Last week for Tech-y Tuesday I had the pleasure of skyping with my man’s Mom and her students. She is a teacher in Alabama and has been teaching her students about blogging, while using my blog as a reference point. How cool is that!? ::blush::
The night before I had taken notes for myself, and while all topics are large enough to discuss individually, I wanted to touch on a little of everything for the students to reference, and ask [more] questions regarding blogging on this specific post.
It was our first skype session, and we kicked it off with Questions and Answers, which I thought was a great way to break the ice and warm up to the students. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did:)
I wanted to highlight and recap what we discussed and touch on the topics we ran out of time for. We hovered around these points of interest:
1) Why I like to blog
2) What makes for a good blog
3) What blogging isn’t
First and foremost I love to blog because I love to write. I also love sharing knowledge with people, connecting with people, and developing friendships with people I otherwise never would have crossed paths with.
It truly is incredible how amazing the blogging community is, and you may not even realize it until you’re inundated with support–and once you’re in it–you never want to leave. In fact, you end up feeling bad or guilty when you don’t post or comment on your blogger friends posts because you feel as if you’re letting them down. But you’re not, really, because everyone knows life happens;)
Good blogs make you want to start your own blog. If you decide that blogging is something you want to get into, take notes from the blogs you love and consider the following:
Layout, Color, & Font. Just like your desk or kitchen, you should keep it clean and avoid messy or hard to read templates/designs. Make sure your color combinations and font/text type compliment each other and are legible, easy to read is key.
Add Pages. In addition to your default “home” tab, I think it is very important for bloggers to at least add an “About” and a “Contact” page.
a) The about page is important because when new visitors land on your blog they want to know more about the author behind the blog. Sometimes people won’t stick around if the blogger didn’t take the time to compose an about section.
b) The contact page is also important because in my opinion there is nothing more frustrating than a blog mimicking Fort Knox. Post your email address in a conspicuous spot or dedicate a contact page to it for easy reference for all your methods of contact, such as: facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, etc. Create a specific blog email address via hotmail, yahoo, gmail etc. if you don’t want people knowing your everyday email address — they’re free!
Content. Quality of posts is crucial, particularly if you want to gain a readership. To the best of your ability use proper grammar and paragraphing, include appropriate photos to make it easier on the eyes, and create your own tone–or voice.
The content on your blog will reflect you, and there isn’t anything scarier than landing on a blog where there is an essay long post, no photos, and ::gasp:: grammatical errors. Remember, if a post gets to be too long (like this one!) you can easily break it up into a Part I, Part II, Part III, and so on. Also? The best invention ever is spellcheck–use it!! 😉
Comments. Comment content is a big deal in my opinion. The comments on a blog reflect the blog, so take that into consideration when making a comment, replying to a comment, &/or approving a comment. I’ve discovered there is this unspoken common courtesy in the blogosphere that when another blogger comments on his or her blog, they will return the favor. This isn’t always the case, but I would strongly suggest getting out in the blogosphere and composing quality comments on fellow bloggers to help grow your exposure and get your foot in the door to a blogging community.
Citing References/Sources. As I transition into sharing more health related topics and whistle-blowing revelations, I find it extremely important to include my sources. Without complicating a post too much, remember to cite your references–it compliments your efforts for credibility, and your readers will respect that. Here is an example of how I have cited references within a post. While I’m not citing my sources in an APA-format, it’s close enough and gets the job done. At least aim for that!
*I stamp/copyright my own images OTHERWISE they are found via google. Currently, I edit my photos with PicMonkey.
A blog won’t write itself. Writing comes more easily if you have something to say… and a couple things to keep in mind is that a blog is not your secret diary — do not publish anything you may regret. Once something is put on the internet, it’s there forever — even if you delete it. Think about it.
My best advice at the moment is to determine your passions, write, and don’t stop writing. Be true to yourself, strive to grow, and your audience will come.
How about a recap or our recap?
- Design a blog that reflects you, while creating an environment visitors will want to stay awhile–and return.
- Compose meaningful content in all your posts, comments, and replies. Make people want to read your blog and look forward to your next post. Remember not to publish anything you might regret later — save those entries for your actual journal.
- Follow blogs you like, and follow the lead of successful blogs.
- Engage/connect with others. Consider the unspoken common courtesy in the blogosphere (return the comment love, follow, and support each other).
- Keep at it — your blog won’t write itself and as long as you have something to say writing will come naturally. Be yourself and blog for yourself, and people will respect and enjoy your honesty.
There are several things I could continue to add to this list, but perhaps I’ll save that for another day:) I invite you to add your two cents &/or questions in a comment below, though! Don’t be shy…