Proven Successful: Tools and Tips for Blogging

Today, we’re excited to have a fabulous guest blogger, Martha of Sunday Afternoon Housewife.  She’s not only a pro in marketing her handmade business (she makes these fantastic scrabble tile necklaces), but she’s recently release a free e-course with helpful tips for craft bloggers. Take it away Martha!

Sunday Afternoon Housewife

Starting and maintaining a blog is a lot of work. Success in the blogging world doesn’t come over night, and it can be frustrating trying to build up your readership. Sometimes you will feel like you are writing to no one at all. The bad news is that having a successful blog does take time, research and hard work. The good news is that with the right tools, you can create a blog which will be more successful. The following tools and tips have all proven very successful for me, and I know you will enjoy them, too! I encourage you to check them out so that you can improve your blog and see your readership grow.

Favorite blogging tools

One of the most important tools I use for blogging isn’t an online tool at all. It’s a notebook! I always keep a notebook or two handy for jotting down topic ideas whenever and where ever they strike. I got tired of having a great idea and then forgetting it before I had a chance to sit down in front of the computer and type it out. Ideas can come at the oddest times for me, so it has become very important to keep a few notebooks lying around the house and one in my purse so I can jot them down right away. After I jot them down, I’ll regularly gather up the notes in my notebooks and put them in a simple text document and keep them handy on the desktop of my computer. This way, when I am sitting down to type, the ideas are readily available.

Online Quilting Class

Now, the most important tool besides a notebook is going to be your blog itself. I highly encourage you to pick a platform which you are most comfortable with. It seems to me the most popular blogging platforms for crafters are either WordPress or Blogger. I have used both, but 3 years ago settled on WordPress. I found it to be more functional and practical as my blog grew.

When you pick your blog platform and start to set up or update your blog, you have the option to add widgets to your blog to improve the look and functionality. Both WordPress.com and Blogger have widgets that help you organize your blog into categories or archives, and you can also add Etsy widgets (see an example here), and basic html/ text or image widgets. If you decided to build your own site from the ground up using the WordPress.org software, you also have the option to add plug-ins that do all sorts of fancy things from managing advertisements to showing rotating text quotes. If you want to start off without having to build your own site, but later may want to create your own later as you grow, then I highly suggest using WordPress.com. Later when you build your own website, if you use WordPress.org you can easily transfer over all past posts. I don’t know of another platform that offers this option as easily as WordPress.

woodland tiles
Another really important thing to be including in your blog is pictures. A well placed picture will catch the reader’s eye and also break up large chunks of text. There are two tools which I use for editing photos before I post them to my blog. Paint.net is free and similar to Photoshop and is great for creating text ads and editing photos. You have to download Paint.net on to your computer to use it. It is very helpful for many tasks. That being said, my favorite photo editing software right now is Picnik. It is a free, cloud based program with seemingly unlimited photo editing capabilities. You’ll find that you love it so much, you’ll probably want to upgrade to a premium account. I promise it is worth every penny.

Other tools which will benefit your blog and help it grow include an RSS feed reader (so other can subscribe to your blog), and social media share buttons. Most blogs offer widgets or add-ons for these tools, so just look for what options your platform has available. Add This is probably one of the best share tools you can use because it also tracks for you how people share the information on from website.

Free e-course for craft bloggers

Now, if you are just starting out on your blogging adventure, or if you blog needs a boost to get moving again, then I encourage you to sign up for my free blogging e-course created just for crafters! My course is chock full of tips for crafters who blog or want to blog, but need a little kick in the pants. The tips are sent directly to your inbox each day. The tips will help you on your quest to improve your blog.

Each day for 5 days you will get a blogging prompt. These prompts will help give you something to write about, to help add variety to your blog, and give you that boost you’ve been needing to get your blog up and running with more regularity.

Click here to sign up today! (It’s free!)

If you’ve already signed up for the e-course and have enjoyed what you have learned, then you should also check out my new ebook, The Blogging Adventure. It’s chock full of 25+ more prompts, daily tips and blog writing tricks. It’s written specifically for crafters, so I know you will find each topic inspiring and you will be motivated to write!

Martha Latta

Bio: My name is Martha Latta and my business is Sunday Afternoon Housewife. I am a self-taught handmade artist who creates Scrabble tile pendants, glass tile pendants and silk screened tees. I also make lots of randomness. I travel all over the country to different craft fairs and have learned a lot from my trips and the experiences of attending many fairs. On my blog I regularly write about crafting, running a craft business, and taking a craft business on road. I also create digital tools for crafters including spreadsheets, ebooks, and free ecourses. I write on my own blog (almost) daily. I am also a writer for Handmadeology. Additionally, I’m the Regional Craftologist for Indianapolis, Indiana on Unanimous Craft. I’m also a monthly contributor on Handmade Success! As if I’m not busy enough, I’m also the founder of the Handmade Promenade, an Indianapolis-based handmade market, and The Uncommon Craft Society of Indianapolis, a meet-up community of local crafters. You can read more about me and my adventures on my own blog or shop my shop at www.sundayafternoonhousewife.com.

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  7 comments for “Proven Successful: Tools and Tips for Blogging

  1. April 22, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Thank you very much for this guest post. I do need a kick in my pants to pay more attention to my blog, the poor, unloved thing that it is.
    Your whole site is great. I need to just sit down for a day taking notes and spend another day putting things into action.

  2. April 22, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Thanks for this informative post. Sometimes blogging gets to be just another chore that get pushed to the bottom of the list. I appreciate your helpful advise.

  3. April 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Rock on Martha! Awesome ecourse… this is a must take!

  4. April 23, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Thanks for sharing…..this has been very informative!!!

  5. April 24, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Thank you so much! I started a blog 2 days ago, and it’s wordpress. To me, it needs a lot of dressing up. My photos aren’t visible unless I look for them. I appreciate your advice and I will sign up for your email tips. I can’t wait to check out your site, as well. Good luck in all you do!!!!!

  6. July 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Very good information about blogging and very helpful for anyone starting a blog. I’ve been working online for a couple of years and have stopped building static sites and now I only use WordPress. It is super easy to use when you are starting out and can grow in complexity as your knowledge grows. The biggest advantage to using WordPress is not only widgets but also the plugins (I think this is what you meant when you said addons because that is what they are). There are plugins which are mostly free, but some of the more advanced ones are free, and do just about anything and everything that you could want and usually with very minimal setup and no maintenance once they are set up.

  7. August 5, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Wow, very helpful article, I have been reading the posts over at http://www.sundayafternoonhousewife.com about tweeting for over 30 minutes, great tips!

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