In my last post, I complained a little that many of my school administrator Twitter followers were not blogging.
As school administrators, we encourage our teachers to collaborate with each other in order to learn new strategies and skills to better reach their students. Shouldn’t we walk the talk as well? Shouldn’t we make it a point to connect with other school administrators in order to better ourselves for the benefit of our respective schools?
One of my goals for this coming year is to read more posts from school administrator bloggers. I have already found great insight and inspiration from posts I have read recently.
What I’ve found, however, is that many school administrators are active on Twitter, sharing small pieces of advice or re-tweeting links to posts, but they aren’t blogging.
They aren’t sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of school administration. What’s up with that?
Then, it occurred to me that perhaps some administrators want to start blogging, but just don’t know how.
I would like to use this post to to give a small tutorial on how to actually create a blog.
Let’s share the wealth.
How to Start a Blog
Step 1: Find a Host
A host is a company that will store your blog on their computers. They give you access to create your posts and then publish it to the web. There are many hosts to choose from. I recommend WordPress.com. WordPress is easy to use, and it offers a lot of extras. You can also use your Google account to create a blog. Both services are free. These hosting companies will allow you to create a blog for free with the condition that address of your blog will end with the name of their company. For example: www.YourBlogName.wordpress.com. If you are interested in getting a unique dot-com web address like SchoolAdministrationMastery.com, you will need to purchase a hosting package. I use GoDaddy.com, but setting up a blog is a little complicated. BlueHost.com has an easier set up, and their prices are reasonable. There are other hosts out there, so shop around if you’re looking to get a dot-com.
Step 2: Set up your Blog
Once you’ve created your hosting account, you’ll need to start setting up your blog. You can select from different generic template designs to give it a more personal feel. You’ll probably want to create an About Me page where you’ll give some basic information about yourself. You will also want to learn how to upload photos to your blog. Each host has a different uploading program, but they’re they pretty easy to learn.
Step 3: Adding your First Post
A post is like a diary entry. They are sequentially added on top of each other. You’ll be asked to give the post a title and then you can start sharing your latest nugget of wisdom with the rest of us. Once you’re finished writing, you hit the publish button and your post is live.
But Sam, what do I write about?
I’m glad you asked. Finding content to write about can be tough, but a quick way to get started is to think of ten tips that you would share with a beginning school administrator. Then, make each tip a different post. Just elaborate on each tip, sharing personal experiences, and you’re set for the next ten posts.
I know that’s a really quick tutorial, but it really is easy to blog. Getting started is the hardest part. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about setting up your blog.
Getting people to read your blog, however, may be a bit more difficult. You might have great information to share, but if nobody is reading it, then what’s the point? Right? Here are some tips that I’ve learned over the years that have helped me get my posts read and shared. I hope they are helpful.
10 Tips to Get People to Read Your Blog
1. Make your title compelling. Your post title is like a headline in a newspaper article. You want to peak the curiosity of your prospective readers. Collaboration Among Teachers becomes Keep Your Teachers From Being Selfish. Which post would you rather read?
2. Keep your paragraphs short. When I see a blog post with one large block of text, I normally click the back button. There might be a piece of valuable information in the post, but I don’t want to search through a mountain of text to find it.
3. Use bullets. Many of your readers will probably skim your post first. I know I do. I look for the bullet points first. Then, if the bullet points peak my interest, I will read the rest of the post . I think many readers do the same thing.
4. Bold the important phrases. Again, this is to help catch the attention of the skimmers like me.
5. Ask questions of your reader. You want to make your blog interactive. Encourage your readers to talk back to you.
6. Offer something of value to your readers. A lot of blog posts that I run across share school activities or family vacations photos. These may be of value to the blogger, but not to anybody else. If you want people to return to your blog, offer something that they can use.
7. Use social media to promote your post. Share your post on Twitter or Facebook.
8. Add a photo. Adding photos is great to catch the eye of your reader.
9. Use dark letters on a light background. People are used to reading black letters on white pages. Using a dark background with white letters is cool on the screen, but it makes it tough to read.
10. Incorporate your personality in your writings. I’m assuming you’re not a boring person, so don’t make your posts boring. Be you.
There you have it. I hope this post was of value to you.
Please let me know once you have your blog up and running. I am always looking to learn more from other school administrators.
By the way, I wanted to let my readers know about some of the school administrator bloggers who I found during my search through my Twitter followers. Their blogs offer some great insights into this profession, and I’ve added them to my list of blogs to read. Please stop by their sites and take a look. I’m sure you’ll find their posts as valuable as I did.
Chet Jackson @chetjackson22
Patrick Malley @ptrkmkl
Gordon Vatcher @vatcherg
Eric Vanden Heuvel @epvandenheuvel
Scott Jantzen @ScottJantzen
Diane Roberts @robertsdrb
Spike C. Cook @DrSpikeCook
Tim Slack @slackt
Dr. Rodney S. Lewis @rodneyslewis
Until next time,
Here’s to your journey toward School Administration Mastery!
Well, it’s a new year. I’ve been learning a lot lately as I continue on my journey toward school administration mastery.
Just when I think I’ve got things figured out, however, I run into one of those tough learning lessons that bring me back down to earth.
During the last month of 2012, I had to apologize a few times for some mistakes that I made.
One was a typo on some handbooks that I created for the school. I omitted a letter in the last name of our principal, so 1100 handbooks were printed with the principal’s last name misspelled. Thankfully, the principal was great about it. She saw it as funny. I didn’t.
During the three week Christmas break, I had time contemplate my recent mistakes, and I realized that my problem was a lack of focus.
I’m the kind of person who is always trying to make an impact. I think that is a good thing, but lately, it’s been causing me to lose focus on what I really need to be doing. I had been working on a few side projects to help make my job easier and to hopefully improve communication between parents and teachers. A couple of these projects had do to with creating websites for teachers and school administrators.
I was working hard to make an impact with these side projects, but I was not concentrating on what I should be doing as part of my position as school administrator.
Having these weeks off has allowed me to step back and see things from a different perspective.
Now, I’ve made a decision for the coming year: Focus on what is important.
This new year, I’ve come up with a set of 10 resolutions that will help me move toward school administration mastery.
1. Focus on what’s important.
I’ve made a list of my responsibilities. I will focus on these first, and then work on side projects.
2. Smile more.
This has always been difficult for me. I have a natural frown, and I need to actually think about smiling. Smiling demonstrates that I am a positive person and that’s the image that I want to portray.
3. Eat healthier.
Sitting in my office, I find myself munching on candies or other snacks that I know aren’t healthy, and that can’t be good. I have to empty my candy jar and fill it with nuts or granola or something. This is going to be tough. I hate granola.
4. Calendar “Me” time.
My day gets so busy time that I find myself snapping at students or losing focus. I need to have a scheduled time in my day when I can just take a walk for five or ten minutes to replenish myself.
5. Use my calendar more efficiently.
This is pretty obvious one. As a teacher, I didn’t use my calendar that often. As an administrator, there are so many meetings and other dates that are important that I have to make sure I’m aware of.
6. Read more posts from school administrator blogs.
There are so many great school administrator bloggers out there who are sharing their experience online. I would much rather learn from their experience than to learn from my trial and error. I recently decided to browse through my Twitter followers, and I found some great blog posts. What I also came to realize is that too many school administrators are on Twitter, but they aren’t blogging, or if they are blogging, they are only sharing their vacation photos or their special family moments. This is nice, but I would encourage any school administrator reading this to start a blog, and then use that blog to share your experiences with other administrators.
7. Stop complaining.
I’ve actually improved in this area, but there is still room for growth. My principal showed me how to handle a problem with grace. When I shared with her my mistake on the handbooks, she had every right to complain, but instead she took it in stride and didn’t make a big deal about it. Complaining doesn’t change anything.
8. Ask for help more often.
I know I’m like a lot of new administrators who are trying to prove themselves by trying to do everything on their own. I have to come to the realization that I’m not a master of school administration yet, and that I’m going to have to swallow my pride every now and then to ask for help.
9. Read more books on leadership.
Right now the admin team is reading a great book that I mentioned in my last post. It’s called Crucial Conversations by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler. Although I don’t have a lot of time to read anymore, I’m going to make use of my 40 minute commute to work to listen to more podcasts and audio books on leadership. I would love any suggestions from experienced school administrators as to which books to read.
10. Spend more time with family.
I can be sitting with my family around the dinner table, but mentally, I’m back at work thinking about tomorrow’s meeting or that parent who yelled at me over the phone. I find myself being scolded back into reality by my wife on a daily basis. This has to change. This coming year, I’m leaving work at work.
Being able to rearrange priorities is an essential step in becoming a successful school administrator.
I’m committed to fulfilling each of my resolutions for the coming year.
What is your resolution for the coming year?
How will 2013 be different from 2012 for you?
What books on leadership do you recommend?
Do you have a blog about school administration that you recommend?
After that last month of 2012, I feel like I’ve take a few steps back, but I’m committed to making 2013 a year of great growth as I journey toward school administration mastery.
Until next time,
Happy New Year!