Blogging: 5 Tips To Get You Started

by Lisa Dabbs

Blog development in any field takes work, but thankfully many educators from around the globe are blogging and sharing their voices with the world.

However, there are still many who are unsure about the process. When I meet the “un-blogger,” I usually hear this refrain: “It’s too hard. I’m too tired. I just don’t have anything to say.” Well, that’s what I thought, too, until I began to blog in late 2009.

At that time, I was fortunate to find a mentor on Twitter, of all places, who held my hand (virtually) and gave me the courage to start blogging. I choose a platform, taught myself how to use it, and to this day, I’m still working on refining my blog style and content.

I can’t say enough about the power of blogging in your life as an educator. It will help you reflect, get feedback, and collaborate. Being a novice blogger myself only three years ago, I’m happy to share that I feel now as I did then – that my blogging experience will always be a journey of discovery. And I like that.

Today, I want to share 5 tips that may support you in starting a blog and using your blog as a tool to share your voice.

1. Be Yourself
There’s always a bit of debate around this topic; such as should I write for myself, or write for my audience? In all honesty, don’t worry too much about that. Just be yourself. After having blogged for going on 4 years now, I must tell you that I write my blog for many purposes, but most importantly, I stay true to myself, write to be of service, and do it as if I were talking to a friend.

2. Choose A Platform
There are several great blogging platforms to choose from these days, such as WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr, but consider picking one that fits you and what you hope to share. By all means, though, don’t stress about the platform. Just pick one and start writing. You can always move your blog to a different platform in the future, should you outgrow your original choice.

3. Blog Often
This might be a toughie at first, but it’s important. Whether you write a ten-paragraph essay about the state of education as you know it, a one-paragraph description of what happens to you every Monday when you walk into your classroom, or a simple photo caption, your blog is like a tiny seedling that is going to require daily nurturing. Leave it for a few weeks, and it may perish! Having said that, I must emphasize the value of inserting an image or video clip into your posts. This will instantly make that important piece you worked so hard on much more attractive to your readers.

4. Be Sure to Edit

As you finish a post and get excited about sharing what you’ve written, it’s easy to scan over it and then click “Publish” – especially when you’re pressed for time. Unfortunately, this isn’t a good idea. It’s important as you start the blogging process to take the time to read your piece several times before hitting that publish button. Inevitably, you will end up finding errors that you will want to clean-up, and that’s great! Just don’t obsess about it too much. If your readers find a typo, don’t be offended. Thank them and feel fortunate that someone is actually taking the time to read your offering!

5. Have a Conversation and Get Social
A blog is a social media tool that can be a tremendous jumping-off point for conversation. Starting a good conversation on your blog could be as simple as adding a question to the end of your post. As a social media tool, your readers may want to begin to share your blog and posts with others. As you start to blog, learn how to find “share” buttons from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networks. Add them to your blogging interface and they will automatically appear every time you publish a post. By including these buttons, you will enable your readers to share your great stuff in their communities and ultimately reach a larger readership.

As an experienced blogger, I know that taking the time to think about these five tips as you consider beginning the blogging process will be supportive to you. In the meantime, check out this Pinterest Board with helpful ideas on how to get started. I hope you’ll find that you enjoy the blogging experience and that it will be a great new medium to use. Lastly, be sure to seek out and connect with colleagues that you know that may already be blogging and find a “blog” mentor. It’s sure to save you a lot of time and frustration!

Lisa Dabbs

Lisa Dabbs is an educational consultant and former principal who lives in California. She is a Core Blogger at Edutopia.org, founder of New Teacher Chat #ntchat on Twitter and blogs about supporting new teachers at Teaching With Soul.