Submitted Date 01/05/2019

When I first started blogging, I did not target an audience. I just wanted to help my students.


My History with Blogging

I would have to say my first successful blog was when I lived in Saudi Arabia. I started blogging as a way to get my female students their review materials because we had you could say logistical issues getting enough paper delivered to us by the men in charge. Beyond knowing that we did not always have the paper when we needed it, I can not give you an intelligent answer as to why. Before you start speculating as to reasons why the women did not have paper when the men did, consider things do not always get done in some parts of the world as fast as they would in American culture. There is not always some hidden form of gender discrimination. It was honestly just a case of Inshallah, which in this case meant they will get to it when they do--God willing.

Since most of my female students had mobile phones (which they probably should not have been using in the classroom- Shhh!) and tablets, I started a blog to give them access to that week’s review materials from anywhere. For me, it was important that they had material to work with during the review class, so they also had access to me as their native speaker. I soon found out that my students were not the only ones using the materials. Students from other universities were using it.

When I interviewed for a job at another university, the supervisor was quite happy to be interviewing me since I was the blogger who released all this useful material for their students. My blog was never created with the intention to brand myself, but I ended up making a brand out of myself. Blogging turned out to be one of the best ways to promote my skills as an English teacher.

I then created another blog for ESL teachers to share my thoughts on teaching, lesson plans, and anything related to professional development. It helped me grow as a teacher because writing helps me process my thoughts in everything I do.

While I started blogging to target a specific audience—my students, I ended up attracting an even bigger audience.


What I Learned

As I started blogging and using other platforms to publish my work, I learned a lot in the process. For one thing, blogging and publishing work online is a great tool to brand yourself in your profession. To help you on your journey, I wanted to share some tips based on my own experiences.

1. Keywords are important. I gained an audience larger than I expected because I identified the textbooks and topics that my review content was about. It turns out other students and teachers looking for content on those books found my site. I only identified these keywords to help my students find what they were looking for, especially when something was assigned as homework. It ended up helping me in other ways.

2. Some content never gets old. Even when I was not posting more blog posts on my site, I was still gaining traffic organically because the content was still relevant to my audience. By posting this kind of content on your blog, you may be able to still generate traffic from old posts.

3. Be you! Some of my review content incorporates stories from my childhood. This is how I distinguish my site from being any other site. I put myself into it, which both my students and readers enjoyed.

4. Be willing to experiment with content. In the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing. I am one of those people that learn by doing. So, I did. I saw what caused traffic and what did not. I never thought I would say this, but traffic is a good thing. As you try new things, you will see what works for you and what does not.


Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash


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  • Tomas Chough 5 years, 4 months ago

    Hi Kerri! Great story and tips! You said it, sometimes the best things happen when we just do things in our most authentic state. I feel like that's why you had so much success in the first place. You were just being you and doing what you felt you had to do, without worrying about other stuff. That's a great thing. I admire you and what you've achieved. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Kerri McLaughlin 5 years, 3 months ago

      Thank you. I took a break from writing online for a while. I am looking to jump back in.

  • Miranda Fotia 5 years, 3 months ago

    Great tips! Thank you for sharing!