Blogging tips from teach preschool on facebook

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on July 22, 2010

in Messages from Deborah

Follow Fridays are a popular way to meet new bloggers!

As many of you know, I follow a lot of blogs so that I can share ideas on facebook with others interested in the field of early childhood education. I am such a huge fan of bloggers that take the time to share their early childhood ideas. It is such a valuable resource to so many people and I know how much time and effort it takes to keep up with a blog on a regular basis. So to all of you who work so hard on your blogs – let me give you a big hand of applause!


I would like to share with you some blogging pointers that I tend to look for when searching for articles to post on Teach Preschool. I definitely realize that all of you blog for your own reasons which I would never want to change or influence but I do think some of this information might be useful to you regardless of why you blog or who you blog for.

Keep in mind that these are my personal preferences, not a list of do’s and don’ts.

Article Content

  • The length of a blog article does matter. I kind of look at blogs as the “Reader’s Digest” version of any topic. An article that goes on and on is definitely going to lose my short attention span. For the purpose of Teach Preschool on Facebook, I don’t look at blogs as a research tool but rather as a tool for sharing informative ideas and concepts about early childhood in a fun, quick, and relaxing manner.
  • The article should be clear, concise, and informative.
  • The article should be free of poor spelling, bad grammar, and incomplete sentences.

Topic

  • The topic of a blog article should have a focus. If a blog article covers an entire week of different themes and activities all in one post, then I will probably not find the article all that useful for future reference. I look for blog articles that cover specific ideas that I can save for myself and share as a resource on facebook. For the purpose of Teach Preschool on Facebook, a well developed blog post with one focus, theme, or idea is ideal.

Title

  • The Title of the article should actually inform the reader of what the article is about.
  • An article on a great recipe for making pink play dough will be difficult to find and bookmark if it is titled “Why did Sammy’s hand turn Pink?”  The title may be cute but it does not give the reader a good idea of what the article is about.
  • An article that has is titled “S is for Snake” but goes on to show 20 different activities that start with the letter S is informative but I rather just read about the snake!

Photos

  • Photos are a big deal to me when it comes to sharing a link to the article on Facebook. When I post a link on Facebook, I select a photo from the blog post that seems to best represent what the article is all about. If there is no photo at all, I will almost never post the article unless it contains some pretty amazing information.
  • However, too many photos can be a distraction. I recommend selecting a few of your best photos that add value to the content you have written. I may take 20 photos of a child making a flower but in the end, I narrow the photos down to the ones that have the best quality and do the best job reinforcing the message of my article.

Navigating your blog

  • Make your blog easy to navigate. I would give you great pointers as to how to do this but this is one of my weakest areas that I am currently trying to improve on my own blog.
  • Organize your blogs with tags or categories (and good titles) so readers can easily find articles in your archives. If you are going to go through all that work to write a great article, add photos, and publish then it is worth taking the time to make the article searchable. I often go back to blogs searching for articles on specific topics for my readers on Facebook.

The Appearance of your blog

  • Choose a template for your blog that gives plenty of room for writing articles and adding photos. The items in your side bar are nice but shouldn’t overwhelm your page.
  • Choose a template and a header that will be attractive to the readers you are trying to reach.
  • Remember that the look of your blog (particularly your header) becomes an important part of your blogging identity over time so be selective and once you have it like you want it, stick with it so your blog is easily recognized at a glance.
  • Choose a font size and photo size that is easy and comfortable for your reader’s to view.

The tone of your blog

  • I tend to like reading blogs that inspire or motivate me. If I come across a blog that puts a negative spin on life, school, teaching, or early childhood education then I will just click the close button and move on to the next blog.
  • I want to say though that this doesn’t mean that you can’t be real. If you try something and it doesn’t work out – then I like to know why. This informs me and helps me to grow along with you.
  • I recognize the difference between having a bad day and having a bad attitude. If your having a bad day, then I probably wont share that with my readers on Facebook but I do care about you enough to read all about it and sympathize. But if you have a bad attitude… well I can find all of that I want in just about every childcare program I work with. I believe that what we need more of is a little inspiration and motivation. I will avoid all blogs that are just there to vent about all they dislike about education or life in general.

Getting blog followers

My article is not about getting followers – partly because that is not something that I am any good at – but Kylie from Our World Wide Classroom posted an informative article on increasing followers for your blog which resulted in some great comments.  Here are a few of her tips….

  • Post regularly
  • Follow other blogs
  • Comment regularly on other blogs

To see her entire list you can read Kylie’s article for yourself.

Here are a few other points that were not included in Kylie’s article about getting followers that you may also want to consider…

  • Post your “Follow” button towards the top of your page so it is easy to find.
  • Post a link to your Facebook page or Twitter page if you have one.
  • Add information about yourself as the blogger. Followers want to feel like they are connecting with the blogger not just the blog.

Exceptions

On occasion, I find bloggers that are truly unique and can capture an audience regardless of all that I have said above. Two exceptions off the top of my head include Teacher Tom and Matt Halpern.  So the moral of that story is: all of my ideas you just read can be thrown out the window if you have a blog that is well written or simply just works:)

Okay – so now you see my unscientific method for posting links on Teach Preschool on Facebook. I hope you found something useful for your own blogging adventure. Any questions or comments? Please leave them here and I will respond here!

By the way – do you like my new signature below? I keep forgetting to add it so I have had to go back and throw it on some of my most recent posts:)

This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Sharing the wonders of early learning in action!

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Comments on this entry are closed.

1 Matt July 22, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Ha! I was just checking out your article and then, there was my name! What a cool surprise! And a good article… glad to know I’m the exception to the rule – I like that. :)

2 Deborah J. Stewart July 22, 2010 at 9:41 pm

You are an excellent exception to the rule… I am glad I surprised you:)

3 Teacher Tom July 22, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Excellent Deborah! I hope you don’t mind if I share a few “tips” of my own????

It’s funny but I never really think that I’m “blogging.” To me I’m just writing down the stories I’ve already told to the families in my preschool. Last night a parent said to me, “I hope you never take down your blog. I want it to still be there for Ella (her daughter) to read when she’s grown up.”

I started out NEVER including photos. I wanted the writing to stand on its own, but I’ve found that taking a few snap shots helps me remember what I want to write about. I usually just take 2-3 with my phone camera, which explains why the quality is so low, but I agree that they really help with a post. People don’t like looking at a solid wall of words.

I also try to not spend a lot of time thinking about “followers.” I think about connecting with colleagues and allies around the internet. When the relationships are working just right, you start spinning ideas off of one another, back and forth across the country or the globe.

I’m so grateful for the people I’ve me, like you. That’s the reward!

4 Deborah J. Stewart July 22, 2010 at 9:40 pm

For sure – the friends I have made through the blogging forum have been an unexpected gift! I didn’t start out with photos either but I found that when I read blogs with photos, that I really liked them so I started adding them too. I struggled with that at first but now I have it down to a pretty good system:)

5 Briana July 22, 2010 at 11:27 pm

I love your signature-brilliant. I love this article. I read every last bit. You have read a lot of blogs so-I know that you know what you are talking about! Thank you so much for posting this. We all love you and appreciate what you do to help us! :)

6 Deborah J. Stewart July 22, 2010 at 11:48 pm

The love goes both ways Briana! Thank you:)

7 Shar July 23, 2010 at 1:23 am

This was a great post – thank you. I am just starting my blog so it is very timely and useful for me. Thanks again :D

8 Deborah J. Stewart July 23, 2010 at 7:31 am

Hi Shar – I will be sure to give your blog a visit. Just remember to enjoy your blogging experience along the way:)

9 Abby July 23, 2010 at 2:53 am

I am very new to blogging and I am happy to read this article for some tips. The main reason I wanted to start a blog is because I have this crazy dream of writing a book one day, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. I would love to write a kind of self-help book of anecdotes for teachers and parents of preschool age children. Anyway, I decided to start by jotting down my experiences in a blog. I guess it’s just a hobby at the moment, I am enjoying it a lot. Now to fine tune my blogging skills, ha ha!

Thanks for all your ideas :)

10 Deborah J. Stewart July 23, 2010 at 7:25 am

Abby – A blog is a wonderful way to begin practicing your writing skills and gathering your thoughts. As long as you are enjoying your blogging experience, that is what matters the most. I don’t think your dream of writing a book is crazy in the least bit – I can’t wait to read it one day!

11 Scott July 23, 2010 at 7:53 am

Some very good tips, Deborah. You’ve helped me see why some blogs resonate with me more than others. (And hopefully I can improve my own blog as well.)

I so appreciate your dedication to helping preschool teachers connect–with ideas and with each other.

12 Deborah J. Stewart July 23, 2010 at 2:43 pm

It is always fun connecting with people like you Scott! I love your blog just the way it is:)

13 Jacque July 23, 2010 at 7:58 am

Oh my! What a resource this site will be! I’m so glad I found you! I’m following and also bookmarked you under school resources. I’m going to start ‘preschool’ type stuff with my 3 yr olds soon – so I’ll definitely be back to look around! :)

Thanks for that great article. I’m always looking for tips to make my blog better too!
Have a great day!

14 Deborah J. Stewart July 23, 2010 at 2:42 pm

A Three Year Old! How fun – be sure and check back!

15 Ticia July 23, 2010 at 8:35 am

Great tips. I agree with them all, but don’t neccessarily follow them. I probably should work on that somewhat.

16 Deborah J. Stewart July 23, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Haha – I don’t follow all of them either but I try!

17 erin July 23, 2010 at 9:30 am

Thanks for your tips, too true !

18 Kristi July 23, 2010 at 10:19 am

I’ve been a little missing in action lately, but wanted to leave you a comment to let you know how much I really love what you do! Thank you!!

19 Deborah J. Stewart July 23, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Thank you Kristi – it is nice to hear from you:)

20 April July 23, 2010 at 4:44 pm

I definitely agree with all of your points. When I am reading other’s blogs, I find myself getting very distracted when there are two weeks worth of activities in one post. It also makes it that much harder when I am trying to look for a specific activity. On my blog, I would say that I probably go on a little too much about details about my daughter’s personal experiences (for example: “she really liked touching the paint and she said ‘ooooh”) and I probably include too many photos occasionally. And I’m also not that good at titles. As for followers, I’m not that good at gaining them! lol. I’ve been blogging almost a year and I think I only have 29, but that’s okay with me.

21 Deborah J. Stewart July 23, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I think you are too hard on yourself:) Your blog has been a favorite of mine for a long time now – well at least a year!

22 V.Kerr July 23, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Thanks for this post…..l read your other idea about using delicious to help you organize all the ideas you come across on the web. I just downloaded it so I think it will be great to help me remember all the cool posts I come across.
Vanessa

ps. I love your little signature thing!
pps. A few Moms came over today for a neighborhood water party and I made those sponge water comets. It was a hit! They said, “What a creative idea.” I responded, “Well, when you see soooo many good ideas all the time in the blogging world you get excited if there will be at least 4 children around to participate in the activity!!
ppps. I am getting ready for fall preschool and think I will have a full class (full being 6 kids)

23 Deborah J. Stewart July 23, 2010 at 10:27 pm

re: Thanks for the like on my signature…
re, re: I have been using ideas from the blogs too with my nieces and nephews. They think I am a pretty cool aunt right now:)
re, re, re: HOW EXCITING – 6 kids is awesome:)

24 April July 24, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Thanks for the nice reply…I reread the comment I left and I guess it did sound a little bad…I didn’t mean for it to come off that negative. I love your new site, it looks great!

25 Deborah J. Stewart July 25, 2010 at 12:30 am

LOL – you were just fine:) Thank you for the compliment – I am working day and night to get this site set up like I want it but keep changing my mind!!

26 Sherry and Donna July 25, 2010 at 3:53 am

That’s a lot of food for thought Deborah. Thank you. We like to think we’re all on the right track but it can be really hard to know at times. People like Tom and Matt really do have the gift of the gab and it shows in their writings. I’m going to go back and read your ‘tips’ again in the hope that “irresistible ideas’ ticks at least most of the boxes!
Donna :) :)

27 Deborah J. Stewart July 25, 2010 at 8:59 am

Hey Donna,
The nice thing about blogging is that there really is no right or wrong :) I enjoy the creativity and opportunity to present my thoughts and to read the thoughts of others through this unique forum.

28 Shannon July 30, 2010 at 3:46 pm

What a great site you have here! I’ve been following you on tumblr, but never thought to check out your blog before. I’m excited to start following you.

29 Deborah J. Stewart July 30, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Welcome from Tumblr:)

30 Bobbi August 1, 2010 at 2:08 pm

LOVE the new signature! I’m probably guilty of some of these things. Eek! Great article. I truly recommend it to other bloggers. It was really informative and helpful. Thanks Deborah!

31 Deborah J. Stewart August 1, 2010 at 6:53 pm

You are welcome Bobbi:)

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