If you haven’t heard yet, the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop, sign-up, will be starting at the beginning February, 2017. For a calendar of events of how this works, see http://quiltingjetgirl.com/2017-new-quilt-bloggers.
Three fabulous and very talented quilters and bloggers, are organizing this blog hop.
I was lucky to participate in the 2014 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop, and I learned so much from experienced quilt bloggers who offered advice as well as, new quilt bloggers, who were participating. This is a summary of what I learned from participating in the blog hop, as well as since that time.
Write from your own voice. At first, it may be hard to find your voice. Write lots practice posts, until you find a style that rings true to you. You will know when to press the publish button. Once you’ve found your sweet spot, use it to write consistently about the quilting and sewing you love; just be sure to be your authentic self.
Keep your posts informational, upbeat and from 500-1000 words, at most. If a post feels too long, break it up into a series, i,e., 1,2,3,4,etc. Try this exercise; Read some blogs. Notice how long your attention span lasts, and take a word count. Try using that as your benchmark for your posts.
Today, because we do have so much more social media to consume than 10 years ago, we have become skimmers of the text. This is not so much a hard and fast rule, as a tendency of readers in today’s world. We tend to stop and read to absorb the parts that we need to incorporate in our craft, business and life. Too much detail can be tedious to readers, and they will stop reading.
SEO is very important because google will rank your blog based on those keywords. Revisit this issue at least once a month and look at your statistics. If you can, take a class online or at at your local community college about how to improve your SEO.
Photographs are very important in the quilt blogosphere, because this is a very visual topic. As quilters and sewists we consider colors, fabrics, threads, tutorials, techniques, various types of pins and needles, irons, how we iron, just to name a few. Quilters post tutorials using photos and videos. We are often inspired by the physical environment and all the elements that are a part of it.
Make your photographs large and as pretty as you can using editing software. (You don’t have to spend tons of money on this. Picmonkey is one of many free online photo editing sites, and you can purchase extra editing features if you choose). Don’t use thumbnails photos, and center the photo in your blog post. Beware of shadows and the light source when photographing your work. Consider taking a photography and editing class, which will helped me.
Be sure to have your text or content support your photos, and your photos support your text or content. And although we may be in a hurry to get a post published, wait at least an hour, if not a day, and proof-read before pressing that publish button.
It’s a good idea to watermark your photos. If you use someone else’s photos or work, get permission from them, and be sure to give them credit. Link back to them. It is the right thing to do, fellow bloggers will appreciate you for it, and it will bring more traffic back to your site via SEO.
Be consistent. If you’re going to blog twice a week, or everyday, stick to that goal. If you go on vacation, you can write posts in advance and set them to post on specific dates in advance. Or you can ask other bloggers to guest post on your blog while you are away, and offer to do the same for them. Another option, is to tell your readers you will not be posting over vacation to enjoy a break, and be with your family.
In December of 2013 before Christmas, we had a family emergency, and I really didn’t want to share it with the world. Amy Gibson gave me smart, and heartfelt advice. She advised me to let my blog go, until I was ready to get back to it, and just focus on dealing with an ill family member. The blog will be there when I am ready to get back to it. So, I posted on my blog that I was on holiday until early January. And, if I needed more time I was prepared to say so on my blog. I am so grateful to Amy for all her support and guidance during that time.
That brings me to the “it’s too personal” to share on your blog issue. We consume social media differently than we did back then. Honestly, there is so much more for us to read, and look at, such as blogs, newsletters, (which are becoming more popular right now than ever before), facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, Pinterest, and much more. Think about the content you choose to share before posting. If it gets into personal sharing, ask yourself; “In a few years from now, how will I feel about this post? Is it possible that I might feel embarrassed that I shared this with the world? Will it be viewed as unprofessional? Those questions will provide answers, a red flag, as to whether your post is providing too much information or too personal.
Read other blogs and learn from them. Before I published my first post, I read over 200 blogs. I focused on the five or six that I thought were outstanding. Of course, I didn’t copy them, but the characteristics that made them special, I made notes about. I continue to read a lot of blogs, comment regularly and engage. Others will soon do that with your blog too, especially if you participate in weekly Linky Parties, join quilt bees, QAL’s and comment on other bloggers blogs. BUT DON’T ask other bloggers to follow you. You will meet so many wonderful people, and if you have an opportunity to attend a conference, and meet them in person, it is very special.
Respond to those who leave a comment on your blog. Many don’t respond in the reply comment box, which if fine. It’s a nice touch to respond directly to the commenters with their e-mail address, which is more personal. Also, most responders don’t remember to go back to your blog post to see if you responded to their comments.
This is an amazing journey. I met so many like-minded quilt bloggers, who have become very special friends, who I’m sure I will be in touch with for many, many years. I look forward to reading your blogs during the hop this spring.
Good luck and have fun!!