What makes an effective blog post?

This is my post for the Edublogs Teacher Challenge Activity 2.

I have chosen the 2010 Edublogs Award winner for best blog post by Frank Noschese (@fnoschese) on The $2 Interactive Whiteboard,not only because it won an award but more so because I know it was effective from personal experience having read this when it came out  last year; I immediately started following @fnoschese on Twitter. If you’re reading this post as part of the challenge, I highly recommend you read Noschese’s winning post.

5 Steps to Characteristics of an effective blog post

The challenge asked for steps but I’d rather go for characteristics because I think it’s more about features rather procedure.

  1. It is personal. Blogs are typically personal reflections and the best and perhaps easiest voice to have is one’s own. Then it sounds authentic (because it is) and real passion can come through. Noschese’s post was certainly personal because it related not only his views but his actual experiences in using both IWBs and $2 whiteboards.
  2. It is easy to read. I read somewhere that people struggle to read more than 300 words – then it becomes “too long and  I don’t have time for that”. If more words are required (as some posts do), then have visual breaks. Use relevant section headings, text formatting, colour, images, paragraph breaks, accessible language, coherent structure, spellcheck, etc. Noschese’s post is definitely more than 300 words but it was still easy to read. By the way, this does not mean dumbing down content.
  3. It offers something for the reader. Good posts entertain, challenge, affirm and/or inform; some blogs even have freebies or blog candies to take away. Noschese’s post definitely does all of these (no blog candy though; buy you’re own – they’re only $2 each).
  4. It provides links and attribution. This is important for various reasons, not the least of which is that it provides readers opportunity to see the context of the post and the blogger. Of course, there are the legal reasons as well and academic rigour. This is part of the blogging culture. Noschese has certainly done that with links to his own related posts as well as external material.
  5. It promotes conversation. Invite readers in with a good headline. Ask questions. Reply to comments. Tweet it. Yep, Noschese’s post fits the bill.

I can go alternative here and say an effective post has mind, heart, body and soul but that would just be so hard to explain – especially in 300 words.

5 Effective blog posts ideas

This is quite tough and perhaps the reason why I’m doing this challenge in the first place, i.e. struggled with what to write about. I’ll try anyway.

  1. Anything how-tos
  2. Tell a classroom anecdote. What happened when you introduced a new topic? How did you do it?
  3. Reflect on and share blog posts that entertained, challenged, affirmed or informed you
  4. Theme, e.g.  Serendipity Sunday – blog about something you discovered serendipitously every Sunday
  5. My PD – document what you learned and what you will act on. Invite ideas from others

Disclaimer: All of the above are my opinions based on personal experience. These are not backed by rigorous research. Feel free to enjoy, use and adapt. And if you are to criticise, feel free to do so as well but please be gentle. All comments welcome!!!!