Another subject where regular blogging was required and where yet again I would return to my WordPress account. In previous subjects where I was required to blog I had kept it fairly simple by obeying the subject criteria and posting relevant content each week. Blogging what a piece of cake right? Oh how this all changed..
At the beginning of the session our first task for BCM 240 changed the way I blogged. I was no longer being marked on purely the content, I was now being marked on my blog as a whole. My writing was published in a public domain which was accessible to anyone that googled my name, read my tweets or found me on WordPress through my hashtags. My blog therefore needed a revamp.
For the purpose of this reflection I have decided to focus this post around five main points. My first point which I wanted to reflect on is the reminder that all your work published on WordPress is online. This is reiterated by Couts (2011) who states that anything posted online will be online forever and everyone can see you work. This quickly put into perspective that future employers will be reading my blog. Not only did this mean that my grammar needed to be checked but I also needed to be careful about what I posted online. In my work I made sure to use numerous academic sources to back up any claims which I may have made. This use of fact checking I believe is vital when blogging as it adds quality and a more professional aspect to your blog. I wanted my blog to be as engaging as possible whilst also maintain a professional standard. This meant finding a balance between academic writing and content that keeps the audience reading.
My second point reflects on my writing style online.
“Some of us are natural writers. They are able to write an attractive, fun, and readable text in a matter of minutes. Others lack that skill” (van de Rakt 2014).
Unfortunately I lack that skill however van de Rakt (2014) has two very useful tips which helped my blogging. The first is to read a lot! Before I would publish my blog I would always look on the #BCM240 twitter page and the WordPress feed to gauge how others felt about the topic. I was also following numerous students’ blogs who were enrolled in BCM240 and would read through their content as well. However the most useful tool was a Facebook group chat between Jesse, Matthew, Tom and I who were all in the same tutorial. We would share each other’s posts and discuss the topic. Each member of the group had different ideas and thoughts which all helped to contribute ideas for our blogs. Van de Rakt’s (2014) second tip is to choose between formal or informal writing. She concludes that you must “use a style that fits both you and your blog” (van de Rakt 2014). I decided to use a more informal style of writing for my blogs however I still kept strict formal referencing throughout the task.
The third point I will address is writing in public and building an audience for your blog. The idea of writing online is that it enables others to read and critique your work. My blog has received 532 hits over 43 blog posts which I think for a small blog which is relatively unknown is a good effort. To obtain hits I have employed a number of different tactics. Each post that is published has been categorised into subjects and then hash tagged so that it will appear on the WordPress feed. Another simple strategy is to engage with other BCM students through the comments section. If you comment some feedback on a person’s blog they are most likely to visit your blog page to see what you have written. Finally I used Twitter. Twitter was probably the easiest way to advertise my blogs. As Bunskoek (unknown) states “Tweeting about your blog can be an incredible way to reach out and connect with your consumer. With over 500 million users, you can find lots of news readers through tweeting”. When tweeting about my blog I used the #BCM240 which drove fellow BCM students to my blog.
Tweeting my blogs after I had published them leads into my fourth point. Editing my blog. As I mentioned above, this session we were being marked on our blog as a whole and not just for the content posted so it was time for a makeover. I set about changing my blog to be more appealing and easier for the reader to navigate through my work there were a lot of changes which had to be incorporated including;
- Changing my About page
- Categorising my work
- Tagging my blog posts
- Uploading my own cover photo
- Changing the blog design (numerous times)
- Embedding my Twitter feed
Jeff Goins (unknown pg. 1) ultimately covers how your blog should look in this summary “there is a lot you can do to make your bad blog design better. First, remove as many distractions as possible from what makes your blog worth reading: the content. Then, focus on making the text readable and enjoyable”.
The editing of my blog allowed for readers to be drawn into the blog easier. I also started to incorporate hyperlinks into my work which allowed the reader to delve further into any points which I had embedded in my work.
This last point is external research outside of the set readings. Due to the informal nature of my blogs I generally used the set readings and lecture information provided. When reflecting upon this I wish that I could have embedded more hyperlinks into my work which would allow the reader to research more about point I have provided.
I like the idea of having to reflect on your blogging over the semester as it allows you to critique your work and see the changes you have made over ten weeks. I believe my writing style has changed since the start of the semester and I think through the five points mentioned above my blog is starting to develop into a nice portfolio of my work.
Bunskoek K. (unknown), ’12 Formulas: How to use Twitter to Drive Traffic to Your Blog’, wishpond.com, viewed on 2nd October 2015, http://blog.wishpond.com/post/54926252742/12-formulas-how-to-use-twitter-to-drive-traffic-to
Couts, A 2011, What happens on the Internet stays on the Internet, Digital Trends, 3rd April, viewed on 1stOctober 2015, http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/what-happens-on-the-internet-stays-on-the-internet/
Goins J. (unknown), ‘Bad Blog Design: 7 Tips to Beat the Status Quo’, goinswriter.com, viewed on 1st October 2015, http://goinswriter.com/bad-blog-design/
Van de Rakt, M, “Writing A Blog: Obtaining An Attractive Writing Style”, Yoast, viewed 30th September 2015, <https://yoast.com/attractive-writing-style-blog/>
Warner, J 2015, “Writing A Good Blog”, Dummies, viewed 29th September 2015, <http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/writing-a-good-blog.html>