Every once in a while I’ll nag you a little about your website, but today I’m not going to do that. No! Today I’m going to nag you about your blog. Well, maybe not nag; “offer helpful suggestions” sounds ever-so-much better. These blogging tips are for people who are using their blog in lieu of a website, using it for showcasing their work and sharing information about what they do. Now, we’ve talked about blogs before, so you’ve already heard the reasons not to have things like photos of your kids or grandkids nekkid in the backyard pool or autoplay music that starts up as soon as someone lands on your blog. What I want to talk about today is The Good Things, the things that can help you share what you do.
Since Blogger is what I use and what I know about, I’ll use it as an example. If you use WordPress or another blogging platform, you’ll have to translate, but I’m sure that’s a piece of cake for you. Or, maybe, for the super-duper-techie person you pay to do these things for you. (AKA, your 12-year-old kid.)
Blogs allow you to set up sidebars, and Blogger has gadgets that you can add and arrange. Some of those are a nuisance for artists using their blog to showcase their work: a stock ticker, the weather, current news. Stuff like that isn’t going to help you, so you don’t even want to go there. Other gadgets, though, can do a lot to help people visiting your blog to find out more about what you do. These are the things I love to find when I’m searching for new artists, and you might want to think about adding them to your own blog.
~~a label cloud. You know these: the clouds that contain the labels you’ve used in your blog posts, with the most-frequently-used ones in the biggest letters and the least-used ones in the smallest. I know, I know: adding labels to every post is a pain. I resisted forEVER, insisting it was too much trouble and I didn’t have time. But Zom Osborne kept nagging me ever-so-gently, and finally I gave in. Now it’s just automatic to add them to each blog post. The thing you want to keep in mind is that you have to make the labels useful. If you have too many labels–if you subdivide the “painting” label into say, “flower paintings” and “animal paintings” and “car paintings” and “small car paintings” and “even smaller car paintings” and–well, you get the idea–it’s just going to make a label cloud that goes on forever. When you’re setting up your labels, think about how your readers are going to want to search for things. Let’s say you make jewelry. You make polymer clay jewelry and mixed media jewelry, so obviously you’re going to want to use those two labels. Maybe you also make tutorial videos that you post on YouTube, and when you do a blog post about a new video, you want to use “video,” or “tutorial video.” The thing is, you want to have all the labels you need in order to make it easy to find content, but you don’t want the list to be so exhaustive that it takes forever to navigate it. What you need to do is sit down, take a good look at your blog, and figure out what topics are the most relevant. Make a list! If you have one blog post about sourcing stones, there’s no point in having a label just for that one post. If, however, it’s something you write about with some frequency, then you’ll want to label those posts so they’re easy to find.
And, as usual when I get started on something I think is really important, I’ve run out of room. Come back on Friday, please, for The Rest of the Post~~
Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.
You might also enjoy Blogging for Creatives by Robin Houghton.
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