- Visually identify all blogs as part of Penn State, Cooperative Extension, and the college
- Apply a common set of links to all blogs to help increase traffic and visibility to all blogs
- Share best practices for technical blog management
- Share best practices for content development
- Share best practices for marketing and promotion
The minimum visual standard for each blog is to display a banner graphic containing the Penn State. or the Penn State Extension mark. Ag Comm will assist bloggers in developing a site banner. Bloggers will be advised against creating extremely large banners that overpower their content and push the content further down the page.
In order to enhance the possibility of increased traffic to other blogs and to Penn State sites, each blogger will be asked to display, at least, the following links.
If the author maintains a relevant Twitter account, it is suggested that feed appear on the blog. If a relevant Twitter account is not available, it is recommended that the college's Twitter feed be added to the blog.
College Facebook Link
Each blog should provide a link to the college Facebook fan site.
Technical Blog Management
- Passwords: Provide account information and passwords to another party. This may be the office manager, department head, or other individual representing the college. While a blog is often developed or maintained by an individual, it is important for the college to be able to sustain a site if an employee leaves or is unable to continue managing the blog.
- Sustaining a blog over time: Bloggers should make their employer aware of their blogging plans if they will be doing this as part of their job or referencing their professional work. Plans for how a blog would be handled if the blogger changes jobs or can't continue should be considered.
- Comments: All blogs should accept comments to allow for the possibility of audience dialogue. Comments can be unmoderated or moderated by choice of the author. Moderated comments will require authors to check in on a regular basis to approve or remove comments. Unmoderated comments are the easiest for the author, and any spam or unacceptable comments can still be removed.
- RSS and Email Subscriptions: To provide readers with simple ways to stay abreast of a blog's new content, it is essential to provide at least a way to subscribe by RSS and email.
- Posting guidelines: The nature and frequency of posts on a blog are important to the development of traffic, loyal readers, and the overall effectiveness of a site. It is suggested that new content should be posted at least once every two weeks. This content can be original text and pictures, links to relevant information at other sites, or anything else of interest to readers. More frequent posting will generally improve traffic.
- Google Analytics: This application will allow for the careful tracking of visits and reactions to posts over time. Google Analytics should be activated for each blog.
- Blogging Platforms: Using Blogger as the preferred blogging tool will allow for the growth of a community of bloggers that can provide support and expertise among the group. It is suggested that new blogs using other tools that have not yet developed an audience consider migrating to Blogger.
Marketing and Promotion
Successful blogs grow slowly over time and require input and attention beyond management and content development. Being listed on the college blogs list will help, as will crosslinking with other college blogs. But in order to find new readers it is important to find other blogs, sites and forums on the Web relevant to your blog and begin posting on those sites with links back to your own. These posts must be relevant to those sites and not purely a pitch for your own. This can be a time-consuming process if not carefully managed. It is suggested that a written plan be developed indicating which sites you will visit and how often, and that you stick to that plan to more efficiently market and promote your blog.