To start working in Blogger beta, I had to upgrade to a new template. I could have selected one that looked just like my old one (without my custom colors), but I went with a slightly different layout. Within a few minutes, I received an email that my blog was ready.
The "about me" and "blog archive" section automatically showed up in my left nav. I still have to manually move all of my links and blogroll and other stuff, but I added my site stats using the new interface and it was simple.
Since Blogger automatically saves your old template (I had made a backup copy "just in case"), I was able to use it as a reference and enter my custom fonts and colors - I even made a few changes since it was so easy to preview the changes:
Although there are lots of page elements you can select and customize using the interface above, not all elements are in the list (e.g., how links appear when one hovers over them). The ability to edit the raw HTML is not yet live, but I'm guessing I can do it there.
If you're logged into Blogger and view your site, there are additional edit buttons, which give you one-click access to change the appearance of the page elements.
- Labels can be added to each post (text entry box, not drop-down selection - although I haven't added any labels yet - it would be nice if Blogger puts my labels in a drop-down and allow me to either select from my old labels and/or enter in new ones... I'll let you know).
Update: The label functionality is pretty slick.
- You can subscribe to a feed for the comments on a specific post. That means if you leave me a comment and are waiting for my witty reply, you don't have to come back every 4 1/2 minutes - just enter the feed into Bloglines, Newsgator, FeedDemon, myYahoo!, your personalized Google home page, or whatever you use to aggregate feeds.
- While you're creating a post, the "Preview" is still a generic preview, not custom to your blog. That's the way it's always been, but it's one feature that I'd like to see added...