If I came to your blog and wanted to find a post you had written about your favourite foods or about your digital footprint – how could I find it easily without looking through all your posts?
I would use your categories and tags in your sidebar.
If you want to get to your best friend’s blog and you are not sure of the URL, how could you get there from your own blog? You want to get to your school blog or intranet from home – how can you do it easily?
You could use your blogroll or links in the sidebar.
As you can see from my answers, your sidebar is a very important part of your blog. It helps guide your visitors around your blog. But it can also be a distraction if there are too many games, pets, loud music on the sidebar.
So this week’s challenge relates to your sidebar as well as me finding my way to your community if I were ever to visit.
Students and classes
Activity 1 – Create your blogroll categories
What is a blogroll, you ask? Now that you have started visiting other student blogs, you might start finding some blogs that you really like. You might visit these every day, but how do you remember their URL? This is where a blogroll comes in handy.
If you look on the right sidebar of this blog, you will notice I have two subheadings such as:
- Blogs to visit
- Get Help
These are part of my blogroll. The subheadings or link categories are alphabetical beginning with numbers. So you will need to think about what the names are for your categories.
Check out the blogroll categories from these students and classes: Kids in the Mid (left sidebar), Miss T (left), Mr Miller (right), Alanna (left), Daniel (right), Georgia (right), Teegan (left, some are actually images as links too), Bree (far right)
To create the link category headings, go to your dashboard> links > link category You might include classmates, overseas friends, class blogs, get help and websites.
To make sure these appear on your sidebar, go to dashboard> appearance> widgets and drag the links or blogroll across to the sidebar area.
Activity 2 – Add some links to your blogroll
To add some links such as the challenge blog and your friends’ blogs, go to your dashboard> links> add new. Remember to say what category you put the link under and also use http:// in front of the URL. Be internet savvy and only use first names of students.
You might include at least 10 classmates, some overseas friends you have visited, Student Challenge Blog, Bloggers Cafe, The Edublogger, Help from Edublogs, your class/school blog and/or intranet and websites you often visit.
Here is a post by Sue Waters about creating a blogroll. Follow the instructions for Step 2 in her post.
You are going to need lots of student and class links on your blogroll ready to play a game in a couple of weeks.
Activity 3 – Creating at least 4 post categories
Just to confuse you, there is also another heading called ‘categories’. Categories are like the chapter headings in books while tags are like the index words at the back of a book.
This though, relates to the posts you write about. These categories appear in the header area or at the footer section of each post you write. My post categories for this blog are on the left sidebar and named ‘Challenge Sections.’ My tags are in the right sidebar and named ‘What the posts are about.’
What are your posts mainly about?
- Check out the categories and/or tags these students are using: Daniel (left), Antonio (bottom right dropdown box), Teegan(right), Isabella, Jasper, Matthew, Anna (left)
- Classes check out Miss T’s categories at bottom of left sidebar – notice it is a dropdown box and she has included names of students in case they write a post on the class blog.
- Miss W has a moving box for her categories on the right sidebar – need to be a pro blog to use this.
- Here is a post from Sue Waters at Edublogs for adding categories and tags to your posts.
To set them up from your dashboard> posts> categories.
Why are categories and tags important when writing your posts?
Where else do you find tags used in technology?
To make sure these appear on your sidebar, go to dashboard> appearance> widgets and drag the tags and/or categories across to the sidebar area.
Here is another post from Sue Waters about changing widgets in general in your sidebar.
If using Blogger, click here for hints on changing things in your sidebar.
Activity 4 – Write a post about the importance of tags and categories
- Why should regular users of the internet be using tags and categories whenever they leave a footprint on the web?
- Where are users asked to use tags?
- What is geotagging?
- Why did you decide on those categories for your blog?
Activity 5 – Miss W needs to find her way to your community
- If Miss W were to visit your community, what would you recommend she visit?
- Where is your community in your country?
- How is your community different or unique compared to other areas of your country?
- Would she need to know a different language or would she get by with English?
- What are some phrases she might need to learn that are typically from your area of the world?
- When would be the best time of year to visit?
- Any special clothing needed?
Write an interesting post about your community. You might want to include a slideshow of nearby landmarks or important buildings in your community.
The idea for this post came from some comments on Ms Edwards class blog.
Activity 6 – Where in the world would you like to find your way to?
Be specific – not just ‘I want to go to Australia’.
- What questions have you got about the part of the country you want to visit?
- What do you already know about that place?
- Why do you want to visit there in particular?
Write a post leaving some questions for your readers to answer. Think about the countries where our student blogging challenge bloggers are from. They should be able to answer your questions.
Activity 7 – Create a poll
Survey your visitors by asking about where they would like to visit in your country. Use Polldaddy or a similar survey tool and embed the poll in either a post or your sidebar. Once the poll has closed, perhaps you could write a post about the most popular place mentioned in your poll.
Remember to add this link as a trackback or pingback in your post.
Original image: ‘Everything’s Right‘
by: Richard James Lander
Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License