Friday, September 17, 2010

Free eCourse -- Blog Your Art Out

The free eCourse is now available!  

Click the tab above, or click here.

You can also request the eleven page Word document by emailing me.


(Comments are now closed for the course.)

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.


  1. Hi Lori!
    Great eCourse! I've been a sporadic blogger at best, but I strive to be more consistent.

    My favorite thing bloggers do is have a 'regular thing' they do on their site. My Charming Kids comes to mind where she does "Not Me Monday" and "Name That Photo".

    As far as pet peeves, the only thing that bloggers do that make me unsubscribe, is get all preachy or on a soap box about an issue. And it rubs me the wrong way when a blogger devotes a post as a response to a comment they didn't like! LOL. I've only really seen that on personal blogs.

  2. Great job, Lori! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on blogging. I agree with you that SOME personalization is what makes the blog interesting, but it's knowing where to draw the line to prevent "oversharing" that's critical.

    My favorite thing that bloggers do is: post on a regular basis. It doesn't have to be every day, but it ought to be more than once a week IMO. There are so many blogs out there and I'm going to spend my limited amount of "following" time on those that provide updated content.

    Pet peeves include lack of posting (that's the flip side of my favorite above), broken or lack of links, and either too much or not enough sidebar content. If you have NONE, it's boring. If you have TOO MUCH, it's confusing and can take a LONG time to load if someone has slow internet.

  3. Thank you Lori, a glass of wine and your eCourse was a great way to unwind after a work week. Loved reading it and learnt a lot.

    You write well and it was all very good advice. I like to keep my blog professional, being rather reserved personally. Started it to promote my business and meet fellow beaders. Glad to hear you sold a piece to a blog visitor, because I wondered if it could lead to any added sales given that everyone makes their own jewelry and I do not make or sell beads or findings.

    Agree with no politics or religion, though I have very strong opinions and a staunch follower of both, and sometimes I get oh so tempted to butt in with a comment. Having trouble posting regularly, not so much a time issue, but more of content, what do I have to say?

    One question, what do you mean by 'use your tags well'?

    My favorite thing is a meaningful post, sometimes it might be only a picture.
    Pet peeve fellow bloggers that do not even acknowledge your comments, ever! I know it must get near impossible as ones followers grow in numbers. But some answer back, once in a while would be nice.

    Thank you for your time and sharing your thoughts with us. Much appreciated. Looking forward to Chapter 2. Have a great weekend.

  4. Hi Lori! I loved your eCourse.
    I have to admit that I am a "silent follower" most of the time. I am trying to be better about commenting, but I always seem to get 'writer's block' and afraid that my comment will just sound dorky. LOL.
    My favorite thing(s) bloggers do is:
    I agree with Amy, I like it when they have a 'regular thing' and also pictures. Pictures of their art, pictures of the flowers they grew this summer, vacation pics, etc. It is nice to know a little about the person you 'visit' on a regular basis.
    Pet peeve(s): Again I have two ☺
    I love it when bloggers share personal info, but dis-like bloggers who use their blog to complain; to constantly whine about where they are, how hard they have to work, don't have any friends etc. And playlists. Not all playlists, as I do like a variety of music, just the ones that are buried on the very bottom of a blog that has an extremely long sidebar. If it is music that I don't care for or I am already listening to iTunes it can be rather annoying to have to hunt for the player, sometimes it is just easier to close and move on to the next blog on my reading list.
    Wow, who knew I had this many words;~)
    I really did enjoy the eCourse and hope you continue with them.

  5. Fantastic Lori, thank so much for doing this. It is very timely for me, as I have just started my blog a few days ago.

    I guess my favorite thing that some bloggers do is to post regularly, and to post pictures. I also like it when a little personal information is thrown in with the "business".

    My least favorite thing would be the opposite - irregular posting and very few pictures. Also I am not in favour of bloggers ranting on and on about a percieved slight.

    Thanks again,

  6. Lori, first of all, let me just tell you that your writing is like Yoga to me-it just calms me down. Especially, in reference to your eCourse.

    It's so wonderful-I mean in the tone in which you teach. You are like the perfect kindergarten teacher that you really hope your child gets for their first introduction into grade school.

    -Bravo, Lori, Bravo!

    My favorite bloggers are generally upbeat real life people where everyday occurances happen whether they are just taking pics of their daily events, telling me how their kids tracked mud through 3 rooms of the house, or showing me step by step how they have created a new project. I can feel when business is being pushed at me, at full speed, and I bow out generally. If the blogger is in solely for money than I generally move on. I like keeping it real and I like to read about people keeping it real. The blogging world is like sitting down at an airport and people watching-I love that!

    My pet peeves are pages that are so overloaded that they freeze up my page and I end up yelling at my own computer for it-HA!

    My biggest pet peeve is lack of follow up comments from the authors of the blogs. Time after, time after, time after time. I find it quite rude and I usually quit following after several times of this. I am all about manners and interactions. That's just how I roll:)

  7. Great ecourse. And so well written. My favorite thing bloggers do is post lots of close up, clear photos, esp of jewelry they have made, or trips...

    my least favorite thing...write very long posts without pictures

  8. Excellent eCourse, Lori - well done! And good feedback in the comments too.

    My favorite thing is when bloggers insert their personality so it's not all business. A nice balance is perfect.

    I love photos in a blog!

    I agree with Pat about the embedded music in a blog - except I feel much more strongly - I hate it so much I probably won't follow that blog. It's startling, distracting and annoying. (I told you I feel strongly!) :-)

    Great job, Lori - looking forward to more eCourses! You're definitely on the right track.

  9. Hi Lori!
    Love the eCourse and thanks for sharing it with all of us. I think you did a beautiful job writing the course and it flowed beautifully!

    My favorite things on a blog is seeing the pictures, be it photos of their work or photos that the person posted of nature, vacations, or misc. things. I also like reading a little about their personal life and what is going on with them. It is so interesting to see what people do in their daily lifes - like BundlesofBlossoms said - it is like people watching at an airport. Second favorite is when the person responds to your comment - that they took the time to answer you. I love being able to receive the persons comments in email(after much figuring on blogger how to do it - computer illeterate) and individually emailing them to thank them for taking the time to leave a comment. I know I am slow in answering sometimes, but I do try to answer the comments.

    Pet peeves - mostly with myself - ranting on a blog. I am guilty of this myself and I try to hold myself back. But when you rant and rant a lot it gets tiring. I go to other people's blogs to relax and have a pick me up. I don't need someone else to bring me down, I can do that all on my own.

    Thank you again for sharing your eCourse Loir. This was awesome and so informative!

    Have a great weekend!

  10. Great eBook on the dos and don'ts of blogging! I enjoy blogging very much - it is another creative outlet for me. So I hope the eCourse will encourage new bloggers.

    My favorite thing about bloggers is when they are funny! Humor makes the post so much more enjoyable.

    Pet peeves include posting a jewelry related post without any pictures!! I've lost count of how many blogs do that! Another one is the apologetic post on why a blogger has not posted in a while. Only one cure for that - post regularly.

    Just off to spread the word about your eCourse on my Twitter and Facebook.


  11. Lori
    Thank you for taking the time to compile all of this great blogging information! I think there is something for all of us, both seasoned bloggers and newbies. I know for myself, it is always great to be reminded that you just never do know who reads your blog! I have had a couple recent great opportunities by people who have visited my blog (and from there my Flickr and Etsy links). I know I am not the best at frequent updating of these sites, but I do the best that I can with what time I have!
    pet peeves: hmmm..I think a big turn off is when one toots their own horn in such a way that does not come across as humble in any way. I think there is a tactful way to share one's accomplishments, and as readers we want to share in your excitement. But when numbers of sales and "look how fast this sold" comments are constantly posted, how can one figure their readers will take it with the same enthusiasm?
    What I love: I love great pictures! And as large as possible for your blog constraints. I know for my blog, I am limited with the width of photos...and I'd like to look into a 2-column design in the future so I can post larger pictures. Of course one needs to consider loading time as well. I love reading about "real life"...what goes on behind the scenes, not just picture after picture of jewelry. You made a great point, we like to connect with and get to know the blogger.
    Thanks, Lori!! :-)

  12. Great job - a reminder that I need to get it blogs have been so neglected lately - oooo it makes me sad when blogs are neglected (and I am the worst)!!!

    And I too really enjoy those regular posts that are always on certain days - it's a fun way to get to know the author.

    I love blogs that have voice - that is so not the "right" word - but you know the bloggers that write well but it still sounds as if you were right there having a conversation with them! Love it!!! Feels like chatting with an old friend!

    I love when bloggers share cool things/people/sites they have come across on the net...I have discovered so many artists, challenges, inspiration just from other bloggers sharing...

    Ooo and I know this one is always a should I or shouldn't I - but I love peoples playlists!!! I love music and have discovered so many new to me artists just by listening to others playlists....

    Pet peeves - funny thing about my pet peeves is I know I am guilty of some of the SAME things - bad photos, rantings, neglecting a blog....those are all I can thing of.

    Wow sorry my response was so long. I really like this interactive part of your e course! :) Thanks again for the great info! Have a wonderful weekend!

  13. Thanks Lori, this was a great read, good tips to keep in mind.
    Ok, first the things I like about blogging~ I love to see new work & bead, a new technique explained , or a new source(ok, I have a love hate relationship w/ finding another place to spend $$). I also love how Lori reads my blog regularly & COMMENTS(Thanks L). Dislikes~never getting a comment back on a comment(it happens A LOT),blogs that I can't read on my reader,blogs that take forever to load AND have lots of tuorial ads,store ads etc. before the blog post, these are usually one in the same. A strange dislike, blogs I can't 'unsubscribe' to, sometimes I just change my mind & of those I had tried to remove several times a day? All in all I really love the whole blogging experience. This past yeaqr of unemployment would have been a totally different year if I hadn't discovered blogs

  14. I loved it! I really need to set up a schedule for blogging that's a great idea.

    My favorite things bloggers do are posting regularly, have tons of colorful well taken photos, and sharing there work in progresses with us (like showing the beads, then part of the prosses, then the finished piece.)

    Hmmm what are my pet peeves that bloggers do? The only thing I can think of right now is when they post a really long post with no pictures lol. Oh wait have have another I really dislike when thier blogs aren't personalized to them.

    Happy Beading,

  15. Lori,

    Even before you started the eCourses, the word I would have chosen to describe you is generous. The courses only add to that feeling. You have put together a beautiful and thoughtful course and it is so nicely done.

    My favorite things are beautiful photos and feeling like I'm getting to know a person a bit.

    My pet peeve #1 is music that automatically comes on. Hmmm... make that #2. My real #1 is any kind of sign-up form that pops up over the blog. I will not visit those blogs again.

  16. Lori, thank you so much for your terrific eCourse! I am a well-intentioned-but-sporadic blogger at best, so I will be poring over the generous pile of information you've provided regarding blogging.

    And in response to your questions:

    My favorite things: Bloggers with fun/charming/interesting things to say, pretty pictures, and a cheerful mood to the blog.

    My pet peeves: Music that starts automatically and over-the-line commercialism.

  17. thanks for the ecourse,
    reading the other comments has gotten me to thinking about what i do with my blog( not enough)
    likes :seeing photos of designs, tips on where to get nice, well priced supplies, techniques and some personal connections as well.
    Pet peeves: overloads, background music , things flashing or wiggling around on the blog
    and i while i think people should be able to say whatever they want..i won't spend any time reading about personal politics or religion.
    also, perhaps people should temper their comments when they don't agree. as you mentioned,you never know whos reading..i was surprise to find that some of my comments could be found on google searchs..yikes..

  18. Lori,
    Thanks for a well written post on blogging. And I thought I was the only one who enjoys some blogs just because of their lovely banner.

    I don't mind if bloggers post about opinions, politics, or even religion as long as it is done tastefully, and without name calling or finger pointing. Who knows, we might learn a thing or two from these posts.

    I love to read blogs that combine both personal posts and biz posts. It makes me feel more in tune with the person. But please don't go over the line on the personal part. As you say, there is a line to be drawn when posting personal issues.

    My pet peeve is a very long post. By the time I get done (if I make it to the end) I can't remember what was at the beginning. Sometimes dotting the post with photos helps, but some are just waaaay too long and I lose interest, even if the blogger is an excellent writer. This would exclude informative posts such as tutorials etc.

    Thanks for the 'food for thought' on blogging. Looking forward to more.

  19. Sorry I didn't leave a comment right after I read it, Lori. I have to tell you that your advice is spot-on and timely. I really took it to heart and I think that it is a great reminder of how to be a great friend to the blog community to consider your tips, to look at what to improve on your existing site, or give you ideas as to how to start.

    As for my dislikes... someone's playlists. Hate it. I like finding new music, but it always shocks me and I don't stay around long at all.

    I dislike ads on blogs, especially if they are blinking or pop-ups or something like that. I personally made a decision long ago never to monetize my space. It might have a place in a strictly business blog, but not when it is your personal site.

    I have been turned off a lot lately with those blogs who use their space as a soap box to be too preachy, whether it is political or religious or about personal slights.

    Along with that, I think that if a blog is solely about "look what I made, don't you want to go buy it?" I get bored really easily. I am making things too, and I want to sell them. And I have made some very nice friendships and sales of custom work through my blog, but that is not the purpose. So a pet peeve might be not having a clear focus for your blog, or having a focus that is all about the sale. Show me the process, introduce me to new sources of materials, especially tell me the story behind this particular piece. That is what draws me in.

    Learn something about taking pictures with your camera. Good pictures are essential. I have been working very hard at that.

    Have a pretty space to come and visit. I know others who only read in Reader mode, but I like to come and visit as if I am stepping into your room. Make it a reflection of who you are.

    Okay, I guess I have a lot of peeves! LOL! I dislike the dark background with the white or colored text. Too hard to read! So many great free blog templates out there make it interesting. I get bored so that is why I change it up.

    On the flip side, I love comments! I dislike when someone is a regular commenter on my own blog and I have no way to get in touch with them. Turn on your email! I promise that I will write back to you and continue the conversation.
    If you are not responding in some way to comments then you risk of losing the conversational aspect of blogs which is what I find so energizing! I recently asked why people feel compelled to write long comments to me, when I see that same person writes short comments elsewhere. The answers were very eye-opening.

    I dislike this person named "Ann Nonymous." Who the heck is she and why does she leave nasty insensitive comments?

    I like a little bit of personal info, but not too much that it is uncomfortable. It is a different line for everyone. I don't share my kids names but that is a personal preference.

    I love the friendships I have made, the camaraderie and the support that I have received. And I love coming here. Because Lori, you really know how to write well, you respond to comments, it is pretty here with no music to jar me, and you share your personal story as well as your jewelry tales.

    Thank you for posting this. I will come back to read it again.

    Enjoy the day!

  20. Very well thought out and interesting. I agree with almost everything you suggest. Wish I were better at blogging!

    My favorites are people who are genuinely funny ( and I know that's a talent we don't all have). After that, I love pictures and info! I don't want your personal rants and vendettas.

    One thing that drives me crazy and always makes me jump is music that pops on when I'm reading. I know people love their music but it's very distracting to me. I usually keep the sound off for this reason.

    Thank you!

  21. Lori, I really, really enjoyed your eCourse...and I agree 100% with everything you said! You have a beautiful way with words, and a sincerity and openness which is a pleasure to read :-) You would make a brilliant teacher!

    My favourite thing about blogging is the personality of the blogger...if you can make me laugh, make me cry, or make me smile, you've got a follower for life :-)

    If a blog is only about promotion of one's business, with no personal touch whatsoever, I'll just move on to the next blog. Creating beautiful things is one thing, but I love to get to know the artist behind it too.

    My biggest pet peeve is when bloggers never, ever reply to your comments. Whether it be a reply on their blog, or whether they come and visit your own blog...ignoring you completely, when you took the time to comment, it just plain rude! I've stopped following a number of blogs because my comments (all positive, mind you!) were never even acknowledged by the bloggers.

    My other pet peeve is terrible photos. I was guilty of taking the WORST photos when I first began creating jewellery a few years ago...but I work hard at making them as interesting and clear as I possibly can now. I wish everyone would do the same...who doesn't love a pretty picture ;-)

    Thanks again for your wonderful eCourse...I look forward to the next one!


  22. Great post. I am guilty of infrequent blogging. I like the responses to have a "thing" or day to do things.
    My pet peeves are no photos and music. I read blogs at night after my DD has gone to bed and the music can be so loud!
    Thanks again!

  23. Lori - I wish I could find something to disagree with you about regarding your e-course (but only because you said you like healthy debate), but I can't. I exactly agree with everything you said.

    Favorite things: lots of photos. If a post doesn't have photos, I'll read it if it's entertaining in some way. But, usually lots of pretty photos.

    Pet peeves: Music that loads with the blog.

  24. Great eCourse, Lori. Every time I read something of yours, either your blog or your comments on other blogs, it stricks me how nice you are. And I love that you expect others to be nice too. I love pictures on a blog. But I love the written word too. So a good balance is what I look for. Pet peeves, the music. I'm a fellow insomniac and sometimes, like now, it's 3 o'clock in the morning when I'm reading a blog. It can wake the whole house.

  25. Thank you for taking the time to write all this Lori. It all makes perfect sense really and should be common wisdom. I love pictures on blogs cos I'm a visual...but really, people talking about their creations and what they do withoug sharing pics of it is frustrating. Also very personal stuff are a put-off...Some things are best kept to oneself. Other than that, looking forward to your next e-course! smiles, Virginie

  26. Lori, first of all I would like to thank you for all of this great insight and sharing and also thank Cindy of Sweetbeadstudio for leading me here.
    I am new to blogging, just since June so I am a sponge for information. I would especially welcome anyone to tell me how to find a person's email to respond to after they leave a comment. I have always tried to respond any way I can, most often by going to the commenters blog.
    I love a good mix of personal and business posts with pictures of course.
    I dislike the music as well and usually close a blog immediately when it jumps at me. Maybe I'm a little picky here but badd speling and incorrect grammer jumps at me as well. Pleeze take the tyme to reczech whut yu hav writn.
    I'll be sure to come back and visit frequently now that I have found you. Laura

  27. Hello, Lori. Thanks so much for taking the time to write up such a wonderful eCourse on blogging. This brings up many great points and I know your followers have enjoyed it.

    I had to take a long hard look at what I enjoy and dislike in blogs. I found a common thread with all my favorite blogs and surprisingly enough, I learned something about myself in the process. I found out that what I enjoy are more personal blogs. I don't mean someone telling the world what they think all the time, I mean a blog post about a vacation with great photos or about how they made a homemade apple pie for the first time.

    I enjoy jewelry and the whole process of assembling it but that's not what I want to see all the time. I guess my mind needs variety. My blogging buddies are my friends and I really am interested in what they have going on in their lives. So, I've now taken a look at my own blog and realized I'm not at this point yet. I need to take the time to talk about my personal life without getting too personal. And I need to spend some time really learning my camera because, lets face it, a picture is worth a thousand words.

    Two of my favorite blogs are Cindy's from Sweet Bead Studios and Kerry's from Kab's Creative Concepts.

    I rarely comment on Kerry's blog but that doesn't mean I'm not a silent watcher. Both of these discuss their lives with a bit of jewelry mixed in with amazing photos to tell the story.

  28. thanks for the compliments leslie!

    and thanks lori for writing a great e-course!

  29. What an awesome course Lori! I do not have a business as of yet and not yet sure it will ever be but your advice is invaluable!

    I like the personal touch in blogs, then when I get the ability I will know the person that I have purchased from and how they came about making the piece. I also have made a strict rule for myself I will not follow a blog that I do not like to read. Give away or not I have limited time to blog and visit my blog friends (and that is what they are) that I think its only fair to me and the blogger to only follow if I like what I see and feel from their blog! I also feel that if you put out negative that is exactly what you will get so if you are going to rant on your blog be sure that you are ready for what you get back. Bloggers have responsibility to be true to themselves and their readers.

    Sorry I was so late in posting this but you know how my weekend was!

    Thanks so much for this!!!!!!

  30. Hi, Lori,
    I enjoyed this post! It's full of common sense and great advice.
    My pet peeve: Bloggers who only blog about themselves and how wonderful they are. If they are that great, I think it will become apparent in the posts.
    What I like best: Parts of the people behind the blog that they show. For example: Besides making jewelry, what else do you like to do? The blogger does not have to be personal, but I love it when the blogger brings in a bit of themselves so you get to know that blogger a bit better.
    Thanks for doing this. It was a good read!

  31. Such a great post. So much fantastic information.
    Favourite bloggers are the ones who post regularly, have a sense of humour and lots of pics.
    Least favourite would be blogs with black backgrounds. I find them very hard to read and usually pass them by.
    Also giveaways that require you to become a follower. I'd rather have someone follow my blog because they find it interesting and not the lure of a prize.
    Thank you for sharing your eCourse.

  32. I am excited about this eCourse. Thank you. I have read this several times so far. So much great info for a newbie.

    What I love - as others have said, regularity. I also like the blend of personal and business. For me, it makes that person more approachable although I tend to be a lurker for fear that my comments are silly. And pictures. Always a plus.

    Again, like many others, I like dicovering new artists from blogs, discovering new links. I like it when it is real and heartfelt. I hope that makes sense.

    I like when I can learn something from the person, whatever that may be.

    What I don't like - a lack of consistency. There are a few blogs that I have stopped following because there are huge chunks of time when there is nothing new. I don't like being "told" or "preached at".

    Sorry for the long answer.