Monday, July 25, 2016

Why Blog? 5 Tips for Getting Started (My 100th Post)

Next Tech Thing Google Blogger stats on July 25, 2016

Two years ago I wrote my first post and began this blog. At the time, my supervisor had asked me to start blogging and I reluctantly agreed. I did not think I had anything of value to write about. I also felt that anything I would share wasn't new and already out there somewhere, written by someone else. I did not consider myself a writer. I didn't think I had time for blogging, either. Perhaps you can relate to these concerns if you are new to blogging or are considering getting started.

Next Tech Thing stats on July 25, 2016
One hundred weekly posts later, I have learned this is not the case. I have been surprised by the number of people who have visited my blog from around the world. Occasionally someone even makes time to leave a comment, and sometimes I receive emails or meet people who have read my posts. It's fascinating to look through Google's Blogger statistics (pictured). I am amazed to think that people take time to read what I write! I can see why students find value when they write for an audience on the web and receive feedback from more than just their teacher.

In addition to writing for an audience, I've learned that I am also writing for myself. Writing my thoughts and reflections on something each week has been really beneficial. Prior to having a blog, I wouldn't have made time to think through a topic as deeply as I have for some of my posts. I wouldn't have taken as much time to reflect on how it affects my job, students, education, family, or my future. Blogging has forced me to do this. I know that some of my posts aren't written as well as they could be, but believe it's important to get my thoughts down and in a semi-coherent enough message to make a weekly post. Blogging has become a great archive for my work, and I frequently can point people with questions about a topic who want to learn what we do in Minnetonka to a past post. Sometimes I actually answer their questions with a new post, too.

If you are thinking of blogging, here are some tips for getting started:
  1. Choose your title wisely. I wish I had fully known what I wanted the scope of my blog to be when I started two years ago. At the time, "The Next Tech Thing" sounded great to me. However, now when I have ideas on blogging about something not related to technology, I question whether or not I should, since it doesn't really fit in my overall theme. If I were to start over, I would choose a more general, all encompassing title.
  2. The title of each post is important, too. Again, choose wisely. I'm not a marketing expert, but I have learned a few things. Catchy posts like "Top 5 Reasons to..." get more views than a vague post about "Parenting..." even though the content might be the same. Farther below is my top ten most popular posts.
  3. Start looking at things you do through a blogger's eyes. I often ask myself in a meeting, at a workshop, or at an event, "Is this bloggable?" In other words, would others find value in learning more about this. How would I describe it to a reader? Would sharing this benefit more than just the students and teachers with whom I work in Minnetonka? Would I benefit from spending more time thinking about this?
  4. Be consistent. Keep a schedule and don't skip posting. Make it a habit. It would be easy to let this slide and quickly move on to other things. Eventually it would be forgotten and the blog outdated.
  5. Leverage social media to advertise your blog. Very few people will simply stumble upon your blog. Help potential readers find it. Tweet out a link to a post each week and choose hashtags carefully. Post links to other social networks and user groups when applicable, too.
Here are my top ten most popular posts over the past two years with the number of views:

No comments:

Post a Comment