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Apr 6, 2011

Posted by | 8 Comments

So you Wanna be a Blogger?

I get asked a lot of questions from all of you, and other teachers I have met, about how I find time for blogging, what inspired me to start blogging and my how I managed to connect with other art educators through my blog. (without the people, you don’t have a community, right?)  I’ve also been asked to give tips on how to get some positive traffic to your blog…. so I thought it was time to do a little ole post on “behind the scenes” of art ed blogging.  I am also teaching a graduate class online this summer: Communication 2.0- Blogging for Art Educators, so I have done a great deal of research on the ins and outs of blogging to prepare for this course.

Question #1:  How do you find time for blogging?

This is probably the question I get asked most often. People have no clue how I can find time to blog, teach and do everything else.  It’s really not as crazy as it seems.  I started my blog in the summertime, when I knew I would have time to devote to it and get accustomed to posting and writing on a regular basis.  Then, I simply made a committment (and posted it to my fridge) to do three posts a week. No less.  This consistent schedule was a goal I had for myself and simply kept it.

I also find time to blog when I am inspired or have an idea, and can post them at a later time.  Other times, my random thoughts or ideas are written minutes before I publish. It just depends.  I spend a lot of time blogging on the weekend.

Question #2: Why do you blog?

I started my blog because I knew I had a lot to share and thought it would be the perfect platform.  I follow tons of different blogs, from DIY, family friends, cooking, crafting, etc… It only seemed fitting I would write about and devote time to something I spend so much time and thought on – My job- which I love!   I also started this blog to be different I wanted to offer something in the field of art education that was unique. With so many blogs out there, if you try to copy another blog, you will probably go insane, because it will never be really YOU.  I have found that you must stay true to you and write posts that inspire and motivate you, not simply write what you think people want to read about.  When you write from the heart, the people who are meant to find you will, and they will enrich your community.

Question #3: How do I get a little positive attention on my blog?

Another question I get asked about is how I originally generated traffic to my blog and how I built the community of readers. When you start out blogging, it’s just your mom and husband who comment and tell you they love what you are doing.  See my first comment (yes that’s my husband)….

But then, when you start getting comments like this one below, you know you are truly making a difference with your writing and touching others in a positive way. The power of the internet. Goosebumps!

Other ways to build community on your blog:

  • Comment and View other blogs. This is huge for me. It’s all about the community. When you comment on those blogs, link to one of your posts that may relate to their content and help your own readers gain even more ideas to answer their questions. The biggest issue with this is being authentic. No one wants to have you comment over and over “Great Idea”, or “Good Post” just to get your name out there.  I only comment if I have something to contribute that is meaningful.  That is what a professional learning community is all about. Learning, connecting and growing.
  • Refer to and link other blogs in your posts- Contact the blogger directly to tell them you have linked them. They will really appreciate it.
  • There is an art teacher blog directory out there… You can add yourself to it, and other blog directories.
  • Your face! People want to see your smiling face on your blog so they can get to know you, and what you are about. A good blog will make people feel like they know you, and they are your friend. Thanks, Angela Maiers, who first gave me this tip when I started.
  • Give it time.  You need to build up content  so people have a reason to come. When I first visit a new blog I love looking back into the archives to learn more about the person, look and feel of the blog.

Blogging is very rewarding, and truly it has reaffirmed my love for teaching as well as motivated me to become a better teacher.  I’ve also become a more reflective teacher because of this blog and I also have learned a ton along the way.  Interested in starting your own blog or at least giving it a fair shot, but need the motivation to dive in? Take Communication 2.0: Blogging for Art Educators from me this summer, start your blog, and earn graduate credit in the process!

Another great resource for bloggers is the Simple Blogging e-book written by Rachel Meeks, who writes about simplicity at her blog, Small Notebook.

What are the misconceptions you have about blogging?

Any other blogging basics tips out there?


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  • http://minimatisse.blogspot.com Nic

    Hey!! You’re famous! I just got an advertisment form Teacher’s Discovery. I see your lovely face is featured and they quote you! Hoo Ray! Way to be a respected person in your profession. I know you are by me:)

    • http://theartofeducation.wordpress.com Jessica Balsley

      Thanks Nic! Yes, wasn’t that cool? Don’t know how much that really ups my fame status, but I was honored.

  • http://servingofsophia.blogspot.com/ Danielle L

    well it may be cliche to comment and say GREAT POST so i will refrain haha but i do appreciate what you blog about and as a hopeful future art teacher i know i will look back and see different ideas you have posted because i am continuously inspired. thanks for writing from the heart and this topic is something i’m always curious about! i want to get my blog out in the community as well!

  • Lauren Wenk

    Great post Jessica!!

  • http://colored-thread.blogspot.com/ marie elcin

    Great timing! I’m preparing a presentation to discuss and share blogging with other art teachers soon. I see it as a tool for reflective practice, a place to collect and review ideas like an online sketchbook with limitless pages, and a venue for communication among educators when working on collaborative projects.
    My favorite bloggers are those who post regularly and who give insight into creative practice.
    I’ve found yours very helpful!

  • http://artprojectgirl.blogspot.com Art Project Girl

    You would think someone who is a computer “geek” would see an opportunity here in the blogging world and make it more user friendly like FACEBOOK. I haven’t found a good way to search for blogs of my interest and it seems kind of complicated the way I am finding and following blogs now. I see an opportunity here! Now we just need the next Mark Zuckerberg!

    • http://theartofeducation.wordpress.com Jessica Balsley

      Now that’s a good idea!

  • http://plbrown.blogspot.com/ phyl

    Thanks for leaving the comment on my blog telling me about this post of yours. I am teaching a workshop at my state art teachers convention called (I think) “come blog with me”. It’s intended to turn new people on to blogging and how EASY it is,since I can do it and I’m definitely not tech savvy. Anyhow, since you teach an actual COURSE (WOW!!! I’m impressed!) I’d love any advice that you think would be worth sharing in that workshop. My intent is to simply walk the attendees through visiting a blog, starting a blog, reading Google reader, and basics of how to get readers. I’ve got 50 minutes for my shtick.