It’s ironic that once a repeat Cool Tools student has created their blog and likely reuses the one that they’ve had from previous years, that we quickly look to the other things. But, there’s so much more I want and need to learn about blogging, so I’ve revisited the first thing. Both because I’m killing two birds with one stone and I want to step up my blogging game.
First, as I’ve posted in our Canvas platform, I’ve joined the #edublogsclub challenge that began this past week. Each week, the administrators of Edublogs will post a prompt that you have one week to complete. It’s about upping your blogging game while connecting with educators blogging themselves. They rank the best blogs in categories like education, libraries, and blogs by students. So a lot of learning will be taking place over the next few weeks with that one and you can follow that journey with the above-mentioned hashtag.
Second, I have been blogging professionally on one platform on numerous blogs with different audiences. I am a contributor to The Hub, YALSA’s collection development blog, the Books Blog for the Times Union, and manage both this one for professional development and my personal/professional ReadersBeAdvised blog. Not-so-ironically, they are all powered by WordPress, so I want to get smarter about using it. I spent the better part of two hours last night alone, plus countless hours over the last several weeks really digging deeper into the support pages (which also include embedded Youtube videos that last 1-3 minutes which is fantastic). I am starting to understand the different between “menu” and “pages”, realizing that not all themes are created equal since I wanted to do a custom header but still love my theme (which doesn’t have that option), so now I’m going to not switch, though I’ve been toying with the idea of paying to get a bit more content available to me and “brand” a bit better. How many Cool Tools participants pay for their site?
Likewise, visiting other blogs for the Edublogs challenge and visiting those that I follow professionally and respect, ideas are taking shape. One article I stumbled upon was about blogging itself, which brings you back to some basics and provides some food for thought from Gwyneth Jones, the Daring Librarian. I know what I like from some and don’t like from others.
But I’ve been happy with the alterations I’ve made so far on my ReadersBeAdvised blog. I’ve added the “text widget” called “Speaking of” which I like and modified some of my other widgets. I created a page that collects one of my categories from my main posts (my home is my blogroll) and puts it on that separate page. The idea here is that I want to diversify my blog– I don’t want to do book recommendations and reviews but talk about practice, library programming and activities, and other musings about the library life, but want to do it from the comfort of one blog rather than hosting several (which some bloggers do).
There’s also the intersection (which will be my next thing) with the site I created after I started giving presentations locally, both with my colleague and individually, using Weebly. Right now I’m at a crossroads of figuring out what has staying power, what should I be paying for (to get a bit more out of it, especially when sites get popular enough that they start adding premiums and costs to get the same content you did have for free originally) that add legitimacy to the message and I’m using Cool Tools as the vehicle.
As always Polly, thank you for this opportunity.