Things to Know Before Getting Started
What is Blogging?
A blog, short for web log, is an online communication and publishing tool. Most blogs are organized like a journal and include both text and images. Articles are posted and displayed in reverse chronological order (newest first). A benefit of blogging is that the blog author is not limited to a set number of characters or to only using pictures, thus more information can be shared. For educators, the additional information can help provide readers with more education on a topic. However, blogs do not tend to lead to much discussion between the author and reader. Though, most blogs allow readers to add their comments to an author’s post.
How It Works
Blogs enable authors to publish information without having to know a programming language or web page coding. Some sites that allow you to create your own blog include Google’s Blogger (free), WordPress.com (premium hosted blogs), WordPress.org (hosted on your own server), Tumblr (free), SquareSpace (fee based) and many more. If you want to customize the templates beyond the basics, it helps to understand HTML and CSS codes.
Here are some tips to successful blogging:
- Choose a theme for your blog. This helps to focus the content and appeal to others also interested in the theme or topic. Some ideas are cooking, eating on a budget, or physical activity or gardening.
- Plan topics in advance. This helps to lessen the stress of thinking of blog topics when it is time to write a blog so more time can be spent creating the content of the blog. Planning topics in advance is especially important when more than one person writes for the blog.
- Tackle one small topic at a time. Even though blog posts aren’t limited to a set number of characters, they should only be a couple of paragraphs long so they can be read quickly and easy to understand.
- Write a new blog post at least weekly. This keeps readers engaged with your blog.
- Use the content of a blog post in other types of social media. If you also use Twitter and Facebook, share a short phrase about the current blog post on Twitter and link to the blog. Do the same with Facebook. This makes efficient use of the content and helps to increase the number of readers who see the information you are sharing.
- Ask special guests to write blog posts. This will reduce the workload and also give readers someone else’s perspective on a topic.
- Keep the tone conversational. Personalize blogs a bit by talking about your life as much as you feel comfortable doing. This is what people are used to in blogs.
- Provide links to research-based information but avoid having the blog sound like a research article. It is important that reader’s know the information you are sharing is reliable but it also needs to be interesting to read.
- Use quality graphics. Graphics capture the attention of readers and keep them engaged with the blog.
Resources: eXtension http://www.extension.org/pages/64457/what-is-a-blog#.VfcLg02FPct