The Edublog Awards is a great way of discovering new blogs, cool ideas and resources that can be helpful to our teaching.
And people are currently visiting the nominated sites for exactly this reason!
Trouble is it’s often hard to quickly work out what a site’s about when visiting it for the first time. This needs to be really obvious for first time readers because they have limited time!
So here’s some tips to make it easier for your first time readers.
Text Widget in Blog Sidebar
A short blurb in a text widget in your blog sidebar is an excellent way of providing a quick overview of what you’re and/or your site is about.
Ideally it should be short, to the point and placed at the top of your blog sidebar where it’s one of the first thing visitors see.
Here’s a few examples of nominated blogs using a Text Widget:
- Extreme Biology – left hand side bar for Welcome to Extreme Biology
- Rumford Writers – right hand side bar for Welcome
- The Web 2.0 Optimist – right hand side bar for About Me
For Edublog and WordPress blogs you’ll need to use HTML for better formating of your text.
Below is the HTML code I use in the text widget on my personal blog.
Using An About Page
An About page is where readers find out more about you and your blog. Readers often use it to decide whether to bother subscribing to a blog.
When you set up a new Edublogs or WordPress blog it automatically comes set up with an ‘About page’. Readers access this page by clicking on About in the page links at the top of your theme or in the link in your sidebar.
The idea is you change the default text on this about page by inserting your own information — here is how-to edit your Default About Page
Please Note: To write an About Page on Blogger you would normally write it as a post and then either:
- Add a link in your blog sidebar using a Text Gadget
- or add a About Page link using a Blogger Template as Sarah Stewart’s done.
Writing a good ‘About Page’ is hard.
What’s written on an ‘About page’ and the types of details included is influenced by the type of blog and the intended readers.
Here’s examples of what you might write on the About Pages of different types of blogs:
- Teacher/Personal blog
- Start with info about yourself (as people are more likely to engage with your blog if they can relate to you as an individual)
- Next tell them about your blog and the reasons why you blog.
- Not too long, not too short, include photos that help readers relate to you as a person.
- Check out Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto’s (Teaching Villiage) About page and Vicki Hollett’s (Learning to Speak ‘Merican) Who is Vicki and What’s This Site About
- Class Blog
- What country, state and city you are from?
- Year (grade level), subject and age groups
- The types of connections your class is interested in e.g. becoming blogging buddies, engaging in global projects
- The type and size of school
- Class or teacher contact details
- Information for students and/or parents on what are blogs, the goals of the class blog, How to interact with the blog e.g. subscribe to blog, comment on posts, guidelines for writing appropriate comments
- Check out Technology in Our Classroom’s About our Class and Fab4@Work’s About Us
- Group Blog
- What’s the blog is about and the reasons why it was created
- Provide background information on the authors
- Check out Infinite Thinking Machine’s About page, MacMillian Dictionary’s About page and Work Place Learning Today’s About Page
- Voting is now open and ends USA EST 11.59 PM Wednesday 16 December! – PLEASE click here to visit TimeandDate.com to check the time voting finishes your local time!
- Winners announced at Awards Ceremony USA EST: 7 pm, Thursday 17 December – PLEASE click here to visit TimeandDate.com to check your local time!
Fantastic, thanks Sue.
Have added an about us and text widget in the sidebar. Always meant to get around to it, and this post has stimulated me to actually complete the project. Hopefully will add some insight into the blog for readers
@Mike Glad my post prompted you to add the text widget to your blog sidebar. This and an about page make it so much easier for first time readers to work out what your blog is about and if they are likely to find the information they need on your blog.
Educators awards for discovering the new blog is a good scene
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