Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blogging, Anyone??

Good evening.

   At least it is evening here.  It usually is when I'm writing, posting or creating; I'm a bona-fide night owl.   Nothing of much importance gets done before noon.   ;-)


I was recently asked to host a presentation on how to create a blog presence. Since this was originally done within a private chat, the information was not widely available, so I thought I'd put it up in my crafts blog for others to see.  Here is the original transcript of that chat: 


Many people think blogging is difficult, or that it takes a very long time. Neither is necessarily true. For me, personally, it is somewhat time consuming, but that is only because I do so much of it:  writing 4 different blogs, and because I have a bit of a problem with brevity. I tend to over-explain.  :-(


 Hence, for me, Twitter is difficult. I only get 140 characters??? OMG!!! ;-)  (I'm not used 2 having 2 make stuff so short & use cryptic abbrvs.; it cramps my style.  --  ok, that "sentence" is only 55 characters..that would work.  But, for me, it took a lot more time and thought than just writing normally.  LOL) 



When you open up a blog, the very first thing to remember is this: it is YOUR blog! Do with it what you will, and make it your own. There is no need to copy anyone else’s style or subject matter. Think of it as a conversation with your readers. A one-sided conversation, to some extent, yes;  much like a telephone chat with bad reception on your end. You can talk, and be heard, but somehow, the other party’s replies aren’t clear. LOL  That's what the 'comments' box is for...and you don't have to put up with being interrupted while you are making your points, as often happens in person.


There are many sites on which to get started, but for my money, (figurative money, that is, because it is free), the easiest on which to begin is Google’s Blogger a.k.a. Blogspot.com. (exactly where you are reading this very post.) 


The actual opening of an account is easy, and in fact, if you already have Google e-mail, all you have to do is log in and select to start a blog. But, you do not have to have Google mail...signing up for a Google account is free, and easy... and you can then use it for all sorts of different Google applications.


In fact, any of you currently using Google Analytics for your Etsy (or other) shops, already have a Google account, and when you go to http://www.blogspot.com/ , you will be given the option to sign in using your existing Google account.  Keeps things simple--less to remember!



Once you are at the blogging main menu, you’ll be presented with several design templates from which to choose. Select the one that fits your personality, or even your mood. Select the layout that fits best with your plans. Do you plan to me more photo-oriented, or more text-oriented? A mix of both? There are templates to fit any of those options. With that done, you’re all set.. Ready, set, BLOG!



In the world of mules, there are no rules.. Oh, no, wait…that’s Ogden Nash in Camille Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals.” I mean, in the world of blogs, there are no rules.
;-)

Every Blogger has her own style. Some are like lectures, some are funny, and some are preachy. Some are long, some are just a paragraph or two. Some write daily, some weekly, some monthly. It is entirely up to what fits with your style, and your schedule.  The way to avoid frustration with your readers, (and with yourself!) however, is to make no promises or statements regarding the frequency with which you will write.  Just do it when the mood takes you.



The important thing is to simply decide on something, and try to be consistent. I say ‘try,’ because we all know how life has a habit of getting in the way of the best intentions. Start small. Don’t set impossible goals of being the most prolific Blogger on the Internet. I certainly did not begin my first blog with the intention of ending up writing 4 of them! ;-) But here I am…it snuck up on me.


But then again, I am a writer, and I love writing. It is what I do best: painfully shy as a child, I learned to express myself on paper. If writing does not come as easily to you, don’t sweat it. There is no requirement for a set number of words. A blog is not a school essay assignment or book report. Make it what you will.


If you have trouble with spelling or grammar, write your post first in a word processor program, and take advantage of the spell-check and grammar-check utilities usually included. (Be warned—those are not foolproof—they will not catch context errors in the presence of a correct spelling, and they also occasionally want to INCORRECTLY “correct” grammar.)   You can then copy/paste your masterpiece right into blogger.


Begin it as an experiment. Post jokes, or silly trivia. As you learn to do that, your own writing style will develop. Don’t even promote and advertise it to start with. Get comfortable with the concept first. The time for ‘getting serious’ will come along. You’ll know when that is, and I cannot tell you, as it will be different for each of you.



When that time arrives, you always have the option to completely delete any and all earlier posts, if for some reason you feel you’d not be comfortable having your trial run on display. ;-) As you become more comfortable with developing your own style of writing, I’ll bet you discover a ‘secret.’ It is this: your writing style will very likely take on the tone of you, speaking, in a casual conversation.



And that’s all a blog is—YOU, speaking to your readers through a new medium. In fact, if you have a small tape recorder or digital recorder, you can even SPEAK your blog posts, as the ideas come to you, and write them down later. Then, you will automatically gain that conversational tone you want to have. Write ‘pretend’ blogs in your word processor, if you don’t want anyone to read your first efforts.  Keeping a journal is a good way to begin this process.


And now, some of the questions I was asked are as follows:

Q.  Will having a blog help my Etsy sales?
A.  Maybe.  Possibly.  But, in my opinion, that should not be the be-all and end-all goal of a blog.  Promoting your blog and shop; cross-promoting both, will certainly help your online visibility and presence, but beyond that, there are no guarantees.  There is a saying, "The only guarantees are death and taxes."  ;-) 


Q.  What do I write about?
A.   Write about whatever fires you. Your crafts and their process; your other hobbies; fantasy; jokes; the sky is the limit.


Q.  What if writing is hard for me, or I don't like to write?
A.   No matter.  You can make a photo blog, using simple, brief captions.  OR select a random photo, and use it as a basis for a flight of fancy:  invent a story or scenario around the picture.  I.e., what just happend, or is about to?


Now, get going, and have fun! THAT is your assignment! Have fun and play with it.

2 comments:

kim said...

Thanks for this, it gives me hope that one day mine will/can be successful, it's brand new last month. I look forward to following yours :)

Kim

GrayFlannel said...

Great post. This also gives me hope. Strangely, I love to write, but when I get to my blog, it seems like the cat catches my tongue and I have no idea what to say. Thanks for following me though :) Love your blog! Lori

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