The ABC of ELT

How any new teacher can start a great blog now

Notebook and mac for blogging

If you caught my recent post about 6 tips for new teachers who want to blog then you may be wondering how to actually start a blog (and not just any blog but the best blog you can!) and so I thought I’d give you some help and links to set up a great blog today.

It’s good to think about these things now because it will be much harder to change them in the future.

How are you going to blog?

What is your style and focus going to be? Are you looking to talk about your exotic life abroad, keep a diary for family back home or keep an open reflective journal for other teachers to comment on? or maybe something different possibly including elements of all three above. It’s good to think about this as it will help you choose your answers for the next questions.

But don’t worry.

If you don’t have a clear answer then that is still an answer, you may just want to give it ago but at least you know that now. If you weren’t aware of that you might spend money that you really don’t have to!

You may even want to write a blog aim. My personal one is “to help equip, learn and encourage ELT teachers (including myself).” I’m not sure how well I do at the first two but I know I am a good encourager and things like #oldELTpost help with that.

How much money do I want to spend?

You probably don’t want to know how much I’ve spent on blogging (this isn’t my only blog by the way and I realise that now you must be itching to know) but for me I get great enjoyment out of blogging and writing in general so I don’t feel like it is a waste. For you, a single pound/dollar/etc might be a waste and in that case there are plenty of options where you don’t have to spend any money. Alternatively, you may spend thousands of pounds (which really IS possible) on the “best” blogging equipment and it not be a “waste” for you. It’s your choice and I won’t tell you what to do.

By now you should have some idea of what kind of blog you want to make so now all you need is some resources to help you set up a blog.

Which type of blog should I choose?

“Free” blogs

If you want a “free” blog (which is a great idea if you have no idea what you’d blog about or you want something to keep people back home informed) then there are a few option available to you. Why not check out this link for descriptions of the blog platforms Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr and Posterous.

Maybe you’d like to set up a Posterous blog? Then check out this link for a screencast on how to set up a Posterous blog. [Sorry, Posterous has gone away]

Russell Stanning’s screencasts on using the latest version of Blogger

I use the term “free” because some of the free blogs require you to pay to access all the features and some have adverts if you go for the free version. In some cases to get the “full” options costs you more than other roots.

Blogs you pay for.

This is the option that I and some other teachers have gone for as it has some different traits than a free blog. I won’t say they are better (having to sort out your own problems when you muck something up isn’t fun) but I prefer them. In some cases you can go for a “free blog” and then pay for a couple of upgrades (such as blogger blogs with unique URLs [not] or a blog with extra features) or you can go for a self hosted blog where you have to install blog software onto webhosting that you purchase.

As you can imagine I am a bit biased here as this is the option I went for but it certainly isn’t right for everyone. It does require a bit more technical know how (though webhosts sometimes help out a lot)

Check out this post on Sandy Millin’s blog on how to set up your own self hosted blog. 

Michael Hyatts screencast on setting up a WordPress blog

Russell Stanning’s Screencasts on using a WordPress blog. 

After that it’s simply a case of writing posts and sharing them online. More on this and similar things soon.

About Chris Wilson

I'm an English Language teacher based in Krakow, Poland. I enjoy writing, using technology and playing the Ukulele.

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