Blogs are becoming more and more popular these days. I have never really considered myself a writer, but always felt like I had something to say. Whether or not I spoke up is another story. Throughout my career as a teacher, I have always had opinions and ideas about education. I would talk to my friends in small groups and give my two cents, but never felt comfortable speaking up to an entire faculty, especially with the principal present. Last October, at a conference in Indianapolis, I was chatting with a colleague of mine. He told me that I should start a blog. My initial thought was what I believe most people think, “No one wants to hear what I have to say.” This is a misconception. If everyone thought like this, then we would not have any blogs out there to read. So, the following week, I wrote my first blog post. Now, here I am 1 year later with 46 posts and 3,882 views from 11 different countries. I had never dreamed of such a thing.
Now that you have heard my story, are you interested in starting your own blog? Here are some things to consider. What is the purpose for your blog? Is it to express ideas or opinions and try and make a difference? Is it to help people with something you know about or something that you have experienced? Is it to connect with people that have similar hobbies or interests? Is it just for fun and to be creative? Can your blog have more than one purpose? Well, it is your blog and I believe you can make it anything you want it to be. My blog is mainly to promote eLearning and help educators find webtools and utilize digital devices in their classrooms. However, I have occasionally written on topics that are personal or that cover current events. I believe that this helps your readers get to know you as a human and make connections with you.
Once you have your purpose in place, there are a few more things to decide. How often are you going to write a post? Will it be daily or weekly? I think if you wait more than a week before the next post, then you will likely lose some of your audience. Choose a frequency that works for you, which leads to my next tip and that is to be consistent and committed. Being consistent allows you to meet your audience’s expectations and create a secure place for them to visit again and again. Your consistency will be rewarded with reader loyalty.
Your blog’s success will also depend on its visibility to others. You need to find a way to promote your blog. This can be done via social media such as Facebook, My Big Campus, and Twitter. Each time you post or update your blog, Tweet it out, post it on My Big Campus, or on Facebook. I highly recommend that you do all three. You cannot listen to the movie Field of Dreams that states, “If you build it, they will come.” You not only have to spend time writing fascinating and interesting posts, you have to work outside your blog to advertise it.
One way of becoming a better blogger is to read and follow some experienced bloggers. I follow several blogs that help inspire me with ideas and topics to write about. It is also a way that I learn about new tools and concepts to share with the teachers and administrators that I work with. I highly recommend that you follow blogs that you agree with, as well as, some that have different opinions than you. This allows you to learn from others and see things from a different perspective. It will also equip and prepare you for comments from your readers that may push back on some of your opinions. Remember to be a good digital citizen when leaving or responding to comments. Never say anything in the heat of the moment that you may regret. It can be very difficult to delete or remove a comment. Never say anything that you would not say in person. Follow the Golden Rule.
With these tips and bits of advice, I believe you could get a successful blog up and running. Lastly, I would like to share with you some blogs that I follow as well as a list of recommendations from the ICATS team.
- Education Dreamer – (Website discontinued February 9, 2019)
- eLearning Educator (website is no longer available)
- SpencerAuthor.com (formerly Education Rethink)
- Speed Change
- The Playground Advocate
- Teaching Quality
- 2¢ Worth: Teaching & Learning in the new information landscape…
- For the Love of Learning
- Free Technology for Teachers
- The TED Blog
- The Innovative Educator: Way Out of the Box
- Teach Paperless
- Cool Cat Teacher Blog
- Mind/Shift: How We Will Learn
- Dangerously Irrelevant
- Connected Principal
- Brian Bennett’s Blog
- My Hullabaloo
- Shaping the Vision
- Stump the Teacher
- Teacher Re-Boot Camp
- Will Richardson’s Blog
- Dennis Sparks’s Blog
- Technology Bits, Bytes, and Nibbles (website is no longer available)