It is great to see that again this year, so many people have been willing to give blogging a go! Some of you, especially those new to blogging this year, might be getting to the stage where you are disheartened because it appears like no one is visiting the blog and the work feels like it is all for nothing. It can be tricky to encourage involvement, and like everything, it takes a bit of work. Once the ball starts rolling, however, it soon picks up momentum!
So, what could you do to encourage visitors to your blog? Here are some ideas:
1. Teach visitors how to use the blog.
Blogging is probably just as new for parents as it is for you. Do they know how to use your blog? You might like to send home some instructions on how to use the blog (for example, http://sites.berwickfieldsps.vic.edu.au/6a2013/using-the-blog/). Perhaps you could invite them in to the classroom on an open afternoon and show them how?
2. Encourage parents to become ‘blogging supporters’
Do you have parents who would like to help in the classroom, but can’t come in during the day? Surely being involved and communicating with the kids would be much more exciting for them than laminating or cutting. Ask these parents to become ‘blogging supporters’. Ask them to write one or two comments on the blog each week that the grade will respond to. This job could also be great for older siblings and grandparents!
3. Show your visitors you care.
Make sure each visitor and commenter to your blog feels valued. If you don’t reply to them, are they likely to visit in the future? Use this as a whole class modelled writing opportunity, or pick some students to write a response on behalf of the grade. The kids love this opportunity and I can tell you it encourages them to get others to comment, as they love being the one who knows the person you are replying to. Kids will also tell their parents that you have looked at their comment in class.
4. Promote discussion
How are you encouraging your visitors to become involved? End each post with a question or questions so that they have something to contribute. For example; http://sites.berwickfieldsps.vic.edu.au/6a2013/03/6a-news-edition-2/
5. Make it relevant
Be picky about what you post on your blog. Will your visitors return if it is just post after post of ads and forms? What content will they want to see? Don’t overload the blog; pick quality over quantity and post a few good posts.
6. Give your students ownership
Your students will be the biggest champions for your blog and are much more likely to promote it if they have ownership over it. Give students the chance to write the posts for your blog, or take photos for your blog. Ask them for ideas for graphics or work. Ask them what work they are proud of and what they would like to share with their families on the blog. It’s a sure fire way to get them encouraging their parents to check it out!
7. Remind them it exists
People leave busy lives, and may forget your blog exists. Remind them with an email summary every now and then of things they have missed on your blog, such as http://sites.berwickfieldsps.vic.edu.au/6a2013/03/week-6-email-news/
8. Make it a competition
If all else fails, bring out the competitive nature in the kids (and your families). Have a blogging competition between your students, your buddy grade or year level. Award points for each comment that is posted on your blog, with bonus points for interstate and overseas commenters. For example; http://sites.berwickfieldsps.vic.edu.au/6a2012/2012/05/05/blogging-challenge/
9. Take your classroom global
Make a connection with another grade elsewhere in the world and become blogging buddies. Or why not give quadblogging a go! (http://quadblogging.net/) Quadblogging involves pairing up with three other classes from around the world, and spending a week visiting and commenting on each other’s posts. http://sites.berwickfieldsps.vic.edu.au/6a2012/2012/05/16/383/
What else do you do to promote visitors to your class blog?
Have any of these tips worked for you?