding I’m happy to send you mine to superimpose over. Hopefully this may eliminate for you some of the frustrating mistakes I made.

Whilst navigating ‘how to’ is a steep learning curve, it looks so awesome and is totally worth the work. When you ‘crack the code’ you have every right to be so darn proud of yourself:)

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  • Mel @ Coal Valley View

    Well done Erin! I'm terrified to do any fiddling around with html coding lest I lose the whole blog but I do admire you for doing it, you should be chuffed and the drop down menus do look awesome 🙂 Have a great weekend! Mel x

    • Erin

      Encouraging you to have a shot, happy to help. The tutorial I linked to doesn't have you go into your html template. After working on the coding you simply go to Dashboard – Customise- Advanced – Add Css and then dump code into there. so not the risk you are worried about.
      btw always a good idea to back up your blog from time to time (so my husband tells me;) still have to work out how, husband has been doing it for me from time to time.

  • Kylie

    This fabulous Erin, it is very scary isn't it. I had gotten quite confident in regards to playing with my html over the years but once I paid someone to do a template for me I found to scared to touch it with all of the changes. I'm really second guessing that decision now and given it was a couple of years ago I seem to have forgotten much of my coding.

    Have you set up a duplicate blog where you can play with things to see how they will appear before actually doing them? I know I found that very useful.

    Are you a part of the Aussie Homeschool Bloggers Group Erin?

    • Erin

      What an interesting thought, I have toyed with sourcing out some computer changes, but now I won't, thanks for sharing. Yes I have a test blog, which actually was how I knew my friend's problem was her template, the drop down menu was working on my blog, then eventually her test blog when I changed the template.
      I was, but my presence on fb is very minimal, not really my medium

  • Jane

    Hello Erin, I am completely lost ( but also impressed ) with this post, but that is not why I am here! I just wanted to thank you for connecting with me on my blog and I am in awe….10 children….I have 4 and I thought that was quite a feat! It is nice to be in touch with a blogger relatively close by and I look forward to that continuing. Bye for now , Jane

  • Chareen

    Happy Dance Erin. I'm so pleased to see this post. This has been my post pressing question for my blog of late 🙂 I think I might ask for your help when you're in Melbourne if I haven't cracked the code by then 🙂

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