Blogging has become one of the most popular activities on the internet. Millions of people around the world participate in sharing their thoughts, projects, rants, views, and even cooking recipes.
Everyone has information they have learned and experiences worth sharing. Unfortunately, many people believe that blogging is something reserved specifically for those with technical experience. A great way to overcome this stigma is to incorporate teaching basic blogging into the education system.
Examples of how a teacher could incorporate blogging in the classroom:
- Share stories written in class with family and friends
- Create a space for classroom reflection
- Allow students to share work with classmates
- Engage students
Places like WordPress.org and Weebly.com offer great free resources to get students (and teachers) into the blogging world without any previous experience other than basic mouse and keyboard skills.
To help students succeed with their blog and have it be effective I’ve listed 6 simple tips:
Tip #1: See what’s already out there!
The internet is a big place! You don’t have to be the first person with an idea, but you should know what’s out there. Maybe there is something you can improve upon. Maybe you don’t want to make the same mistakes as someone else. Who knows, maybe you will learn something new to add to your blog!
Tip #2: Keep images small.
Everyone knows that we all hate a website that takes a long time to load, but did you know that search engines also hate it? It’s true. Websites and pages that take forever to load are said to have poor search engine optimization (SEO). This means that people may not ever even find your website because it will be on page 30,281 in Google.
Many blogging services like WordPress will automatically scale your image to the correct size. For ones that don’t, simply go into your favorite image editor and scale and crop so it’s the size you want when the image is at 100% size.
Tip #3: Create an About Me page
What’s the most visited page on blog? Right after the landing page, it’s the ‘About me’ page. Every blogger should have a site that tells something about themselves. The internet is all about connections, and what better way to connect with someone than learning a bit about their personality.
Tip #4: Make your site look good!
What made Apple such a famous and successful company (besides white headphones)? Simplicity and user interface! Some websites have very small print, cluttered navigation, and are just plain UGLY!
Are we good critical judges of our own work? Even if we are, having students perform a ‘page race’ on another students website is a great way to help the student get feedback and see their layout effectiveness from an outside perspective. Take a stop watch and time how long it takes to find the ‘About Me’ or some other page. Students can work on tweaking their design to help their get the lowest time on their page!
Tip #5: Check your work
Believe it or not, some people still use Internet Exploiter. err… Explorer. If your students are a little more advanced and editing the code to their web page, it’s important to see how it looks on both Macs and PCs, iPhones and Androids. What is all nicely arranged on your browser might be (and probably will be) ugly on another.
Oh ya! Dont forget to check your speling and grammor. i forget that step all the time. Its very unprofesional and lowers the credibilitty of your eforts.
Tip #6: Share it!
Did you know some people make tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from their blog? That happens with people put advertising or sell products they talk about. But before you can even hope to make a dime you must first get people visiting your site! Post it on your Facebook, twitter, and send it to all your friends. Even if you have no desire to advertise, sell or make money from your blog, what good is a site if no one knows?
We could talk all day about how to make a blog great, but the important thing is to just get started! You will be surprised about how much you’ll learn along the away.
Still interested in learning more? Here are a few links that my Education and Techology class referenced to:
A teacher’s Guide to Building a Website — Oddly enough, there was an image stock over the main links so I couldn’t use this much. A good example of a bad example! 🙂