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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.


Actually, I thought the price was super reasonable! Might be because I read lots of blogs where the e-books sell for $39, $59, $99 and up!

Thanks for the link to the twitter tips! I'm new to twitter and am happy to learn more.

I have a quick question. Sculpey clay seems to be the only clay that goes on sale lately. Is it OK to mix half Sculpey and half Premo and still keep the clay strong?
P.S. How is the baby?

Elaine - You're probably right on the price being reasonable. I'm not usually an ebook gal, so I have nothing to base my assumptions on except my own cheapskate nature. :-)

Janet - You must be shopping at Michael's. Yes, it's been a while since they've had the Premo on sale... gotta hate that! If you live near a Hobby Lobby, they still have the good stuff on sale occasionally. I think JoAnn's does too (somebody correct me if I'm wrong). As far as mixing them, I haven't personally done any strength tests on the mixture so I can't say. I'd recommend running your own tests (here's some tests to try). It depends a lot on what you're using it for too -- beads or other solid pieces aren't as likely to have problems as thin pieces or pointy appendages.

And the baby's doing great -- thanks for asking! He's here now, resting on my shoulder while I type. (Typing one-handed is one of the parenting skills I didn't realize I'd have to master!)

thanks for sharing the ebook for crafty bloggers. Sounds interesting and I'll check it out.
just found your blog through 31DBBB forum (the artist thread):-)

Thanks for all of those links. I was thinking recently that I've lost some of my blog mojo. Maybe this reading material will help me get it back :-)

Thanks for the comments, Yemoonyah & Lisa. I can totally relate to your blog mojo comment, Lisa. It's easy to get out of the groove... for me, the whole late pregnancy & early motherhood thing turned out to be quite an adjustment. (Don't know how you do it with multiple little ones!) I hope some of these resources will help you feel re-invigorated!

Well, I really *wasn't* doing this when they were babies. My internet presence was there, but not as much as today. I pretty much just did whatever I could fit during their nap times (and then had a good sulk if nap time didn't happen for whatever reason, LOL!)

Now they pretty much entertain themselves (which has it's pros and cons, but mostly pros, when it comes to getting things done!)

Oooh, I can already relate to the sulking part -- a mama's got a right to nap time, after all! :-)

Very interesting article. I have had you in my RSS but upgraded to having you jump into my mail. I, too, love ProBlogger and bought his book in an instant! I've made changes to my blog and found it paid off. I'm even doing Reader of the Week now, based on a recent article of his. It is a pleasure to run into someone who takes blogging as seriously as I do. Maybe I could learn a thing or two from you--or three or four, or more!

Thanks for the kind words, Beth! Your blog looks great -- one of Sister Diane's suggestions that I'm trying to implement is using larger photos, which you're doing nicely on your site.

I'm happy to hear there are other crafters who enjoy ProBlogger. I just love that he's focused on bringing value to readers, instead of SEO trickery & the like that some blog sites focus on. I'm embarrassed to say, though, that I got stuck a little less than halfway into the ProBlogger 31 Days series... specifically on the "Visit a Mall" one. I'm not quite ready to take my 3-month old for a leisurely day of shopping, and I have so many better things to do with my time when Daddy's taking care of the little guy. Kept thinking I'd get around to it and resume the series, but here it is a month later! I may just have to skip that lesson and continue on, because it certainly had been worthwhile up to that point.

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