This Web Skills module on blogging will help you understand what blogging is, why people blog, why you should start blogging and how to start using the College's Wordpress installation.

The below video is a quick introduction to blogging created by the team at University of East Anglia:

What is blogging? University of East Anglia

What is blogging? University of East Anglia

Blogging menu

What is blogging?

Quite simply:

  • A blog is a “web log”.
  • A blog is an online diary.
  • A blog can be space for thoughts or rants.
  • A blog can be a place to share ideas and collaborate.

Why blog?

The Huffington Post blog site There are many different types of blogs:

  • Professional
  • Corporate
  • Family
  • Hobbies
  • Educational

You can write a personal blog or blog for a professional organisation, like The Huffington Post.

Reasons to blog:

  • Express Your thoughts and opinions.
  • Promote something.
  • Advise and help others.
  • Establish yourself as an expert.
  • To connect with people like you.
  • To make a difference.
  • To stay active in your field or topic.
  • To make money.
  • To have fun and be creative.

How could I use a blog?

Ideal for diary style reports of activities:

  • Student trips
  • Research expeditions
  • Industrial placements
  • Team projects
  • Student blogs – student life, club, sport etc
  • Informal news reporting
  • Alerts / announcements
  • Sharing good practice
  • Individual diary about departmental life
  • FAQs

Check out our student blogs for more ideas on great blog content.

What style blog to choose?

  1. If you’re posting project information to a small group you should consider using Sharepoint.
  2. If you’re blogging about life or work of Imperial you can apply for a College branded blog. These blogs are currently being redesigned. See a full list of current College blogs for inspiration. This type of blog uses WordPress and is already branded for you.
  3. If you prefer, you can set up your own blog outside College, you can try WordPress, bloggertumblr etc.

N.B: Don’t use the logo without permission and be careful using the College name.

Any rules?

See the Blog Terms and conditions .

Requesting a College blog

To request a blog, visit the website owners guide blogs page or ASK ICT for a blog (you will have to log in).

You will need to know:

  • What is your preferred blog URL? E.g. /johnsmith or /zambiatrip2009.
  • What is your preferred blog display name? E.g. John Smith or Zambia Trip 2009.
  • Preferred blog sub heading. This is displayed beneath the blog  heading.
  • Who is your intended audience?
  • What is the purpose of your blog - what will you be blogging about?
  • If multiple individuals will be blogging, please provide the email address of those requiring edit access. Only College email addresses can be added.
  • What kind of content do you intend to post on your blog? E.g. just text, images, videos.

And have ready:

  • Ideally a first post - even if it is very short and basic, as soon as the blog is created it will be live so it's better to have something in there!

What happens next?

The blog request is considered by ICT and Communications, they check:
  • The topic is about Imperial.
  • he URL and title is acceptable.
  • For further clarification if needed.
When approved the new blog is created and the owner is notified to make their first post.
 
N.B: Your College login works with the WordPress installation.

 

Accessing your blog

  1. Once ICT have sent you confirmation of your blog URL navigate to your blog.
  2. Click on the login button at the bottom of the page, use your Colege username and password, and this will take you to your blogs dashboard:

Blog log in button Your dashboard will look like this:

Wordpress dashboard

Making posts and pages

Posts

You can create a post by navigating to you Wordpress blog and logging in.  In your dashboard go to the Posts section and click add new.

  • Posts are entries listed in reverse chronological order in the main content area.
  • Posts can be found in the Archives, Categories, Recent Posts, and other widgets.
  • Posts are also displayed in the RSS feed of the blog.

Pages

  • Static and are not listed by date.
  • Pages do not use tags or categories.
  • An “About” page is the classic example.
  • Pages are displayed on the right hand bar.
  • You can set a “Page” to be your blog homepage.

N.B: Think carefully about page/or names as they will likely be part of the URL.

Tags, categories and links

Categories

  • Allow for a broad grouping of post topics.
  • Help people find content quicker.
  • All posts are allocated to the category 'uncategorized' unless you set some categories.
  • Can be arranged in a hierarchy.
  • Can have feed of category content – helpful to show all related features.

Tags

  • Are used to describe your post in more detail.
  • Help people find content faster.
  • Are not compulsory.
  • Exist in their own right and have no set relationship to anything else.

Tags and categories shown at bottom of post

Links

  • Create smart links back to your College web pages.
  • Link to your department or research groups.
  • Link to any related blogs or posts.
  • Link to any external relevant links.
  • Link to related College news or events articles.

A blog post with a link highlighted

Handling comments

We recommend that you allow people to post comments on your articles to create a discussion.

For College blogs:

  • The comment author must fill out their name and e-mail address.
  • The blog author and administrator are emailed whenever anyone posts a comment.
  • The comment must then be approved by author or administrator to appear on the blog.
  • If you want to change comment authorisation process please contact ICT Service Desk.
  • There is good spam identification installed on College blogs and a lot is filtered out.

Top tips on blogging

  1. It’s all about the content.
  2. Post regularly to keep your blog looking fresh and interesting, it's better to publish short posts regularly than upload lengthy essays every month.
  3. Write in short paragraphs, most people skim read before reading the whole post. Text heavy posts can be overwhelming, some white space is good!
  4. Choose an appropriate tone – who are your target audience? Are they seeking professional information/discussion or fun and humour? Identify your audiences expectations then write in appropriate style and tone.
  5. Be honest – authenticity is best!
  6. Don’t plagiarise or steal content.
  7. Use photos and video to make your blog more visual and eye catching.
  8. Pull in social media.
  9. Allow comments on your posts and comment on other peoples' blogs, they normally visit back.
  10. Make the most of related links and pages. Don’t just list links, adding links is good but don’t just have pages full of links. 
  11. Enjoy your blog! Blogging should be fun.
  12. Make sure you integrate your blogging with your other online and print communications. Most blogs support RSS feeds so you can aggregate content from your blog to other channels and allow readers to subscribe to your blog.

Need more help?

Watch the web skills programme on blogging

Web Skills module: Blogging