1. First Impressions Count: Header and Tag Line
If you are Steve Dembo, aka Teach 42, his domain name (and yes, his son has one too), you really do not need a tag line explaining what a reader can expect to find on your blog. His artfully-designed header alone would advertise his calling, but add his global reputation and this is really all he needs. If you are less known or trying to build a readership, a tag line helps identify what your blog will contain. My Learning Llamas blog has a simple ID: Life on the Farm.
2. Play in Traffic: Cluster Maps and Feedjit
Teach 42 has almost no map left, and when I began blogging, I was awed and intimidated by his and others’ readership. Since this post is about building readership (and confidence too, I think), you want to grab a Feedjit widget for your blog, because it will show you everyone who has read your blog (or at least found it). You will find that some places you never knew existed, let alone can pronounce, are reading you. You will also find your audience. I know that whenever I post blogs about teddy bears on my Changing Connections blog, I get a global audience that continues to return. Not that you write exclusively to your niche market, but you know that readers will return. For a beginning blogger, it is always rewarding to know you have an audience, because it tends to empower you to try new things, even to see your topics with a fresh perspective. I would not want to speak for the blogosphere; I just know that the first time I had someone at least look at my blog outside the United States, I was over the top.
3. Worth 1000 Words = 1 Image + 4. Color Your Thoughts
Nothing makes a post pop better than an interesting image. You do not even have to snap the photo (although you can); you just have to find it.
I’m not suggesting you use what we often mean by colorful language, just that you recognize that color pops text. Almost every blog I read (and write) is a b&w; jazz your words with splashes of color. Got to admit you will likely see this Top 10.
5. Grab a Great Video: Discovery Ed 2010 Web’s Channel on YouTube
6. Playing Tag: TurboTagger
For your blog to pop, you want to use turbotagger, a Web 2.0 tagging service that makes tags for Technorati, thus giving you a market for readership. Look for the tags at the bottom of this post.
7. Text Me: PollEverywhere
Celebrate mobile devices on your blog. Ask your readers a question and have them text you an answer. Got your phone? Text me your answer.
8. Who Are You? Retaggr
Whenever I hear this question, I hear Peter Townshend of The Who’s 1978 release. I would play it for you here, but there’s that one word, but you get the idea. Adding Retaggr to you blog answers the question and adds authenticity to your blog, as well as creating a wider digital footprint. What appeals to me about retaggr is the way it carefully and neatly aggregates ALL of your footprint and effortlessly updates it as you update information in your accounts. Often the biggest issue I have with retaggr is my lack of updating it as I add accounts, or subtracting from it as some Web 2.0 tools fall out of my favor. Definitely I can tell you via my Feedjit that people have found me and I even had a request for purchase of my guard llama (and I was not looking for business and she is not for sale).
9. What’s Going On? Rhapsody
On my high school blog, Learning Curve, I often create playlists for a literature unit, or just a walk-in-through-the-door-till-you-get-to-your-seat attention grabber. Rhapsody is my go-to list because of simplicity, not just because it’s the only one of its type out there. “What’s Going On” is a song I use in a 5-part multimedia presentation that compares 2 texts from the early 1800s to the present conditions that earlier texts foreshadow. Once you start adding playlists to your blog, the uses grow exponentially, including just providing music to read by.
10. Your Favorite Teacher(s)?: Blogrolls
Teaching is life-long learning, and I daily count among my teachers my students, my social networks, anyone and anything from Discovery, and all who are on my blogroll. The image is a short screen shot of Cliotech, aka Jennifer Dorman. Like Teach42, she is one of my household words. I learn from her, her blogroll, and her social networks. Having said that, I heartily encourage to put your favorite teachers at your fingertips, on a blogroll on your blog, so that they are only ever a short click away (and you avoid the piling up of links in your Google Reader–alas, mine is always filled to overflowing…) And if I were to add a #11 (we all know I can’t do math), it would be Zemanta, a Firefox add on that gives you a media gallery and additional related articles, as well as a “Reblog” features for others to grab, go, comment, and repost.Discovery Education
DEN PreCon 2010