The article in my alma mater’s alumni magazine about Grace Bonney and her blog Design*Sponge inspired me to look into starting a blog. I had a desire to write about other artists and crafters, and to share my pottery, jewelry and dollhouse miniatures as well. Cotton Ridge Create! began in November 2011. Cotton Ridge Homeschool is my ongoing collection of resources and ideas for creative home based learning, and was started in June 2011. Cotton Ridge Books began as an Amazon Marketplace at the end of 2011, and I added the blog in July 2012.
Blogging For Bliss by Tara Frey
Blogging for Bliss: Crafting Your Own Online Journal: A Guide for Crafters, Artists & Creatives of all Kinds by Tara Frey is the one book I wish I’d read last October, before I started blogging in November (of 2011). I’m very thankful that I happened upon it several weeks ago. This is a great resource for those new to blogging, especially if you are starting from the “what is a blog?” level, as I did! Although it was written in 2009 and Tara Frey is no longer blogging, I found it to be extremely relevant and helpful.
Following are a few things I learned from the book.
- There are several free sites on which you can start your blog: Blogger, Typepad.com, WordPress.com and others. From what I understand, these are the three most popular right now for blogs that are not self-hosted. Tara describes these in-depth in the book.
- Be careful in choosing which service to use, since it can be time-consuming and difficult to switch after you’ve started.
- Other important factors to consider before diving in are choosing a blog name and theme.
- More subjects covered in the book: blog templates (or “themes”) and design, how to make a banner, tips on including photographs, what to write about, how to drive traffic to your site, blog etiquette and ethics, and the choice to place ads on your site or not.
At 155 pages it is a concise, interesting and informative read. I particularly enjoyed the “Meet the Blogger” articles featured at the end of each chapter. This series of articles (over 50 of them) features a brief biography of each blog’s owner, its banner, reasons why she blogs, and encouragement and inspiration to newbies like myself. I’ve always heard that the more you read, the better writer you become. So my goal is to visit each blog in the book!
The instructions in Blogging For Bliss helped me make this banner for my blog. I found the background image by maxoidos on Deposit Photos for $2.00.
“Your Own Online Journal”
The back of the Blogging for Bliss describes the book as “all about connecting, learning, and inspiring others through your own online journal. It’s a great outlet for your creativity…” I’ve found this to be very true with my own blog. My mother was a writer and I surprised myself by becoming one myself two years after she passed away. I really didn’t understand her need to put her thoughts in writing until I started to myself. The difference is, she used paper, and I use my blog. It can be therapeutic as well as an online portfolio. My blog is about my creative activities in pottery, miniatures and other endeavors. I also love to write about other artists and handcrafters.
I’ve had an online shop since 1999 (and I still didn’t know what a blog was!!!), so I know a little html and am comfortable with doing business on the internet. After reading How To Make Money With a Blog (christianpf.com) I decided to go with WordPress.org for the blog software and Hostgator.com for its host. If you are interested in going this route, my article How To Set Up A WordPress Blog Using HostGator Web Hosting Services may be helpful. If you’d like to include your portfolio along with a blog on your web site, consider taking a look at Beautiful Free WordPress Themes For Art Portfolios. Another resource I’ve found almost indispensable is the blog Blogging Your Passion.
I’m collecting articles and other resources that help me with my web sites and blogging adventures. If you are interested, you can find them on this site at this link: The Business of Arts & Crafts.
Have you read this book? Please comment below and leave your thoughts and ideas! Would you like to share your blog on this site? Please contact me!
Copyright 2012 Kathryn Depew