doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Tips and Advice and A Reflection

Regular readers know that I’m a sucker for these types of posts.  I find them a great chance to do a little self-analysis about the content of this blog and I do hope that the articles find their way into your collection of resources to use in the your own blogging classroom.  While I’m a real supporter of getting students to blog, I think that it’s even more important for students to sit back and analyse their efforts after their done.

Today, from Digital Bloggers, I read the post Tips and Advice For Writing a Successful Blog.  Below, I’ve pulled the tips from the post and reflected on my own experiences.  As always, I’d appreciate your thoughts about what I’ve done right and what I’ve done or interpreted incorrectly.

I recognize that the slant from this post is towards those who are probably using blogging for business but aren’t we all selling something?

Here goes:

  • TIP! Find blogs within your niche and comment on their posts. If you are a user of Google Reader, have a different folder filled with other blogs you want to keep tabs on.
    • I like serendipity!  I rely on Zite and Rockmelt and various other tools to find new content for me.  During the school year, I’ll also follow the hashtag #comments4kids.  I am a regular reader of Ontario Edublogs (see link in the right sidebar) for content.  I do acknowledge that I’m not necessarily the greatest at regularly commenting on other blogs but I do read them.
  • TIP! Make sure that you add to your blog on a regular basis. If you want to grow your readership, it is necessary to inject fresh content regularly.
    • I do try my best to share one thought or idea on a daily basis.  The best thing I ever did for myself was to learn to blog offline.  That way, I can use the tool as a planning or just a collection area.  I’ll have a lot of ideas on the go and some eventually turn into posts.
  • TIP! Invite successful bloggers to write guest blogs for your site. This can increase your content’s quality substantially.
    • I’ve never done that.  Anyone want to write a post for me?
  • TIP! To increase your search engine rankings, continually post relevant, high-quality blogs. You will instantly have an increase of readers when it is easier to connect with your site.
    • That’s always a challenge.  Sometimes, I’ll write something that I think is the world’s greatest post and get no response.  Other times, it’s just a random thought and the idea takes off like crazy.  How do you know, in advance, if something will be “high quality”?
  • TIP! Try to write about topics that will always be in demand. It makes sense to create blogs around concepts that have longevity, because that will help bring in a larger audience.
    • I think this is relatively easy in education.  Great educators are always looking for new ideas, or a post that confirms that their current philosophy or practice is shared by someone else, or they can just answer the question “How did you learn that?” but pointing to a post that they’ve read.  
  • TIP! Be careful when deciding whether to use ads in a blog. This is a great way to make money, but your visitors may be turned off by ads.
    • I don’t accept advertising.  (Actually, nobody has ever asked so I’ve never had to deal with this)  Advertising that does appear here is generated by WordPress to pay their bills.  I’ve set up my own hosted site but prefer to model the free service that WordPress offers just to model to anyone that they can get into blogging for free.
  • TIP! Never underestimate the importance of content and promotion. Quality content and targeted promotion are the two elements that are probably the most important to a successful blog.
    • I do try to target education but I’ve always given myself license to write about whatever interests me at any point in time.
  • TIP! If you are utilizing pop-up windows, be sure to have them load after the main content of your site. This will ensure that readers will see your content before they see a stream of pop-up windows.
    • I hate pop-up windows and don’t use them.  I also have pop-up windows denied in all of my web browsers so I may actually miss others popups.
  • TIP! Higher quality viewers will come to the blog if you utilize strong backlinks, and you will also earn higher search engine rankings. If Google and other search engines see your page as authoritative, you will rank higher.
    • I’ve never been concerns about search engine ranking.  If you search for “dougpete”, you’ll find me.  Chances are, I’ll never be mentioned on those “Tops 6000 Education Bloggers” lists but I’m OK with that.  A lot of those articles contain links to blogs that haven’t been updated for a long time anyway so I question the value.  I have a core group of regular readers and I value that the most
  • TIP! Your aim for your blog should be to get your viewers to do what you want, when you want. Construct posts and upload videos that explain and demonstrate various ways of doings things for your visitors.
    • I would like to think I’m sort of along those lines.  I don’t necessarily care if you do what I do but I think that it’s good to always read about new things and then leave it to the reader to adopt or ignore according to their own needs.  The key is knowing that we live in an ever-changing world – there are awesome developers who are constantly creating and making available new and more enabling technologies that make things better for schools, teachers, and students.  Isn’t that what we’re here for?

There’s my latest self-analysis.  Thanks to for the inspiration.


Please share your thoughts here. I’d enjoy reading them.

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