Blogging 101 is not a walk in the park


I’m doing the 3-week Blogging 101 course run by WordPress University. Three weeks is an ideal length. Actually, I’m squashing it into two weeks, and I’m not the only one. I’ve read that the majority of people enrolled in MOOCs (Mass Open Online Courses run by universities) drop out after four weeks. So I’m guessing most Blogging 101 students will tough out our time.

Even so, we got a reminder today that the course is there for us, not vice versa. Do as little or as much as you like. Choose your tasks. Take a break. Whatever. Yep, that’s the way.

You’d think such a short course would be a walk in the park, but no. Each day brings a new task, and they are spread between writing, technical and social activities. Hard to separate, these aspects of a blog are all important.

Why am I doing this course?

A friend urged me to take the course when I began a new blog on WordPress after years of using Blogger and a frustrating start with Squarespace. She had found Blogging 101 so valuable.

Right! My main needs were technical and social:

  • The WordPress platform may be easy when you know how. But flexibility (open source means thousands of developers and themes) comes at a price, and finding the solution you want can be verrrrry time-consuming. Aaargh!
  • Blogger is dying (I think) and downright klunky. Super-cool Squarespace does not encourage community. So the only comments I ever got were from dedicated friends prepared to battle the technology. By contrast, WordPress is designed for community, and that’s what I need to learn about.

Spread of tasks so far

  1. Day 1: introduce yourself on the private online forum (social & writing task)
  2. Day 2: Take Control of Your Title and Tagline (writing & tech task)
  3. Day 3: follow 5 new tags in the Reader and 5 new blogs) (social task)
  4. Day 4: publish a post you’d like your ideal audience member to read, and include a new-to-you element. (writing & social & tech task.)
  5. Day 5: try out at least three other themes. (tech task)
  6. Weekend: Optional tasks (2 social, 2 writing)
  7. Day 6: Make an irresistible “About” page (writing & tech task)
  8. Day 7: Create and upload a header, background, or both, or a widget. (tech task)
  9. Day 8: Leave comments on at least four blogs that you’ve never commented on before. (social task)

And of Day 8’s task, more later…

25 thoughts on “Blogging 101 is not a walk in the park

  1. hariatahema says:

    I have been eagerly looking for the Blogging 101 task each day. When you list them like this, it looks so comprehensive. No wonder I am impressed with the course and recommending it to others. Thanks for helping me see some of the “why”, and great choices of photos. Nice to met you here, Rachel.

    1. Thanks so much! Maybe we all become evangelists for the course.

  2. I am following the course as well and I can only agree with you. So happy I joined!
    Great post by the way, like your style of writing!

    1. Thanks! I must visit you now 🙂

  3. uminsummer says:

    I love reading your posts and how your opinions are always delivered in a witty manner and I’m glad I found you in blogging101 before the second week ends… 😉

  4. margaret21 says:

    Oh, you sum it all up so well! I started full of enthusiasm and energy for Blogging 101. I still have enthusiasm and energy. What I don’t have is time. Somehow, I slipped to the bottom of the class when for two days running (yesterday and the day before) I didn’t tackle the assignments. The techie tasks are slightly scarey for me. It took me all my time to do them when I was launching my blogs and the choice seems to have got so much bigger and more daunting since then. But it’s good to struggle! And good to meet fellow bloggers. I’m enjoying your writing. Thank you.

    1. Hi Margaret. You’ve been blogging for ages, and your blog is lovely, so you have heaps of expertise. New means hard. Even techies find techie stuff hard, so we’re allowed to too.

  5. The PeeMan says:

    For some reason I haven’t been able to get into the elusive “Commons”, but I have been doing my homework – novel idea – should have tried it in high school. I like your blog title especially!

    1. Thanks! Good luck with entering the Commons. It only half “works” on an iPhone. Try different browsers, perhaps?

  6. Relish says:

    I agree, it is not a walk in the park. This is my fourth time enrolling but first time actually following daily. I am learning and enjoying a lot. Enjoyed reading your post, thanks!

    1. And I bet you benefited from the course each time, because your blog looks so professional.

      1. Relish says:

        Thank you! It is a work in progress.

  7. I’ve been blogging off and on for ten years, but never took the time to take a full-on course. When the offer for this one showed up in my feed, I jumped on it. I had a fairly new blog, I wanted to get it right this time. I knew I had plenty to learn. And woohoo! I’m learning plenty. Thank goodness.

    When I think of all the courses I’ve trialed here and there, how daunting they were, how much time they took, how disorganized they were, I am exceedingly grateful for the expertise of the WordPress folks. That this course is given for free overwhelms me. WordPress wants us to succeed.

    Best of all, I’m meeting such nice bloggers–like you–with such a wide variety of topics that I’m in danger of blowing my time-management goals. Who I am kidding? They’re blown. Totally. But in a good way.

    1. Kathryn, I’m not sure if I ever replied to you — but I was delighted to read your comments. Thank you kindly!

      1. My pleasure!

  8. ifh2015 says:

    Like you say it does take a lot of time and that increases due to the amount of reading involved. But I’m glad that I have enrolled because apart from the skills that we’re picking up we are getting to know the blogging community. Or should I say Our blogging community. An excellent post Rachel.

    1. True! Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  9. Robyn Haynes says:

    I found great benefit in doing this course. I intended to do the follow-up but have found other bloggers very helpful. I’ve had to be brave and willing to experiment when problem solving.

    1. I’m thinking, the more you give, the more you get — as usual!

  10. Kim says:

    I’ve tried the Blogging 101 on 2 occasions. I’ve learned some useful tips. My main aim of doing it was to get myself into a routine of posting. That’s been partly successful, though of course, with life’s twists and changes, sometimes the productivity drops off.

    1. A lot depends on what our aims are in blogging. I have set the bar pretty low for regularity and frequency, and my great problem is spreading myself over several blogs instead of having just one. Good luck to us both!

      1. Kim says:

        I understand. I have another blog that I reinstated recently (I shuttered it a couple of years ago) – a more general kind of site, where I would post about whatever took my fancy — it also was the one I used when I lived in the USA. So I am going to spend some time recreating it. yes, good luck on all fronts.

      2. I wonder if our blogs are maps of our selves — and as such, historic documents!

  11. Thanks so much for sharing about Blogging 101- To borrow lyrics from a Switchfoot song:
    ” i’m in the middle of this plot!”