For many new teachers abroad, traveling and living overseas is a life-changing experience that they’re excited to share with family, friends and the world. If frequent posting on your personal social media channels and Skype sessions with those back home just aren’t cutting it, blogging can be the perfect platform for teachers working abroad to share their unique journey.
If you’re thinking about starting a blog of your very own, we’ve taken the guesswork out of the entire blogging process below! Read on to find out more.
1. Find your voice and blogging “niche”
Obviously, travel is the general umbrella in which your blog is going to fall under, but this category is huge and as a new blogger your voice is likely to get lost in the oversaturated online world. Rather, decide on a narrower category that you want to fill in which you can deliver a more concise voice.
Teaching abroad is already a great start, but begin to narrow it down further to find your unique voice. Perhaps you want to tell your story teaching abroad from your viewpoint as a recent student trying to make their way in the real world? Or maybe you ditched your corporate life for the adventure of teaching English abroad in a foreign country? Whatever your experience and background, it’s a unique viewpoint that you can use to your advantage. And don’t be afraid to branch off a little bit once your blog is established and you have a broader reader base!
2. Get all your tech stuff covered ASAP
As much as you probably want to get your blog up and running ASAP so you can start writing, there are some important (more tech related) projects you should take the time to tackle first! These may seem tedious, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run when your blog has awesome SEO results and looks like you spent way too much money on a pro web designer.
Wordpress is the most commonly used blogging platform - it’s also professional and highly customizable. Some other popular options are include Squarespace, Blogger and Tumblr. It may also be worthwhile investing in a private .com domain name, which can help your search engine results and looks much more professional than using a host URL.
After you’ve got your domain name chosen and registered, your next step should be to choose a theme for your blog. It should be reflective of your personality, organized and easy to navigate for readers. Many blogging host websites provide free basic themes, but it may be worth looking into purchasing a premium theme instead. They’re generally much more professional looking and provide many more customization options, and the cost is not astronomical!
You can get a great-looking blog theme for anywhere from $30 to $60. When customizing your blog's theme, it may be helpful to have a basic knowledge of web design or HTML. There are many resources and even free courses online that can provide you with basic coding knowledge!
3. Take time to organize a schedule - and stick to it
Teachers have busy schedules that are full of lesson plans, class work and activities. As a teacher, you’re no stranger to making effective plans for your classroom. A similar level of organization must be applied to your blog as well. It’s essential that you take the time to plan out your posts, either on a weekly or monthly basis. This ensures that you’re consistently posting (and not just for the sake of posting) quality content that will keep people engaged and reading.
Whichever platform you use to stay organized, whether it's using a physical agenda, an online planner/calendar, or simply a spare notebook, make sure the strategy you use to plan your blog’s content is easy to understand for you.
4. Connect with others!
Running a successful blog while teaching abroad is not only about writing, but connecting with your readers and other bloggers. Engaging with readers will give you an even more human persona for them to connect too, showing that there is an actual person who is experiencing these things behind the screen! As well, connecting with other travel and teaching abroad bloggers can allow you to exchange ideas and advice with others to not only drive more traffic but to gain insight on how to improve your blog.
Social media is a necessity, and it is crucial that you dedicate time to your social channels. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter are the most popular with bloggers across all genres. Creating quality content on social media that is related to and links back to your blog gives you the perfect platform on which to communicate with readers and grow your audience. It may also be helpful to reach out to fellow expat teachers you work with to not only gain another reader but open up the potential for guest writing opportunities!
There are plenty of resources online to connect with fellow bloggers. Facebook groups that focus on travel blogging are a perfect place to discuss ideas and get inspired by fellow bloggers. They also provide a great opportunity to get other bloggers to view your content and potentially give feedback.
Starting a blog may seem like an exciting but overwhelming project to pick up as someone teaching abroad, but it’s a great way to share your journey with loved ones back home, as well as other international teachers who are in a similar boat. We know that teachers have their plates full with lesson planning and exploring their new home abroad, but blogging is possible with some passion and a little organization. So don’t be afraid to start sharing your incredible adventure teaching abroad with the world!