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Do you write a Craft Blog, should I?

(20 Posts)
Flutterbye Wed 24-Nov-10 21:32:25

To date I've not followed or written any blogs but am toying with the idea of doing one to tell the world what I'm up to crafty wise. I've got a Folksy store and am thinking of getting my own web address.

So on the subject of blogs:

- Does it matter which site it's on?
- What does it do for you?
- what else do I need to know?

Thanks in anticipation.

evenkeel Wed 24-Nov-10 22:43:19

Flutterbye, this is interesting - I've thought (very, very vaguely) about this myself but never done anything about it on the grounds of just not having enough time to devote to it.

Personally I like reading arty/crafty blogs, and regularly check up on lots of them (especially Yarnstorm - though I have mixed feelings about it - Attic24, Do You Mind if I Knit - lots more too, as well as foody ones, as I'm interested in cookery). Really enjoy/am inspired by seeing new ideas and getting a glimpse into other lives. On the other hand, I quite often feel horribly inadequate when I see all the wonderful things people are doing, when I....well, don't have the time.

Would you find it intrusive, do you think? Quite a lot of bloggers reveal a fair amount about their personal lives, relationships etc. In a way I suspect it's quite hard to keep that sort of detail out of it....and I do think you have to be pretty dedicated to putting the effort in. Most of the ones I see have amazing photos, and I guess that takes time too. It's a big commitment, I think.

Niecie Thu 25-Nov-10 01:02:50

I am also thinking about doing one too. I had a website built a couple of years ago and the designers have recently been pushing social media advertising and blogs as a way of getting traffic (they are offering to set things up for me - for a fee of course!).

I like the idea but like evenkeel, I worry I won't have the time and that I will look a bit inadequate as well. I suppose there is a danger it will turn into a bit of a diary and I wonder how easy it is to keep your private life out of it. I notice some people never photograph faces or give full names but I worry there won't be enough to talk about if you stick rigidly to discussing nothing but craft.

I don't know how you chose a site. I know some are free and others aren't, so that is one consideration. I have the book Web Marketing for Dummies and although I haven't read much, they don't seem to have much to say on how to chose a site at all so maybe it is about personal preference.

A quick perusal of my rather comprehensive list of bookmarked craft blogs(blush there are rather a lot) would suggest that Blogger was the most used although Blogspot seems fairly common too.

My personal concerns revolve around the etiquette of having a blog i.e.
- What is the deal with followers? Can you follow anybody and do you have to have a blog yourself?
- What is the deal with swaps?
- How do you find out about groups you can join and should you join them?
- What about copyright and using photos - when can you use other people's photos and when can you not? How do you protect your own photos?
- How do you link to things like your website, Facebook, Twitter etc?
- Does it work as a means of advertising?!!

There are probably others but they escape me.

I shall await devlepments on thi soon.:-}

evenkeel Thu 25-Nov-10 09:13:33

Yes, from various blogs I've followed, there does seem to be a major problem with photo copyright - ie people nicking your photos and using them without permission.

However, I don't want to put you off, Flutterbye! A friend set up a blog and said she was amazed by how simple it was to do, technically speaking - and she's no geek.

I occasionally look at India Knight's blog, and she uses this. It seems to be quite simple to use, as far as I can see, and it looks good on the page. They also say that it can link automatically to Twitter, Facebook etc, if you go in for that sort of thing <Luddite flounce grin>

Niecie Thu 25-Nov-10 09:47:18

I've never seen that blogging site before.

Looks good but do they do all that without a fee? I will have to look more closely.

I do use FB but although I have an account on Twitter but I don't get it at all!!

Rhian82 Thu 25-Nov-10 10:06:31

I have a Blogger/Blogspot one here: thecraftygeek.blogspot.com/

Blogger is simple and easy to use, but can be frustrating with the Profile and Follower set-ups. I think WordPress is the way to go if you want more control but I don't know much about it.

You can't ever use other people's photos without their permission - there's no registering of copyright, it's automatic. There isn't really a way of stopping people stealing your pics though, apart from putting watermarks in them. Mine's just a tiny blog though and my photos aren't very good, so no one would want to steal them!

Swaps are great but I've never done one through my blog - don't think I've got enough readers. I've done them through other people's blogs though (and lots through Ravelry) so can always answer questions on that.

I tend to put links on Facebook and Twitter once I've posted, and I do get most of my traffic through those links. I've had a couple of links retweeted by people with lots more followers than me, and my page hits shot up!

soccerwidow Thu 25-Nov-10 10:16:56

I started a blog because I was a newbie on another forum, and I couldn't post photos. Yet I could have a homepage. (I am a mere crafting amature, I don't do this professionally)

I use blogger, was fairly easy to set up and easy to follow other peoples blogs. I also for some reason follow some of the same but also other blogs on Google Reader. (not sure how or why) I quite enjoy "blog hopping", I just click "next blog" on the blogger toolbar. I have found some fab blogs that way.

I would say, set up a little personal blog, have a little play and work out what you want from it. Then when you are ready set up a more professional blog.

With the photo thing I often see people put "watermarks" on their photos and a couple of times I have tried to save a photos for inspiration but it has been protected - I imagine you would pay someone to do this maybe on one of those photo hosting sites?

Basically with a blog I think you can be as simple or complex as you like.

Niecie Thu 25-Nov-10 10:34:46

At the risk of hijacking Flutterbye's thread, I am confused about the pictures thing because I quite often see pictures taken from books or magazines rather than other bloggers. I suppose people might be photographing the page and I was wondering if that was allowed.

And what about taking pictures of other people's work? What if you go to a show and take a picture of somebody's quilt? They might have blogged a picture of that themselves. Do you need to ask permission to use it?

Or am I overthinking this?

evenkeel Thu 25-Nov-10 10:52:38

Posterous seems to be free to use, Niecie.

Flutterbye, what did you have in mind to achieve with your blog? Is it really just to amuse yourself, or that you want to share things with other people? I guess that would determine the way you go about it. Personally I get irritated (probably quite unfairly) when a blog I've been following suddenly dies for no reason. I like the feeling of being able to see the latest posts and what's been going on - I'm monstrously inquisitive about the lives of other people!

Rhian82 Thu 25-Nov-10 10:54:01

If they're taken from books or magazines, technically they need permission from the publishers. However, publishers will often overlook this (or give permission if asked), because it's free advertising for their book/mag.

Unprune Thu 25-Nov-10 10:56:26

I know someone who has a very successful craft blog. She uses it to sell items, too (possibly using BigCartel). She uses Wordpress because she likes the level of customisation and control she has with it; loads of craft bloggers like it for the same reason.

As for it being a glimpse into someone's life, she says it is precisely that: she isn't the person she presents on the blog, though that is one facet of her. She takes photos of small, exquisite bits of her flat and her work, and puts a lot of effort into the photography - that's a must. You never see her dirty dishes or laundry pile, for obvious reasons. I asked her once if she thought people knew her too well through her blog and she snorted. It's a marketing tool for her.

Rhian82 Thu 25-Nov-10 11:20:54

Yep, there was much laughing on Mumsnet at the Sew Liberated blog recently, but I doubt her life is actually as pristine as it looks – she sells a look as part of her business.

I read a lot of mum blogs as well and I quite like the craft blogs that combine both and do show the chaos - but those are less likely to be ones that are also promoting businesses.

Unprune Thu 25-Nov-10 11:25:54

I actually find the mum stuff offputting, generally. I think with crafty stuff, yes some of the audience have children, but I'm amazed at how many simply don't: they have cats instead, or they're gay. Going on about the children limits your market. Unless someone wants to specifically go for the mum-with-small-children market - but it's relatively small because a lot of women with small children actually want to escape that and do something that's for them.

Niecie Thu 25-Nov-10 11:58:02

Yes, I think it is a mistake to go on about children too much on a craft blog. A lot of crafters are middle aged or elderly because they have the time and the money. That is what I see when I go to shows anyway. That isn't to say that us younger ones don't craft but there is a wider market out there and maybe they aren't the people who follow blogs either.

Having said that Rhian, your baby pics were very cute on your blog. smile

It is enough to make me wish I had some really small people to knit for so maybe there is some marketing to be had from a bit of child related chat!

I can't see how you can keep children out entirely. I am sure I will on more than one occasion say something about not having done anything because of the children!!

How do you all chose your blogs to bookmark or follow? If I find a new one I tend to scroll through it looking at the pics. If the pics don't appeal then I don't book mark. I read the text afterwards so pics are very important to me.

Rhian82 Thu 25-Nov-10 12:08:45

Lol thanks - there's been quite a few recently which is actually unusual, normally it's all knitted socks.

I use Google Reader to read blogs which I think is really good. If I find a blog I quite like I subscribe using that, but I'm quite ruthless at weeding things out as well. If I find I'm not really enjoying something then I just unsubscribe again.

Are there any good cross stitch blogs out there? I follow a lot of knitting ones and some sewing, but I never seem to find any dedicated cross stitch ones.

Niecie Thu 25-Nov-10 12:26:22

There is this Craft Blogs website which might be worth a trawl through for cross stitch related blogs.

Other than that I don't know of any. Have you googled cross stitch blogs? I came up with this one and, even better, this.

Tizwozliz Thu 25-Nov-10 19:00:49

I blog a little about crafty stuff I've done and include tutorials for some things e.g.
Danish Christmas hearts. But it's a general blog used for all sorts of things. Part of the reason I do it, is a share and share alike philosophy. I've got loads of great ideas and followed other peoples tutorials so it only seems fair to give something back.

As for the technical side of things, it's really very easy. Blogspot and Wordpress are the two well known ones. I started off with blogspot but moved to a self hosted wordpress blog later on (there are two versions of wordpress .com and .org, one requires no hosting and your website is given an address like www.mycraftyblog.wordpress.com and the other you host yourself and allows for a lot more customisation but it's a steeper learning curve.

Rhian82 Thu 25-Nov-10 19:45:29

Ooh that's interesting about WordPress, thanks. Have subscribed to your blog too!

coldcomfortHeart Tue 30-Nov-10 12:43:35

I have one after toying with the whole idea for a while- I had read wordpress was the way to go for 'control' but probably only use a fraction of it! I am very much still learning!

I do think photography is important and have a crappy little camera so that's a bit frustrating.

I use facebook in conjunction with my blog but not yet twitter <scared>. I know I should- I have a friend with a blog to promote his homewares business and Twitter really increases his traffic. If you get featured on a big blog like DesignSponge your hits go through the roof. I gather it's a 'I scratch your back and you scratch mine' kind of thing.

I have to admit to putting photos of DS in from <ahem> time to time, purely to placate my overseas family member readers, of course...

coldcomfortHeart Tue 30-Nov-10 12:45:47

Oh and in terms of time, you can start with a sort of schedule to help avoid the 'what do I write?!' problem, so Mondays something you're working on, wednesdays something on another site/blog you love, Fridays something you've finished, etc.

I'm trying to build up a store of photos of things I've sewn in the past to put on during crafty dry spells/when real non-sewing life takes over!

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