I’ve been blogging for a while now. I had a personal blog in college that a few of my close friends read. Almost a year ago now, I chose to start blogging about my thoughts, experiences, ideas, and questions around education and teaching. I’m proud (and more than a little surprised) to say that there are actually people reading this blog and visiting it regularly. Sometimes I can’t understand why someone like Penny Kittle would comment on what I have to say (but thanks anyway!).
After blogging seriously for about a year, I feel like I’ve learned a couple important lessons about creating a successful education/teaching blog, and I thought it would be good to share those with people who might happen across this one. While there are certainly more tips (like maintaining your own creative voice, making your site look nice, and subscribing to your own blog), I’ll start with number 5 and work my way down to the most important lesson I’ve learned about creating a great blog. So without further adieu,
5. Link to other people’s blogs and posts. By linking to other people’s work, you send traffic their way. Often, this favor is returned in similar fashion. Even if it’s not, though, you are providing people with evidence and/or inspiration for your own thoughts and ideas, and you are engaging in the great conversation about your subject(s).
4. This one is a life lesson that also happens to be a blog lesson: ask questions. I find that I get a lot more responses when I ask questions than I do when I tell the world what I think. One of the best parts about being an active blogger is the Professional Learning Community that develops as a result. When people start visiting and commenting on my blog, I have people that I can rely on for advice and answers that have very different perspectives than me or the people I work with every day. And just as important, I can be part of someone else’s PLC (more on that later).
3. While sharing your thoughts, experiences, and opinions is great, one sure way to draw a crowd is to share materials and resources. I discovered this when looking at my top 5 all time blog posts. Of those 5, 4 of them were geared towards sharing resources with others. And logically, it makes sense: if I’m reading someone’s blog and they post great resources that fit what I’m going to be teaching, I’ll share it with colleagues who are teaching similar units or lessons.
2. Post regularly. One of those simple things you’ll find if you read blogs: you’re more likely to read those that are updated often. What’s the point in continually visiting a blog and finding the same post week after week? Not only does posting regularly keep readers coming back, but it also puts your URL out there in web-land more frequently – something that helps Google and Yahoo! find you more easily.
1. Finally, the most important thing I’ve learned about successful edublogging is that if you want people to read and comment on your blog, you must read and comment on their blogs. It’s a simple give-and-take concept, really – something we might expect our students to intuitively know. Yet somehow, in our frustration and not getting comments, we forget to comment on what others are saying. Sometimes, even something as simple as “Thanks for sharing this great resource,” can help develop great connections between bloggers. I remember being so ecstatic when Dana Huff and Lisa Huff first commented on my blog because I had been reading their blogs for some time. By commenting on their blogs, not only am I promoting my own blog (as mentioned in #5), but I am also becoming part of their PLC and we end up helping each other develop as educators. Really, it’s a win-win situation.
So that’s it – 5 suggestions from a developing blogger. I hope these help you out, whether you’re a seasoned vet or a baby-faced rookie.