Monday, January 7, 2013

Blogging Tips For Educators

 I have purposely avoided writing posts about blogging tips until I felt more comfortable with my own blogging. Basically, building some credibility before making any claims is a quality I like to maintain.  At a minimum, I owe you, the reader, that much.

However, having written my first post in July, 2010, and observing a natural evolution to the posts I share, I felt it was a fairly good time to offer a few tips for bloggers - particularly bloggers who write about education.

Here are a few tips that I find very useful and, I believe, would help enhance your own blogging experience.

Tip 1:  If you write a post that is list based, keep the list fairly short.

Lists are popular blog subjects.  Some of my most popular posts are suggestion lists.  However, if you are going to share a list of suggestions, keep the list fairly short.  My rule of thumb is to keep my lists no longer than five items.  If more are needed, break the post up into a two or three part series.

Related to the above item, if someone is inclined to subscribe to your blog, they are also probably reading many others.  Respect their time and write short enough posts for them to read somewhat quickly.  Blog posts that exceed the 400-500 word mark risk losing the reader looking for quicker bursts of wisdom and inspiration.

Tip 2:  Use the drafts function.

I try to publish between 5-7 posts a week.  In order to do so, I need to take advantage of bursts of inspiration.  Since I do not have unlimited time to write out every idea that pops into my head, I employ the draft function almost daily.

The draft function is the method to save your posts before publishing them.  My "drafting" usually begins away from the computer with jotting down ideas in my Moleskine journal.  Once I have a chance to sit at a computer, I will give my post a title (usually changes before publishing) and I write a few notes in the body of the post that will remind me of the larger concept I came up with.  Sometimes, when I have a chance to write the actual posts, I can draft two or three, do a quick edit check, and then set the posts to publish on a schedule or, if I am happy with the post, publish it on the spot.

Tip 3:  Keep it professional.

How many educators have received some bad PR for writing in their blog personal and defamatory comments?  Not only do those educators hurt themselves, they damage the image of the profession in the public's eye.  I am not saying yo do not have a right to your opinion, but if yo choose to share it, you need to be prepared to accept the feedback/consequences of sharing.

My advice is if you are going to write about your profession, keep it professional.

Tip 4:  Publish or perish

Many bloggers are very concerned about building an audience.  Honestly, I can see page view stats, but I have no idea of how many people actually visit here regularly or would be upset if suddenly I stop writing.  My focus is on sharing my insights and, hopefully, helping someone looking to improve their art.

However, if you want a bigger audience, you need to publish frequently.  Infrequent or unpredictable posting will hurt your efforts to gain a solid following.

If you want more visitors, write and publish more often.

Tip 5:  Quality Over Quantity

My final tip in this post is related to Tip 4.  While publishing more often will help you gain more visitors, putting quantity over quality is a sure way to lose your solid base.  People invest time visiting your blog.  They do not want it wasted.  That is not to say that every post must be a best seller, but posting for the sake of posting is a bad idea.

You reap what you sow.  Therefore, if you want to develop a quality blog that has loyal followers, quality is always better than quantity.
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