ESL teaching comes with its fair share of success stories, as well as trials and tribulations.
Adventures or mishaps, setbacks or causes for celebration, there are many things worth sharing with other teachers. You’re not alone in this, and your experience may be exactly what another teacher needs to read about. If you want to share your insights into ESL teaching, as well as a few handy tips and friendly advice, you might want to consider becoming an ESL blogger.
Reasons to Become an ESL Blogger:
- You enjoy writing as a hobby and are able to create clear, concise texts that provide valuable information to the reader.
- You have a good understanding of the issues ESL teachers like to read about or want to learn more about – you know your audience.
- You have a wealth of tips, advice, strategies, ideas, worksheets, lesson plans you’d love to share.
- You want to connect with other like-minded individuals and start a conversation about topics that interest you.
How to Launch a Successful ESL Blog
What Kind of Blogging Will You Do?
First, we need to get a few things straight. There are different types of blogging, the main difference being whether you get paid to write a blog post or not. Let’s clarify some terms:
- Blogging simply involves writing posts for a blog, for example, your own.
- Staff blogging is a paid gig where you are hired to write posts for someone else’s blog on a regular basis.
- Freelance blogging is also a paid gig but in this case you usually contribute just one blog post to each paying client.
- Guest blogging involves contributing a blog post for someone else’s blog for free.
For the purposes of this article, I’ll focus on blogging for your own site. If you’ve never run a blog before, I recommend you watch this video.
Create Your Blog
So you decide you want to start your own blog to share your insights, tips and advice with ESL teachers around the world. The first question is: will you create a blog for free on a blogging site or pay for your own domain?
- Get a free blog! – You can start a free blog on platforms like Wordpress, Blogger or Weebly. Each site guides you step by step in your blog setup and gives you themes to choose from. The catch? You don’t get your own custom domain name. So for example, if you start a blog on Wordpress, and you want your blog to be called ESL Tips, your domain will be www.ESLTips.wordpress.com. The same goes for all the others.
- Pay for your own blog – Registering a domain (for example, www.esltips.com) and paying for your own Web hosting is well worth the price if you want to become a professional blogger. You can buy a domain for an affordable annual fee, and web hosting sites offer packages that can suit any budget. Keep in mind that if you start a free blog on Wordpress, for example, you have the option to switch it to a paid version in which you get to create your very own custom domain and lose the wordpress.com.
- How often should you post?
There is no need to post to your blog every single day (not unless you’re simply brimming with ideas you can’t wait to share!) Most bloggers agree that posting two to three times a week is enough to maintain a blog.
- What should you post?
Here comes the fun part! As an ESL blogger, you can post anything and everything you think will be useful for your readers. You can post things like:
- Ideas for lesson plans
- Songs, warmers, games – anything you’ve created from scratch
- Anything you’ve used successfully in your classroom
- Reviews for apps you’ve downloaded, books you’ve read or even websites you’ve used with your classes
- Insights, experiences, challenges or anything that you may want to share about your journey as an ESL teacher
- How should you write it?
Writing for the Web is completely different from any kind of academic writing you may have done in the past. Blog posts should ideally be between 350 and 500 words in length. Posts should be easily scanned – nobody likes to read long blocks of text online. Try to include bullets, numbered lists or break the text into shorter paragraphs with catchy subheadings. And don’t forget to include at least one image with each post! FirstSiteGuide provides free in-depth online and PDF guides, WordPress video tutorials and other helpful blogging tools and resources in order to help everyone with their online journey
- How often should you post?
Share it with the World!
What good is having a blog if no one will read it? And how will people read it if they don’t know it exists?
- Share your posts
Be sure to share your posts on your Facebook status updates and Tweet the links to your blog. Don’t forget to share them with your professional network on LinkedIn. Shares photos on Instagram or pins on Pinterest. Share on as many or as few social media sites as you want.
- Encourage Readers to Share
Perhaps more important than posting to your own Facebook or Twitter accounts is encouraging your readers to share the posts with their friends and followers. For this, you’ll need to have social media sharing buttons installed in your blog. Try free services like Add This or Share This. But don’t forget to end each post by inviting readers to share (Did you find these tips useful? Feel free to share them with your friends by clicking on the buttons below.)
- Share your posts
If you think you have nothing to share, think again. We may all go through similar challenges and problems, but different teachers may have a unique way of dealing with them, special strategies that once shared, have the potential to help other ESL teachers, no matter where they may be in the world.
Do you have any experience blogging or writing about ESL?
If so, share below!