August 3, 2012 by k. liz
This post is especially for my friends in Senegal . . . Amin, Cheikh, Rokhaya, Aissatou . . . I’m looking forward to seeing your blogs VERY soon!! But for any of you out there who start a blog after reading this, please please please leave the address below, and I promise to visit it, and possibly link it on my sidebar!! Okay, let’s get started . . . I’m going to give you . . . easy steps to follow to start a blog. Ready?
I hope you’ve picked up on the fact that I’m pretty big on objectives by now. If you don’t know why you are writing a blog, then it will never be profitable. So, jot down a few goals as to why you are writing a blog in the first place. Here are a couple of ideas based on my goals for this particular blog:
- reflect on my own teaching practices
- be forced to research and grow by writing
- network with other teachers
- share my ideas with the ELT world
Some may argue that this is just the fun part, and it isn’t all that important. That may be true, but regardless, you certainly will not begin a successful blog without one! So, come up with a title that reflects something about you and your content. I maybe did not do a very good job achieving both of these when I came up with my title for this blog. Why did I choose Just A Word in the Grand Story? Well, because it reflects me and my role in the story that God is weaving in the world that He has chosen me to be a part of. It reflects me personally, if not professionally. A couple of things to keep in mind when choosing a title:
- reflect either your personality and/or your content
- don’t make the title too long that people cannot remember it
- it is fine to be coy or different, but do not be so obscure that people will not understand (either that, or give an explanation for your title!)
3. Choose a platform:
Next you need to decide where to host your blog. There are a lot of free platforms out there that are very easy to use and do not require very much computer knowledge. I would suggest using one of those for your first blog. I am still using the free hosting site WordPress and am very happy with it. The other good free alternative is Blogger. In my opinion, WordPress has a bit more of a professional atmosphere, while Blogger has a more personal atmosphere, so you can search for some blogs using both platforms and decide which you want to use.
4. Set up an account:
Once you have chosen your blogging platform, you will need to create an account that is linked to your email address. The steps for beginning a blog will be outlined very clearly for you. You will need to enter your title, and also create a web address. To do this, you will want to use your title, or as close to your title as you can. Sometimes, someone has already used your blog title as their web address. In that case, you will want to find something very similar that will work for your blog.
5. Play around with the settings:
If you are anything like me, this step can take FOREVER!! There are so many colors and backgrounds and themes and widgets to choose from to set up your blog. Those things are important, and they are fun to play with, but remember . . . you can ALWAYS change them! The most important thing about your blog is the last step . . . content. (side note: if you have any questions about working with settings and themes, please send me a message! I’d be more than happy to help you!)
Surprise! This is why people actually visit your blog. So, this is actually one of the most important steps in this entire blog, and it goes back to the first step, what are your objectives? My suggestion to you is that when you first start your blog, you spend some time writing about who you are and why you are writing, maybe even share your goals with your audience. Then, I suggest you set a schedule for your blog. The schedule that I have tried to follow this year (though I admit my summer has not been on schedule!) is to write a practical classroom tip/idea on Tuesday, a research/scholarly essay on Thursday, and a compilation of resources on Saturday. This has helped me stay consistent and motivated, so if you find yourself lacking ideas and motivation, try setting a schedule.
7. Last but not least . . . share!
Perhaps you writing just for your own personal benefit, but regardless, you will probably at some time want someone else to start reading your stuff. So, I would recommend connecting with twitter, facebook, and any other social media that you frequently use. You can also install a “Subscribe” widget so that people who find your blog can follow it more easily. Any time you write a post, leave a note and a link on your twitter status or facebook status. You can also send your blog address to any friends that you’d like to read your content. Another good way to get people reading your blog is to comment on other blogs of similar content . . . for example, this one! You should definitely leave a comment below!
Okay, so are you inspired now? Are you ready to start writing to take a step in your professional development? I can’t wait to read from all of you! Good luck!!