I read forum posts and blog posts everyday telling what works for so and so and who is suggesting what? It's sometimes hard for my melon to take in. I have decided to start sharing with you what I am learning. Kind of like a classroom type deal. We're all in this together, learning how to be good bloggers/artists/sellers etc. So why not learn together?
I came across a forum post by Jess from Epheriell that I think really works and makes a lot of sense to me! Especially scheduling blog posts. I love blogging but I don't always find time to do it! Now that I'm revamping my shop and blog for 2011. I wanted to share her post with you so you can make some improvements if you want too!
My blog just surpassed 1,000 blog followers/subscribers, and I thought I'd pop in here and leave a few lessons I've learned along the way, because I often see topics on this in the forums. I've been blogging for just over a year and a half now (with two 2 month breaks in there for various reasons).
1. Love it. If you don't love it don't bother - because honestly, it's a lot of work for not a lot of reward for a long time. I'm staring to see the concrete benefits of all my work now (getting sales from the blog, as well as advertising income) but for a long time the only reward is the warm feeling of nice comments and hearing how people have made sales after being featured - all of which are awesome, but not worth the effort for some.
2. Be consistent. Decide on a posting schedule, and stick to it - or at least blog a few times a week. My blog is a business in itself for me, so I blog every day (weekdays usually twice a day) and I'm working harder at having consistent weekly columns to draw readers back. If you're all over the place with your posting, it's a lot harder to build a loyal audience - not to mention, the more you blog, the more chances there are for someone to just stumble over your blog because they're searching for something!
3. Leave credit, and inform people you've blogged about them. My blog, being about handmade style, indie design, and crafty resources, is very image-heavy. I try very hard to always link back to and/or credit the source of images. And I also do my best to always e-mail or convo someone when I've featured their work. Everyone loves to know when they've been featured, so not only will you make them happy, but they'll spread the word about your blog, too!
4. Decide what you want from the beginning, and choose a platform accordingly. I always knew I wanted to be serious about my blog, so right from the start I bought my own domain and blogged with self-hosted Wordpress. It means I own my blog, I have a professional address (no 'blogspot' tacked on) and I can do whatever I want! Of course, when I was doing my research it was against the blogspot rules to have advertising on your blog - that's obviously changed now.
5. Schedule ahead. I would go mad if I didn't do this, due to the frequency of my posting - while I'm trying to run my jewellery business as well! As you're browsing Etsy or the web, save interesting sites in draft posts - and when you get a little downtime, do up as many posts as you can ahead of time, then schedule them to post. I very rarely publish something right after I've written it - I have a regular schedule to stick to, and I try to have at least a week's worth of posts scheduled ahead of time. That way, if something happens in my life, I know my blog is a-ok for a week at least without me :)
6. Promote! You can't just wait for folks to find you - get the word out! I actually have an ad or two out there for my blog, but the best promotion for me has always been word of mouth, and through forums. My street team here (DUST - Down-Under-Street-Team) has also been great! Oh, and twitter, and FB, of course. Don't spam people, but share with them when you've blogged about something you think they'll enjoy! I've also been featured by Etsy a few times, and by the Australian site I sell on - madeit.com.au - which helps a lot.
7. Engage your audience. I love to run projects and other things that get my community involved (a good current example is my Great Australian Granny Square project). Give people something to care about - a reason to return!! (I'm doing a granny-square-a-thon during June, too - I'm a tad obsessed with those atm!)
8. Be positive. It will take time to build a following... but it will happen if you stick to it.
9. Be professional. In your blog's appearance, especially - I work hard to make my blog look slick. I do all the work myself, but one day hopefully I'll be able to afford someone to do it for me!
10. Be yourself. Only you can be you - and a blog is a personal medium - don't be bland and boring, inject your own personality into what you do - people always respond.
Okay, that's all I can think of now - if anything else comes to me I'll be back!
Oh, and my blog is http://EpheriellDesigns.com if you're curious.
Hugs and good luck in your blogging adventure!
Well I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me! I am now plotting course to create a more comfortable scheduling, and go check out Jess's blog at http://EpheriellDesigns.com .
Let me know of your new changes I would love to hear about them!