Here’s My Top Five Mistakes Made By New Bloggers — What Are Yours?

Ever felt like you wished some one had told you about what mistakes NOT to make when blogging before you MADE the mistake?

Well I know I have so here are my five top mistakes made by new bloggers:

#1 Copying and pasting text written in Word into blog post

When you copy and paste text from MS Word, emails, other word processor applications, websites etc into blog posts it transfers extra code which you normally won’t see unless you click on the HTML tab.  Trouble is you mightn’t be seeing this code but your blog might.

This extra code cause problems including changing font size and type, messing up the appearance of your blog sidebars and stopping your blog from loading in Internet Explorer.

Read Why you shouldn’t write your blog posts in Word to learn more!

#2 Using copyright images in blog posts

While a picture is worth a thousand words getting into trouble by using copyrighted images isn’t!  Just because an image is on the Internet doesn’t mean you are allowed to use (even if using it for educational purpose).

Read Copyright and Using Images in Blog Posts to learn more!

#3  Uploading images from digital cameras without resizing

Just because you can upload images directly from your digital camera into a blog post doesn’t mean you should!  Besides taking longer to upload your image, it uses up blog storage space unnecessarily.

To learn more read:

  1. How to resize images before uploading
  2. Image widths in blog posts
  3. Is a picture always worth a thousand words?

#4 Forgetting to Link

Linking is a really important part of being a blogger and linking isn’t hard but for some reason most new bloggers forget to link!

It’s good blogging etiquette to link to:

  1. A person’s blog if you mention a blogger
  2. The post if you are talking about a particular post on a blog
  3. Articles and websites when you write about them

To learn more read:

  1. STOP! Don’t Press Publish! Have You Remembered to Add The LINKS?
  2. What’s A Pingback? And How To Write Links

#5 Copy and pasting other bloggers posts

Sure it is nice to like another bloggers post BUT you can’t copy and paste their entire post into your own blog post!  Besides the fact you might be breaking copyright, this is both plagarism and extremely bad bloggers etiquette.

Would you accept students work that had been copied? NO! So don’t do it to other bloggers.

FINAL THOUGHTS

These were my five top mistakes that new bloggers make!  What have I missed?  What else do we need to warn new bloggers about?

I plan to follow up with a more detailed post on Why you don’t copy and paste other bloggers posts!  What advice would you give new bloggers on this topic?

Image by skoczek licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike 2.0.

If you are enjoying reading this blog, please consider feed-icon32x32 Finding and Adding Creative Commons Images To Your Blog PostsSubscribing For Free!

Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

92 Responses

  1. mtoran says:

    I would add “not using tags/ labels on your posts” somewhere in there… It doesn’t seem important when you first start out, but once your blogging picks up, it makes it so much easier for the author to find old posts and for visitors to navigate through your page.

  2. Paul Bogush says:

    Ready….

    I wish someone told me to stop trying so hard. Yep. Just write and stop thinking about what I am writing. Stop thinking about getting an audience and write about what ever I was passionate about. The reality is every post that I “thought” about and wrote and prepared because I thought lots of people would like it has gotten the fewest hits, retweets, etc. Every post that is spontaneous and just pours out has gotten the most attention. Looking back, I realize that they are also the posts that I have learned the most from.

    I wish someone had told me to not be afraid. Don’t worry about being judged, spelling errors, or grammatical errors. Writing something will always be better than nothing.

    I wish someone had told me to remove my counter that updates everytime someone visits much sooner than I did. I was obsessed with stats. I nearly quit so many times because my numbers are so low. It took me a long time to not “write for hits” but to write for me. Successful blogging does not equal the number of hits your blog receives. I wonder if you can just define a successful blog by simply asking the questions Does it create change? Even if the answer is yes but only for the author then I think it is successful. What’s that quote about changing yourself first…

    I wish someone had told me to stop looking at other people stats (ugg, I just looked at yours). Nope, I am not going to get the 250 hits each day that this blog receives. Blogging is not a competition. It is personal. My 15 hits each day should feel like 1000. It only brings me down when I start comparing myself to other’s stats.

    I wish someone had told me that you don’t have to be a good writer to blog. That ideas and passion are more important. I had always been very self conscious about my writing. Kind of like the clumsy kid in gym class. Always afraid to participate. It took probably a year and a half before I over came that and not write without fear. That’s a lot of posts and time. I have learned so much about helping the kids in class who are also not at the top of their class. I have a long way to go, but I am getting their…I mean there. ;)

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Paul, first I would like to apologise. This blog has been have massive problems with being linked to by spam blogs so I’ve had to add certain words to comment moderation to control spam. Unfortunately this meant your great comment you’ve written here was placed into comment moderation which I only check once daily :(

      Sigh another excellent mistake by new blogger. Feeling the need to think they have to write for what an audience wants to read. I’m always telling others don’t write for an audience blog first and foremost for your own personal needs and what you are passionate about – thanks for reminding me.

      My personal stats I do look at but not to compare with how other bloggers are doing but in terms of what I do. My aim has always been to help others to I like to know what types of posts are achieving those goals better. PS even I don’t look at this blogs stats site visits and my personal blog.

    • elizabethdn says:

      Paul, I love your blog:) It’s very thought-provoking & has expanded my view of what teaching really should be about! I’m very new at this blogging thing but in the span of six months I have started up a class blog with my 1st graders and a personal blog as well as a wiki. I would have never done it if I waited until I knew what I was doing first. I’m thinking jumping in with both feet is better than sitting on the edge of the swimmin’ hole contemplating going in eventually…

      • bstahl says:

        Elizabeth, I am so interested in what your are doing with first graders. I have never blogged before, and just learned of this site in a continuing ed course. At this point I haven’t even gotten my feet wet, but I am willing to jump in. I also teach first and would love to incorporate blogs in our writing.

        • elizabethdn says:

          @bstahl,

          I started later in the year & I really just jumped in up to my neck! I started with content that I created and then moved onto having pairs of students blog together. I gave them a topic to get them started, gave suggestions & helped to edit their posts. Inviting my school staff to view & comment helped my students with feedback. When my friend who is teaching in Viet Nam commented that opened their eyes to a global community! I highly recommend having a ClustrMap or Flag Counter on the blog because you may have many visitors who don’t leave a comment but you can still see them on the map! Some map & flag counters have stats & pie graphs that can be interesting to view, too. This year I’m planning on having the content at the beginning of the year be more collaborative & we’ll be doing a lot of viewing & commenting of other student/classroom blogs. That is ultimately the best way to drive traffic to your blog & create a blogging community for your classroom. If you visit our blog be sure to comment & leave your URL so we can come see what you’re up to!

        • elizabethdn says:

          @bstahl,

          Ooops! Click on my name in this post & it’ll take you to my blog! I gave the addy as .com instead of . org on the other one! Sorry!

      • friley1982 says:

        @elizabethdn,
        Hi! I also teach first grade. I attended a tech summer camp that my school distict had. We briefly touched on google docs, wikis, blogs, video threads, podcasts… My head was spinning by the end of the four days, but I am excited about the direction we are heading in. I can’t wait to get started. There are so many possibilities. I read that you had a class blog for your students. That sounds like something I would like to try. I am new at this. How did you do it? Were you able to start at the beginning of the school year? My students come from a half day kindergarten program and are not reading and writing. Who can see the blog? I am open to suggestions and advice. Thanks! :-)

        • elizabethdn says:

          @friley1982,

          My blog is open for everyone to view. That really is the only way to have a global audience. We teach internet safety with a CyberSmart curriculum & talk a lot about what information is safe to share & what is not. I know what you mean about being overwhelmed initially! I think sometimes Web 2.0 will make my head explode! All of these new venues for integrating technology have ignited my teaching & my students, so it’s very worth it! I really am just learning as I go. With Kindergarten you may be doing more dictation of blog entries until the end of the year. You can scan work and post photos as well. Read my reply to bstahl above for some more info on how I started Click on my name and it’ll take you to my blog. I just started with some ideas from another blogger & began to make it my own. If you visit feel free to comment!

        • elizabethdn says:

          @friley1982,

          Click on this one to go to the blog & steal ;) some ideas! See I’m still learning!

  3. Paul Bogush says:

    “I plan to follow up with a more detailed post on Why you don’t copy and paste other bloggers posts! What advice would you give new bloggers on this topic?”

    Any new blogger is more than welcome to copy and paste my posts!! Us little dude bloggers love that kind of attention more than a hyperlink.

    • Sue Waters says:

      Chuckling Paul, I had not considered that aspect and I would willingly use any of your posts because I enjoy reading them :) .

      Trouble is what often happens is copy/paste from the wrong blogger and the new blogger may discover that the blogger may not be nice about it.

  4. hollysuel says:

    Thanks for this post! I started blogging in 2004 with a personal blog and think I have made all of those mistakes… live and learn I guess!

  5. Anne says:

    Since I haven’t resolved this problem yet, it’s not a mistake I can look back on, but it sure feels like I’m doing something wrong here so:

    My biggest quandry is how to manage my blogroll. Whom to include in these times of blog explosion? I couldn’t possibly include everyone I read. I uxed to use my own blogroll as a way into my daily read, and created subdivisions for the links, but these days I use Googlereader.

    So should I only include those blogs who include me? Should I link to blogs I admire but whose writers don’t know my blog exists? What’s the etiquette on doing away with the blogroll entirely and just linking in the posts when discussion issues?

    Thanks for any ideas on this.

    • Sue Waters says:

      Great question Anne about blogrolls. My solutions is I have my blogroll on a separate page on my personal blog and I use shared Google Reader to create the blogroll. This means it is automatically updated when I adjust who I read.

      This post on my personal blog shows how to create a blogroll using Google Reader.

  6. Quote instead of copy the whole post. Even if you quote 90% at the beginning of your blogging carreer ;). News do it all the time. Backlink to the original post and add some of your won thoughts.

    This way you don’t have to write full posts at the beginning but you can adapt yourself to writing on your own and develop your style.

  7. Hi ya Sue,

    My suggestion would be that many, many new bloggers don’t actually go out and read other blogs!

    They’re often so incredibly keen to get their blog noticed that they don’t travel through the blogosphere to see if others are doing similar work (because they’re like, urm, too busy making content to read blogs) nor do they network with those that are – however once they cotton on to the fact that they could get a back-link this way, they go out leaving things like:

    Nice post. I blog too. Come and visit mine + then leave their blog url.

    It’s really quite maddening dealing with this sort of ego-centric behavior – I always think of a party where I’m serving bread and cheese and someone has just come on over to say “hey, there’s caviar and champagne over on my site, mind if I just barge in and take your guests with me?”

    LOL.

    If it’s okay, I’ll also like to add my thoughts on @Anne’s question -

    Anne,

    The best thing with regard to the blog roll is to maintain a list of blogs you really do enjoy reading.

    The blog roll isn’t really about getting a reciprocal link but instead saying to your readers: look at what I love reading – go check out their stuff too.

    Some bloggers list their friends or people they’ve worked with in the past and if you’re a newbie on the scene, not sure, you can’t really break through this until your blog is important or you’ve become a regular visitor of the other blogger’s blog and he/she likes what you’ve got to say.

    The other thing I’d really recommend is patience.

    Sometimes a blogger may have done a blog roll months ago and has forgotten to update it – he might also be waiting to see if you’ll be a blogger that sticks around (so many people give up after 3 – 6 months and no one wants a dead link on their wall when they’ve recommended it!).

    Or he might have 100,000+ visitors a year and hasn’t noticed you and your comments yet.

    Hope that’s useful.

    Karenne

    p.s. Sue – terrible of me but this posting would really be very fitting for a blog carnival I’m hosting on my site and I would really love to include it in the final wrap up in early August.

    The BC link is:
    http://blogcarnival.com/bc/cprof_7534.html and the submission deadline is July 15th.

    • Sue Waters says:

      Great point regarding reading blogs Karenne and another one I missed. Reading blogs and adding meaningful comments to other bloggers posts is an important part of blogging.

      Thanks for giving Anne such great advice on blogrolls.

      In terms of the blog carnival I don’t mind people asking it is just that I don’t normally cross post any of my posts on other sites – even between my own blogs. It’s sort of one of my own rules however I did recently make an exception to this for Beth Kanter’s blog (but it was an old post, but popular post, and it was Beth). Reason why is I feel a sense of responsibility to provide new content.

      I will think about it. Perhaps I could write on a different topic (if I have time?)

      • Sue,

        Thanks!

        At the moment I’m really very keen for a good edu-blogger to write a posting on

        -using widgets and gadgets -theories on their usefulness versus slowing down computers or

        -on learning some basic html -and how that can save headaches! (Talking from experience there)

        My plan with the “carnival” is to turn it into a resource of advice for English Language teachers and I don’t want it to be only “my” advice did the call-out.

        It would really be lovely, and an honor, to have something from you too – however, I do know how busy you are – will understand if it’s a lot of trouble!

        ;-) Take care,
        Karenne

        • Mrs. Yollis says:

          @Karenne,

          You make an excellent point about reading and contributing to other people’s blogs…that is part of being an online community member.

          On my third grade class blog, the students write in pairs, in groups, or occasionally on their own. The minute they publish, they anxiously wait for comments.

          They are quite disappointed the next day if no one has commented. As a class, we talk about how frequently they comment to others. Usually, I get that sheepish look, and we have a discussion about how you have to give to get. Blogging is more than just publishing.

          One boy in my class hardly participated in commenting at all. When he finally publish a post of his own, he started to understand how it feels to write and not get any response. Now he is a regular in the comment section. Experience is the best teacher. :-)

          Thanks,
          Linda

        • Sue Waters says:

          Hi Karennem, doesn’t look like I can make your July deadline because traveling in the USA has been really full on. Can’t even keep up with my own work.

          Perhaps later in the year when my work load is a bit less I can organise a post for you?

  8. Spiro Bolos says:

    Dear Sue,

    I love your tips and use them often with my students. But I would quibble with #2: “Using copyright images in blog posts: Just because an image is on the Internet doesn’t mean you are allowed to use (even if using it for educational purpose).”

    I would argue that the above statement is untrue. Copyrighted images are subject to fair use, at least in the USA. Your use of these images depends on many factors, but the legal litmus test tends to be whether or not the use was transformative.

    I think utilizing CreativeCommons is an excellent way to be “safe”, but limiting student access to only those licensed images prevents them from becoming truly media literate. For example, what if they want to use their blogs to critique a company’s ad campaign or a news network’s coverage of an event?

    For more info and educational resources, please see: http://mediaeducationlab.org/code-best-practices-fair-use-media-literacy-education

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Spiro, I knew this one would be one of those tips the readers would agree or disagree with as it is a debate we’ve had before.

      Trouble is that Fair use varies considerably between countries. It is quite easy for a blogger to read about Fair Use and then think it is applicable to their situation because they’ve assumed the same laws apply throughout the World.

  9. Making it difficult for people to comment is a common mistake that new bloggers make. This is especially true for those on Blogger. Sometimes the blog is set up to only accept comments from people with Blogger accounts, or it will only allow you to post using your Blogger id or “anonymous”. You can set up the comments so that anyone can comment and leave their name and blog address. I’ve written about it here. And there is your post Are Your Comment Settings Making it Harder for Readers to Comment?

    • Sue Waters says:

      Have to say DUH Sue – comment moderation settings is another important mistake new bloggers make. Thanks Claire for reminding me of this one!

      I’m so glad I asked readers to look for what I missed and definitely will follow up with a post of readers tips.

  10. Bill Guinee says:

    I will probably cut and paste your #5 directly into my blog.

  11. Ken Allan says:

    Kia ora Sue!

    Great points! I don’t think you’ve missed out much at all. Yes I too made the mistake with Word, but I was aware of what rogue html can do and knew what had happened whenever I saw the post in the browser. Ouch!

    I cannot sing the praises of The 31 Day Comment Challenge 2008 too much here. I have to say that I learnt so much about blogging that I’d made all of the mistakes you mention here by the time the Challenge was finished.

    One big mistake I made on the Challenge (and that’s not listed here) was in misjudging how another blogger could read and interpret what I said on my post. In fact, you intervened, Sue. You saved the day through your experienced assertiveness and your insight as to what was actually happening. I was reminded of that incident some months later when I got in a jam with another blogger on the host’s post.

    Lesson: Never underestimate another blogger’s point of view.

    Not everyone thinks the same way. And what might be fun and games to you could well be serious stuff to another.

    I try my best to leave writing a comment in reply until I’ve carefully worked out exactly how I’m going to say it – sometimes it may take me a day or to for my thoughts to settle. If I see that there is any chance I could possibly be getting offside with someone, I try my best at writing with a smile (and not necessarily the emoticon type either).

    My problem stems from the motto on my blog: “To share one’s goods; to speak the truth, not hiding one’s heart from others” J K Baxter. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to speak one’s mind too openly.

    Catchya later

    • Sue Waters says:

      Yes Ken, writing comments can be challenging because it is easy for others to misinterpret your meaning. With f2f interaction body language helps us so much — which is why people with visual impairments can struggle.

  12. I’m wondering about writing in Word, because there’s a little button that you can use to paste text from Word to then insert into your blog. I haven’t seen you mention that, and I’m wondering if there’s a reason for that? Thanks.

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Isobel, I do mention it in the comments on the post about using Word. Unfortunately the paste from Word button doesn’t remove all the extra code. I suggest you try it yourself and you will see what I mean. Even in the WordPress.com forums they talk about avoiding this button.

  13. Kevin says:

    Sue,

    Nice tips. For me, it was just getting started. So many platforms, themes to pick from. There are to many choices in how to start it can be confusing. Also, getting into a good writing routine is something everyone should think about after they get their blog going. I’m still working on that.

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Kevin, totally agree there are so many blogging platform to choose from that it is overwhelming.

      Thanks for bringing up the point about a blogging schedule as that is something we discussed doing a presentation at NECC. The key is work out your own blogging schedule and then try to stick to it. From my experience most educators prefer quality to quantity so 2 posts a week is a good balance.

  14. Paul C says:

    ‘Keep it simple stupid’ is a lesson I needed to learn earlier. Internet surfers are far too impatient to read long posts without sufficient subtitles and concise attention to detail and structure.

    • Sue Waters says:

      Great point Paul, even with the subtitles you will always face issues with long posts so you need to be careful. I’m now really ruthless with my posts and edit them several times to remove all extra, non-essential text.

  15. pjvegi says:

    Thank you so much for the tips.

    After reading so many great educator blogs over the past year I have set-out on an adventure of my own. As a newbie I absolutely appreciate the help of those who are more experienced.

    Because of your tip about the blogroll, my site is that much nicer and easier to navigate.

    Thank you again.

    Paige

  16. jalvaro says:

    Great topic. I’ve learned a lot just reading the comments. Will my ego let me take off my counter? I have to battle that out, but I’m starting to think dropping the counter is a good idea. I do enjoy the cluster map though, seeing where people are looking from.

    My biggest mistake was trying to hard too. When I finally figured out that blogging should be fun for me and the kids everything changed and my blog took on a life of its own.

    jim
    theskinny.edublogs.org

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Jim, I think counters and stats are really individual. Lots of bloggers like to have them on their site and visitors often enjoy checking out where the other visitors are coming from.

      Definitely agree. Blogging should be fun. When new people try writing for their readers instead of themselves then it becomes not fun and makes them struggle.

      • jalvaro says:

        Hello from America. You asked a question on my blog and I wasn’t sure where to answer it for you so I thought I would add it here.

        Our kids are on summer break so now I am doing most of the blogging. I am just posting fun games and activities that they can enjoy over the summer. I am also trying out new activities like jing and befunky to see what I can have the kids do with them when they come back in the fall.

        During the year the blog really becomes the kids blog with them doing the writing and composing.

        As a fairly new blogger I want to thank you for your columns. They have help me a lot.

        Have a great weekend.

        Jim

        • Sue Waters says:

          Hi Jim, thanks for letting me know. Thanks for responding here. I do use comment tracking but it hasn’t been working the best lately.

          Are you finding they are reading your blog over summer? Have many of them interacted with you?

          Glad my posts have been helpful.

  17. addyrobin says:

    I am very new to the world of blogging, in that I have gone out and read a few that friends have but have never started my own blog and have only commented once or twice before. I found your helpful list of hints very informative and look forward to using your hints as I develop a blog this week. My question would be does anyone have advice for how this can best be used in a classroom, would you have the students type the comments in class or out of class, and how would you best recommend that the comments be monitored by the teacher.

    I wish that I had explored the world of blogs earlier, I have used online homeworksites sort of like they were a blog (giving lots of information about what was happening in class not just the assignments) but I haven’t used a blog previously in my classroom.

    Thanks for the hint on not copying and pasting from MS Word because that would have been my first idea to do that, how do you spell check what you submit?

    • Mrs. Yollis says:

      @Addyrobin,

      I started blogging with my third graders last fall. They love to report and share about what they are learning.

      You were asking about commenting, so here are a few ideas that have worked for me. My students are 8 years old and had never heard of blogging. I found that I needed to teach directed lessons about how to comment. Then, I let them sit with a partner at a computer (I have 3 in my room) and together write a comment. I always tell them to let me look at the comment before they press publish…that helps with content quality. :-) Many of them also comment from home.

      I agree with what Karenne mentioned above in her comment, it is important to visit and comment on other educational blogs. Once or twice a week I hook my laptop to the projector, and we visit classroom blogs that we follow. Together we read a post, formulate a comment, preview the comment, and publish. It is a great way to model the skill of commenting as well as modeling good blogging habits.

      Finally, Claire’s tip is a great one…set up comment moderation.

      You mentioned you are setting up your blog this week. I am including a link to a post I wrote for teachers at my school who were thinking about starting a blog. One of the links has more information about how I taught lessons on commenting. I hope you find it useful.

      Good luck with your blog, I’m sure you’ll love it.

      Sue’s Edublogger site is a real resource for all of us!

      Linda

      http://yollisclassblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/blogging-tips-for-teachers.html

      • Sue Waters says:

        Hi Linda, sorry but your comment was sent to comment moderation. Had issue with spam pingbacks so have had to included moderated words to minimise. It grabbed your comment. Thanks for your great ideas yet again they are excellent tips!

      • addyrobin says:

        Thank you so much for the great resources. I am really pondering how I can best utilize a blog in my classroom as a truly innovative resource. I will definitely bookmark your list of suggestions. Thanks again

      • friley1982 says:

        @Mrs. Yollis,

        I attended a tech summer camp that my district held. We briefly touched on google docs, wikis, blogs, video threads, podcasts… social networks. By the end of the four days, my head was spinning. I am excited about all the possibilities. I am reading everything that I can find. It is a bit overwhelming I would like to try to do a class blog so I checked out yours. Wow! I am inspired. I teach a regular education first grade class with BSI (Basic Skills Insruction), ESL (English as a Second Language) and Advanced Studies students. My students are not reading or writing at the beginning of the year. Do you have any recommendations on how I should start? I’ve been teaching 26 years, but this is all new to me. I want to help set a model to encourage my grade level colleagues to embrace technology and use it in their classrooms. Elementary teachers in my district have one computer in their classrooms, but this summer the district is installing Smartboards in all our elementary classrooms. YEAH! I know that I need to take it one step at a time or I will be so overwhelmed that I won’t accomplish anything. It is hard when there are so many things I would like to try.

        • Mrs. Yollis says:

          @friley1982

          Thanks for your compliment about my classroom blog. It has been the best project I have ever done with children. (And I have taught for over twenty years, like you.)

          The tech summer camp you attended sounds fabulous. They covered quite a bit! You can see how many wonderful opportunities there are for integrating technology. The trick is to choose technology that adds meaning to a lesson, and not just technological flash. ☺

          You asked if I had any recommendations. My advice to you is to start small. Pick something that interests you and set reasonable goals to progress. Having a classroom blog really interested me. I created a simple blog and set a goal to try to publish with my class once a week. The first few posts we wrote together, and then as students were ready, they started writing with a partner or by themselves. As I felt more confident, I started branching out and creating small videos or experimenting with Voice Thread. Slowly, I add gadgets to my sidebar…

          I also recommend teaching directed lessons about how to blog. Even though many students seem to know a lot about technology, they need to be taught how to effectively post, comment, and participate in the blogging community.

          It is a real process, and if you try to do everything at once, it will likely be too overwhelming. We don’t expect our students to master everything right away, so we should set the same standard for ourselves. ☺

          * * *

          I teach third grade, and I teach them to type. They can take responsibility for writing posts almost immediately. Your first graders are not at that point. However, there are many first grade teachers who are blogging. I would take a look at what they are able to do with their students and follow their leads. (As Sue mentioned, Edublogger has a great Class Blog List at the top of The Edublogger.)

          I hope my advice helps. If you are interested, here is a link to a post I put together for teachers at my school who were wanting to blog with their students. It is called Blogging Tips for Teachers.

          Good luck with your class this year! Keep following Sue here at The Edublogger! She is a fantastic resource for educators!

          :-)
          Linda Yollis

    • Sue Waters says:

      Best of luck with your blogging and a good place to start is always with writing your own blog then using a class blog. I suggest you check out the Class blog list – link at the top of the Edublogger. It will give you lots of ideas.

      Some teachers get their students to comment on posts in class while others do it outside of class. Writing comments in Word isn’t an issue – you can copy and paste from Word into a comment without causing problems. If you have a class writing comments you will need to make sure they slowly add them or the system will give an error message because it thinks they are spam.

      Spell check doesn’t worry me too much because I use FireFox as my web browser which has built in spell check. Also there is a debate that spell check makes our students lazy when it comes to spelling so not having a spell check teaches them to check their own spelling.

      You can turn on comment moderation which means an email will be sent to the person who wrote the post and no comment will be posted until the comment has been approved.

      • addyrobin says:

        Sue,
        Thanks for your additional suggestions. I will have to look into adding Foxfire as my browser so that I have access to that. I do like the fact that students would have to check their own spelling and that they wouldn’t be able to depend on the spell check. Of course a lot of my students would probably be attempting to use text talk that might be another factor I would have to consider in using the blog.

        I think that the comments moderating would be best given that I would be using it with middle school students.

        I will check out the class blog links that are provided.

        Thanks again for all the great suggestions

  18. mbteach says:

    Wow! What a lot of great ideas and information. On the subject of spell check, one thing that drives me crazy when reading other people’s blogs is spelling and grammatical mistakes. When I post, I re-read my post many times in Preview mode. My thinking is– “Anyone in the world could read this. Do I really want it to look like I don’t care enough to re-read what I write?”

    As far as images go, I always go by the “better safe than sorry” motto and avoid using any images that aren’t either from The Morgue File, Pics4Learning or Creative Commons. In our annual Computer Fair, students can be disqualified for using images that aren’t copyright-free.

    • Sue Waters says:

      I’m probably the worst when it comes to grammar. Perhaps one day FireFox will include that as well as spelling. I always write my posts then save and preview. During preview I look for visually how easy it is to read and for any obvious spelling mistakes. I often break all grammar rules to make reading easier.

      • mbteach says:

        Sue, I break grammatical rules, too. There is a difference, however, between using sentences that are easy or fun to read and blatant errors like missing punctuation or sentences that have extra words or are missing words.

        Maybe a ‘Blogging Mentor” wiki like the “Twitter Mentor” wiki (http://twitter4teachers.pbworks.com) where new bloggers can have a mentor to guide them through the process would be helpful — comment on whether you like this idea, fellow bloggers!

        Also, a great site for learning html: http://www.w3schools.com/htmL

        Thanks again, Sue, for starting this conversation, and I’m glad you made it home OK!

        • Sue Waters says:

          Thanks re-making it home. After 22 hours sitting on air planes I wasn’t always convinced it would happen :)

          Interesting concept re-mentoring. Would love to hear other people’s thoughts on this.

  19. murphyhistory says:

    Dear Sue,
    Your advice could not possibly have come at a better time! As part of a great class I am taking through Walden, I need to set up my own website, needless to say, for anyone who knows me, the more information I can get the better! I especially appreciated your comments on “cut/n/paste” As a teacher, I think getting my students to be ever vigilant of the evils of plagiarism is one of my biggest concerns. Thank you again!

    • Sue Waters says:

      Copying other people’s information can be an issue with students. Might be worth considering using some fact checkers like Linda Yollis uses to get them used to the fact the information needs to be correct and not copied. Perhaps Linda will come back and explain how she uses students for fact checking on students.

      • Mrs. Yollis says:

        Hi Sue! Hope you are enjoying your time here in America! ☺

        You were asking for information about how I use fact checkers…

        The idea of fact checkers came about when a boy from my class mistakenly wrote *country* in Kentucky instead of a *county* in Kentucky when he was writing a story about Abraham Lincoln. I knew he was wrong, but he was adamant, so I sent two students with him to verify his facts. The students who were fact checking quickly confirmed his error. As the two fact checkers were talking with him, I overheard one of them tell him, “Besides the county mistake, your sentence is total plagiarism. You’ve copied exactly what was written on that website.” The boy sheepishly responded, “Yeah, I know.”

        Wow! I had taught lessons about plagiarism, but to hear this exchange made me realize that students could take more responsibility with monitoring the content of the classroom blog. As teachers, I feel we should always be looking for ways to step back and let students move in and assume leadership positions. Assigning fact checkers was a perfect way to let my students apply the Language Arts skills I had been teaching!

        At that point, I knew I had one of those great teachable moments. As a class, we talked about the importance of publishing correct information, and I reiterated how wrong it was to plagiarize. We talked about our blog belonging to all of us and that we must all do our share to make it the best it can be. It was then that I asked for volunteers to be fact checkers. About six students volunteered and most of them were strong readers. These students took their job seriously and felt they were an important piece in the blogging process.

        Here is how I utilized the fact checkers:

        Whenever a story was completed and the writer(s) felt ready to publish, I would announce, “O.k., ____ is ready to publish. Who is available for fact checking?” Anyone who wasn’t busy on an assignment followed the writer back to his/her desk or to the Internet to verified the story. My classroom is very fluid. During blogging time, there are students at different points in the writing process. I found I could always get one or two students to jump in and fact check. (Teachers who want a more structured classroom approach could have a blogging board set up in their room where students sign-up for fact checkers when needed.)

        I will say, even with fact checkers, the excitement of publishing can interfere with the quality of a post. ☺ My third graders love, love love, to publish and I am constantly reining them in and stressing the importance of getting it right. Sometimes I have to narrow the fact checking for them. For example, I will say, “Go back and carefully look at paragraph two.”

        This was my first year doing a blog, and I spent a lot of time reacting to problems and developing lessons as needed. Next year, I will teach directed lessons about identifying incorrect facts within a post. I’m thinking I will create a few Social Studies or Science posts with false information. I’ll be sure to plagiarize a sentence or two from the textbook! Perhaps I could then use the comment section for students to identify the errors and the plagiarism. I’m still thinking about it…

        I hope this is the information you were looking for. Thanks for all your support! ☺

        Linda

        • Sue Waters says:

          Hi Linda, yes I had a lovely time in USA and have finally got home.

          I would also suggest copying and pasting a small amount of text from a web page. Then teaching them how to check in Google to make sure it hasn’t been plagarised.

  20. I whole-heartedly agree with the commenters above who mention about “trying too hard.” My best blog posts are ones written in about 3 minutes or less as what was on my mind came tumbling out. The posts I have labored over seem just that – labored.

    My addition to your list would be for new bloggers not to sit back and wait for readers and discovery, when they need to be “getting themselves out there,” by visiting other blogs and commenting. :)

    And what Ken said above… “Never underestimate another blogger’s point of view. Not everyone thinks the same way. ” Boy is that true! It’s amazing the different places we all come from.

    Cool to “meet” you, via Stumble Upon.

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Jannie, it is interesting the number of new bloggers that do wait for other bloggers to find their blogs instead of understanding blogging is about conversations. You need to interact, and show interest in other bloggers work, to build your own blog community.

  21. When I saw the title of this post, I formed my comment in my head which was going to be along the lines of: “All sorts of blogging is good, don’t tell people that what they’re doing is wrong.”. Of course, now that I’ve read your list, I agree on all five. I would add to the top of the list.

    1. Spellcheck EVERY post. It’s worthwhile and easy. I too often wreck great thoughts by delivering them with typos and misspellings. I just hate myself when I notice them a week later.

    2. Balancing commenting or interacting with others with just soliloquizing. OK, that’s misspelt and maybe not a word but many bloggers take time to learn that much of the fun is interaction.

    3. Failing to acknowledge comments. Someone who comments has said hello, they’ve approached you. Take a look at the comment. Maybe they aren’t your type and you should delete them. Maybe they are your type and you should respond somehow.

    PS – I learned so much when I started blogging from a free course that I took…blogwritingcourse.com

    • Sue Waters says:

      When I think about what I would like to write on this blog I often say what do I wish someone had taken the time to tell me when I first started blogging. That is how this post came into being.

      I had previously (a year ago) written a post on “Here Are My Top Five tips for writing better blog posts”. Sitting in bed I reflected on that post and suddenly thought why not write a post on top mistakes made by new bloggers. Off course like the original post readers have now added lots of extra points which I hope to one day follow up with a new post.

      1) Spell check – luckily my readers spell check my posts and let me know if I’ve made any bad ones
      2) For me the best part of blogging is the interaction. If you watch my blogging you will see my priority is commenting ahead of writing posts.
      3) Acknowledging comments is a hard one. To build community of your blog it is important however it can be time consuming.

  22. nashworld says:

    Hey Sue… Hard to believe it had been almost a year and a half since I started blogging. Glad I did it here. I like even the superficial “feel” (even aside from the real stuff) of community we have.

    One thing I did early on -which later contributed considerably to my “style” of blogging- was to split up text blocks with three things:

    1. Space. Big blocks of text are just too much online… particularly if you only run a two-column layout. Paragraphs are cut up smaller when blogging.

    2. Headers. Headers help your readers find the “sections” within the larger body of text. If done right, they can also provide a bit of a preview for the upcoming text as well.

    3. Images. Nothing breaks up text better. Our eyes need images (especially on a massively white theme like mine). This one tip has turned into something I really enjoy quite a bit. That is, finding amazing CC art that helps to illustrate my ideas, and spreads the reach of some other creative people. There are times I have spent as much time finding just the right images to help my message… as I do writing the text. I am also overly careful about good attribution and thanking folks directly for sharing their work.

    I write particularly long posts a good deal of the time. That is sort of out-of-the-box for what most folks do/advocate for online writing. However, that is what seemed to help me synthesize the ideas I was deeply reflecting upon. In the end, it helped me to be able to put forth fairly detailed constructions for people to ponder… and as it turns out, several folks even enjoy the….. slower approach.

    Anyway- thanks for what you do, keep up the good work… nice finally meeting you in DC at NECC, and hope we meet again soon!
    ;)

    Sean

    • Sue Waters says:

      Heya Sean, I was disappointed that we didn’t get an opportunity to catch up for longer at NECC. Thanks for taking the photo. LOL 2 of your 3 are the same as in my tips for writing better blog posts. You definitely need to use these methods for longer blog posts.

      Not convinced I ever want to do that plane flight again :(

  23. Ken Allan says:

    Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you all

    Sue! What a fantastic example of getting commenters involved in worthwhile discussion. It’s taken off like a lit bonfire of dry sticks, candle grease and gunpowder.

    Maybe you should write us a post on how you invoke this sort of amazing discussion, for you sure are good at it – this post is not in isolation. It would be great mind-fodder for those of us who are scratching around wondering how to get some synergy going in a discussion.

    One thing I’ve noticed about the quality of the commenters drawn to write here is that they read other comments. Many (other) commenters don’t. In fact, they write their comments as if no one else has said a thing, and often I find this against posts that have attracted many other comments.

    There’s a I-don’t-know-what here that smacks too much of learning for me to remain quiet about it. :-)

    Catchya later

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Ken, actually this post caught me totally unaware. I was lying in bed in Norfolk in USA. Thought I really must write a post as I do have some time as I wait for people to wake up. What can I write about? Well I had just let Beth Kanter use my post Five top tips for writing better blog posts when I thought why not write on five common mistakes?

      In terms of discussion, generally shorter posts are more likely to engage discussions while long posts are more likely to be bookmarked. Off course ones that are controversial will also have discussions.

      Totally agree I have a brilliant blog community that interacts with each other, helps answer each others questions — it is great to see everyone working together to help each other.

  24. greengraham says:

    This is an excellent article, thanks a lot. I will be showing this to my friends.

  25. rotem says:

    Thanks for this post! i didn’t know that copying from word can cause to changes in font size and type.

  26. Nice article. One thing about the “Copyright” images… I agree we shouldn’t be taking other people’s works and plastering them all over our own without permission.

    However, there is nothing wrong with using an image under “fair use”.

    I don’t own the website or get anything from posting this link, but this could help a lot of bloggers out. It’s a legal guide for Bloggers, it’s free, I don’t even think they make you sign up. The group is called EFF (Electronic Fontier Foundation), I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys spending a lot of time on their blog (or is planning to do so).

    Here’s their link: http://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers

    Hope this is helpful,

    Jason
    ExcellenceInAmerica.com

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Jason, the whole image debate is always an interesting one as I mentioned above. There is the whole copyright, fair use and then to add into the mix nothing like a bit of blogger rage. I’ve seen bloggers shamed when they have used copyrighted photos from Flickr or haven’t attributed properly.

      Thanks for link to the article. Freedom of speech is an interesting one as here in Australia we are not protected by Freedom of speech.

  27. MissRhodes says:

    Hi there,
    Thanks for all the helpful tips – blogging is opening up a whole new world for me! However, in my early beginning stages and since in trying to support other members of staff, we have encountered problems. Previous staff members setting up blogs in similar names that other classes may need to use etc. Is there any way of deleting blogs that already exist?

    Kind regards
    Faye

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Faye, yes they can delete by going to Settings > Delete blog. Trouble is that once a blog has been deleted that blog URL can’t be re-used. You would be better to get them to change users and then remove the content to reuse.

  28. Nice blog I like this skin

  29. Great blogging advices, using copyrighted images is an great issue always, we must be careful with that. And gramatical issues are normal, but we must ensure the quality of our content.

  30. lionslinger says:

    I’m glad I’ve read this post of yours. I was particularly caught with “Copying and pasting text written in Word into blog post.” I did not know about this and I thank you for this valuable information.

    Thank you. Thank you. :-)

  31. Can you help me change the font size on the links to my “pages”?

    • Sue Waters says:

      @questforcollege, that font size looks normal for that particular theme. I wouldn’t recommend changing it. Is there a chance the resolution on your monitor needs changing?

      • questforcollege says:

        @Sue Waters, i think maybe i just need to find another theme that has a similar formatting, but with smaller font.

        can you recommend one?

        • Sue Waters says:

          @questforcollege, Most themes have fairly similar font sizes and types because they have been designed by theme designers to cater for online reading.

          Choosing a theme is hard. You will often like most of the features but one aspect will annoy you.

  32. Hi! I found your site from Larry Ferlazzo list of “How to be a Better Blogger.” As part of my EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL, I had to write my own blog post assignment. (If you follow the link to my site you can read for yourself.)
    I really appreciate the advice you listed here. As a new blogger it is easy to be overwhelmed, at least I was. The one thing I would add to this post would be to proofread. I do not think a person’s blog has to be perfect at all times, but I believe as educators or at least educated people we owe it to ourselves and our readers to have readable posts! Perhaps you didn’t mention it because it should go without saying. However, after reading several blogs this semester, I’m afraid it is one that even English teachers often violate.

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