Just a little over a week ago, my blog turned 3 years old. My first post was written on July 28, 2008. Over these last few years, I have learned a lot about myself as a writer, and about blogging in general. I just wanted to take a moment to share what I’ve learned about blogging, hoping that it may help a new blogger or two.
1. Blog everywhere!
Two years ago when I started teaching at my current school, I was standing in a really long line at a dollar store buying a bunch of stuff for my classroom when I realized: “I can blog about this!” I whipped out my cell phone, took a pic, and started typing away about the great stuff I found to decorate my room. Here’s the post: http://blanchetblog.net/2009/07/25/calling-all-patriots/. Blogging, for me, is kind of like being a news reporter for my own life. I often get inspiration when I’m not in front of the computer. I use a WordPress app on my iPhone to blog on the go. Click the links below to get a WordPress app for your smartphone. Whether inspiration hits while you’re on a train, in a store, or sitting in a meeting, you will be able to get your thoughts on virtual paper!
2. Blog everyday (if possible)…
In a recent post titled “My Best Tip for Beginning Bloggers” super-blogger Richard Byrne suggested writing everyday as the best way get a blog going. Other bloggers I admire do this as well, so I have taken this on as one of my new commitments this year. It’s day 3, and I have to say that it’s not as hard as I expected it to be. Apparently I have a lot to say! Nevertheless, even if you cannot commit to blogging on a daily basis, commit yourself to some regular schedule (mine was once a month before now) and stick to it. You will be proud of what you accomplish and your readers will appreciate your consistency.
3. Read and comment on other blogs.
You may notice that I have started quoting other bloggers quite a bit. If you Google me, you will find that I comment on other’s blogs as well. I have found soooo much inspiration by simply reading other blogs. It can be hard to keep up, but ever since I started using Feedly, a great interface for your RSS powered by Google reader, as my homepage, I find myself reading blogs all the time. Click on the screenshot below to get a good look at what Feedly does. It pulls all the feeds from you Google Reader account and displays them very prettily, in my opinion. I am not a fan of the Google reader interface, so this was a great alternative for me. It also allows you to easily search for new blogs to read or you can use the “Feedly button” on your browser to add feeds for blogs as you find them. How ever you manage your blog consumption, the best way to get inspired is to follow what other bloggers are saying in their posts. I also believe in “blogger karma”–if you want people to read and comment on your blog, spread the love! All bloggers want to be heard, so the more you follow other blogs, the more followers you may get.
4. Blog even when no one is watching!
As I previously mentioned, I have been blogging for just over 3 years. For most of this time, I have received very little attention for what I do on my blog. It was only recently that I started getting subscribers, increased traffic, and comments on my posts from people I didn’t know. I believe that without those 3 years of experience behind me, I would not be where I am as a blogger today. This stuff takes time! I have yet to meet an “overnight success” in the edblogger realm. My blog has opened many doors for me–I’ve used it a a calling card, resume, online portfolio, and a way to connect with others who think like me. There were so many times that I thought about ending it since I felt that no one was watching–I’m so glad I hung in there and kept the blog going even when it seemed like no one cared about it. Give your self time…build it, and they will come (eventually)!
5. Practice purpose-driven blogging.
One of my pet peeves is when teachers or others come to me and simply say: “I want a blog!” No rationale, no vision, no nothing. Just–“I want a blog!” I do not believe that “wanting” to have a blog is enough to make someone a successful blogger. Anytime a teacher asks me to help them create a blog or any type of website, the first question I ask is “what to you want to DO? Do you want to create a place where kids can find your schedule and complete assignments? Do you want to share the best of what goes on in your classroom? Do you want to connect with other teachers?” Although I am not suggesting that bloggers strictly adhere to a stated purpose, I do strongly believe that you should know what your overall aim is before you blog. If you don’t have a good reason to blog, it’s unlikely that you’ll stick with it. Many writing instructors teach kids that the most important part of an essay is the thesis statement.
Before you start blogging, decide what you want to blog about and why. Write a “thesis statement” for your blog. Make it short and to the point–it should be able to fit into a Twitter post (less than 140 characters).
Here’s mine: BlanchetBlog is where I share the best of what goes on in my HS math classes focusing on projects, hands on activity, & technology. What’s yours? Tweet me (@mrsblanchetnet) or leave it in a comment!
See you tomorrow!