In my last blog post I mentioned how Canoe Ridge Creations started while I was in college -- simply as a way to share sewing projects with friends & family back home. I had read a few blogs here and there, but by no means would consider myself an avid blog reader. Which means, I knew virtually NOTHING when I decided to jump into blogging. There are so many things I learned along the way -- trial and error...and sometimes, error again. Some of you might be in the very same boat right now, maybe you've wanted to start a blog for some time but don't know where to start. Or you've had a blog, but are open to suggestions to make it even better. Or it's possible you think I'm full of hot air, in which case just keep on moving. Kidding. :)
So here it is, 5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Starting A Blog
1. Fake it 'til you make it, and then fake it some more. Act like a blogger, be a blogger. Act like a pattern designer, be a pattern designer. Yeah okay, it's not that simple -- but close! Have confidence in what you write, share, present to your blog readers and guess what, they'll take you seriously. I promise. It's like how they say "Dress for Success", if you get into the mindset of being a professional blogger/pattern writer/designer (assuming that's what you want) the rest will fall right into place naturally.
2. Blogspot vs. WordPress. It's an age old debate & here's my two cents. When I started Canoe Ridge Creations, Blogspot was all I knew (remember, I seriously didn't know anything about blogging) -- it was easy, quick, and user friendly. I chose a generic template and I was off! Now it's suited me well and I've learned how to write simple code, blog design, etc. to make it my own unique space. However, if I were to do it all over again I'd choose WordPress. Here's why, I like the creative control & ability that comes with WordPress -- to make it 100% your own space. In fact, transitioning from Blogger to WordPress is on my "to-do" list (oh sigh, that darn "to-do" list!). My point is, do your research and choose what best fits you.
3. Get a URL, and get it now! It's such a simple thing that brings validity to your blog & it's content. Remember, fake it 'til you make it. For less than $20 a year you can own your own unique URL, plus it's cleaner looking on social media, business cards, etc. If you're just starting a blog go and do some research on URLs and if your new blog/business name is available. It just might influence what you name your blog. Also social media -- make sure you secure the same user names on social media, too!
4. Trolls are real. This has been the hardest part of blogging for me and to be honest, it still hurts. I remember the first time someone left a less than desirable comment on my blog (constructive criticism = yes, please!, blatant, mean spirited comment = keep it to yourself). It was the worst. I called up a good bloggy friend of mine, spilled my guts on how hurt, upset, & angry I was that someone would leave such a nasty comment. Do you know what her response was? "Welcome to the big league, Megan." Yeah okay that may be true, but it doesn't make it hurt any less. So here's my advice: Just like Taylor Swift says, "Shake it off!" Let it go, ignore the trolls, and delete the comment if you like -- it's your blog after all!
5. Pictures matter. Pictures do matter, so much. Especially if you are a sewing + quilting + creative blog -- you want your creations to shine in the blog post. The best thing I did (and I wish I would have done it sooner) was invest in a DSLR camera. The quality of my pictures became SO.MUCH.BETTER. after I made that change.
Now I know that going out and purchasing a big (and expensive) camera might not be in everyone's budget, and that's totally fine. Here's one EASY photo tip that you can change -- the size! When I first started blogging my pictures were small like this.
At Sewing Summit, a fellow blogger & event speaker suggested that your pictures should fill your entire blog entry space like this.
|Pattern: Sea Breeze Mini Quilt|
Uh, HELLO?! Same exact picture but so much better, right? Please note this difference is only seen in the Desktop view, not the Mobile version a blog.
Now if I were to add a 6th (and maybe 7th) thing it would be to JUMP RIGHT IN & learn from your mistakes. You can't learn & grow unless you try. It's important to share what you've learned with others. This online sewing + quilting community is fabulous, but in my experience the waters change a little bit when you enter the actual "quilting industry." Naturally people become more competitive, but that doesn't mean we need to be any less supportive of one another (that topic is for a whole different blog post!).
There you have it, the 5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Starting A Blog. Leave a comment below if you learned something new or have something to add!