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Niki Jacob - Advertising Art & Design Instructor

Web Design – Be the Leader of Your Craft

1. What is a Blog

Play Video

New To Blogging?

One of the biggest challenges people new to blogging face is understanding the basics of how a blog works. If you don’t know anything about blogging, don’t worry! The video goes through the terminology of blogging and explains how blogs are used. 

Here is a great quick intro video to explain.

Defining a blog

What is a blog? This is becoming harder to answer as the lines between blogs, websites, ePortfolios, and other online spaces blur.

A blog is simply a blank canvas that you can use in any way to meet your needs and the needs of your students and school community.

1.2. Blog Research

Your job as you grow in whatever field is to constantly learn. Every day there is something new to learn. Whether it be a new tutorial, trendy controversy, advice, ideas, or something you needed to learn in your field of study.

For instance. I subscribe to many creative blogs. I’ll get 4-5 emails a week in my inbox with news, tutorials, tips, tricks, ideas to make money and so much more.

My favorite magazine is https://www.creativebloq.com. Check them out. So let’s share the love.

ASSIGNMENT

  1. Find a digital blog online in your dream field of study.
  2. They must have a blog you can subscribe to.
  3. Subscribe to it.
  4. Go to my website on this page and register in order to do the next 2 steps.
    1. Post the site name and link here in the comments section. 
    2. Why you choose that site in one sentence.

2. Blog EXPLORATION

ASSIGNMENT

Questions to ask yourself as you explore different blogs. In a Google Docs go to the digital blog you chose above and answer these questions. If you do not remember some of these terms go back to the top and rewatch the “What is a Blog video”

  1. What is the writing style like on the blog — casual, formal, academic?
  2. What safety or blogging guidelines can you find on the blog?
  3. How are pages used for static information?
  4. Are the posts timed-do they have a specific sequence, day, or time that they are released online?
  5. What images and multimedia are being used?
  6. Is there are sidebar? What is its purpose?
  7. How has the text been formatted to make it easier to read — are there headings, bullet points, colors, etc?
  8. How does digital writing differ from analog (paper) with hyperlinks etc?

3. Write Your First Posts3

We will be going over all of section 4 before starting to write a article. All of it is important, so let’s go slow.

Remember you will check back to this page periodically until you get the hang of it so you might want to bookmark it.

  • 4.1 Introduction To Posts
  • 4.2 How To Publish A Post
  • 4.3 Introduction To The Visual Editor
  • 4.4 TIPS FOR WRITING BETTER BLOG POSTS
  • Assignment

The aim of this step is to:

  • Help you understand how posts are used on blogs.
  • Provide tips on how to write effective posts.
  • Teach you how to publish your first posts.

3.1 Introduction To Posts

Your posts are where you’ll publish your main content such as:

  • showcases of student work
  • information about what’s been happening in your field
  • Your resume
  • Anything else you think is important to your career

 

They are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order with the most recent post at the top of the page.

By default, your home page is your blog post page and this is where you’ll see your new posts published.

If you look closely at a post you will see it is normally made up of:

  1. Post title – This tells the reader what the post is about. Be specific. A great post title grabs your reader’s attention and makes them want to read on.
  2. Date published – You’ll normally see this displayed at the top of the post.
  3. Written by – Most themes display the name of the post author. Your username is automatically displayed unless you have changed your display name. Even if the teacher is the only one with an account, student work can still be showcased. You could introduce the name(s) of the students at the top of the post.
  4. Comments – Readers can click on the word ‘comments’ or click on the post title and scroll down to write a comment in response to your post. Comments allow students and other readers, to engage in discussions, share their thoughts, and connect with your class blog. We will be exploring the topic of quality commenting in step four.
  5. Your post content – This is the main information that you want to share or reflect on. It could be a mixture of text, links, images, videos etc.
  6. Categories – These are used to help readers locate posts on your blog. Categories are often used like chapters of a book; they provide a general overview of the topics you blog about.
  7. Tags – These are used to help readers locate posts on your blog. Tags are more like the index at the back of the book and explore the topic in many bits.

Watch the following video to learn more about the difference between pages and posts.

3.2 How To Publish A Post

  1. Go to Posts > Add New.
  2. Give your post a title and add your content.
  3. Add your tags and categories.
  4. When finished writing click Publish.

Presto! Your post will now display on your blog so others can read it!

Step 1-Posts > Add New
Step 2-Give your post a title and add your content
Step 3-Add tags and categories
Step 4 Publish Your First Posts

Previewing Your Draft

Before you publish your post it is a good idea to use the Preview option to see what it looks like to your readers.

You preview a post by clicking on Save Draft and then clicking Preview. This opens up a draft version of your post in a new tab.

Then just go back to your draft and make any changes you want!

Previewing Your Draft-Write Your First Posts

3.3 Introduction To The Visual Editor

The area where you write your post is by default in Visual Editing mode which uses WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) option for formatting.

It works similarly to any word processing software, a lot like Microsoft Office or Google Docs. Write the article in a Google Doc and then copy and use the (Paste it as Plain Text) icon in WordPress.

Or you can simply write your post in WordPress, highlight any text you want to format, and then click the appropriate button in the toolbar to add formatting such as bold, italics, and number lists. The Toolbar Toggle icon is used to view the advanced formatting options including heading styles, underlining, font color, custom characters, undo, and redo. When done copy the entire article and save that into a Google Doc.

You switch between Visual Editing mode and HTML editing mode by clicking on the Visual or Text tab.

3.4 Tips For Writing Better Blog Posts

Reading online is different from reading on paper. Ultimately, you want your content to be read. The easier to read and more engaging your posts are, the more likely they are to be read!

I’ve outlined five tips to help you write better posts on your blog. 

  1. Always save your articles someplace else – Don’t rely on just your WordPress site. What if it goes down. What if you lose control of it, you run the risk of losing everything. It is smart to start a new folder in your Ad Art drive and name it “Articles”. Write the article here and then copy and paste it into WordPress.
  2. Use short paragraphs – Posts with really long paragraphs are harder to read online. Consider these tips about paragraphs:
    1. Break your posts up with paragraphs.
    2. The more paragraphs the better.
    3. Short paragraphs are better than long (they can even be one or two sentences long).
    4. Make the first sentence of each paragraph make your readers want to read on.
  3. Use Headings – Use headings, and, where appropriate, bullet points and numbered lists, to break up the post into manageable bite-sized chunks. To create a heading you simply:
    1. Highlight the text you want to change into a heading
    2. Select the Heading Style you want to apply from the advanced formatting toolbar (you access the advanced formatting toolbar by clicking on the Toolbar Toggle icon). Heading 1 is your post title. Start at Heading 2, then Heading 3 for sub-headings under that, and so on.
    3. Preview your post to make sure that the Headings you’ve used have broken your post into manageable chunks.
  4. Remember to link – When you write about a website you should link to it as your readers often want to check it out in more detail.
  5. Enhance posts with images and media – When you look at blogs you’ll notice they enhance their posts with images and other types of media including videos and by embedding online tools.

ASSIGNMENT

Blogging is about sharing, collaborating, and learning from each other.

Complete the following tasks:

  1. Find a article you like on the blog you subscribed to earlier in this unit.
  2. Open up Google Docs and rewrite that article in at least 500 words or more.
  3. You MUST have a Featured Image and you must cite the source at the bottom of the article. If you use any other images you must cite them as well.
  4. Sign up on my site as a Content Writer and Publish your first post. 
  5. Then Publish the same article on your own WordPress website.
  6. Leave a link to the post on your website as a comment in google classroom.

4. Quality Commenting Skills4

The aim of this step is to:

  1. Explain how comments are used on blogs.
  2. Provide tips for students quality commenting skills.

Why Comments Are Important

  • Comments turn your blog from a static space into an interactive space.
  • They allow for back and forth conversation which can lead to a huge amount of learning.
  • The fact that comments aren’t instantaneous (like online chat) can fuel deeper reflections, responses, and research.
  • Comments allow for feedback, constructive criticism, and the adding of ideas and opinions to the original post. The content can grow and evolve.
  • It can be encouraging for you to know that you have an authentic audience who can connect with you.
  • A single comment can be the start of a fantastic working relationship or friendship. You never know where that can take you.

The Blogging Cycle

Important parts of the blogging process are to:

  1. Read
  2. Comment
  3. Respond

It’s amazing how even just a few comments can make you realize that you are writing for a global audience — for many it’s incredibly motivating.

How Comments Work

By default, comments are enabled on all newly created blogs, and a comment form will appear at the bottom of posts and pages where readers can respond to what you’ve written.

Note: Comments are disabled on pages by default and can be enabled.

Approved comments are displayed under the individual post. You just click on the post title or the comment link to read the comments.

Threaded comments allow readers to reply to other comments inline/nested which encourages better discussion and responses.

Here is an example of a threaded comment on a post:

4.1 How To Add Comments

To leave a comment on a post, simply:

  1. Click on the heading of the post you wish to comment on or the ‘comment’ link at the top or bottom of the post.
  2. Scroll down the page to the comment form or click on Reply (to reply to a specific comment).
  3. Enter your name and email address –- your email address is hidden and only the blogger sees it (If you are logged in you won’t need to add these details).
  4. Write your comment in the box.
  5. There might be an anti-spam bot. Enter the anti-spam word.
  6. Select ‘Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail‘ if you want to get an email when other people comment (so you know if people reply to you etc.).
  7. Click Post Comment

Quality Commenting Skills

If commenting skills are not taught and constantly reinforced, there can be a tendency for you to limit your comments to things like,

  • “I like your blog!”
  • “Awsom 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 :)”
  • “Cool!!!!!!!!!!!!”

While enthusiasm is high with these sorts of comments, developing your literacy skills, knowledge of your craft, or having meaningful interactions with other members of the blogging community is the key to growing a following in the design field.

Conversations in the comment section of a blog can be such rich and meaningful experiences. So let’s develop strong commenting skills to provide a good foundation for when you move on to writing posts on your own website.

Commenting guidelines for all blogs

  1. Tell them something you like about their work
  2. Ask them a question
  3. Give a suggestion

Remember, use others’ guidelines for ideas but don’t copy others’ work without permission and acknowledgment. (Plagarism)

Commenting Evaluation Guide or Rubric

Content is key! In our class, we evaluate our blog comments.

  • 1 pt – A one-point comment is a general comment that doesn’t add very much to the post. Example: I like your blog. Please visit mine!  (Very blah!)
  • 2 pt – A two-point comment adds something to the comment conversation. A commenter might compliment the writer in a specific way or add new information. 
  • 3 pt – A three-point comment makes a connection. Maybe the post reminds you of an experience that you’ve had. Share that connection! 
  • 4pt – This is simple and hard. To get that final point try to end your comment with a relevant question. That way, an interesting conversation can develop.

ASSIGNMENT

Using what you just learned find an article that 2 students have written and comment on them using the guidelines.

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