Start a Craft Blog

Hi there! So you want to Start a Craft Blog eh?

I’ve been blogging for about 12 years now and I’ve learned so much through my little blogging journey on what works and what doesn’t work. So, I’m going to break down the steps you need to Start a Craft Blog.

 

 

 

Choosing a Name for your Blog.

The name of your blog can be anything. It could be your name and the word designs after it. You can pick keywords from your blog’s category, for example Sally’s Scrapbooking Place. Or, you can choose something totally crazy and with a fun story behind it.

My blog name actually came from a friend of mine who gave me an ice cream ornament for my baby shower (last baby and it as around Christmas) She asked me if I understood the meaning behind it. I understood it right away. This baby was my 3rd scoop! The colors from my ornament actually match my blog, too!

Figure out a Blog Name that represents you. If you have one AWESOME! Now define that name what colors do you like, what type of logo or font do you want associated with your brand. You will also want to sign up on your favorite social media sites with your name/website’s name.

What kind of blog are you looking to start? Is it card making, kids crafts, scrap booking, painting, watercolors, etc. There are literally a bazillion different categories to choose from. Sometimes figuring out what your blog is going to figure out will help you choose and decide on a name for your site.


Choosing a Blogging Platform

For years I blogged on a free platform, blogger. In fact my old blog is still up and I still get traffic from it to this one. Blogger is great to get your feet wet. Learn how to post, create links and add photos to a page etc.

But if you are really serious about blogging, being on design teams and interested in making money as a crafter and a blogger, you should really look into getting your own site and domain.

Think of it as buying vs renting.

Here’s a few reasons why I decided to make the change and get my own site and blog using the Content Managing System WordPress.org.

About 3 years ago I decided to get a little more serious about blogging and decided to re-brand therefore; I’ve purchased a domain and space through BlueHost. The domain is your name or also known as URL. For example mine is My Creative Scoop or http://www.MyCreativeScoop.com. Once you have purchased the domain you need space to put content onto the internet. So you need website space. I have done a lot of research on Bluehost and I love how you can get the little package of domain and the web space. To me Bluehost just makes sense. Buy together, renew together this way it is all in one spot and you know exactly where to find all your website info!

Signing up with Blue Host.

Step 1. Choose your package.

Step 2. Choose your domain name.. or you can choose it later!

Step 3. Type in your account information.

Step 4. Choose your package — the 36 month package is an awesome deal! I also chose to get the Site Lock Security.

Step 5. Almost finished … Now time to submit payment.

Congratulations! Now all you have to do is go to your Bluehost Dashboard and you will see all these little boxes. I know this area looks super techie but you won’t be in this part very much after you download WordPress.

Step 6. Download WordPress.com. It’s free through bluehost. Go to Install WordPress and pick a theme and we’re all set!


Designing your WordPress Blog

I love graphic designing. I have self-taught myself so much, there’s tons of stuff I don’t know and tons of stuff I wish I knew how to do. My favorite program to work with is Adobe Photoshop CS6. This program is seriously amazing. One day I’ll learn Illustrator. If you are not familiar with graphic designing there are tons of designs you can find on Creative Market. You can get the graphics to create, buy fonts, pre-made themes for WordPress — pretty much anything and everything graphic related! They also have freebies they give away each week.. so signing up is a must!

Build YOUR BRAND your own personal look! Try going on Pinterest look up color palettes, favorite objects, colors, tools, ideas, quotes, textures .. put them all in a board that will represent you! This way when you go to design your blog, you already have the look you want!

After I finally broke down and bought the Genesis Framework and this adorable Creative Theme by Pretty Darn Cute Designs, my site is finally working the way I want it. I put off purchasing this theme and framework for over a year and had to constantly change things and I wasn’t satisfied with the look of my site. Now, I can create landing pages with the click of a button! My widgets are just where I want them. I can’t believe I waited so long before I purchased this.

Be consistent with your brand colors, logo etc. Make sure you use the same font/colors as you do for your header in all of your blog graphics including your watermark. For example — you don’t see Starbucks changing up their font and logo and it’s easily recognized as Starbucks. You want that same consistency in your brand so people recognize you on any platform — this is so important to establish your brand when you first Start your Craft Blog.


Widgets + Plugins

Widgets are like little apps that will do certain things much easier on your blog. Let’s say you want to add a gallery, or social media buttons or even make a page where people can download a checklist (or anything). Widgets make it easier to do all that… and more!

You download Widgets and Plugins under Plugins.

Here’s a list of Plugins I recommend and use.

  • AddtoAny Share Buttons – This plugin adds social media buttons to the bottom of each post making it easy for your readers to share your content.
  • Akismet Anti-Spam – This keeps the SPAMMERS at bay so you don’t get unwanted icky comments.
  • Convertkit – Makes it easy to link to my email forms. More on that below.
  • GDPRCookie Consent Banner – Cause it’s the law.
  • Easy Media Download – This is how I create My Creative Library and make the images downloadable.
  • Google Analytics Dashboard – So you can easily see your traffic, most popular pages, referrers.
  • Yoast SEO – SEO is Search Engine Optimization this literally gives you a green light once your post ready to be published. SEO helps google and search engines find your blog posts when people do searches.

I do have a few others but these, I feel are the most important. The others depend on what theme you use. If you use the Pretty Darn Cute Designs site she has a list of plugins to use so your blog will look just like her example!


Posting

When you first Start your Craft Blog — you’re going to be so excited and just want to post right away. You just don’t want to post a project here and there. You want a schedule and stick with it. Consistency is key and will keep readers coming back.

Don’t overwhelm yourself, either. You don’t need to post everyday! Even if you create everyday, you don’t need to post, space it out. I find it easier to make a list of all the techniques/projects you want to do that month and see how you can fit them in your calendar. So if you want to create a post on using Distress Oxide Inks and you have design team post that week — combine the 2.

You need to build a blog by focusing on great valuable content. Your readers need a reason to visit your blog. Not just to see your beautiful work.

Here’s a few posting ideas to drive more traffic to your blog:

  • Tutorials
  • Full Product Lists
  • Card layouts
  • Color Combos
  • Comparisons (papers, inks, coloring mediums)

Round Ups are also a great way to bring in traffic. You can make a list linking to websites, blogs etc. Here’s a few ideas for round up posts. You can make the number whatever you want.

  • 10* popular cardmaking techniques/tutorials
  • 5 of my favorite crafting companies
  • Favorite digi stamp stores
  • Most popular crafting Facebook groups
  • Crafting Hashtags for Instagram
  • 7 awesome (insert Holiday) projects/tutorials you don’t want to miss

When writing your blog posts there are a few things you should always include.

  • Photos – Make sure you have photos with good lighting and are attractive. This will draw your readers in.
  • Bullets or lists – These make reading through your post easier and breaks up writing to keep readers interested.
  • Good SEO – Name your images, repeat focus words, include links, use focus words in meta tags.
  • Links – You want to link within your blog. If you mention a past post (idea, tutorial, photo) Link to that page
  • Questions – You always want to get your readers involved within the topic you’re blogging about. Ask them their opinion or how they might do something differently. Get them commenting and interacting with you.

Pages your Blog Needs

When you Start a Craft Blog you want to make sure you use a navigation bar instead of cluttering your sidebar with information. In your sidebar you should have a photo of you and a link to your about me page – Check out my About Me Page for some ideas.

You should also list all of your social media in your sidebar.

About me page – This is probably one of the most important pages. People want to know who you are and what you and your blog are all about. Personalize it but don’t make it all about you. Sounds funny yes but create this page with your reader in mind. Give them something they will be able to relate with you about. Include links to your best blog posts.

Creative Resume – Instead of listing in your sidebar all the design teams you design for have a page for all of your design teams/collaborations. You should also include a little blurb about “if you’d like to work with me or collaborate contact me at” This is also a great tool to have when you’re applying for teams. Now you can just send them this link. Check out My Creative Resume!

Contact Page – You should always have a page where someone can get into contact with you. You can add a form through a widget, or simply just have a page with a blurb about if they have any questions they can email you at — and leave your email. 🙂

Privacy Policy and Disclaimer – There’s tons of Privacy Policy Generators — you can choose the best one to fit your needs by googling Free Privacy Policy Generator.


Instagram and Facebook

These are the only 2 Social Media platforms I use Instagram and Facebook. I have a Twitter but I don’t get it, honestly. Make sure your blog and social media page names are the same.

Instagram

I like having a clean look to my instagram. I don’t post any family stuff or anything that’s NOT related to my site. Make sure your photos are well lit, you add a description and using hashtags! You get to use 30 hashtags per post — USE THEM!

Check out this FREE Instagram Hashtag converter.

In my ‘Notes’ on my phone I have hashtag lists for cardmaking, scrapbooking, mixed media and Copics. This way all I have to do is add the hashtag to whatever company I’m using. You want to also tag the companies and or the products in the photo. This will get the companies to start noticing you, which is awesome for when they have a guest or design team call. Plus, if they re-post your project it’s a great way to gain more followers!

Instagram Stories are awesome for personalizing and humanizing your brand. I have the hardest time with this! I feel like no one wants to know what I’m doing. But it does spark an interest and makes you easier to relate to. I know — it’s hard. I struggle with this the most!

Commenting and liking posts are the best way to build your Instagram following.

Facebook

Every time I post a new blog post and project I always post it to my Facebook Page and tag whatever companies.stores I’m using. But since Facebook’s algorithm is always changing and unless someone has notifications on for your page, chances are not very many people are going to see it. So I always schedule out the same post for the next 6 months, once a month.

Old relevant posts are always good to re-share, too. So every 6 months (usually in January and July) I’ll go through all my older posts and re-share the older blog posts. So, I’ll find all my older Valentine, Easter, Christmas etc and re-share them a month or so before that Holiday. This helps bring in affiliate sales, traffic and new readers and subscribers.

You also want to join other crafting Facebook Groups to help promote your blog posts, too. I usually only share my new posts in other groups. Being apart of Facebook Groups are always a great way to be apart of a community — so be sure to comment on other posts and answer questions when you can.


Pinterest

  • The first thing you are going to want to do is clean up your Pinterest Boards. So, any boards that don’t have anything to do with your business or blog you are going to want to delete them or make them private.
  • Then you’re going to want to create boards that are relevant to your brand. Be specific with your board names. How would you search for something. Don’t use cutesy phrases and words just so things match. Use keywords relevant to your brand.
  • Your User Profile also needs to have keywords. You don’t have that much room for description so get right to the point. The key to writing your profile description is tell your readers how you are going to help them.
  • Longer pinnable graphics. The longer your graphics are the more space they take up and the more eye catching they will be.
  • Set up Rich Pins! Doing this will really help your pins and your website. I found an AWESOME tutorial on this for blogger and WordPress. Check out this site to enable Rich Pins!

Spice up your Profile!

Hi, I’m Mindy I love to read and binge watch Netflix. I love my Copics and Cardmaking. Visit my site MyCreativeScoop.com

Well, Mindy sounds lovely! But why do I want to go to her site? What are Copics? Is her site about books, Netflix…. squirrel! You’ve just lost a potential reader and customer!

Now Let’s try this again… Take a look at my Pinterest profile.

In my main header title I have my Business/Site Name and I’ve also used descriptive keywords Copic Marker • Coloring Addict. So the first thing my readers are going to see is oh, she loves to color, that must be what her site/business is about.

Then to the right I have my location listed for potential class opportunities. Then I get right to the point, ” I show cardmakers and artists how to use Copic Markers.” So, not only did I share what I do but I’m coming right out and telling you who my target audience is.

Coloring – Cardmakers – Artists.

Now, “Take my FREE e-course.” I’m giving my reader a call to action. I’m pulling them away from Pinterest and onto my blog. Where they are going to find tons of Copic Tutorials, Free Downloads and a chance to join my Free E-Course! Value, Value and more Value!

Pin throughout the day!

Whaaaaat?! You’re probably thinking okay, hello, I have a life I cannot sit on Pinterest all day long! Forget it! But wait. You don’t have to BE on Pinterest to pin. Yes, you heard me right.

Schedule your pins.

I use a Pinterest scheduler called Tailwind. You can start a free 30 day trial and test it out.

Before testing it out I think you should clean up your profile and boards first.

So, what it does is you will save pins to be pinned later. Once you link your Pinterest profile to your Tailwind account you will be able to start scheduling out pins. For example. When I post a new blog post I go straight to my post and click the little Tailwind button on my long pinnable picture. Then depending on the category of that post I add the pin to all the boards that fit that post. Then I will go to my scheduled pins and move them around and spreading them out so I’m not posting that particular pin 4 times in one day. So, now I’ll be spreading out those pins throughout the next 2-3 weeks, at different times and they are all scheduled to be pinned by different boards. Easy peasy right!?

Once I have over 100+ pins per board I activate the Smart looping tool. This will bring older pins up to the top. Therefore bringing traffic to older blog posts! Oh Yeah!!!

I know that’s a ton of information I just threw at you. So I’ve broken up the steps and have turned this into a 7 Day Pinterest Challenge. Each day we will be only spending 15-25 minutes on your Pinterest account. This way you will feel less overwhelmed and you will get through these steps Using Pinterest to Drive Traffic to your Creative Blog. SIGN UP FOR MY CHALLENGE!

 


Design Teams

First rule – you must LOVE the product! You cannot just apply to be on a design team because you want free goodies. It’s so important that for you to love what you are using. I’ve been on design teams where I like 1 certain product line they have. Do you know how many times I’ve sat at my desk with a box full of FREE crafty supplies and not have one ounce of creative juice flowing. Soon enough an hour will go by and I end up closing the box and pulling out my phone to scroll through Pinterest for some inspiration.

Most companies have a list of their requirements listed in the Design Team Call. I suggest you get on all your favorite companies mailing lists and check their social media pages regularly so you don’t miss an opportunity. There’s also a Facebook Group you can join to see all the different calls.

Design Team Benefits

So, what are some Craft Design Team Benefits is the big question here.

  • Free Products
  • Cash Compensation (usually $25-$100 per blog post)
  • Exposure to a larger crowd
  • Working with amazing Designers
  • Publication Opportunity
  • Trade-show experience

You will usually get all or a mixture of the company’s releases. Some manufactures will pay you to post on the company blog which is usually once a month. You will also be offered publication opportunities  which you are normally compensated for, as well.  Some design teams will require you to send in projects for publications and trade show displays. Some companies will even offer for you to work a trade show and if you ever get the opportunity you should jump on it! I worked the CHA trade show for years for a variety of companies and it is so much fun to see the companies behind the scene. You also meet blogger friends and see new products — amazing experience!!!

If you really want to make it on a design team you have to start making yourself visible to them. Get some of your favorite companies products and create and tag them on social media! Practice your crafting skills and teach yourself to stand out. You really want to be original. If everyone’s work and style was the same wouldn’t it be less inspiring — a little boring, even. So find your style make it unique so you stand out in a crowd. You can even take the initiative and email and ask them if they are interested in any new designers at this time!


Monetize

Another thing you should think about when you Start a Craft Blog is using your blog to earn an income is really the ‘in’ thing at the moment. Your possibilities are endless, worldwide and you can develop many different streams of income.

Affiliates – This is a simple one to set up. You can use Amazon and Shareasale. Those are my favorite and easiest to use. You can take a look at Shareasale’s Merchants and apply for any of the companies you see on there. You usually get a response within a day or 2.

Also, if you go to the bottom of the companies websites sometimes they have their own affiliate program.
Selling online courses – I use a platform called Teachable and it hosts my class site, videos etc. There’s a free version but you are limited to what you can do, like offer discount codes and you have a higher fee per course sold. I highly recommend Teachable if you are looking to sell any type of course or class.
Guest Posting – This is also a great way to earn some money. Some companies will pay you to create exclusive posts, videos projects for them. A lot of companies now pay design team members in money and product to design for them.

Start an Email List

We already have covered the the fact that that social media is always changing. This is why it’s so important to start building an email list right away when you Start your Craft Blog. It’s like knocking on someone’s door and saying hey, look what I have to offer. Which is a perfect opportunity to get to know your readers, share tips, tutorials, ask them what they want to see, share affiliate links and even sell your own products, digital files and online course.

I use a Convertkit for my email provider. In Convertkit I can create forms, sequences, tags and really organize my readers. This makes it easier to know who and who not to market to.

ConvertKit

You need to give your subscribers value. I give my readers so much! Free digi stamps, access to my digi library, tips and tutorials, ebooks, and exclusive discounts on my classes. I’ve also developed a relationship with my readers. In my free Copic Guide a 6 Day E-course day  I ask everyone a series of questions (this course is automated) but I sit and respond personally to each of those emails I receive. I love getting to know my readers better and being able to help them and see the progress and projects. THAT inspires me! Not only that but as a teacher and a crafter I think it’s SO important to answer emails. I remember emailing people when I first started crafting and asked a question and it’s so disappointing to not get a response.  I might be a couple of days — but I will respond!

You can check out my Copic Guide a 6 Day E-Course here!

Sign up with Convertkit and start building your email list right away, if you want to or plan on earning an income from your blog.

 

I think Blogging is a never-ending learning experience. You learn, you grow, you change, everyday! As long as you love what you are doing right this very minute, that is all that matters. I hope this post teaches you a little about How to Start a Craft Blog .

If you have any questions e-mail me anytime!

Pin the image below so you can always find your way back to this post!

Start a Craft Blog

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