Last year I enthusiastically announced I was going to be writing a whole series of "online selling" guides (aimed at people selling their work via Etsy, Folksy, DaWanda, etc). I wrote one blog post about it, then the demands of running my own business took over and I had never found the time to continue it. Not my finest hour...
I'd love to complete a sellers guide eventually (perhaps when scientists discover an 8th day of the week!) but in the meantime I'm going to do some very occasional posts based on the selling tips I did actually manage to get written.
First up: some blogging tips! I first wrote these with Etsy sellers in mind, based on things I've learned from 3 years of blogging and reading other sellers' blogs, but I think they apply to any designers/artists/crafters who blog. Please do add your own tips in the comments!
If all you do is write about “here’s my new necklace” or “here’s a treasury I made on Etsy” or “here are some green things I like on Etsy” the only visitors you’ll get is from Etsy sellers Googling themselves! (And maybe your mum. My mum loves my blog).
2) Share your process – I love reading about peoples works in progress, their new designs, successes, etc but it’s also interesting to see peoples workspaces, new supplies, inspirations (a vintage plate with a great pattern, a walk you took in the local woods) and other snippets from peoples artistic lives. You don’t have to get really personal or give away any secrets, but show the person behind the stuff!
3) Get involved with the blogging community – read other blogs and learn from them, comment on blogs, link to the ones you like, make those connections. You’ll not only become a better blogger in the process, and connect with some amazing creative people, but blogs thrive on links and the internet equivalent of word-of-mouth promotion.
4) Use freebies wisely. I do giveaways on my blog, but I don’t think of them as a way to drive traffic to my blog but as a little gift for my regular readers. If you’re giving away something awesome enough then a giveaway can be a good promotional tool, but you still have to have a way of keeping those visitors on your blog when they click through to try to get something for free. If you don’t have interesting content, you’ll just be giving something away to a stranger and getting nothing in return.
Another popular freebie in the craft world is the tutorial. I love writing tutorials, and I know lots of my readers are crafty and enjoy them. I’ve had some great traffic with tutorials on my blog and gained lots more readers through them, but don’t give away your trade secrets just for the sake of a few extra hits! I normally try to do simple projects or ones which relate to the crafting I do for fun.
5) Blog regularly. You don’t have to become a blogging addict like me, but it’s much better to, blog once a week than three times in one week and then not for a fortnight. Most blogging platforms will allow you to "schedule" posts so if you can only find time to blog once a week you can write several short posts and schedule them to be published throughout the week.
6) Keep it short. Long, wordy blog posts without lots of pictures can be a pain to read and unless you’re posting about something really special most people won’t bother. Break up long paragraphs with white space to make text easier to read, and add as many pictures as possible! I started blogging a lot when I did a “crafting 365” project, making something everyday and taking a picture, and taking regular quick snaps for my blog has really helped improve my photography (which in turn helps my shop). And yes I know this point is very ironic given how long and wordy this particular blog post is! :)
7) Keep it professional. Remember that if you’re blogging, and connecting that blog to your business that your posts may be read by potential customers or stockists or even employers. Ranting about that bitch who stole your idea or your horrible boss etc might not be the best idea, especially living in an age when everyone Googles themselves!
8) If you don’t enjoy it, try something else. If you hate blogging you won’t update your blog or give it any love and attention and it will sit gathering dust with no-one reading it… so you might as well use your energy on something that suits you better. Perhaps writing a great monthly newsletter? or joining Twitter or Facebook to promote your work. Or just concentrate on making awesome things to update your shop!