How to Start a Craft or Jewelry Blogcomments (3) August 10th, 2012
I love writing my personal craft blog, West Coast Crafty, and contributing posts on beading and beyond here at CraftStylish. My friend Diane Gilleland is a fantastic and super-inspiring online writer—she blogs at Craftypod and DIY Alert, contributes to lots of other favorite sites, and has taught blogging 101 at DIY Lounge. Here are her tips for happy craft writing online—thank you so much, Diane!
Any general tips for keeping a craft blog? How can it help promote your business, encourage creativity, or expand your network of fellow crafters?
A blog is a powerful tool for connecting you to other crafters around the world. These connections might help you market your crafty business, or they might just bring you like-minded friends. When you blog, it really helps stimulate your creativity because in order to keep a blog going over time, you have to keep your eyes open for new things to write about. You tend to try more new things and finish more projects because that blog (and the people who read it) keep you accountable to your creative self.
I usually recommend that people who are brand-new to blogging start out with Blogger. It's very user-friendly and allows you to customize your blog without knowing any computer-programming language. If you like blogging and decide to stick with it, then you may want to move to Wordpress or Typepad down the road. These two engines have more flexibility than Blogger and are actually a bit easier to use once you're familiar with the basics of blogging. [Note: CraftStylish and Diane's own Craftypod both use Wordpress, for just two examples of customizable blogs! Wordpress is free to use, and you can also add your own images and details to their templates to get started, which is how I set up my blog, West Coast Crafty.]
Do you have any favorite jewelry or craft blogs that are an inspiring example for readers to check out?
The Savvy Crafter: Candie Cooper is a jewelry designer who's currently living in China. Her blog is a fascinating glimpse into crafting on the other side of the world. She's also a member of the Bead Bloggers, a ring of blogs about beading and jewelry design.
The Beadage Blog: The fantastic beading website Beadage recently added a blog. There are lots of inspiring projects featured there.
Beadlust: Robin Atkins's blog about bead embroidery. Her work is so beautiful.
CRAFT: Blog: Fantastic.
Digibudi's Digital Garden: A fun blog about jewelry and doll-making, written by a male crafter in Belgium.
ilBloggo: Hanna blogs about all kinds of crafty inspiration from Sweden.
What do you suggest for content and photos, generally? Any mix that readers especially seem to appreciate?
I think it's best to think of your blog as a daily gift that you give to the people who read it. You can use your blog to keep your readers aware of upcoming shows you're doing or updates to your online store—but don't make this the only material you post!
Your blog posts should provide as much inspiration as they do information. It's also nice to share a little how-to from time to time, or some photos of your work-in-progress. And I recommend that you share the people, places, and things that inspire you. This is true whether your blog is a personal blog or a blog about your craft business.
I also strongly recommend that you post plenty of photos with your text. Get in the habit of carrying your camera with you, and you'll always have plenty of blog photos.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Having a blog can be a lot like having a puppy—it requires continual care and attention.
It's certainly true that a blog can be beneficial to your craft business, but paradoxically, you can't go into blogging solely to market yourself. The act of keeping a blog is also the act of participating in the blogging community. So if you're going to be a blogger, you also need to read some blogs regularly. You need to comment on other people's blogs. You need to link to other people's blogs. This participation is what brings you those connections—and those connections help grow your business.
Thank you again, Diane!