How to Know if You Should Blog
Posted on July 31, 2013 in Build Your Brand by Katie Oskin
The First Questions Everyone Asks:
Do I Need a Blog?
How To Blog
When people are new to Etsy, one of the very first things they often write to me and ask is: “do I need a blog?” In part I tried to delve into that answer for you in this post. But there are many of you who still write to me wanting more information regarding blogging. So today I am going to tell you of several types of blog platforms, as well as what I use. In addition I will give you some tried & true tactics to help your blog experience success. Hopefully this post will help you learn how to blog and how to create an awesome blog readership.
Where to Start
Kater’s Acres Polymer Clay Studio Work in Progress – The First Parts of New StoryBook Scenes
The question that I get asked the most often, is where do I start? The answer to that is simple … it depends on what you want to accomplish. People need to get to know you and your brand … but the most important thing is not you, it is what you represent … your values, ethics, and quality that make your brand a piece of you and a part of what you do. Learning how to blog takes time, patience, and dedication.
Over 80% of Etsy sellers are women, mostly stay-at-home Mom’s who are trying to make a little extra here and there. But for a few Etsy sellers, their “hobby” is more than that, it is a solid running business that needs maintenance, love, care, support, and oodles of creativity. So after you’ve poured all that into your brand, how in the world can you put time and energy into a blog? That’s a great question and I’m so glad that you asked. Learning how to blog is not something that you will learn in one day, but rather over time, just like you did your artform.
It Takes Time
Many people love blogging because for the most part, it is free. Blogging is a quick and easy way that you can get your name and brand in front of people. However, here is your warning: it might be free to use, but it will not be free of your time if you are doing it right. Blogging is not something that is quick and easy, nor is it something that should be done with haste. Blogging takes time, effort, energy, and planning to pull off. I tell everyone that if you do NOT have the time to devote at least one solid hour a day to writing for your blog, then you should not be doing it. Some people throw up a few pictures on their blog and call it a day. While that’s great and fun, there’s more to blogging than throwing a few pictures online and calling it a day. You need to be willing to invest time & energy into writing good articles that your audience would like that may generate in a large readership and even potentially buyers.
Know Your Audience
On my blog, my audience is split between those who create with polymer clay and those who love Parker. However, when I look at my traffic, it is not Parker that brings my readers, it is my clay articles that bring my readers … maybe that’s why you are here. This being said, it is important that you know how to use Google analytics so that you can see the posts that are working and the posts that are not. By learning how to use this tool, you will quickly see where you should stop investing time and where you need to continue investing time. The format and publishing calendar of your blog may change seasonally and that’s okay, just make sure that what you are doing is working for you and for your brand.
Some of the most essential parts of your blog are it’s component parts. Your blog needs to act as your main hub, the place where everything links to and from. But there are some key strategies to building and growing a healthy blog audience and readership. To date, my blog averages over 6,000 visits a month. This breaks down to an average of about 193 visits a day. While that might seem small to major brands, to a self-run home-based company, it’s pretty good. So here’s some tips to help you in building your blog.
- Post at regularly – at least once a week. The more frequently you post, the more regularly your blog gets picked up in google searches. Make sure you are using proper SEO tools to help Google find your blog! Remember blogging is about building relationships, they do not start over night, but blossom over time.
- Don’t Be Too Personal. Your blog is a virtual reality of whatever you want it to be. This being said, keep the personal stuff to a minimum. Your readers don’t need to know that your cat got sick, kids rolled in the mud, and that you hate beans.
- Use humor. A healthy dose of humor will keep people coming back. Back here’s a warning: most people don’t like profanity, dirty jokes, or off-colored humor … so unless those things are part of your brand, do not engage in them.
- Use Pictures. Posts with pictures on average have more readers than a standard blog. Don’t be afraid to add a few relevant photos to your post.
- Give It Away. What will get you readers faster than anything else? Freebies. You don’t always have to give away product. Give away a free tutorial related to your craft, link to another Etsy friend who has a freebie, post free desktop wallpaper graphics, it doesn’t matter but make sure you give something away.
Blog Platforms to Try:
There are hundreds of blog platforms out there. Here’s a few to try:
- MY CHOICE: I am a solid fan of WordPress as you can create any kind of blog you want. It is 100% customizable. You can purchase themes, download plug-ins & widgets galore. You can get free accounts at http://www.wordpress.com that include 3 GB of storage or you can opt in for the paid “premium” blogs that offer twice the options.
- Blogger is great to get started on while you are building your fan base. However, please not it has very limited customization and only offers 300MB of storage … when you use it all, you have to open a new blog. Period. Sign up for free accounts at http://blogger.com
- A new, up & coming platform is Tumblr. While I do have a Tumblr blog where I reblog from my current site, I find that Tumblr is equivalent to the old MySpace of the early 2000’s. Tumblr is also free and it’s best feature is that it offers very easy sharing between bloggers to share other blogged content. However, please note that this is not very customizable and has very limited functionality. http://tumblr.com
Thanks for joining me today. Join me next week to Build Your Brand on Etsy & experience success.
“BUILD YOUR BRAND”
is a series of posts designed to help you succeed in ‘Building your Brand’ on Etsy and achieving online success through social media, blogs, websites, craft shows, and so much more. Join me every Wednesday as I give you some tips to try and help you achieve Etsy success and perhaps even be one of the lucky few who get to quit their day jobs and focus on their art/craft all day! Thanks for joining me and don’t forget to sign up for the email list here.