Elaine’s Rules for Blogging

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(Part II of a series on blogging for jewelers and artists.)

What is your goal?

Since you’re writing for free, and you could get paid to write, why do it?

Well, to drive traffic to your site and sell more jewelry,

OR

to raise your profile as a professional and get your name “out there.”

Elaine’s Rules for Blogging:

1. No white text on a black background. If I go to your site and you have white text I will leave. And I have a big monitor. It hurts my eyes, period, and I’m saving my eyes for jewelry making.

2. You must self-host your blog. You may start out on Blogger if you must, but then you must move to self-hosting your blog. Why? Because if you don’t, you won’t be taken seriously. And you should own your content and own your site, you just should. Start off right from the beginning.

3. Use Word Press for your software. It’s the best, trust me.

4. No pictures of you with your pet. No pictures of your pet, period, unless you make products for pets and they are modeling. No other exceptions. Same goes for your kids. Others may disagree, but if this is a professional blog, then keep it professional. If you want a mommy blog, get a mommy blog. You may put that one on Blogger.

5. Read the meta blogs, the blogs about blogging. Keep learning.

6. Use social media to spread the word about your blog.

What are people interested in reading about? What readers do you want to attract?

You, I assume, want to attract people who buy handcrafted jewelry.

So, what do you your readers, your customers want to read about?

Sample blog:

http://luannudell.wordpress.com

I love Luann’s blog, it’s tightly, tightly focused. She’s opinionated, but that’s okay, because it’s on topic. She keeps it impersonal. If she mentions something about her personal life, it’s as an analogy for something, there’s a point to it.

Hers is one of the blogs in my Google Reader. I like it even though she uses hardly any pictures, I think she should use more.

Okay, so for you, the artist blogger:

I would suggest you read a ton of artist’s blogs, specifically jewelers, there are some on my links page.

Use your new blog to do this:

- talk about what you’re making, see the Happy Day Art blog for a good example.

- talk about what shows you’re doing — scan and post the post cards.

- decide how often to post and then do it. At least three times a week.

Things like that. Every post you do should be focused on this:

- promoting the image of YOU, Jewelry Artist Extraordinaire

- giving your future customers a chance to peak inside the YOU art experience. Because that’s what buyers of handcrafted jewelry are buying.

Your blog should build your brand.

Whew what a lecture! Ask me questions!

(For more sample blogs, check out my Links section; if you’d like to read about blogs I’ve highlighted and why do a search on “Blog of the Week.”)

Be sure to read the comments for some great info. from other artist bloggers!

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8 Responses to “Elaine’s Rules for Blogging”

  1. Marco Fleseri on 23 Jan 2008 at 11:46 am

    YES! Thanks so much for the bit about “no pet photos” and other such nonsense. (”mommy blog” made me laugh.) There are lots of things I have felt like writing about, but the blog on my professional site is NOT the place for that, however amusing it might be.

    And the purpose of any blog is writing so that people can and will READ IT, so that means no pink text on white, no white text on black, and please please PLEASE no goofy fonts like “Comic Sans” (makes gagging noise).

    I agree with all of your and do’s and don’ts, with one tiny quasi-exception. And in this regard, I am an exception to the norm: While WordPress IS the best choice for those who don’t have the time or expertise to write or edit the back-end code of their web site, I decided against using it because I designed and built my web site myself. I wanted a blog more integrated in the same platform, one that I could edit to my liking. So for me, the solution I chose is the best fit. Unless you’re a web site designer or developer, use WordPress.

    You’re absolutely right about buyers of handcrafted art jewelry — the story is of interest. A blog done well will help promote and ultimately sell more work, and that is worth the time it takes to maintain it.

  2. Kirsten Skiles on 23 Jan 2008 at 1:51 pm

    I agree with some points and disagree with others. I don’t mind seeing a few pet photos, not lots. I do like some personal details, but all kept positive.
    This is one of my favorite blogs to read http://blockpartypress.blogspot.com/
    She makes every post useful to me and promotional for herself. It’s not just all about selling to me. It’s about giving back to me as well, usually in the form of inspiration and positive attitude.

  3. Elaine on 23 Jan 2008 at 2:12 pm

    You’re right Kirsten, some personal info. is definitely okay. It’s a delicate balance — some bloggers do a great job of the balance and some don’t.

    Your blog and Happy Day Art both include some family pictures and stories in a way that add to the blogs.

    Some other blogs go way too far (in my opinion) in including personal details that aren’t really relevant. There comes a point where I think, hmm, this person really has two different blogs here.

    Thanks for the link to blockpartypress, I’m checking out her site.

    Thanks for the comment!

    Elaine

    P.S. For a post called “What is a Blog?” See today’s post at

    http://www.copyblogger.com

  4. Tamra on 24 Jan 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Alright, you said you liked my blog…which is it? LOL!

    Seriously though, you really helped me figure out the purpose of my blog a while back–thank you. I’d struggled with the audience thing for a bit before chatting with you about it.

    I knew from the beginning that I wanted mine to be more of a journal of sorts because I’ve always journaled; but, I just wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted customers to see it too–and for the most part, I really don’t.

    So, I pulled it from being something that I actively promote to customers, although if people happen to stumble across it somehow, fine. If they never find it, that’s fine too. I figure if people want to read it they’ll stay, if they don’t they’ll move on.

    My blog is also a quick resource for me where I can find some of my favorite jewelry-related and non-jewelry-related bits and pieces of information all in one place. It’s a depository for me. And, if fellow jewelry artists happen to find something they can use, that’s fine too.

    So, like Kirsten, I kind of agree and disagree on a few points. I think some all-jewelry blogs are great, and then there are some all-jewelry blogs that I think are really dead in terms of content. Some get way too personal, and others provide just the right amount. But, there definitely needs to be a good balance and that can be hard to achieve.

    So, a little Fido, kitty cat and or baby here and there won’t hurt anything, but if kitty is in every other post or photo and it’s a jewelry blog–or any other subject-specific blog, THAT might be a bit much.

    Haven’t tried WordPress yet, but definitely plan to. May be hitting you up for some tips.

    Thx!

  5. Elaine on 24 Jan 2008 at 4:13 pm

    You’re welcome Tamra!

    Check out Tarma’s blog here:

    http://gentrydesignco.typepad.com/jewelrydesignchronicles/

  6. Elaine on 25 Jan 2008 at 9:32 pm

    Here’s a great blog with pet photos and a pet related ceramics business.

    http://www.sarahregansnavely.com/

    Elaine

  7. Sarah Regan Snavely on 28 Jan 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Thanks for the link! Love your blog — after I found it I had to go back and read many, many past posts. Gold!

  8. Luann Udell on 11 Feb 2008 at 9:06 am

    I just found this post, and I’m so honored to be mentioned as the “good example.” Thank you, Elaine, for the thoughtful comments.
    And I will take your suggestions (adding more photos) to heart. Also the networking bit. :^)
    The best blogging advice I ever got was from my DH, who blogs for a living. He said, “Provide material that is USEFUL to others, and they will come.” I’ve tried to write about what I’ve found useful in my life and my art, and hope others find it useful, too.

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