Plum and June asked me to share some advice for new bloggers as a part of her Let's Get Acquainted! Blog Hop. At first I was like... what would I say? And then I figured I should say something. Just remember to take these words with a serious grain of salt!
From reviewing the list of questions Beth sent (compiled in part from the new bloggers), it seems like the gist of it all is, "how do I write a fun blog, attract readers and basically get in on all this good bloggy stuff." Tis a fair question, and one I'm certainly familiar with, but I think the answer is incredibly complex.
There's you and there's your readers.
So, to enjoy blogging you have to write about what interests you. Period. You should also only, exclusively sew what you want to sew. It doesn't work to do projects to earn something else (readers, exposure, the feeling of being "with" the crowd, even money) if you don't truly want to do them. It always shows. You won't be a good writing if you're not passionate. You won't make that incredible project if you're just fitting in. Simply put, success in this crafty arena stems from sincere personal satisfaction and joy in your work that you can then share with others. You need to learn to say "no" to lots of things to actually carve out your own happy trail.
That's the "you" part.
But it's not all about you. You want readers. Let's not talk about "why" you want readers; you just do. They like to see fabrics in action. They like to see projects from the beginning (inspiration strikes!) to the end (finish that binding!). They like to hear about why you think this project totally rocks and they also like to hear the nitty gritty on your fabric fails. You've got to be human because failures are interesting and robots are alienating. To nail a new subscriber you probably should be posting 2-3 times a week. Fresh content says there's a reason to stick around.
So, ask yourself then...
Do I want readers enough to make this a regular weekly thing? It takes time! It takes devotion. You have to be vulnerable, genuine and friendly. And, also, am I naturally the person who's habits and inclinations would make me a writer that the readers will enjoy? If not, you'll be happier blogging without the goal of gaining new readers. Remember, you've got to be "you" to be happy!
Readers Pet Peeves
These are things I've picked up that readers don't like. It's not ME who doesn't like them, so please don't blame me!
*blurry or poorly lit photos
*more personal than fabricy content
*apologies for how rarely you write
*Captcha spam control (I just turned mine off and am not being spammed)
*saying anything bad about anyone or anything (yeah, that's a tricky one)
*too many giveaways
*feet in quilt pictures (at least it turns off some folks)
*discussing religion or politics
It's about Finding Your People
There are lots of quilty bloggers and lots of quilty blog-readers. Don't try to be like them all! You'll only be happy being yourself. If you focus on developing your own style, using your favorite colors, gushing about your favorite designers, making projects that suit your lifestyle... then you'll actually draw people to you who like the real you. And, those are the people that will stay.
The hardest thing for me still is to not compare myself with other bloggers. There will always be people who have more followers, faster growing readerships, think up cooler events and make quilts that leave me stunned... Well, this is actually a good thing! Find those folks who you can follow and let them be a source of inspiration, not comparison! Remember that they too started somewhere. Be satisfied where you are, and then, be better.