This page provides an introduction to the topic of blogging. For more information on blogs or for help getting started, contact Tom Wilkowske, University Marketing and Communications (x8516).
The Basics of Blogs
A blog can be a useful tool for publishing content on the web. Before you decide whether to start a blog, consider:
- your target audience
- your overall goals
- your organization's ongoing ability to manage content
- your audience's habits and preferences
A blog (short for weblog) is a type of website that's designed to make it easy for users regularly publish new content on the web. The content can include text, links, images, video, audio, documents and data. Typically, authors log in with a username and password to access an administrative back end which allows them to draft and publish content.
Bloggers connect with each other by following blogs, cross-linking to other blogs and articles, commenting on each other's posts, and writing guest posts on others' blogs.
Blogs are commonly used by individuals or groups for personal expression or to connect with others and build audiences around a particular subject. The most recent content is usually displayed at the top of blog pages.
Types of Blogs
Blog service providers such as Blogspot/Blogger and Wordpress.com provide users with a limited amount of free hosting space, a content editing system and some basic design choices. The Technology Services department does not provide technical support for blogs that are hosted outside of UW-Superior servers.
Technology Services staff also can assist individuals and departments in creating blogs hosted on UW-Superior's servers. Such blogs will use the Blog Manager built in to the website's content management system, CommonSpot. Technology Services provides free hosting of blogs within CommonSpot and offers technical assistance in maintaining them. The university also will display links to all UW-Superior CommonSpot blogs from its website, which may result in increased traffic to your blog.
Advantages of a blog:
- Depending on the platform used, a blog gives authors more control over the content and look compared to social media websites.
- Blogging is a good way to connect with a target audience that also uses blogs.
- By allowing comments, blogs can engage audiences more deeply compared to standard web pages.
- Blogging allows users to share content and exchange ideas in a more in-depth format compared to social media sites.
- A blog can serve as the "hub" of your online presence and link out to social media sites.
- Set-up is usually quick and straightforward.
Disadvantages of a blog:
- Once you start it, you need to commit to providing content regularly. You will lose credibility with your audience if you start a blog and abandon it.
- Most blogs are designed to display the most recent content first (although there are usually workarounds).
- If you want to allow comments on your blog, you must invest time and energy moderating comments to make sure no inappropriate content is published.
- If your blog is not hosted on UW-Superior servers, you won't be able to get technical support.
Good Cases for a UW-Superior hosted Blog
- an individual's personal thoughts in her area of scholarship
- the travel journal of an international scholarly travel
- sharing news coming out of an annual conference hosted on campus
- publishing news developments about an ongoing research project
Content Best Suited To a Website
- Departmental mission
- Office hours
- Official department policies and procedures
- Listings of departmental staff and faculty
- Departmental events (use the Events Calendar, ask for promotion to main website)
Questions? Contact Tom Wilkowske, University Marketing and Communications (x8516).