Tag Archives: Blog

Blogging Buddies – What makes a post interesting?

Or to put it another way – what makes you stop reading a post?

What features do you admire and encourage you to read on?

There is a lot of competition out there so what can we do to encourage people to stay and read on?

I can share with you the ‘rules’ that I always try to apply (I do like my little rules:) )

  1. Keep it fairly short. Not totally sure how to quantify short but I know it is important. How long is too long in your eyes? Being a teacher, I am aware that children have short attention spans but adults are fairly restricted too. According to Wikipedia the average adult attention span is 40 mins. I wonder if that means a 40 minute session on the computer? I am sure that it doesn’t mean that you can expect someone to spend 40 minutes reading your blog. It would have to be REALLY amazing….People will be looking at a lot of blogs/sites/e-mails etc….

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2. Try not to write in long blocks of text – this is where photographs come in. It is just off-putting. Headings may help with this, quotes and writing in different colours. It all helps to break the text up.

3. Try to include a visual element. Ideally photographs that you have taken but when not possible pictures that you have permission to use. This also helps to break the text up and is a really easy way to add interest into a post.

Source

Are you still with me? 😉

4. I always try to be myself when I write as, as I have said before, blogging is about building relationships and if there is a relationship then people are more likely to stay around for a bit longer.

5. I also think that you have to give your readers something. It might be information such as a post I once wrote about the origins of Kimihimo, sharing an experience that people can identify with and learn from, or even asking for help. People love to help just like they like being nosy and finding out about you.

There you have it. Nothing that is rocket science. What are your golden ‘rules’ when writing a post?

Blogging Buddies – building a community.

Welcome to the latest post in this series that is designed to help and encourage people who are new to blogging. This week we are looking at how to build a community around your blog or how to ‘connect’ and join in with those already in existence.

When I asked the question:

Why do you blog?

a lot of people mentioned the amazing community that they have found to connect with through their blog, people that they would never have been able to connect with without the internet. When I first started out I remember looking at blogs and seeing how many people left comments and followed them, and thinking how on earth does that happen?

Source

I am sure that this is a question asked by many people starting out with blogging still ask themselves. You have taken the plunge, started your blog and are managing to find some time to put up posts but how do you build a following and get people to find you?

I have written a post on this in the past so won’t go into a lot of detail here. To summarise, I find that you have to invest a fair amount of time in it but it will be worth it. It is also about giving it time.

What have you found that works for you?  As always your are welcome to leave a link back to your blog should you feel like writing a post about your experiences. 🙂

When do you blog?

Two weeks ago, I asked the question,

Why did you start blogging?

I was so pleased that I did ask this and a huge thank you to all of you who joined in. I learnt so much. It seems that I had a very narrow idea on the subject!

When thinking about this, current post, the obvious questions that came to mind following the ‘why’ are the ‘what’ and the ‘when’. I think that we have covered the what, so this week I am asking,

When do you blog and how did you decide on this?

  • Is it on an adhoc basis? Does this depend on when you have something you feel worth sharing? I definitely started like this. I had the simple aim of blogging once a week – this worked as it also coincided when I was able to produce something that I felt it was worth blogging about.
  • Is it meticulously planned? Currently, I fall into this category. In my head I have this plan where I blog three times a week; once on a Sunday when I share my crafting and join in with Handmade Monday, once on a Wednesday when I do my Blogging Buddies post and then on a Friday  – my fitness post. Originally this ‘plan’ came about because I read somewhere that blogging regularly is ideal when trying to increase readership. I am not  sure whether blogging on regular days is exactly what is meant but I tend to form little rules that I have to follow and this is what I have fallen into.

Handmade Harbour

I suppose that on one level it is important to keep blogging rather than having long gaps in between each one, that goes without saying really….but how often is regular for you? Once a week? Twice, everyday? What have you found that works for you?

This is one of a selection of free blog planners found on heartandmade

Some people take it a step further and keep a diary of blog posts planned ahead of time – similar to a calendar. Are you one of these? On the one hand, I really admire these people and would really quite like to be able to do this but I am simply unable to do this. I am, shall we say….slightly more disorganized and spontaneous.

  • Finally, some people may take more of a scientific approach: By this I mean using your blog statistics to assess which days your blog gets the most views. On WordPress your stats are easily accessed through your dashboard.

I

If you go through to your actual page by clicking onto the graph:

You can find your summaries here. Scroll down and you will get to a summary by day:

Mine tells me that there is not really any one consistent day that is stronger than any other.  Not sure why…..Is this the same for anyone else?

How many posts do you think is ideal? Is there ever any such thing as too many posts in a week? How do you decide when and how often you blog? Do share you thoughts as I am sure that there are many more reasons that I have yet to identify. If you fancy joining in then you can leave a link below. Thank you 🙂

 

 

Blogging Buddies – Why?

So why have you decided to blog?

  • Is it to simply share your ideas with others?
  • To ‘meet’ other, like-minded people?
  • To build up a following before you launch a shop?
  • As a ‘conscience’ so that you stick to something or do as you say you will?
  • As a diary?
  • As a record of a particular task: e.g bucket list?
  • because you read a lot and think that it is a good idea?
  • Any other?

I am not really sure why I started now. I think it is probably in the hope that I would set up a shop to sell my makes (I am still working on it…). To be honest, the original idea is immaterial now. I have got so much from blogging (as I have mentioned once or twice before… ;))

  • I have made a lot of great ‘friends’.
  • I have gained a huge amount of confidence.
  • I have gained a lot of new skills (still developing).
  • My style of crafting has evolved a lot.

Those are just the ones that come easily to my mind.

Why have you (or are hoping to) start a blog? I thought that this would be a great way to begin to learn a bit more about each other. If you feel up to it why not write your own post and link it up using the link below. We can then all visit each others. If you get time then do please leave a quick comment – it makes us all feel loved. If you have yet to start a blog properly then feel free to leave a comment below – we would love to get to know you all better, whatever stage you are at. (Obviously if you have yet to start then tell us your hopes and dreams 🙂

A proposal

I would like to share a proposal with you. When I am out and about I often hear people saying how they would like to start a blog. This is the reason I started the beginning blogging series in an attempt to help and support people such as this. Unfortunately I know for a fact that there are many who are still (and I understand this) procrastinating (not mentioning any names except for J, K and N? I think you know who you are ;)). So I have had a think.

Would you like to go through the process of setting up a blog as a group? I would review my posts on a weekly basis (starting from the beginning) and allow you to link up on this blog so you can share your experience with others all going through the same thing at the same time? It is the best way that I can think of to give you all a bit of support (and lets be honest a bit of a push) to get going.

I honestly believe that blogging is a truly life changing experience and want as many people as possible to get the benefits from it. You don’t have to have a crafting blog, be local to me, use WordPress or indeed, right at the start of your journey. I just think that it will be a good way to get going and build your confidence without feeling as if you are getting lost in the ether. It would give you a ready made audience of understanding people.

I may be totally wrong and be proposing a really bad idea but if you are interested, or know someone who may be then do please leave me a comment below and I will set it up. I thought that we could start in September? ….

Wonderful Team Membership Award

As usual, rather belatedly I have got around to responding to another wonderful award that I have been awarded:

Wonderful Team Member Readership AwardWonderful Team Member Readership Award.

A huge thank you to Creative Pixie for the nomination. Isn’t it a great name?  Creative Pixie always leaves such wonderful and thoughtful comments on my posts.

To accept this award, there are a few rules I’ll need to follow:
1. The Nominee of the Wonderful Team member Readership Award shall display the logo on his/her blog.
2. The Nominee shall nominate 14 readers they appreciate over a period of 7 days, all at once or little by little.
3. The Nominee shall name his/her Wonderful Team Member Readership Award nominees on a post or on posts during 7 days.

So….time for you to maybe find some new blogs 🙂

Lottieknits, Whatimuptotoday, Crochetmelovely, Prettylittelthingsinabox, Redhenrun, Lovelucie, Feelgoodknitting, nicepieceofwork, Allnightknits, Polkadotsandsparkles, Theredfoxandgown, E1aine, trulymyrtle

A lot of these are fairly new to me so I am hoping that there may be one or two new ones for you to find here.

Finally, I re-read this post yesterday and thought that some of the points made were quite relevant for you (WordPress) bloggers out there looking to be found amongst the crowd. It is about SEO if you are wondering.

Thanks again to Creative Pixie. Hope you are all having a great week 🙂

Thank you!

A really, really huge thank you to all of you who took the time to comment and share your views on my post last week. The care and time that you put into them was truly amazing and a great help. At the moment I am going to continue as I am, more or less but let me share some of the key points that came up. The first is a really core one and one that I will attempt to not forget in the future:

Blogging is for fun. It is meant to be enjoyable, not a stress or a chore!

I am going to remember this. I love the whole blogging ‘world’ and can no longer imagine life without it but that doesn’t mean that it is the only part of my life. It therefore has to fit in as and when it can.

The second point that I had failed to take into consideration was that I read blogs that change. It doesn’t mean that I stop reading. I tend to build up a relationship with them and so are interested in whatever they write about. It is simply like having varied conversations with them. I therefore need to stop worrying so much. I don’t stop and think whether each post is relevant to what I signed up to and doubt that many others do either.

Finally someone made me realise that the whole issue was more likely down to me and the way I was feeling rather than an actual problem with the blog. I had been feeling a little bit down. Once I had realised this it was a bit like having the cloud lifted. Things were nowhere near as bad as I had made them out to be.

So again, a huge thank you. It is much appreciated.

And my makes:

I have also found more time to crochet this week 🙂 My broomstick crochet diary cover has been completed.

The free form fitting over the diary itself was quite tricky and got better as I went on. The inside back is therefore slightly better than the front. It doesn’t stop me loving it however. I can’t wait to start using it properly (it is an academic diary).

AND….

Yes there is an and. I also managed to have a go in wire and made this wire cuff (admittedly not quite finished yet.)

Broomstick cuffI have quite a few more ideas of ways to use this design which I hope I will get around to this week.

Just one last thing before I head off over to handmade Harbour to see what everyone else has been up to this week: if you like knitting you may appreciate this link which was sent to me on twitter.

Hope you all have a fab week. xx

 

 

Please Help Me.

I have a bit of a conundrum about this blog. As you are the ones that read this (and for which I am very grateful) I thought it best that I share this with you and allow you to share your views with me.

In the beginning…

The name of this blog is knitnrun4sanity. I started out writing about my knitting, crochet and running. Simple and fairly self-explanatory. Occasionally I would write about something completely random but mostly I stuck to the identified topics.

Then….

A few months ago I took the step to write about blogging, how to set it up, tips that I have learnt etc. Nothing to do with the title directly but, according to the feedback and comments, something that people found useful.

Now…..

Even more recently I started writing the Blog for a bead shop called Spoilt Rotten Beads. In order to write that blog I have been making jewellery. Not knitting, not crochet and not running. I aim to write three posts a week for both blogs. Something which most of you will be aware takes a lot of time, especially when you consider the time it takes to make, photograph and research items and subjects for each of these posts.

So the problem is….

  1. I have spent a lot of time building up this blog. I enjoy the relationships and interactions that come from this and I am reluctant to stop.
  2. I also am enjoying building up the other blog and want to give it my full energy and effort that it deserves. (I am not being paid but, in a way, I feel like it is a paid job.)
  3. The summer holidays are coming up and my time will be way more limited with three children running around all day.
  4. I have come to write my Handmade Monday post and have not got nearly as far on with my broomstick Crochet as I would have liked to. This makes me feel sad and as if I am letting people down as the content is not really as it should be.

So do I……

  • Go for more of a crossover between the blogs? This is something that I have been trying to limit as far as possible because :
  1. I am worried that my content is becoming too broad and therefore the readers will start to feel that they are no longer getting what they signed up to get.
  2. The name no – longer reflects what I am writing about.
  • Change the name of this blog so I can write about all the things without feeling that I am duping anyone e.g: knitnrunnbead4sanity? (except for all the wonderful people who have already signed up to follow me before the change.)
  • Do nothing and carry on as before?
  • Change the name to an umbrella term such as Uniquely Alice which is the name of the shop that is almost, but yet to open? (I have also just got a load of business cards with knitnrun4sanity all over them)
  • Reduce the number of posts I do? (which feels a bit like neglect to me).

And Finally

I follow a lot of blogs….a lot of very interesting blogs that I enjoy very much. There are a lot more out there that I would like to follow but, at the moment I am struggling to keep up with all the ones I am already following. In short I am spending too long doing all this ‘blogging’ but am unable to see (or unwilling) to know what to change. Maybe I don’t really need to do anything.

I cannot be the only person who feels like this, or has been through this before. Can I?

I would really, really love to know what your views on this whole conundrum is.

Before I go this is the progress on the broomstick crochet diary cover. The broomstick crochet is all done (I really enjoyed that part). I am now on the more mundane part of trying to fit it onto the cover of the diary.

The front.

The front.

The inside

The inside

I also made a bracelet for a christening but that is not crochet, knitting, running or blogging so not sure if I can show that on here yet 😉

I am now going to head over to Handmade Harbour where there are people who know what they are doing. I shall now spend a happy hour or so catching up with their makes this week. Fancy joining me?

What to write on your About page.

Following on with the initial re-vamp of this blog I have had a go at my ‘about’ page.  In Michael Hyatt’s Book

“Platform. Get noticed in a noisy world”

he points out that the About page is one of his blogs top ten most visited pages.

So What about yours?

I checked mine and guess what? It is hands down the most visited page on my blog. Ever. To date it has had 5,654 views. The next most popular post has ‘only’ had 738! Now go and have a look at yours. Is it similar? If so then the next scary thought is:

Just how much time and thought do you give to this, your most visited page/post on your blog?

I have to say, put like that, nowhere near enough! I expect that on setting up your blog you spent about half an hour typing in a bit of info about yourself and the blog. I know I did. I have revisited it since the very beginning and re-wrote it as my blog evolved but I didn’t give it anywhere near the amount of time that I probably should have done now that I know just how visited it is.

If your aim is to get more followers then this page is arguably THE most important page on the whole blog. Luckily Michael Hyatt does go onto give some tips as to how to optimise this important space on your blog.

This is how my About page used to look:

Hello,

Thank you for taking time to look at my Blog. I am a  Mum of three who runs, knits and crochets in an attempt to stay sane (when I have the time!). Over the last year this blog has also become a huge part of who I am and  helped me to claw back some of ME!
On the creating side I like to be  a bit different and aspire to have a shop selling my unique jewellery as well as some kits so you too can have a go at something a bit different.

Share my passion, the highs and lows of my journey and along the way pick up some tips to help you on your very own journey. Go on, you know you want to. It will be worth it  :)

Happy Crafting, blogging and running,

Alice

This version ticks the first two of the suggestions:

1. It is written in the first person

2. It is written in my style.

The next suggestions I am not so sure about:

3. Start with the reader’s priorities. What do they want to know? Or. in other words what do you want to find out when you read other ‘about’ pages? I know that I want to know what the blog is about. Will it interest me. These are the most important things. I also want to know a bit about the person behind the blog as, as many of you know I am someone who likes to connect with others.

4. Tell them about yourself. As in number three, it is important for the reader to know a bit about you but this was the bit that I found the hardest bit when I started out. I didn’t want people to know too much about me – I was simply too shy. All I can say is that you give as much as you want to give. I believe that my writing style says a lot about me and the type of person I am (indeed my friends say that this blog is like me talking to them) so my advice is to take things as slow as you wish to. You can always make adjustments as you progress.

5. Tell them about your blog. Not in huge detail – more of putting it into a theme. Again I find this tricky as I have quite a varied content on my blog. Having said that it does seem to be working for me so far.

6. Set their expectations. On average, how often you post.

7. Invite them to subscribe.

8. Point them to your top posts: He describes it like being a hostess and giving them a tour or taste of what they will get if they follow your blog.

9. Provide a full Biography. I am not sure that this is totally relevant except if, like him, you are selling your expertise and your training is an important part of it. For most of us ‘hobby bloggers’ qualifications are not usually related. A bit of information however is always going to interest some.

10. Tell them how to contact you: Twitter, Facebook, e-mail ….

So there you have it. It all makes perfect sense to me now. I like structure and order and this certainly provides that. The headings are a useful guide and also break the writing up nicely. People can easily skip any sections that they are not interested in.

Whether or not you apply this format directly I think that there are some useful points to get you thinking. Do you agree? What information are you interested in when you visit an about page?

(If you are wondering how my About page looks now you will have to go and increase the visitor numbers to that page now and have a look :).

Super Sweet Blogging Award

Image

This weeks blogging award was given to me way, way back in February I am VERY ashamed to say. I was awarded this by Ali Bee from Alibee creations, a blog that I found through Handmade Monday.This blog is full of energy and written by a very talented lady – she wrote her last post all in rhyme. I am very humbled by this talent!

First off I need to answer 5 questions:

1. Cookies or cake? Probably cookies but it does depend on the variety of cookies and cake on offer.
2. Vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate
3. What is your favourite sweet treat? Chocolate!

4. When do you crave sweet things the most? Evening or after a meal.
5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Now that is really hard. Ginger! (is that sweet?)

OK so now for the blogs I nominate:

Eleanor lucy millinery – a great blog all about the hats she makes.

Vicky Myers Creations – this lady makes amazing bags out of reclaimed material!

Raindrops and Roses – always an enjoyable read!

Highland Monkeys – Amazing samplers

Pickle-lily – a whole range of yummy crafts to read and learn about

Graces favours – check out the VW cushion.

Patchwork fairy – again a lovely mix of crafts to read about.

OK so now for the questions for you all:

1. Cookies or cake?
2. Vanilla or chocolate?
3. What is your favourite sweet treat?
4. When do you crave sweet things the most?
5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?

I am really sorry to be writing another award post. I hope that you can find some lovely new blogs to engage with 🙂

Later this week I am hoping to find time to enter into the world of Pinterest so watch out for that.