blog tips

tipscraftblogging

Starting a craft blog can be a fun but also daunting prospect. If you eager to start your own craft blog or if you already have a craft blog and would like to build your audience then tune in over the coming weeks for tips and ideas on how to build a better craft blog.

Apart from writing and publishing your crafting activities on your blog regularly, commenting and reading other blogs, making your blog attractive and taking lovely photos, running competitions and craft alongs and participating in swaps and craft blog events – what else should you do to help potential readers find your blog? Below are three essential extras that will not take long to set up but will help like minded folk find your blog.

1. Email newsletter

Adding a weekly or monthly newsletter to your craft blog or crafty website is an excellent way for readers to connect with you and your website. A newsletter landing directly in the inbox gives readers a gentle reminder to stop by your blog or to pass on your details to others.

What to include in your newsletter – a bit about what you have going on at your craft blog or site – specials, competitions, craft-alongs etc. Highlight links you think readers shouldn’t miss and even give a little extra that is not included on your blog – some freebies or personal insights.

How to get this newsletter up and running? There are many e-newsletter subscription sites with different packages – The whipup newsletter is managed through feedburner and I have a subscribe button in my sidebar and one also appears in the email body down the bottom – I like it because 1. its free, 2. its simple. There are many others – many are free and many are not – Problogger has some good tips on newsletter subscription services here and here .

2. Blog syndication (aka rss feed)

To syndicate your blog is a simple matter of inserting some code or flicking a switch. Go to your admin panel in your blog software where information will be readily available. Alternatively go to a feed syndication site such as feedburner where the process is made very simple (and you can track those who access your feeds through a reader).

Why should you syndicate your blog? Doesn’t this mean that your readers never visit your blog again and simply flick through your posts in their feed reader? Well yes this certainly does happen, but this does not have to be a bad thing. If you have advertising on your blog then you may want to entice your readers to visit your blog, or they may visit your blog anyway in order to leave a comment on your post. However if you don’t have a feed then readers who do use a feed reader (and who are likely to link to your interesting posts) will not see your blog at all.

3. list your site

List your site on blog directories, social bookmarking and networking sites and craft forums. Many people search on specific topics, so it is worth tagging your site with words like diy, craft, knitting, sewing etc.

Technorati is the major blog directory site and it is worth signing up – not only can others find your site through technorati, but technorati has a blog rating which shows how your blog popularity is going and you can also see who is linking to you.

Twitter and facebook are social networking sites, it is worth setting yourself up an account, you will meet others and others will find you and your website.

If you are a knitter then adding your patterns to Ravelry and Knitting pattern central are essential. Sewers should add their blogs to the big list of sewing blogs and free needle.

Social bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon, delicious and wists are useful for finding interesting sites under various subjects.

There are many blog directories such as blog catalogue, best blogs, blogher and more…

{ 9 comments }

tipscraftblogging

Starting a craft blog can be a fun but also daunting prospect. If you are a blog lurker and eager to start your own blog but not quite sure what to write or if you already have a craft blog and would like to build your audience and participate more fully in the craft blog community – then tune in over the coming weeks for tips and ideas on how to build a better craft blog.

Craft blogs are very visual – for most craft blogs are all about the pictures – images of fabric and yarn, images half finished projects and completed masterpieces, images of children wearing and enjoying the fruits of your labour, closeups of textures and colours, images for teaching and explaining – its really is all about the images. So how do you get those gorgeous crisp images that some bloggers seem to do so effortlessly and others struggle with. Jane from Yarnstorm is known for her colourful images and Anna Maria Horner also shows off her work through photography very well.

Here three quick tips to get your photos looking better – more advanced tips next week…

1. Lighting is key (check out this previous post for more on lighting your objects at home)
Natural light, natural poses, natural setting. I personally love to see objects in their natural environment lit by natural light. Kids playing effortlessly outside, or working busily inside on projects. Fabrics and knitting lit by the filtered light of a window shade.

And if you don’t have the natural light working for you then the next best thing is a mini photography studio in your space. Use a neutral backdrop to get the most out of your colours and textures – here are some at home studios here, here and here.

  • Don’t use the harsh unforgiving light of a flash unless you have experience with reflectors.
  • Do place your objects near the window – not in bright sunlight as this creates harsh shadows.
  • 2. Get in close – experiment with angle – use your macro lens.
    Interesting angles make for interesting photos – experiment with getting in close, photographing from above or down low.

  • Don’t always centre the image, creating tension with the image off centre or cropped can add drama and interest to your image.
  • Use your macro lens or macro setting, focus on one interesting detail.
  • 3. crop, edit, adjust in photoshop
    Use some digital photo software to crop your image, even play with minor adjustments in contrast and colour. If you don’t have photoshop there are plenty of online photo editors you can use. Here, here and here.

  • Do crop your photos – crop them to create tension – or crop out unnecessary backgrounds.
  • Do lighten your photos if they are too dark.
  • Do take heaps of photos so you have a lot to choose from.
  • Don’t go crazy with effects and add filters or borders.
  • More advanced photography tips next week.

    { 7 comments }

    tipscraftblogging

    Starting a craft blog can be a fun but also daunting prospect. If you are a blog lurker and eager to start your own blog but not quite sure what to write or if you already have a craft blog and would like to build your audience and participate more fully in the craft blog community – then tune in over the coming weeks for tips and ideas on how to build a better craft blog.

    1. Be polite:
    Craft blogging is about building communities and ‘meeting’ people of like interests, sharing ideas and being inspired. Craft blogs are places where people are expressing and sharing their ideas, and these ideas should be respected. Its ok to not like other peoples stuff and its ok to say so – but rudeness and meanness is never ok. So whether you are commenting on someones elses blog or writing about something on your own blog – try your best to not be nasty.

    2. Link your sources:
    When you mention someone else on your blog, a quote, an image or a post – always link the source. A simple [via] is sufficient, if it is a new idea/new thing that you found while surfing the web, it is not only respectful and polite to mention where you found the idea, but its in the web spirit to share the love around.

    If you do post and link, don’t expect a reciprocal link just for the hell of it – these will come but are certainly not mandatory – generosity tends to be catching.

    Don’t repost the whole of someone else’s post – reposting a quote is fine – but not the whole thing.

    3. Sourcing images:
    Do you have to ask permission before reposting an image? This is a tricky area and I don’t have a definitive answer, on whipup we simply don’t have time to ask everyone for permission and we feel that it is good publicity for the image owner, we use images in the spirit of sharing news and information.

    However if you are a new blog then it might be wise to begin by asking for permission before reposting images. If you don’t ask permission before using an image then you must:

    Remove the image if the owner does not want it used. If you have posted an image to your website and the author of the image contacts you to ask for it to be removed then you must do this immediately.

    Give full credit for every image and link back to the author of the image. This is absolutely essential – to note where you found the image, who the author of the image is and link back to their website. If you have forgotten or can’t find it again – then don’t use it.

    Do not use the image if the blog or website specifically requests that images not be used without permission. Some blogs will have a little section in their sidebar that says please don’t use my images without permission – you must respect this.

    Never hotlink an image. Hotlinking or stealing of bandwidth is considered very bad manners – if you want to repost an image you saw somewhere then download it and upload it to your server.

    Do not use an image if it will damage or diminish the value of the work in any way. This means using an image in a derogatory way – making fun of it or being mean about it or the creator.

    { 7 comments }