Blogging 201 – Challenge one


cropped-blogging-u-sealI recently signed up with Blogging University, part of WordPress.com, to learn about improving my blogging skills and hopefully continue to increase my readership.  The online course consists of several challenges which are meant to help me brand my blog and hopefully find the readers I want to reach.

In this challenge, I was asked to make some goals regarding my blog such as increasing readership by a certain percentage, blogging a specific amount of times each week or month or maybe adding some respected guest bloggers.  Of course, I’ve had to think about this a little.

I suppose the biggest challenges with my blog to date have been how to increase readership without sacrificing my privacy.  After all, I write about the events of my own life, the people I meet and my impressions of the places I visit.  I try to keep a positive outlook and show only the upside of my adventures.  If I am going to create a solid brand, I want it to be consistent with my other professional ventures.  It also has to be consistent with my values and personal code of ethics.  For instance, I only post pictures of people who have agreed to be on my blog and never put pictures of children, to protect their identity.

Over time, I have started to be read by friends of my husband (aka Mister Accurate Data).  Therefore I try to report factual or historical data as accurately as possible.  I find I am spending more time these days just researching and adding links to my posts to make them more educational, not only entertaining.  It’s a bit of a fine line, that.

Back to goals though – I have been toying with the idea of separating my blog into 2 distinct blogs, one about my adventures, which has been my main blogging focus to date, and a second dedicated more closely to teaching and specifically teacher exchanges.  There seem to be fewer blogs dedicated solely to teaching exchanges, so it might be a service to those who want to find out more about it or those who want to talk about their experiences.  I think that would involve some research and the blog might become more of a curation.

Reblogging, guest posts, using tags more effectively, using Twitter more effectively and the power of the blogging awards – these are all items on my to do list.  But short term goals are what this post is about.  I think the best 2 goals to choose are: learning how to use Twitter more effectively so I can add a Twitter feed to my blog; create my own blog award using criteria of my design.  Time frame?  Let’s say I give myself until the end of June for the Twitter feed and till the end of summer for the award.

There, done!

 

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14 thoughts on “Blogging 201 – Challenge one

  1. Your goals are so similar to mine. I have a Twitter account that I don’t use enough at all, and want to use the two together, as well. I also separated my teacher exchange into a separate tab and put specific tabs for different topics, rather than creating new blogs, but I am still working on the best way to do that. I think your tab works well to make the separation, since exchange is related to your other travel and teaching topics. I look forward to reading more from you!

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    • Thanks for the feedback, Becca. I am not sure if I want to keep the On Exchange page static so that it is easier to find the newsletter as a list, or if I want to make the On Exchange page more fluid. The best technique I have found to draw attention to my On Exchange updates is simply to put a blog post up. I send my newsletter out via email, but I thought it might be nice to have an archival system for people to read back issues.

      In the future, I might like to develop the On Exchange page to include more links to teaching exchanges, not just newsletters.

      As for day 1 goals, I really thought the award or badge idea was a winner, but haven’t received much positive feedback on that. Perhaps I see it more as a symbol to distinguish bloggers with similar interests, a bit what you were describing. So perhaps I should create a badge for teaching exchange bloggers as a start.

      And Twitter! I still have much to learn and I don’t want to look like an idiot when I tweet out using the wrong technique. It is all about building my brand, for sure.

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  2. I notice that you haven’t used a category on this post. I wonder if that is just this one or if you don’t use categories. That could be one way to separate your posts on general adventures and teachers exchanges rather than getting into the complication of having two separate blogs. You can then have menu item or use an image widget to link to a filtered list of posts on each category.

    In relation to Twitter, did you see the link I posted for you in the Commons forum about using hashtags http://socialmediatoday.com/krista-bunskoek/1869556/3-key-hashtag-strategies-how-market-your-business-content ? I’m pondering over a generic post myself which would answer your questions and also be useful for others. By the way do you know that you can edit the tweet that goes out when you publish your post so that it has more than just the title of your post For example I came to this seeing it on twitter because I am now following you. But if your tweet had been the following anyone looking at the hashag for the course may have seen it:

    “Blogging 201 – Challenge one #blogging201 http://wp.me/pJI4X-Gy

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    • Thanks Karen. I just read the article and retweeted it, actually. I’ll share it with my husband as he is writing a couple of websites at this time, one for a professional organization #ottawagunners.

      As for categories, I do use them. I just didn’t set one up for this post because I wasn’t sure it related well to the blog in general. Yet, I felt I should mention #blogging201 to my readers so they understood that I was experimenting with new writing techniques. Thanks again for your invaluable help.

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  3. Technically speaking, adding the Twitter feed to your blog should be pretty easy. I believe when I did mine a couple of years ago, there was specific WordPress guidance on how to do it…or check out one of the WordPress forums, they are usually helpful.

    As far as how to use Twitter as an effective tool, I came across an article the other day about how to effectively use social media outlets in ways that people don’t typically think of. If I can find where I saved the darn thing(!), I will share the hyperlink with you.

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  4. I like your idea of creating two separate blogs. While you’re still toying around with that idea, maybe a different layout could give you a trial run of sorts. I don’t know anything about anything, but my thought was perhaps something with tabs that easily separates out different categories of posts. You could have one tab for your adventures and then another for your teacher exchanges.

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    • Thanks. I think I already have that. The one for the exchanges is called On Exchange. It’s a static page. I guess if you didn’t find it that easily, I should rethink my blog appearance?

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      • You do already have it! I just completely missed it. And I wouldn’t say that your blog layout is wrong at all, it’s more about the color scheme for me. The words are very closely colored to the background which is why I missed it. I tend to need contrast to grab my attention.

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