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The State of the Blog: 08/01/07

1187616_stake_a_claimI took out nearly every advertisement from the site. The exception are links to books on Amazon, and a couple of Text Link Ads. Why? They’re simply not making money and they cause screen clutter. So away they go.

I additionally got rid of the SnapPreview display that had been popping up every time a user hovered the mouse over an external link. It’s extra CPU time and can be annoying quickly. It’s great to know how to do that kind of stuff, but brilliance is shown by knowing how to do something and choosing to not do it! Blogging guru Lorelle also left me a comment advising me against it and I trust she knows a little bit about blog usability. Any tips she offers are definitely taken to heart!

I’m not the most popular blog out there, or even one of the most popular education blogs, but I have noticed that So You Want To Teach? has maintained about 35 readers over the last two weeks and has been increasing its Technorati authority to a whopping 13 now. With my submission of 15 Tips To Stay Positive to the latest blog carnival hosted by Dr. Homeslice, I am hoping both of those numbers will continue to increase.

The most exciting thing that has begun to happen much more frequently over the last few weeks has been an increase in comment traffic. The comments make me feel like my time has been well spent. I have even had comments and links to the site from a few of the more popular bloggers as well, including Lorelle, Bloggrrl, Chris Garrett, Mister Teacher, CaliforniaTeacherGuy, and Bowrag. Your blogs are all more popular than mine, some even hundreds or thousands of times over! I am so humbled to know that there are smart people out there reading even some of the junk that I write! :)

As the school year looms closer, I hope more teacher types will come out of the woodwork looking for help. This is where Super Joel comes in to save the day. Or not. But I like to think that there are some really good articles on classroom management on this site that will be helpful for younger teachers.

As return visitors browse the right sidebar, you may also notice that I have greatly reduced the amount of information over there. Got rid of some categories, trimmed the number of items displayed, and cleared up the Subscribe section at the top. If this is your first time here, or even if you’re a regular, I would love to hear your comments (especially the negative ones) about the design and layout of the site.

Joel Wagner
Joel Wagner (<strong><a href="">@sywtt</a></strong>) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. <strong><a href="">So You Want To Teach?</a></strong> is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

11 thoughts on “The State of the Blog: 08/01/07

  1. I like the new and improved look.:)

    Re: traffic to your blog: It will come. It takes time. And, being a part of carnivals does help.

  2. I think your blog has a nice clean look. I’m sure you will see an increase in your traffic as more pages get indexed and you participate in carnivals. You’re definately a step ahead of me in that department. I blogged for months without being a member of a social networking group or participating in any writing groups or carnivals. I did nothing to get noticed, and consequently I did not get noticed. Luckily, I met someone who showed me the error of my ways. Finally, I am headed in the right direction. Keep doing what you are doing. Everything else will fall into place.

  3. I think your blog is fantastic. I have subscribed to your feed and feel its a must read for any new teacher and for experienced teachers also. I have followed and subscribed to many of the other blogs that you have linked. Keep up the good work!!

  4. WOW! What a lesson! And what an example you are setting for others.

    You are indeed brave to get rid of the ads. They don’t bring in much money, typically, and they are clutter, but more than that, most web ads are ugly and can downgrade the impression of your blog’s integrity and purpose. Good for you for taking the very high road on this difficult issue.

    And good for you for getting the point that blogging isn’t about being popular. People just don’t get it when I say that I blog for me, and for the one person that will benefit from my blog. If I start blogging for the 100 readers, or 1000 readers, or 5000 readers or more, or blogging for advertisers or money – for reasons that get away from blogging for me and the one person I can help, I’ve lost my way. It stresses me out. I feel a huge responsibility and it changes how I blog.

    I wish more bloggers would get that point. I keep remembering Cheryl Richardson’s comment in her book, Life Makeovers, where she says that you need to live your life like the emergency instructions you get on the airplane. Something like “In case of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop down. Put them on yourself first, before assisting others…” You can’t help others unless you take care of yourself first.

    As long as I stay true to what I need to keep blogging, putting the oxygen mask on me first, then I’m ready to take care of the rest of the world better.

    It’s a weird thought, but I think you get it. In fact, it’s obvious you get it. You’re putting your needs first, realizing what hurts your blog hurts you, and in turn your readers. Good on you!

    And congrats!

  5. Hi Joel! Welcome aboard the Edubloggers wiki! Eric had some very nice things to say about your blog and it’s purpose, which is congruent with mine as well.

    Looks like there’s plenty of stuff to learn right here!

  6. While not a blogger myself (I am an avid blog reader and teacher however.), I commend you on the layout and content of your blog. I can’t even recall how I first came to find you, but soyouwant… has since been bookmarked and read on a regular basis.

  7. Your blog is amazing. I found a lot of ideas already that I plan to use this coming year. The way you file all your posts by subject is amazingly practical. Thank you for investing so much time in helping out other teachers! Keep up the good work!

  8. Welcome to the blogosphere! I do have a couple of ad links on my site, however, I tried snapshots and just found that for me it was an annoying widget. So, if it was annoying to me it had to annoy others’ as well.

    I am a mentor to a second year teacher (I was her first year mentor as well) and I forwarded some of your articles on procedures. Keep up the great job and I’m going to add you to my blogroll.

  9. Whoa, lots of comments. Most of them are very encouraging. That’s great!

    As Lorelle says, it’s not about the numbers. I wish more churches would get that! Getting your message across to 1,000,000 uninterested people is less effective than getting your message across to 10 interested people. Reread that. It’s good stuff. :)

    That’s the whole reason that targeted advertising works (Google AdWords and similar programs) work better than blanket banner ad placement does.

    I have to agree that the site looks quite a bit cleaner now that I have removed some of the clutter. It does go a bit wider than 800 pixels across, but it looks like more than 90% of the visitors use resolutions that are higher than that anyway, so it’s not a make or break issue for me.

    I love that people are commenting on here too. It’s encouraging. :)

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