Blogging Tips

How to post in Blogger.

Go here if my comments are making absolutely no sense at all, or if you need to figure out how to do something on the technical side. Here is a brief list of blogging tips to keep in mind blogging for this site. These tips were collected from a lot of different places. I have added a section on using this particular blog:

Characteristics of good blogs:

  • The nature of the writing. Blog entries should be easy to read, well paced, personal, and not ponderous. Keep it simple, keep it personal is a good mantra. It should be written in the first person, write as if you are talking to a specific person. Good bloggers lead with the best stuff (it's a good technique to lead with a personal story) and end with a question. Use bullets when appropriate and keep the paragraphs short (break it up - makes it look less intimidating). But you also don't want to over-think it. Encourage people to think of blogging as a new form of writing - it's not a letter, it's not a college essay, it's a blog. Making a blog too rock solid is just an invitation to have nothing said about it after you've written - so leave some room for others to chime in. 
  • The title. Blog titles are important - you want something catchy and, hopefully, funny - memorable. 
  • Visuals. Most of the really effective blogs use visuals - and use them well. Either a stunning image at the beginning (that lures you into reading), multiple images sprinkled throughout to amplify the story, and/or video where it helps.
  • Connecting. You want to link out in all of your blog entries - to provide background info, connections to other bloggers/writers/thought leaders on the subject, interesting asides. But you also want to connect others - mention one blogger to another, cite the work of other people, give lots of credit to others for their insight. Foster community.
  • Invitations to your readership. A good blog entry should always ask questions. Yes, you have something to say but you should also invite others to chime in, welcome them to the party and encourage their input.
  • Respond to comments. When someone comments on your blog, comment back right away. Thank them for their contribution, answer a question, amplify on their observation/insight, encourage them to keep it up. 
  • Tagging. Good bloggers have a helpful and consistent method for tagging their blog entries (each post should have 2 - 3 tags). That helps when the number of blog entries start really piling up. 

Tips for Blogging Here:

  • Post what you want, as long as it's related to the course. Obviously, you will have certain assignments that require you to post/comment on the blog. But other than those assignments, feel free to contribute anything you want to the long as your contribution is related to Biology (the subject) or AP Biology (the course). 
  • Use images and links. Images and links are useful for a variety of reasons, but especially because they make your posts more interesting to look at and engage with. Try to put at least one image and one link in every post. Linking is also very important when you are responding to something that someone else created. You really need to acknowledge the source, both in your post (by saying where you got it), and with a link to the original. This is just honest courtesy. 
  • Other media is also welcome. Find a good video? Put it here. A relevant audio clip? Put it here. We like media. So put it here.
  • If you edit yourself, acknowledge it with strikethrough. "Strikethrough" refers to text that looks like this. You can strikethrough text with the button up top in the post editor. There is a code of ethics in blogging that says that if you write something that is factually or conceptually wrong, and it is brought to your attention, you should edit your post to reflect that. But you should not, ever, just remove the offending content to make it look like you never made a mistake in the first place. Instead, you should strike through the old, wrong stuff, and then put new, right stuff after the strikethrough. That's the best way to deal with that kind of situation. The other time you might want to strike things through is when situations change, though you probably want to also point out that the situation has been updated by saying as much
  • Your posts need content, and at least three tags. Make sure you use the "Student" tag for your post (if you're a student). Indicating that your post is in the "Student" category will put it in specific places on the homepage. So make sure that box is checked, eh? We will use a tagging system that requires contributors to use at least two tags for posts. One tag should be for the topic the post deals with (ie "evolution", "genetics", etc.), the other tag should be for the type of post (ie. "journal entry", "free response"). You can use other tags in addition to these two, but please use at least these two tags on your posts
  • Respond to comments on your posts in a timely and appropriate fashion. Blogging is interactive. You should expect to get comments and you should reply to them within a few days of receiving them. It is typical to reply to more than one comment in a reply by using the @<username> convention for each comment that you are replying to. 
  • Email K. if you have any questions. Obviously.