Advice for New Bloggers

Beth at Plum and June has become a dear friend of mine ever since I discovered her Let’s Get Acquainted Blog Hop last year.  She has asked me to write an advice post for her 2013 New Blogger Blog Hop.  There has already been great advice for starting a blog written by Heidi at Fabric Mutt and about blog photography by Tessa at the Sewing Chick.  If you haven’t read them, check them out!

A lot of what I tell you is going to be reiteration, but they are all things that I have found to be true, and I don’t think they can be repeated enough! So, without further ado, here is my list of what I have learned over my years of blogging.

The evolution of my blog header

The evolution of my blog header

It Doesn’t All Happen Overnight

My blog has evolved over the past 4 years into something that feels very truthful to who I am as a person and a crafter.  It wasn’t that way at first and it took time to develop my voice, the focus of my blog and it’s overall design (which will always be a work in progress).  Don’t rush it.  It will happen eventually.

Know Who Your Audience Is

Are you writing your blog for other crafters, or for family and friends?  I go to sewing blogs to be inspired. This may sound harsh, but I don’t want to read an entire post about your dog’s medical procedures, or look at five posts in a row full of vacation photos.  Your blog doesn’t need to be all rainbows all the time and all crafting all the time, but 95% of it should be.

PicMonkey Collage

Fun Fact: I was a costumer for film and TV

Add a Personal Touch

This may sound contradictory to my last statement, but really it isn’t! There is TMI and then there is personalizing your blog to draw your audience in.  Add a photo of yourself on your homepage and make it easy for your readers to find your first name.  Have an “About Me” page that where the audience can read a little bit more about you and a few interesting tidbits that make you different from all the other bloggers.

Take Great Photos and Learn To Edit Them

No matter how amazing your creations are, if your photos are poor, people won’t come back to your blog.  There are great tutorials out there for taking better photos.  Check out the post Tessa just wrote and the one Holly at  Bijou Lovely wrote for last year’s blog hop.  Every photo I upload has been cropped, resized, sharpened, and sometimes I adjust the exposure and saturation.

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 2.09.13 PM

My Instagram

Get Social

Make sure you respond to comments, and in turn, comment on other blogs. This is how you network, which will eventually lead to other opportunities such as blog hops and better yet, new friends!. Also, if you don’t have Instagram, get it!  That is the place to be right now if you want to build your social crafting network.  I love seeing everyone’s progress photos and getting to comment on them in real time. Instagram may be the death of blogs…or at least change the definition of what is post-worthy. Time will tell, but don’t be caught on the outside.

Don’t Sweat It

We can’t all be as prolific as some of those rockstar sewing/quilting bloggers out there who post a gorgeous, finished project everyday.  Don’t ever worry about having projects to show every week.  Concentrate on quality content. Blog because you have created something you love, don’t create something so that you have something to blog. I would rather see 1 or 2 beautifully photographed, well-written and visually inspiring posts a week than a mediocre post everyday.  Lastly, never apologize for being delinquent in posting.  Everyone else is busy with their lives and they probably didn’t even notice that you were gone. What they WILL notice is the stunning quilt that you have been lovingly taking your time working on for weeks.

So that’s it! Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you around these parts again.

36 Responses to Advice for New Bloggers

  1. Thanks Janice! It’s hard to remember the don’t sweat it part so that I good reminder for me. Thanks for a great post, and one I needed to hear today!

  2. Thanks for the great advice! This blog hop has been so awesome- so many great new people and great mentors to advise us along the way.

  3. Thank you so much for writing the “Don’t sweat it” part. I see so much “post every day ALL THE TIME so people don’t forget you!” advice when I really think that advice ought to be “comment and email and laugh and socialize so people don’t forget you.” I agree, I’d rather see one or two lovely posts a month than less-great posts every day. Good food for thought.

  4. Thanks for the fantastic advice! Sometimes it is hard to find your voice in your blog, and it’s good to read that you think they are always a work in progress. After blogging for only a month or so, mine has already undergone tremendous changes, and I’m sure they won’t be the last!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  5. Great advice my dear. I dont think its necessary to have a long post, just an interesting one. I like pretty pictures with little text. Just a personal preference I guess. Thanks for the tips : )

  6. Hi Janice,

    As a new blogger your insights are invaluable! Thanks for leading us newbies.
    And I love your blog!
    Diane

  7. Great advice Janice. Thank you. I’m getting Instagram tonight!

  8. Great post, Janice! I so agree with you!!

  9. Hi Janice – thanks for your great advice. I totally agree – I am very impatient so I really have to keep that “it doesn’t happen overnight” point in mind. It was nice to find out you used to be a costumer – that is so cool and I totally didn’t know that before.

  10. This is a great post :) Thanks so much for sharing all this information!

  11. Thanks Janice! As a new blogger (Feb 25th 2013) it is so great to get all this wonderful advice from you guys! I am slowly learning all the techy stuff, so Instagram will have to go on my to -learn list! Thank you again! jan@sewandsowfarm

  12. Great post and excellent tips. I will have to check out those posts you recommended for photography. That is an area I want to continue to develop. I also like how you said that you don’t need to post every day, which I just couldn’t ever keep up with, so thanks so much for saying that!

  13. Wise words!! I had to laugh at the Know Your Audience paragraph, as I wholeheartedly agree! That’s one sure way for me to unfollow if I followed for your quilting and then all I get is stories of your pets!

  14. Excellent post! Thanks much for sharing! I shared on my AQT fb page…

  15. Thank you – such good advice in your post. Good reminder to me to think about audience and also to get myself in gear and get on Instagram – sounds like I am really missing something here!!!

  16. Becca @bryanhousequilts

    ThaNks for this great advice!

  17. Thanks for the advice. I do have a question about Instagram though. I’ve always thought that it’s been primarily for mobile devices, specifically iPhones. I guess that’s not the case?

  18. Thanks so much for the advice! It’s nice to hear (and be reminded) that those fantastic bloggers that post everyday, are not the standard!

  19. This is a wonderful post with great advice. I’m finding the networking and social aspects of blogging to be really important. Commenting (and replying to your comments on your own blog), joining Linky Parties, Instagram and Facebook are becoming increasingly important. Thanks for the advice – well worth the read for new and old bloggers.

  20. That´s exactly how I feel. I see People have more than 1 blog and that´s perfect. One for sewing, one for Family one for cooking – perfect… and I can choose which one I want to read!!!

  21. I have learned a lot from this post Janice. Thank you for being honest in what appeals to you. I have always felt guilty at not posting often enough. You make me feel better!!

  22. Thanks for sharing. it’s always good to read some advices. I hope you are wrong with the Instagram thing, lol. I’m not there yet and not planning to join in.

  23. Great advice post, Janice. Sew glad you advised against the “Sorry I haven’t posted in a while.” It is one of my pet peeves. Like Diana M, I thought instagram was for mobile devices, too. I will have to do some investigating into it this week. I like the idea of using it, since it seems everyone is so visual these days. If I do start using it, I can cancel that post I had scheduled in which I show all kinds of pictures and then write blah, blah, blah for the written part of the post . Thanks for hosting and posting!

    Lorna:)
    http://sewfreshquilts.blogspot.com

  24. Thank you Janice! I am new to blogging (less than 7 months) and trying to get ready to have a turn on the blog hop has been overwhelming. I am trying not to sweat it and I do know it takes time to develop but it still feels everyone catches on or knows how to do so much of the computer stuff. It is all very daunting. I feel better after reading you entry and will just know I will gradually get there. Thanks again.

  25. Thank you Janice for the great advice! I sometimes forget to “don’t sweat it” Wonderful post.

  26. I am one of those guilty of writing about stuff other than sewing on my blog. I used to have more than one blog but that was a huge hassle, so I merged them into one. I guess I struggle with the balance of writing for my audience and writing what I want to write. I also am not on instagram because I have an old phone. I refuse to get a smart phone, so it looks like I’ll be stuck in the dark ages.

  27. Great tips, thanks for sharing them:)

  28. Thanks for all the great advice! Sometimes it’s hard to keep up, sewing time, blogging time, reading time and all that on top of family life! Don’t sweat it is the mantra here I think! :o )

  29. Thanks for sharing Janice. I have to agree with all those points!

  30. Thanks for all the great advice, especially the Don’t Sweat It section. I needed to hear that as I am always trying to balance my time to do everything.

  31. Fabulous advice – especially about the balance of real life/quilty life!
    I’m still a bit of a newcomer to IG but I’m with you – it’s so fun!

  32. Great advise. Thanks for all the great blogging tips.

  33. Just found this blog hop and although I have been blogging for almost three years (oh my goodness) I have still a lot to learn. Great advice…so what I got caught up in at the beginning was that I had to have something finished to show off each week….Just take it in my stride now. Love Instagram though….so much easier to upload and write a quick bit on what is going on.

  34. Thanks for the advice.
    C

  35. Great advice! Seeing your header as it’s developed over time made me sigh with relief – I’ve been agonizing about what would be just right for mine and worrying as it sits pretty plain, but I see that I can let that evolve instead of worrying about that first and the blogging second. Thanks for the help with priorities! : )

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