As we begin the summer holidays, you might be thinking ahead to next year and pondering new things that you’d like to try. This infographic by @DougPete states ten reasons why starting a blog might be worth your consideration.
I agree with all of these statements, especially the ones about reading, discovering and learning. Nobody benefits from my blog more than I do. That’s why it’s such a fantastic hobby.
The hardest part is getting started, so you might want to consider getting it up and running during the holidays, before you get too busy again. I still consider myself to be a new blogger and I still have lots to learn, but I also think that the hardest part is over and still fresh in my memory.
Here are my ten tips for starting an education blog:
- Consider different perspectives. I wrote about this in a previous post. Somebody, somewhere will disagree with you, however uncontroversial you think you’re being. Even the most popular ideas in education have critics. If your posts cause professional debates, fantastic! Embrace them! If it becomes unfriendly or unprofessional, just block those people and move on. You need to be resilient.
- Use free images. Despite what many people think, most images on the internet are not available for you to use. Don’t get into trouble! Make sure that you use ‘labelled for reuse’ Google images (search tools > usage rights > labelled for reuse) or free image sites such as Pixabay.com (or use your own images, of course).
- Share on social media. It is unlikely that your blog will accidentally be found. You have to get it out there! Also make sure that you’re sharing it with people who will be interested in it. I rarely share posts with my family and friends because they’re not teachers and they won’t care! The sharing will probably be ignored at best, but possibly annoying too. Instead, share on professional social media (I use Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn purely professionally). There are also many Facebook groups for teachers. Use your stats analysis to find out where most of your visitors find you. For me, it’s mainly the huge Facebook teacher groups. Be an active member of groups, helping other members and commenting with others on a regular basis. This will make your posting seem less like spamming and more like give & take.
- Interact with other blogs. Don’t be selfish! It’s great when you get hits, comments, shares, follows, etc. It’s also great for other bloggers! They will appreciate your contributions and be more likely to return the favour. One share from someone with a large following can put you on the map! Reading blogs should go hand in hand with writing them.
- Don’t give up! You will probably experience a slow start in terms of readership. For a while, you will get very little traffic, but it will grow gradually. Readers will come eventually, as long as you keep posting and sharing. Persevere, even if nobody is reading!
- Don’t publish straight away. This is a tough one and I need to follow my own advice! When I’m pleased with my writing, I get too excited and post straight away. A few hours later, I think of things that I should have added, or ways that I could have enhanced it. Also, proof-reading is always easier with a fresh pair of eyes. When I publish quickly, I always find mistakes later! Yes, it’s possible to edit posts, but many people will have already read it and moved on.
- Assume that everyone will read it, even if they don’t. Your colleagues, your students, their parents, everyone! Don’t write anything that will get you into trouble. If in doubt, don’t publish! Your blog should be a positive reflection of who you are as a professional, with nothing that needs to be hidden.
- Follow school policy regarding the inclusion of student names, images, etc. Also, consider whether or not your colleagues want to be mentioned/seen. Again, stay out of trouble and be mindful of people’s privacy and preferences.
- Always give credit to others where it’s due.
- Enjoy it! It’s a cliché, but it’s important. It can take up a lot of your time! If it starts to feel like a chore, don’t bother! We’re busy enough already! Do something else that you do enjoy. For me, it quickly became a hobby. I really do enjoy it!
I hope that these pointers are useful to you as you get started. They are probably very obvious and this post is by no means expert advice. These are just some tips for beginners, from a beginner. If you have anything to add, or any questions, please feel free to comment below. Tip 11: always show that you appreciate contributions. Comments keep the discussions going and genuinely enhance articles.
Alternatively, if you want to share something but don’t want to commit to your own blog, consider guest blogging on someone else’s site. Follow this link if you’d like to write on here. I look forward to your ideas!
If you do start your own blog, add the URL in the comments below. I’ll be your first follower! Good luck!