Is your blog ready for first time visitors? Here's some tips to help you get ready!

The Edublog Awards is a great way of discovering new blogs, websites, cool ideas and resources that can be helpful to our teaching.

And next week when people start visiting those sites that made it through to the voting stage they’ll be checking them out 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 that use a Text Widget:

  1. Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… – right hand side bar for Welcome
  2. The Principal of Change – right hand side bar for About Me
  3. Teacher Reboot Camp – – right hand side bar for Welcome
  4. The Ripple Effect – Left hand side for Our work in Action

For Edublog and WordPress blogs you’ll need to use HTML for better formating of your text.

And here’s our CHEATS method for adding text and images to blog sidebars

Below is the HTML code I use in the text widget on my personal blog.

Example of HTML code to use in text widget

Using An About Page on a blog

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

Example of a default about page

Please Note: To write an About Page on Blogger you would normally write it as a post and then either:

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:

  1. 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 Kathleen McGeady (Intergrating Technology in The Primary Classroom) About page and Kelly Tenkely (iLearn Technology) About
  2. 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 Blog, Blog Blog Blog, Blog Some More We are, and Mrs. Yollis’ Classrom Blog Meet Mrs Yollis and Meet the Bloggers!
  3. Group Blog
    • What’s the blog is about and the reasons why it was created
    • Provide background information on the authors
    • Check out Cooperative Catalyst’s Who We Are

Don’t forget!

  1. Nominations close Friday 3 Decenber (11:59 PM USA EST)
  2. Voting commences soon after nominations close and end Tuesday 14 December (11:59 PM USA EST)! – PLEASE click here to visit to check the time voting finishes in your local time!
  3. Winners announced at Awards Ceremony USA EST: 7 pm,  Wedneday 15 December – PLEASE click here to visit to check your local time!

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5 responses to “Is your blog ready for first time visitors? Here's some tips to help you get ready!”

  1. Hey Sue, thanks for this post. It was a really useful exercise to check my blog against this framework, because it made me realise that I didn’t do “about me” very well, so I have made the appropriate changes 🙂

  2. Thanks for mentioning my blog as an example! I learned from the best… you may know her… Sue Waters 😉 Hoping for a virtual chocolate for that comment 🙂