Blogging for Educators: Writing for Professional Learning by Starr SackStein

2. Ready to Start, Now What?

  • The focus here is selecting the blogging platform that you are going to use. Starr gives the pros and cons for five of the platforms most frequently used by educators. They are Blogger, Edublog, Tumblr, Weebly, and WordPress. She also discusses the notion of getting a personal web address (URL) that doesn’t have the name of the blogging platform as part of the address. Such addresses come with a modest yearly cost and have to be something not already taken.
  • Using the Blogger platform, Starr walks you through the steps you need to go through create your blog, compose a post, preview it, and publish it. If you choose another platform the steps will be the same but the screens will look a bit different. My blog (http://DrDougGreen.Com) uses WordPress. I chose this platform as it was the one where I could get support from a former student who is now the owner of his own web hosting company. You should also consider local support when selecting your platform.

3. Let’s Get Technical, So You Can Hit Publish

  • Here we start with modifying the look of your blog and its posts. Most sites let you select a layout theme. Try as many as you like until you find the right look. Get familiar with the dashboard or control panel where you get an overview of your blog and where you can select the options you like. You will also have to deal with creating categories, adding keywords, labels, and tags, how to add images and hyperlinks, and changing fonts. Be sure to check if your platform is able to automatically format your posts for viewing on smart phones.
  • Starr gives tips for composing engaging posts for your blog. For the most part, they are tips that apply to good writing in general. She recommends posts between 300 and 600 words that keep your audience in mind in terms of readability. Headlines should be catchy without being misleading. Don’t let paragraphs get too long and avoid passive voice. Multiple entry points such as headlines, subheads, lead sentences, pictures, pull quotes, and questions give you a better chance to pull the reader in.
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