17 mar 2014 The pains and gains of having your own blog or website
I have been running my own website (www.linguaestrangeira.com.br) for several years, which has been both incredibly rewarding and very time-consuming. So many people have asked me what is in it for those who go through the trouble of building and maintaining a website, that I decided to do my Master`s research on this topic. In order to write my dissertation paper Dot com teachers: what they seek and what they find on the Web, I interviewed ten outstanding teachers who are webmasters of educational websites, including Dave Sperling, a pioneer in this field with his eslcafe.com.
What I found was that very few teachers make a living out of their sites and even fewer become famous like Sperling. Most webmasters are ordinary people who run their websites simply because they find pleasure in it. They told me that their biggest rewards were to do something else in life, besides teaching English, the possibility of interacting with people from other places, and feeling that they are helping people with their knowledge and experience.
But in my opinion there’s much more to it. So I put together my own list of reasons for creating a blog or website:
1. Learning a skill such as web design is a challenge, and therefore great exercise for your brain.
2. Keeping a blog or website updated and interesting forces you to do research and to read, so as to always have something new and worthwhile to say to your visitors. In other words, it contributes to your own continuing education.
3. Blogs and websites allow you to be part of a community of learning and practice, where people will not only learn from you but also share valuable information with you. One of my interviewees, Neil Coghlan (from www.esl-lounge.com), once referred to the internet as “the biggest teachers’ room in the world”.
4. Blogging is like a window through which your peers (as well as students and potential employers) can see samples of your work. If it is good work, it will be great personal marketing.
5. Blogging gives you the chance to cross the threshold which will make you a producer, and not only a consumer, of information.
6. Keeping a blog is an efficient way of networking. The contacts you make through your blog or website can be very helpful.
However, there is no point in cluttering cyberspace with one more blog if there is no intention to keep reasonable standards of organization, accessibility, user-friendliness, originality, up datedness and, especially, relevance of content. You must also be aware that this project will take time and effort, and instead of getting paid, you may have to invest money on it.
To put it bluntly, blogging is not for everybody. But if you feel it is for you, go for it.