In a series of un-coincidental events at my work, Georges P. Vanier Junior High School, I was asked to be a guest speaker about blogging in Dione Woodrow’s four, Grade 7 English classes. Her students are writing blogs as a way to express and share original ideas!
The blogs are not live, not linked to the internet. The blogs are a school friendly format under the umbrella of the Halifax Regional Centre of Education, HRCE, such as Google Docs and Google Slides.
Pick Your Passion – Pick Your Topic
I began with why I chose to blog. I started writing my blog as a way to capture a journey, my journey of moving to the Middle East… resulting in the creation of Travel and Adventures of Joyful Stephanie! I had my own exclusive space out there in the Internet! A place where my voice would be heard and would uniquely shape how I designed my blog.
I did not like the surface, one dimensional world of Instagram, where everyone posts selfies of how beautiful or cool they look in that moment! Boring!
Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends, but too broad and pointless at times with posts telling everyone you’re at Wal-Mart. Not to mention, the posts you have to scroll through that you may find offensive or bothersome or ridiculous…
A blog is your own personal spot, a multi-dimensional media platform where you can be uniquely you! A blog is where you can share your passions, have a voice and share your voice with the world out there! A blog also helps you connect to other like-minded bloggers.
I spoke at length about hooking your reader. To do so, you have to have an interesting title, an interesting name – that makes sense and connects to the theme of your blog! I am Joyful Stephanie. I’m a naturally happy, positive person, who has lots of adventures and travel! My title fits and is catchy! An added bonus is when Joyful Stephanie is searched on the Internet, my blog is the first search result!
I Have A Background Picture That Fits My Blog
Students have to pick a background photo for their main page to match their blog’s theme. I spoke a bit about my background picture. I explained my husband and I are riding camels in Wadi Rum, Jordan. To help make a connection and capture student’s interest, I explained Wadi Rum is a popular film location for Hollywood big-budget movies like Star Wars and The Martian. As a travel blog, Jordan is a location in the world that not many people have the opportunity to visit. Therefore, my hopes is that my background photo is noticed by fellow travel bloggers as an unusual travel destination and adventure.
ps…..I’ve recently changed my background picture. The newest picture was taken at the Jinvali Water Reserve, with its beautiful view of the Caucasus Mountains, as I neared Gudauri Ski Resort in the country of Georgia. Georgia was once a state of the Soviet Union. A small country that sits on the continental border of Europe and Asia and is surrounded by Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and the Black Sea. I chose this picture because I am truly happy in this picture – joyful – and wearing a Papakha sheepskin hat that is a traditional hat of the region. Again, my hope is that travelers, perhaps seasons travelers will recognize this, and recognize my travels as outside the norm.
Students are at the very beginning stages of creating their blogs with a main page and an “About Me” page. I clarified that the “About Me” page isn’t a biography, where you tell everyone you like the color red and have two cats and a dog. This is where you, as a blogger explain why you decided to blog about your passion. For example, if cooking is your passion and the theme of your blog, you explain how you started cooking with your grandmother at the age of four. Your grandmother inspired you to continue to cook and this blog is dedicated to her and your passion for cooking. Happy cooking!
My “About Me” page took 5 years of editing to get it just right; it is simple, to the point and easy to read, with a bit of a Canadian voice and sense of humor.
Advertising and Search Engine Optimization
I spoke about how important it is to be organized, specific and detailed focused when writing a blog. Coding algorithms on the Internet are designed to match key words typed by someone searching the Internet to websites and blogs with the same key words. The more key-word tags I have describing in my blog, along with an interesting title matching my blog’s content, headings with key-words, labeling pictures in the blog with key-words for Google images to find, etc… the more traffic I receive and the more money I make from advertising on my blog. For me, a thoroughly labeled, revised and edited blog can take up to seven hours to write.
I explained I don’t make a lot of money, because I don’t have a lot of followers. My blog followers has grown organically on WordPress. I’m not an avid social media user, meaning I don’t share my blog on the many social media options out there in the world. Facebook is the only place I share my blog. It’s been suggested I hire a marketing firm to promote my blog. My headspace isn’t there right now, as blogging is my passion, not a business.
Be An Intelligent Writer
I emphasized the importance of grammar and sentence structure, to strive to be an intelligent writer. Creative, yes. Have your own voice, yes. But don’t let your voice drown in a sea of misspelt words and run-on sentences. I spoke about my growth as a writer. How the content and quality of my writing has improved over the years. Never stop trying to improve your writing skills!
Students Search My Blog On the Internet
Dione was quick to ask them, when they found my site – why did they pick the blog they were looking at? Some picked because of personal connection, reading a blog about Cape Breton, because their family is from that part of Nova Scotia. Some picked Egypt because they wanted to see the pyramids. Some picked Thailand because they wanted to see tropical pictures. Some picked a blog because my title was interesting, or they liked the feature picture. In blogging – every, EVERY detail counts!!!
Dione also spoke about a blog being informative, entertaining and persuasive. Some of my blogs are entertaining. Some are informative. Some of my blogs even try to persuade you to be a better person!
I also explained I’m a visual person, and I add lots of pictures to hopefully make my blog visually captivating. For me, blogs with too many words are overwhelming and I’ve learned over the years to try and keep my blog easy to read using lists, bullet points and headings.
Looking At Student’s Blogs
This was so fun, taking a moment to brainstorm and help with clarity and creativity!
So Much Fun!
I had SUCH a great time sharing my passion for blogging with these amazing, interesting students!!! I’ve been invited back, to check in on their blogging progress later in the year!! I can’t wait!!! 🙂 <3
Thank you Dione!!!! You’re an AMAZING teacher!!!!!!!!!!!
Joyful Stephanie, 🙂