I'm always trying to improve my blog, so I keep an eye on sites like ProBlogger. There are lots of good suggestions there. But it's like many other blogging tips sites in that much of what it says works best for technology or newsy blogs. Craft blogs have some special challenges that you don't see addressed very often.
A few months back, "Sister" Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod mentioned that she taught a class on craft blogging. I shot off an email asking if her class was available online... but alas, it was only a Portland thing. While that's an area of the country I'd love to visit sometime, it seemed like a bit too much of a commute just to take a class.
So I was very excited Friday when Sister Diane announced she had written an ebook on that very topic. "Making a Great Blog: A Guide for Creative People" is available on her site for $12.50, and it's specifically geared towards arts & craft bloggers. The 49-page ebook covers the why and how of starting a blog, tips for making it pretty, and a primer on blogging etiquette.
While the ebook is geared towards the beginner blogger, I did find it useful. I especially liked the section on photography, which included a few tips on props I'd never considered before. I like that she encouraged folks to first figure out why they want a blog and what their goals are. Having a goal in mind always helps focus a new project. I'm glad she talks about getting permission when using others' photos. And I liked her worksheets. I plan to go through some of the exercises just to make sure my blog is still moving me towards my goals.
I'm generally not crazy about ebooks, but this one was well-formatted and easy to read. It seemed a little expensive to me... but then again, it's much cheaper than buying a flight to Portland to attend her class in person! So I guess I can't complain much.
If you're just getting started (or just thinking about it) in blogging and need some guidance, I would highly recommend Sister Diane's ebook (buy it here). You may also want to keep an eye out for parts 2 and 3, "How to Promote Your Creative Blog" and "Creative Blogging 102," due out this summer.
If you've been blogging for a while and are already an expert, you might be more interested in ProBlogger's free 31 Days to Build a Better Blog program. The nice thing about ProBlogger's Darren Rowse is that he focuses on blogging as a way to bring value to the reader. Good content is most important, not search engine hacks or other tricks. I recently started the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog program, and I feel like it's helping me improve my blog.
Finally, if you don't need any help with your blog, you might be more interested in tips for better microblogging (aka Twitter). This list of 9 Twitter Tips for Artists has a few things I don't agree with (like retweeting everything you think is funny). But it makes up for that by its suggestion to limit your self-promotion (a common mistake for new artists on Twitter). Overall it's a good read if you're considering Twitter-ing.