As I work with students and other teachers on setting up blogs, I find myself giving them lots of little tips that I have picked up over my own blogging journey.
Here are 10 12 Blogging Tips for Students and Teachers
Post frequency: Find a balance. Don’t post too often (ie. daily) otherwise you will not be able to generate much conversation through commenting. Post too infrequently (ie. monthly) and your readers might start to forget about you. I advise my students to post once or twice a week.
Reply to comments: I am often disappointed at how many student and adult bloggers there are who do not reply to their comments on their own blog. I feel that it is basic blogging etiquette to reply. Acknowledge your readers’ comments and they will be encouraged to comment again.
Have an “about” page: The first thing I do when I visit a new blog is look at the About page. I am always disappointed when there isn’t one! Don’t keep your readers in the dark about who you are.
Theme changes: Students love playing around with the different themes available when they first start blogging. I encourage them to explore for a week or so but then advice them to find a good theme and stick with it. Readers may be able to identify less with your blog if it looks different every time they visit it.
Fun widgets: Young bloggers love widgets! In my opinion, it is advisable to limit “fun” or “novelty” widgets. Too many widgets take away from the actual content of the blog posts and can slow down loading time! I suggest my students have no more than three “fun widgets” such as virtual pets, Christmas countdowns, jokes, tips, music clips etc.
Add a search box: Early on in the year, I teach my students how to use the search box on blogs to find content. I find it frustrating when blogs don’t have the search box. This simple tool allows readers to find what they’re looking for and means when your posts are no longer on the front page, they won’t be lost.
Subscribe via email: While I also use Google Reader and Twitter to keep track of blogs I like, I love having the ability to subscribe via email to my favourite blogs. Adding this feature could bring more regular visitors to your blog.
Add links to blog posts and comments: Links help your visitors gain a deeper understanding of what they’re reading. Links in blog posts can also be used to acknowledge or compliment others’ work. Links in blog comments can add extra information to a conversation. If you don’t know how to add a link to a blog comment, check out Linda Yollis’ excellent blog post and quick video.
Visit other blogs: You can’t expect many people to read and comment on your blog if you don’t read and comment on others’ blogs. You have to be part of the blogging community to get the most out of blogging.
End with a question: On my class blog and this blog I like to end with a question to stimulate and direct conversation in the comment section. My Grade Two bloggers are learning how to ask “broader” questions that will appeal to more readers (eg. if a child writes a post about a holiday to Noosa, instead of simply asking “have you ever been to Noosa?” they could ask readers to leave a comment and describe a holiday they have been on).
Don’t lose your comment: All my students now know how to copy (Control C), their comment before they hit “submit”. This allows them to paste (Control V) the comment if something goes wrong when they hit the “submit” button. This happens fairly frequently with young students due to the wrong spam word being entered etc. Read Grade Two student Millie’s post about this here.
Left align your writing: I used to be guilty of centering all of my text until I realised this is not easy on the eye and not what professional writers do (always good to look to the professionals for guidance when in doubt). Style guides usually suggest that centred text is best for invitations, posters, headings etc.
Are any of these tips new ideas for you?
What other blogging tips can you think of? There must be lots more!