Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blog Your Art Out -- The Comments


For those of you who read the free eCourse "Blog Your Art Out", today is the day when I compile the comments I received via the blog and by email.  These comments will be added to the official eCourse page, as well as to the Word file, so if you want a new Word file, please let me know!

This one is long, too, so grab a snack and a cuppa and enjoy the read!

There were lots of comments on the blog post and I received a ton of emails, so I got a good feel for what the average blog reader is looking for (and not looking for) in a blog.  If you haven't had time to read the comments, do click here and take a look.  



First, what makes a reader follow a blog?

  • Personalization of a blog.  Readers may come for the eye candy, but they do enjoy learning more about the artist.
  • Frequent posts.  Readers tend to forget about bloggers who don't post at least once a week, preferably more.
  • Some readers really like to read a blog with a regular feature, such as "Wordless Wednesday" or "Etsy Finds".  
  •  A meaningful post doesn't even have to have that many words -- it can be a picture with a little bit of thought typed below.
  • A big favorite is clear, large, well-done photos.  It can be of an artist's work, a funny something or other, flowers -- anything.  
a gate near my neighborhood
  •  A blog with the blogger's personality is always great.  It not only makes the blog consistent, whether they are talking about their art or their personal life, but it keeps the words from being dry and reading like a dissertation or advertisement.
  • A HUGE favorite -- bloggers who take the time to visit their commenter's blogs!  This was expressed so often I thought I'd show you some of the words that came to me in emails.


    • "I take time out of my day to comment.  To me it's courtesy to visit me back."
    • "If a blogger never comments on my blog, I quit reading them.  I may not unfollow them, but I do quit reading them."
    • "When I comment and comment and comment, yet I never get a single comment back, it makes me feel like the unpopular girl sitting alone in the cafeteria.

  • Related to commenting, and a favorite of bloggers and readers alike -- having an email listed on the profile page of the blog.  This allows a blogger to comment to a direct question a reader may have, or to merely thank that person for commenting.
  •  Readers love when a blogger shares tips, tricks, and links to cool finds.  Sharing is always in vogue.

Of all of these, the returning the comments part seems to be the hot button.  Readers LOVE that, and I feel it's important to remember.  None of us has the time to respond to every single post the day that it's posted -- I know that there are days that I get bogged down and have to have a catch-up day.  But giving it your best shot could mean the difference between gaining new readers by word of mouth or losing fans.



Now on to the pet peeves. 

  • Blogs that are purely "look at me, look what I sold, look at my accomplishments" blogs.  There's a tactful way to tell everyone about your hard-won kudos.
  • Blogs that are very long, with no pictures to break up the words.
  • This one got many, many comments ... music that automatically turns on.  Some people actually said they enjoyed people's play lists, but the majority of people felt very strongly about music on a blog.  I don't care for music on a blog as it startles me and often wakes up my husband, who is an early sleeper due to his job, so I have to turn my volume all the way off.  That being said, none of the blogs I follow that have music have turned me off -- their blogs are too cool to pass up!  It's something to think about, but do what's right for you.
shhhh, froggie!
  •  Blogs that go off on rants constantly.  An occasional rant can be good for the soul (and I've done it!) but we're talking about rants being the norm.  Make that a double eek for political and religious rants, or preaching to the reader.
  • Giveaways that ask the reader to become a follower in order to win the prize.
  • Too much side bar action.  I love side bar decoration, but it can go too far, especially if you have a three-column blog.  Every now and then, take a look at your blog with a critical eye and see if you have too many ads, blinkies, or other things that distract from your important words and photos.  These can also make the blog take forever to load up. 
  •  Additional to side bar action, a number of people say they don't like to see ads on blogs, that it takes away from the personal connection they want to get from their visit.
  •  Backgrounds -- many expressed the difficulty of reading white script on a black or dark blue background.


Regardless of which path you decide to take in your blogging journey, the key is to love it.  Honor yourself, honor your art, and honor your visitors.  Unless you're writing your blog sheerly as a diary and don't care if you have followers, the best thing we all can do is treat our readers as our customers and friends.  After all, they may become just that!  Who knows, you may meet them at a bead show, or have the pleasure of having them visit you when you're exhibiting at a craft show.  They may fall in love with your work because they've come to appreciate you as a person.


I hope you've enjoyed the eCourse, and I'm so very happy you've spent this time with me.  As always, everything I've written is just a suggestion ... each person needs to make the choices and decisions that feel right to THEM. 


Be well, and Happy Blogging!


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and writes the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.


19 comments:

  1. Love it Lori! Thanks so much for doing this "course", and then taking the time to put the comments together in point form. I'm looking forward to the next one.

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  2. Rock on Lori! You have a mighty gift with words and synthesizing ideas. I am proud of you for putting out such an awesome eCourse and I hope you will do more.

    Enjoy the day!
    Erin

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  3. I'm so glad that music on blogs got a big "no, no". It's drives me crazy! Thanks for all the input and info. Such good advice.

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  4. All excellent points Lori...Thanks for sharing all the comments.

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  5. Thanks Lori, very well done and thanks for taking the time to add the comments together in this form.
    Shannon

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  6. Lori, this is fantastic and I love that you've taken the time to share all of this with us. You rock and I would love to have a copy of this in print format. Fantastic information!

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  7. Thanks for sharing this! A lot of good points to keep in mind.

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  8. So helpful - thanks! I notice that the posts without photos tend to fizzle

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  9. Thanks Lori. The email of blog profile is really important - I thought mine was enabled, but a fellow blogger called me on that just the other day. I've got my email button hot now.

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  10. Great blog post! These are some really good comments and really give those of us who blog some insight into what readers are looking for. Thanks for taking the time to sum it up! ~Nancy

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  11. So beautifully put. I will take these suggestions and work towards a friendlier, interesting blog. Thanks so much for putting this together :)

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  12. This is so helpful! I procrastinated and didn't leave a comment but I'm so glad everyone else did. There is a lot of good information here.

    Thank you for taking the time to do this e-course!

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  13. Thank you so much. What a great job you´ve done here. This has been so helpful to me as I´m sort of new to blogging.

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  14. Some really great suggestions here. I am guilty of not blogging enough. I try for once a week but somehow my life gets in the way! Ha1 I will try and do better!

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  15. Really enjoy your blog, and want to make a comment about music--people now days don't seem to get that there are skilled musicians and audio engineers making that music, and they are not actually not receiving much money for their hard work. Michael Jackson made 25cents for every album he sold, which gives you an idea of how many records he sold consistantly. How would artisans like it if they found their art automatically viewed when they logged onto my website? (mini-rant, I know, but one that I hope is helpful)

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  16. Thanks, Lori! Great advice all around.

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  17. Well I'm screwed then, lol.

    PussDaddy

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  18. Well, I'm screwed then, lol.

    PussDaddy

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  19. Thanks for a great post. Need to take heed on many of your points (and this is one of them LOL!)

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