10 Blogging Basics You Don't Want to Miss

13 September 2015
Starting a blog can be a lot of fun and a lot of frustration. When I first started on this journey, I had no idea where to begin. I read countless articles and google searched tons of topics. One thing I learned is that there is a lot of information out there, and I plan to add in my own take on this journey! Here are 10 random blogging basics. I hope you learn something new.

1. Research: Before you even get started on your own blog, start reading other blogs. Start looking at other blog designs. Think about what you like and what you don't like. It might seem like a simple idea but I guarantee that you will start to look at blogs differently. Instead of focusing on the content, focus on the structure. Are there pictures? Are there long paragraphs or short lists? Consider all of this as you begin thinking about your new blog. Bloglovin' is a great way to find new blogs and keep up with the ones you like.

2. Guest Post: Another thing you can do before you start your own blog is to guest blog. There are many benefits to guest blogging for you and whoever you choose to blog with. Guest blogging will give you a real life experience in blogging. You get to put all the pieces together and post something live! Whoever you choose to guest blog with, gets the benefit of new and different content!
For me personally, I LOVE featuring guest bloggers because I don't always have time to devote to writing up blog posts. If you are interested in guest posting on my personal blog, feel free to contact me directly!
3. Don't Change your Mind: Choose a domain and stick with it! This one might not seem that important right now but trust me it is! I went through the hassle of changing my whole brand and blog name and all website links and business cards and Facebook and Twitter and Teachers Pay Teachers, and well you get the idea. While it can be done, it is not fun.
Some things to avoid here would be anything with the words, 1st, 2nd 3rd, K, PreK, primary, secondary, etc. As much as I know you love teaching 1st grade, and you just KNOW you will teach 1st grade forever, you won't. If you have already built up your empire under the 1st grade title, it will eat at you when you start making products for 5th grade because you know how and now your store/blog is branded for 1st and no 5th grade teachers will buy anything from a 1st grade seller or even glance at a 1st grade blog. Of course I'm being a bit extreme, but you get the idea. I have seen it happen too many times. (On a side note, I hope you always get teach the grade you love.) :)

4. Blogger or WordPress? I know, this is a hot topic and if you have even began thinking about how and when to start a blog you have came across this debate. Well, don't waste your time anymore. Blogger. That's it. That is all you need to know. But seriously, I much prefer blogger because it is easy to learn and FREE! Yep, FREE! There is a huge debate about whether or not you own your own content on blogger but depending on what you are blogging about, that may not matter to you. I am not going to go into it here but feel free to research it on your own.
5. Got Ideas? Now that you have decided on a name and a platform (Blogger right?), you can start thinking about what you want to blog about. Before you start, after you start and while you are blogging, keep a running list of you ideas! I would even take this one step further. If you have an idea, make that the title of a draft blog post. Write a few sentences in the body to help you remember what your whole idea was. When you randomly have some free time, you won't have to spend that time thinking of what to write. You will already have several ideas to choose from. Above are some ideas I came up with about 1 year ago. #embarrassing

6. Link and Love it! If you really can't think of anything you can always start with joining linkys. Linkys are basically memo boards on a blog where people share their own blog post about a certain topic. They are great for generating traffic to your blog and they don't require that much effort. If you want to learn more about a linky parties, I have a Linky Party informational post on my blog here: Linky Party Info

7. Be Social: Still having trouble thinking of something to write? Well, I can't help you there. Are you sure you want to blog? If so, start with Facebook or another social media site of your choosing. I am sure you have seen post from someone you follow, just do what they do. Post a picture of your food, your vacation, your class project, anything. Just post! If you read an interesting article that is relevant to your blog, share it! If you see a funny meme, share it! Even when you don't have time or patience to blog, post something on your social media site. It is a great way to stay engaged with your readers and gain new readers!
8. #Selfie: If you didn't see the hints in that last tip, USE PICTURES! Use them everywhere. Use them here, use them there, use them in a house, with a mouse, again you get the idea. If you can, make them pretty, BRIGHT pictures with LOTS of light.
9. Who's Watching? Don't track your pageviews. If you are like me, then you are constantly checking on your blog to see how cute it is or checking on any changes or post that you have made ALL THE TIME. Did you know that this can inflate your blogs pageviews? So, something I always do, when I am designing a new blog, is turn this feature off. If you want to make sure that your pageviews do not increase every time you look at your own blog, just follow these simple steps.
1. Log into blogger.
2. Click on "Stats"
3. On the left hand side you should see a link that says "Don't track your own pageviews." Click on that link.
4. In the pop up click the circle next to "Don't track your own pageviews."
BAM! There you have it. From now on when you are admiring your handy work, it won't inflate your pageviews. This will help you get an more accurate picture of just how much traffic is being generated to your site. (More on traffic and blog stats another day.)

10. Advertise Subtly: Many people choose not to advertise anything on their blog and that is perfectly ok. Many others choose to advertise on every free inch of their website and that is not ok. (At least to me anyway.) The goal is to be somewhere in the middle. I have seen blogs where every written word takes you to a product for sale on Amazon. The less noticeable it is that something is an ad, the better. Now I'm not saying that we are trying to trick people into following random links but we don't want the frustration of advertisements to distract from the content. My preferred ways to advertise are with ads in the sidebar and in the footer. Don't be afraid to post ads for your own products in your own sidebar as well. It also works well if you incorporate ads into your blog post. For example, if I am sharing a picture of my desk and talking about how I organize all of my items, it might be relevant to tell you that my pen cup came from the Dollar Tree. I might also include a link to where you can purchase the same pen cup on Dollar Tree's website.

Here are a few new and repeated tips from other teacher bloggers.
Did you learn something new? If so, GREAT! If not, leave me a comment below with your burning blog question and I will try to answer it!


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