6 questions to ask yourself before starting a craft blog

A guest post by Kelly Watson of One Woman Marketing

i love you, blogs and coffee

If haven’t yet starting a blog for your crafting business or creative development, it’s not too late. In July 2009, American Salesman Magazine described blogging as “one of the least expensive methods for establishing a professional presence on the Internet.” Blogging can also generate new leads, improve customer relationships and help you make more sales — not to mention connect you with other creative folks from around the world.

But beware: blogging takes work. To assess whether you can manage the blog yourself, will need to outsource or should stick to traditional marketing methods, consider the following six questions:

1. Can you post regularly? The first rule of blogging is to update on a regular basis. Once a week is the bare minimum. For most crafters, this requires having at least half a dozen blog posts written and waiting, so they can continue to make regular updates no matter what their schedule holds.

2. Can you write good content? Your posts should not only be free from spelling and grammatical errors, they should also be interesting and relevant to your market. Each post should range in length from a magazine blurb to a magazine article (about 150 to 600 words) and should be written with roughly the same attention to quality and detail.

3. Can you format content correctly? It doesn’t matter how great your post is. If it’s not formatted correctly, few people will read it. Internet users have notoriously short attention spans, and they prefer text that’s broken up into small paragraphs with compelling headlines, subheads, bullet points and lists. Graphics help, too.

4. Can you monitor news and trends? Once you’ve started blogging, people will expect you to cover breaking industry news and trends. This doesn’t mean you need to stay glued to the news ticker – only that you must be well-informed. You should also be prepared to monitor your online reputation using a free service such as Google Alerts.

5. Can you interact with readers? Writing blog posts is only the beginning. You also have to interact with the people who leave comments, delete spam and respond to e-mails. Depending on your web traffic, this could take anywhere from a few minutes a week to a few hours a day. Chances are good it will fall somewhere in between.

6. Can you interact with other bloggers? While this isn’t an absolute requirement, it is a good idea. Commenting on similar blogs, linking to other people’s relevant blog posts and reaching out to other bloggers in your field will strengthen your authority and expand your reach.

If you answered yes to all six questions, congratulations! You’re prepared to blog. If you answered no to any of the first five, however, you should seriously consider hiring outside help … or putting blogging off until you have more time to devote to it.

Kelly Watson is a web copywriter who writes blog posts and other marketing materials for small business owners who are too busy to do it themselves. She blogs at www.OneWomanMarketing.com.

{ i love you, blogs & coffee – print by Jennifer Ramos }

If you’re ready to start your creative blog, check out my new ebook: 52 MORE Weeks of Blogging Your Passion. It’s designed to help you keep blogger’s block away and draw readers to you. Here’s what people are saying:

If you need advice on blogging, however, I’ll send you straight to the master – Scoutie Girl Tara Gentile.I didn’t think she could come up with any more advice on how to blog effectively, but she did!
— Candy, Candied Fabrics

Click here to start blogging with passion!

16 thoughts on “6 questions to ask yourself before starting a craft blog

  1. Thanks for featuring this post, Tara! Perhaps question number seven should be, “Do you have a copy of Blogging Your Passion?” ‘Cause it’s a great springboard for a whole year’s worth of blog posts :)

  2. Hey Kelly {and Tara},

    Great advice! I think number 2 and 3 are extremely important to have a successful blog, but I’m not sure they’re necessary to get started. I think you can learn the most from just jumping into it. I started an event planning blog about 2 and 1/2 years ago, and I had no idea what I was doing. My content was all over the place and the format of my posts could have used a lot of work at the beginning, but I learned as went and that blog ended up being really successful.

    I think there’s a fine line between being prepared and making excuses because “you’re not ready.” Blogging is one of those things that I’ve found that I learned the most from just doing it. I did research for a few weeks before I started, but then I just had to go for it.

    Now, I have a completely different blog, because my passions seriously changed. And, I put off starting this blog for a while, because I wanted everything to be perfect before I started it. Once I started, I wished that I’d have started sooner!

    I think it’s super important to know that you’ll have enough time to blog consistently, respond to readers, and deliver useful content :)

    Thanks for this post!

    1. Thanks April! Great advice. I think for 2 and 3, it depends on what kind of person you are. If fears about not writing well are holding you back from diving in, then perhaps you should examine those fears to see if they’re really true, or if they’re just fear and perfectionism getting in the way. You can also hire a freelance writer for an hour to edit your posts and make some suggestions. There are always ways to move forward.

  3. Kelly- Great advice for new or aspiring bloggers!

    I started my blog to just talk/write about whatever was on my mind…and it was all over the place! When my business started to gain momentum, I started to make my blog more organized as a way to increase readership.

    I have an “editorial calendar” and try to make my posts about one of a few things – home decor, DIY projects, my obsession, my wants/wish list, blogging, and etsy.

    I think having a somewhat consistent theme or sticking to a few topics gives your readers a sense that you are serious and know what you’re doing. Readers don’t like blogs that are sporadic or all over the place. They kind of want to know what to expect.

    1. Thanks Gina! An editorial calendar is a great blogging tool. I learned about it from a marketing consultant friend of mine, and I plan to start one for 2011 as a way to stay on track and diversify the content.

  4. Good points that have made me give myself a shove to start writing more *G* One thing I found incredibly useful was having one regular feature that I do every Sunday, and enjoy writing (as simple as finding Etsy items I like) – that way, there is always at leasta bit of new content, and I take the pressure of myself, freeing my mind up for other blog posts.

  5. I think another key aspect of a successful blog is great visual content. I love eye candy; it draws me in. For example, what drew me to this particular post was the fabulous photograph. I took a second look and recognized the book “I Married Adventure” which I adore because of the crazy jungle print cover. You never know what little aspect of your post is going to resonate with an individual reader.

  6. Thanks for the tips!

    I’m pretty sure my blog is sort of all-over-the-place, as it is a mix of personal, tutorial, tips, crafting, etc. These are all very true things to keep in mind and I will definitely be referring back to this list in the future!

  7. This advice is really great for people wondering about starting a blog. Taking that first step is the hardest. I am so glad I started blogging (about 20 months ago), even though I have learned so much since then, you have to start somewhere. My early posts weren’t that great, but they weren’t read that much, either. Take that first step, you won’t be sorry!

  8. Great points! I feel like I’m learning so much everyday about blogging. I think I’m definitely a work in progress. These 6 points are definitely crucial to having a blog that people actually want to read.

  9. Great post – to which I was guided by SundayAfternoonHousewife’s book The Blogging Adventure. Reading this is my first step in trying to get my head round blogging. Having read it, believe I can answer Yes to all the questions you pose.

    My problem is that all you bloggers are all so experienced that you’ve forgotten that those of us (silver surfers like myself in particular) do not necessarily know what the first basic steps of blogging are.

    My blog is http://www.ColdhamCuddliescalling.blogspot.com. by the way

    Some questions to which I need fairly urgent answers are:

    (1) What is the difference between HTML editing and Composing one’s blog? What effect does editing/altering either or both have on one’s written material?

    (2) Literally, how does one link between one blog site and another? Does one start on one’s own site (and have to remember, or note down, blog addresses of those one wants to communicate with? Or go on the said blog site and comment as advised in the book by Martha (among the thousands of other commments) and hope yours gets noticed?

    (3) Tim Adams on Handmadeology got me going with his Social Media Blitz, and I managed to understand and follow his instructions regarding getting my posts circulated via Facebook, Twitter, Buzz – and have seen the results for myself. However, the e-mail bit foxes me (which e-mails does one choose – one’s contacts or the blog sites, or the media sites such as Digg, Pininterest, Kaboodle and Stumbleupon? Have registered with all of them (and they contact me on this e-mail address) , but how do I get them to look at, comment on etc. about ColdhamCuddliescalling?

    (4) As for “Grabbing a Button” – again, how does one do it? I’ve followed the blog from Kanelstrand on the subject (indeed, printed it off), but I get so far – and then no further. I keep returning to where I began – very frustrating. Where does one start – on the subject blog’s site, or mine?

    That’s just four queries for you. Probably will start others once I’ve heard back (hopefully) from you. Meanwhile, thanks in advance for reading and helping (as I’m told by Martha I can expect the bloggers out there to do). Cheers. Isobel

  10. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you, However I am having problems with ykur RSS.
    I don’t understand the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it.

    Is there anybody havbing similar RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer can you
    kindly respond? Thanks!!

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