Blogging 101: What Do You Wish You’d Known When You Started Blogging?

September 5, 2016 Let's Discuss 39

Blogging-101

A lot of you know that I’m going to be teaching a Blogging 101 class at our homeschooling co-op this year. It’s a relatively small class—only eight 8th-11th graders. The class runs for 24 weeks in total (two semesters of 12 weeks), and we have one hour-long class per week. Not all of the kids will be blogging about books, but most topics can be generalized to any type of blogging.

Since the class starts next Thursday, I’ve been planning out my curriculum, trying to figure out all of the different things I should cover. And it suddenly occurred to me: I have a fantastic resource for this right here! I’d love it if you could give me some feedback.

Here are topics that I’m planning on covering:

  • Introduction, Safety on the Internet, Sample blogs
  • Choosing a blog topic, name, theme and platform
  • Getting the blog set up: Things like Header, Sidebars, Pages, Settings, About Me, Favicon
  • Initial introductory post (logistics of writing a post)
  • Writing a review
  • Content discussion – How often should I post? What types of things should I post? Scheduling, Memes
  • Writing a discussion post
  • Gaining followers
  • Writing a meme post
  • Commenting and replying to comments
  • Social Media, Events
  • Creating cool graphics for your blog
  • Understanding stats, SEOs
  • Procuring review copies
  • Backing up your blog
  • Hosting a giveaway
  • Branching out: Things like YouTube, Instagram, etc.

What do you think? Anything you think doesn’t make sense? Anything I’m missing? (I don’t think I have quite 24 classes worth of topics here yet, even with a couple of classes of intro and wrap-up.)

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What do you wish you’d known when you first started blogging? If you were in a Blogging 101 class, what would you want covered?

Even if your idea sounds like it might fall under one of the categories I have listed above, I’d love to hear it. Maybe I didn’t think about it from quite the perspective that you’re thinking of.

 

39 Responses to “Blogging 101: What Do You Wish You’d Known When You Started Blogging?”

  1. Roberta R.

    I don’t know…but maybe a lesson about how to deal with pressure, external or (even more often) internal…how to prevent blogging from becoming a chore…how to avoid blogging burnout…you know the deal :).

    It’s great that you’re teaching a class like that. And, while I’m sure you can be an invaluable resource for all the future bloggers under your wing, I’d bet that you will end up learning new things yourself in the process!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I think I definitely will learn new things and I’m really excited about that! Blogger burnout is a great topic to talk about. It’s something that hardly seems possible when you’re just starting out, but then you realize how much pressure you put on yourself to measure up to some random goals and it’s definitely real – I know almost all bloggers go through this.

  2. Karen Blue

    This would be fun to teach, I hope your kids love it! This gave me a hundred ideas about what to teach;
    The difference between paid and free blogging platforms
    The importance of advertising, how to handle payments and placement
    How to get backlinks
    Different kinds of blogs (foodie, parenting, writing, reviewing, fashion, coupons, etc)
    The importance of niche and blogger friends
    The power of comments (and commenting)
    Have fun with this!

    Karen Blue recently posted: Weekly Wrap Up #102
  3. Lory

    Wow, I hope you will share some of your course content and also your experiences of teaching the class!

    To answer your specific question, I wish I had known more about the different blogging platforms and also how to set up a domain name. I didn’t know the latter was so cheap or easy so I didn’t bother with it at first, and I wish I had. I also didn’t make an informed choice of Blogger vs. WordPress, and ended up switching.

    One thing I really wish I understood better now is SEO. I have no clue about how to deal with it.

    Lory recently posted: Reading New England: Rhode Island
    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      That’s good feedback. I was planning to cover that in the first class, but I was thinking of skimming it because it’s a class of teens and I figured they’d probably mostly have to go with the free platforms. Now that you mention the low cost, though, I think you’re right that it’s worth stressing more. As a parent, I wouldn’t mind paying a little bit for MY kids to have a good site, so other parents might feel the same. I think I’ll look into it in a little more detail so I can present them with true options.

  4. Wendy

    This sounds terrific. I bet you could offer the class at a local library or community college as well!

    There are several items on your list that I know little (graphics, giveaways) or nothing (SEOs, backing up my blog) about despite blogging for a year.

  5. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    This is so great, Nicole! I think this will be so, so fun- both for the kids AND you! I am trying to think of some other things… one would kind of fall under your “different types of blogs” thing, but learning the culture of your niche is a biggie. Like, when I had a “mom” blog, I learned that the culture was NOT for me at all, but the bookish one definitely IS. And maybe something about finding YOUR voice- and like, not trying to fit a mold of what you think you “should” do just because others do? Like, when I started book blogging, I thought I had to be all serious, and professional, and that is SO not me, and I wasted time with that, you know? OH! And maybe a bit on how to say NO- especially if the blog will focus on reviewing products and accepting review copies/items/services. Like, being selective with that stuff, knowing what is a good fit for you, etc.

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: Shows Worth Watching (According to Me)
  6. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    I saw you mention this, but I didn’t realize it was actually a class that you were teaching. I thought it was a blog series or something? Lol my brain must’ve been out of it. That’s so cool though that you’re teaching a class!

    When you say different platforms, are you just talking the free ones? I know you’re teaching to teens, so maybe you’re just planning to stick to that, but I know the thing I was most confused about when I started blogging was how to actually get hosting and a domain and how all that worked.

    And maybe you already have this included under the commenting lesson or something, but maybe something about online/blog etiquette? You know, like, not being a jerk when you comment or reply to comments or just interact with other people in general lol. Especially if you do discussion posts or post anything remotely controversial, you gotta be able to respect other opinions.

    You could even teach some basic html or something if you need more topics, but I know that html and css could get complicated really fast and isn’t actually necessary to have a good blog. Just ideas!

    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted: Discussion: Have You Ever Enjoyed a Textbook?
  7. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    There are so many things I wish I knew when I started blogging and a lot of them are covered here. I think a good summary of the pros and cons for each platform would be good and the comparison between paid hosting and the free route should be covered well. Also, how it’s important to plan first and not just set up a blog with no content written or having any clue about what you’re doing (like me).

    Erm… the important of knowing your intended audience and who you’re writing for and what you’re writing about. I think that’s important to know what you want from the start as it can affect your blog name and who you try and connect with. I know we all read a variety of blogs but it’s always good to network with those who are in a similar blog area as you.

    Also, the importance of visiting other blogs. I was really hesitant to comment at first but a good explanation on commenting on other places and commenting back on those who have visited you being a good way to draw in visitors. And general blogging etiquette that some take forgranted.

    THe whole cross platform and connecting things with social media, that’s one I could still use a lesson on.

    THere’s so much you could cover and I think once you get going you’ll find you’ll have more than enough to speak about. I assume those who do this class are already interested in starting a blog so a great thing to do would be those who do have a blog (and are willing) can show others and they can get ideas from each other of what to improve. I mean even just showing example blogs and asking them what they like and dislike on them so they can see how they do and don’t want to design and format things. I wish I was doing this class now.

  8. S. J. Pajonas

    I’m about to show my age here but I’ve been blogging for 12 years and I literally have NO IDEA what I could have known then that I know now. Lol. Then whole world of blogging has changed so dramatically but I’ve always just evolved with it.

  9. Cait @ Paper Fury

    Oh this sounds amazing!! And I think you’ve really basically covered everything in those topics! All I can think of is one thing I wish I had known is about consistency? But I think that’d fit into your “how often do I post” category. But like don’t expect yourself to be 100% creative all the time! So write posts when you’re on fire for them and then schedule and stuff so when you’re tired you don’t have to feel like you’re letting your blog down. :’) I reeeally wish I’d known that 5 years ago hahah.😂 Good luck with your classes!!

  10. Silvara

    On the topic of graphics and such, you might want to explain about how just because it’s on Google, it doesn’t mean it’s free use. A surprising number of people (including adults!) don’t seem to understand that.

    And maybe touch on how RL WILL get in the way sometimes, and not to beat yourself up if you don’t stick to your schedule. Or can’t get out and comment/reply to comments as often as you did previously.

    But I really can’t think of anything to add that you don’t already seem to have listed! Good luck with your class, it sounds like it’ll be fun!

  11. Olivia Roach

    I think it’s such a cool idea to cover all of that here, and I hope the writing of these posts go well so hopefully we can have some more blogging friends joining our community. I know that when I started blogging I wish I knew more about the design of a blog and what attracts viewers in terms of layout, and a bit more about coding and HTML! Which I have to admit, still takes me forever to understand and confuses me sometimes to this day.

    Olivia Roach recently posted: Sticks & Stones [Review & Giveaway]
  12. Lola

    Oh that’s exciting you’re going to teach a class about blogging! I hope it goes well. I think you have some great ideas for classes already. One idea might be to do something about challenges, not sure if other types of blogs have those as well, but I always enjoyed reading challenges. Or maybe something about html indeed or plugins? Themes? Maybe something about how to come up with topics? Or how to find other blogs to follow? I also think Kristen her comment about saying something about hosting and such is a good idea or at least the explain the difference between wordpress.com and self hosted. Or maybe something about blogging slumps?
    Good luck with your class!

    Lola recently posted: Sunday Post #195
  13. Puput @ Sparkling Letters

    A blogging class for teens? Sounds amazing! 😀 Okay sooo what I wish to know when I first started blogging is that blogging is not all aobut stats. I used to obsess over it hahaha 😛 I’m also interested in topics about getting blog post ideas. I think this is important because post idea is kind of the key to successful blogging so maybe a brainstorming to think up future post ideas? And also maybe how to write a sponsored post for the students who aren’t into book blogging? I’ve been following a lot of lifestyle bloggers and they write a lot of great and subtle sponsored posts. But all of these topics seem to have covered everything 😀 Good luck and have fun! <3

  14. C.J. @ ebookclassics

    I’m so excited for your class and wish I could be your student! Probably the biggest thing I wish I knew before I started blogging is what kind of reader I am. I started my blog with a focus on reading the classics and after four years I think I’m just beginning to realize now it’s not my first choice of genre to read.

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