What is an educational blog?
As I write this, we’re in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, and likely will be for some time. So when we think of educational blogs, we might think about remote learning. About teachers interacting with and sharing resources with students.
But there are other kinds of educational blogs. Those with a focus on a topic or area of interest that educators perhaps share with each other. There are also blogs designed to be shared with students. As an educator, maybe you’ve thought about how a blog or website could be useful. If you have a specialized area of expertise, you should have a blog!
We’ll go through the items you’ll need and hopefully clear a path to an excellent educational blog.
Every Big Idea Has to Start Somewhere
If you have one of those big ideas, now is the time to put it into motion.
But the same applies to a modest or smaller-scale idea. As any educator knows, a small idea can have a significant impact. You don’t have to reinvent teaching to create a valuable blog. If you see a need, whatever that need is, here’s your opportunity to meet it.
You’re going to need a few things to set the stage for a successful blog launch. First up…
A Domain Name and Web Hosting
Your blog needs a home, a website host, and I recommend GreenGeeks as that home. The support staff are smart and dedicated, the cost is low, and the platform is optimized for WordPress. We’re going to talk about WordPress shortly.
As a bonus, GreenGeeks will give you a domain name for your blog free for the first year.
But perhaps the most unique thing about GreenGeeks is it’s powered by renewable energy. That puts the «green» in GreenGeeks. Every amp of power your blog uses is matched by three times that power in the form of renewable energy via Bonneville Environmental Foundation. No other host anywhere matches that level of environmental commitment.
This Is How Easy It Is to Set Up and Use a GreenGeeks Account
- Choose a plan.
- If you don’t have a domain name, this is the time to choose one. GreenGeeks gives you a free .com, .net, .org, .us, .biz, or .info domain name. If the name you want isn’t available, try combining two short words. Use your imagination to find a unique name.
- Enter your account information and click the «Create Account & Get Started» button.
- You’ll receive a new account email with your username and password. Use them to log in to GreenGeeks.
- Once you’re logged in, click the «cPanel» button.
- Now you can install WordPress with a couple of clicks.
Why did I include the installation of WordPress? It’s the best tool for the job. Read on.
WordPress Is Ideal for an Educational Blog
WordPress is easy to install and use. As you’ve seen, you can install it on your GreenGeeks account with a few clicks. That should be welcome news. You have more important things to do than wrestle with software.
WordPress is perfect for an educational blog because it’s adaptable and customizable. Let’s talk about some of those customizations right now.
Themes and Plugins for Educational Blogs
Your WordPress blog theme sets the visual tone for your site. Plugins extend the default capabilities of WordPress. Every WordPress blog needs a theme. Plugins are optional (but some are recommended for any blog).
There are a lot of free education-centric themes. Here are a couple of additional suggestions for paid «premium» themes. The main advantages of paying for a premium theme are extra features, professional design, and technical support. Many paid themes are available for as little as $39.
Learn (OceanWP Child Theme)
The Learn theme is a «child theme» of OceanWP, which is a free WordPress theme. It comes with demo sites for education, as well as one-click demo content importing. Demo content can help you get an idea of what a theme is capable of before you do any customization.
Divi is a theme, but it’s also a page builder. There are many education-based templates made to work with Divi. When you use a template, the drag and drop Divi page builder is there to customize your blog instantly.
Here are some WordPress plugins that may be useful additions to your educational blog. As with themes, there are many free options. But also like themes, the most flexible and valuable plugins often come at a (modest) cost.
H5P Interactive Content
The H5P Interactive Content plugin gives you access to different interactive content types. Set up presentations, quizzes and memory games, multiple-choice, timelines, fill-in-the-blanks, flashcards, and many other things.
BadgeOS turns your blog into an achievement, badging, and engagement system. Visitors complete steps and demonstrate skills and knowledge to earn digital badges. You define the achievements and set the badge requirements. Badges are Mozilla OBI compatible and shareable via BadgeOS Social Share add-on.
If you want to set up a discussion forum on your WordPress blog, look no further than bbPress. A forum is a great way to encourage discussion around your blog subjects. In fact, we have a detailed article that covers how to set up and use bbPress.
Promoting or Marketing an Education Blog
Typically, this is where I talk about marketing your new blog. But many educational blogs may take a more low-key word-of-mouth approach to spread the word. And in certain circumstances, you may only want an invited, targeted audience. For those kinds of blogs, promotion isn’t a concern.
But, if you want a broad audience for your blog, you’ll want to do some promotion in appropriate places. Social media is the best jumping-off point for any new blog. Facebook will likely be your most abundant source of new users.
If your target audience is younger, bear in mind that they may not use «older» social sites like Facebook. Adjust your promotion accordingly. For instance, a lot of the younger audience is more engaged on TikTok.
Nine-Tenths of Education Is Encouragement
French poet Anatole France said that. I doubt he ever envisioned a world where people could learn via a worldwide network. But he hit the education nail on the head, didn’t he?
Your education blog could be a great tool and even change the lives of some of the people it reaches. That may sound lofty or aspirational, but it’s true. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some tools and even some encouragement to move forward and make a difference.
You can do it, and someone out there needs it.