This post is a “Happy Birthday” message to my blogging self and a kind of sequel to my very first blog post Blogging and the art of procrastination. It may have taken me a while to get going, but I’m still here one year on (along with my handful of followers, thank you!)
When I realised I’d been blogging for nearly a year, I decided to look back at my first post in which I list my initial doubts and reservations about becoming a blogger (the reasons for my procrastination.) So, one year on, what have I learned? What have I still got to learn and how did procrastination become determination?
So what have l learned in a year?
Some of my biggest questions were about setting up the blog. Round and round in circles I went as the months passed by…
“What domain name shall I use?”
“The logo (colours, fonts?)”
“Which template shall I use?”
“Which widgets do I need?”
What I now know is that I didn’t need to spend so much time on a logo, choosing fonts, templates and widgets. People won’t read your blog because of your logo or your font or your chosen template and widgets can be added or deleted at a later date. A blog is constantly evolving, things don’t have to be perfect from the offset. If you are thinking of setting up blog, don’t waste your time going round in the same circles I did. Something simple, clear and easy to use that you can build upon is enough in the beginning.
“Will anyone be interested in what I have to say?”
As a sensitive soul, this was one of my biggest concerns…
I now know you won’t please everyone but don’t be put off! The likes and comments that you do get will remind you that there is an audience out there for you (however big or small!) Don’t expect hundreds of followers in the first week like I did however, you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment. Oh the joy when my followers went into double figures (imagine if they ever go into triple!)
Don’t assume that the reason no one is reading your posts is that they aren’t interested in what you have to say. It could be that your posts aren’t reaching a very wide audience. There are lots of tips and tricks (a lot of which I still have to learn) to make sure your blog reaches more people. I call this the “business side” of blogging, something I have never been very good at!
To increase your audience, some of the things you should do (so I’ve heard) are…
- Be SEO friendly (all about keywords for searching and working them into your posts and post titles… or something like that, I have yet to master this!)
- Use visuals (photos, videos, infographics etc) to make your blog stand out (Piktochart, Canva, Adobe Spark and WordArt.com (previously Tagul) are all good for creating your own)
- Use appropriate tags
- Read and comment on other blogs. Liking and commenting on blog posts was something I was guilty of not doing before I became a blogger. Quite often we are short of time, quickly read a post, take a great idea and move on. Seeing things from the other side I am trying to be more diligent about liking and commenting on posts I have enjoyed or found useful.
- Link to other blogs. In doing this you’re also showing your support for other bloggers and helping them spread their word.
- Respond to comments on your blog (even if they’re negative!) Blogging is a great way to get involved in discussions about topical issues. Not everyone is going to agree with you and it’s interesting to hear and discuss other opinions, you might even change your mind about some things (I have).
- Make sharing your content easy by adding “share buttons”
- Let people know about your posts. Social media is the obvious way to do this. Joining Facebook groups that promote bloggers has been a great way to let people know I’m (still) out there… Some of the groups I have joined:
Closed groups: (find the links on my facebook page)
- Resources for English teachers
- English teachers in Spain
- Teaching in Spain
There’s probably a whole bunch of other stuff you can do to reach more people which I haven’t discovered yet.
“What shall I write my first post about?”
I spent so much time putting off writing my first post because it seemed like too big a hurdle to jump, until one day I had a eureka moment and wrote Blogging and the art of procrastination. It was so obvious! 😉
“Will I be able to keep up with it once I start?”
I was initially worried that I wouldn’t have enough to say to keep my blog going. As it turns out I have a huge “to post” list which just gets longer and longer. The more I blog, the more I read other blogs, the more inspiration I have for new posts…
My other worry was that procrastination would rear it’s ugly head again
“… my intention is to post something every couple of weeks (that’s if I don’t fall into old habits, they do die hard.)”
I didn’t want to convert blogging into yet another chore to get done with another deadline to stick to, so I set myself a target of more or less one post every couple of weeks, a realistic target for me. This is my 22nd post over 12 months so I guess I’ve more or less stuck to my good intentions.
Why I’m determined to keep blogging
“It’s a great way to organise my resources and ideas, be creative and reflect upon my own teaching practices.”
This is what I thought before I started and I still think one year on. I have rediscovered lessons I had forgotten about and revisited and researched topics that interest me. Writing about new (to me) concepts, strategies, methodologies… has helped me understand them better and be able to take them into the classroom.
I have also started writing (more than 140 characters) again! Both enjoyable and frustrating at times. I haven’t really written at any length since university days (apart from school reports!)
“I hope to continue to expand my PLN and keep learning from all the like-minded people out there.”
Just as I hoped, blogging has definitely helped me connect with like-minded people and discover some great blogs which I have taken lots of practical ideas and food for thought from. I’ve listed below some of the blogs I’ve discovered this year and I now follow.
- ELT planning
- ELT Sparks
- On the same page
- Yuliya Speroff
- Teaching in Spain An Englishman and a Greek
I could go on… There are many more which you can see on my blogroll.
Some highlights of my first year blogging however, have to be…
- Being mentioned on the American TESOL institute webpage Favorite Edtech and ELT Posts for September
- Having the opportunity to guest blog (thanks to Patrice Palmer)
- Receiving positive feedback on one of my posts about flipped learning Why flipped learning got me excited from Jon Bergmann, a flipped learning hero of mine 🙂
So it seems most of my doubts and reservations are no more (although I still have a lot to learn) and the hopes and expectations I started out with (apart from hundreds of followers, ha ha…) haven’t been dashed.
And finally, this is how I ended my first post…
“Lastly, it has been (and will continue to be) a personal challenge to be more disciplined and finally put procrastination to bed.”
Procrastination? What’s that? 😉