Image by linda cronin via flickr
While this entry would benefit from being short, concise and to the point, it is not my style to be writing it in such a manner. So pull up a chair and grab a cup of tea. If you want to read about the in and outs of blogging (the long winded way), then this is the post for you.
Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert on blogging. But having blogged for a few years now, the following is a collection of my observations and what I myself as a blog reader love to see and read in a blog
By definition, a blog (short for weblog) is a term used to describe websites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information. It is a frequently updated, personal website featuring diary-type commentary with links to articles or other websites. A blogger : a person who maintains a blog.
Judging by how far back my archives go, you might think I'm new to the blogging world. On the contrary, I have been blogging since 2003. Not quite as long as some others, but not exactly a new blogger either. I started blogging on Livejournal.com and in fact, I still blog there. As of current, my personal blog on Livejournal has a total of 2,187 journal entries, with a total of 8,005 comments made on the blog either by myself or by my readers. Impressive? Not really. But it definitely proves that I have been blogging for awhile.
There are many handmade crafters out there today. Many trying to sell their humble wares, myself included. As a new seller especially on Etsy.com, you are often told to 'start a blog' to promote traffic and interest to your store. And while starting a blog can be as simple as clicking a few buttons and filling in a few blanks on the signup page over at Blogger.com, what comes next? If you spend all your blogging time just talking about your stuff and flogging your store, people are not going to read it for the simple reason that it's boring!
Image by E-magic via flickr
Why are you blogging?
When I first started blogging, I had a reason. My (then) boyfriend and I were seperated and in a long distance relationship. It was my way of showing him what I was up to and letting him be part of my life in a fashion. After we broke up, I continued blogging as I had fallen in love with it. I loved to write and what better way to show my love for writing than to write?
So be very clear on why you have started your blog and why you are blogging. If you are only doing it to promote traffic to your shop, I'm afraid that is not going to be enough. Blogs are tools to look into a blogger's life, heart and soul. If you don't put the human factor into your blog, your blog will never take its first breath and live.
I now run 3 blogs simultaneously. I still post on Livejournal.com as that is my personal blog where my deepest and darkest secrets go. It is locked to the public and only pre-approved people on my friends list are able to view the entries I make. This ensures my privacy and keeps me safe from random naysayers as well as online drama and internet wars as I can be fairly opinionated sometimes. I also post on this blog (while running a mirror of this one on livejournal for the livejournal readers). My last blog is a travel and food review blog over at Berry travels which is unfortunately taking a bit of a back seat currently as I have been working hard on my crafts. They were all started up for different reasons, and as long as the reasons are still valid, the blogs will continue to exist.
I figured out my reasons, now what?
Once you know why you are blogging, this should be easy: start blogging! My suggestion is not to force it. Do not sit down in front of the computer thinking: I have to blog today. Your blog post will come across as forced and uneasy. Blogging should never be a chore!
Take a notepad around with you if you need it and jot down ideas for blog posts as they come up. I used to wish there was a way I could write blog posts up on the internet instantly as I thought of them! And they don't all need to be related either. You can talk about food on a craft blog, you can talk about yourself, or other people. It really doesn't matter! You obviously want a constant theme running through but don't sweat it too much. If you are an avid blog reader like me, you will definitely know that readers love to read about quirky random things, interesting things, and other things that might have happened to you around your life. We are naturally curious beings, so we want to know!
Image via Kevin Marks via Flickr
I feel stupid writing all these: is there even anybody reading?
How are you ever going to get anywhere if you don't keep those posts coming? It really doesn't matter whether or not somebody is reading. If you have been dropping links and promoting your blog as you should have been, then somebody would be reading it. Think about it this way: blogging is just as much for yourself as it is for others. One day you will look back through your archives and go "I did what? " and "Oh gee, that was dumb." It's like keeping a diary, a scrapbook, or even a photo album. Just in a digital form.
Plus if you keep writing quality posts (this is important!) and not just "Hey, my shop is this way!" style posts, people will start catching on and passing on the link to your blog to others. Interesting posts will spread like wild fire, so concentrate on writing and not how many followers you have showing on your Google Friends Application.
I don't want to share my life; my life is boring
Do not underestimate the power of human curiosity. Yes, I do actually want to know what you had for dinner. Yes, I do actually want to know what the weather was like in Tokyo. Yes, I do actually want to know that your cat spewed all over your laundry and you had to skip a movie so you could rescue your laundry. In these modern ages where people are just so busy working, working and doing more working, little things like these makes the day go by just that little bit quicker. Many of us read blogs at work: we just don't admit it since our bosses won't like it. So reading that you had a cheery day makes our days that little bit cheerier as well; reading that you had a bad day makes us sympathize and secretly be thankful that it wasn't us.
But if you are a private or a shy person, I understand how opening up the door to your life can be intimidating. It's not the end of the world of blogging, trust me. You can write about other things! You can share interesting links you found on the internet, you can share book reviews, you can share photos, you can share so many, so many things. You don't need to talk about you to have an interesting blog.
Just remember this: Nothing, absolutely nothing is considered boring. Unless you are endlessly promoting your shop. Because yes, that's boring.
Image via Andrew Mo via Flickr
I hope you have enjoyed my little essay so far. This is merely Part 1! Stay tune for more, and I do welcome feedback! I love getting comments so please do leave some. I check back on your blogs via your username as I love to follow new blogs and read them. So if you don't leave a comment, I don't know where your blog is to follow =P
Part 2 coming soon!