HOW TO START A CRAFT BLOG
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So, you want to start a craft blog (or some sort of creative blog)? Welcome! I started my first blog a kajillion years ago and have learned a thing or two about what to do (and NOT to do), so I thought I’d compile this info in one spot for you. Ready?
These steps will help you start your very own blog where you can share your creative projects with the world. Who knows, you might just make this into your livelihood!
HOW TO START A CRAFT BLOG
FIRST, YOU WILL NEED A NAME.
A domain name is your blog’s name. This blog used to be littlegirldesigns.com and has since been rebranded as my own name, jenniemoraitis.com. (This is because my blog focus changed from creating craft projects to being an author, illustrator, and creative cheerleader. :))
Think about your niche, and who you want to write for as you’re brainstorming. And consider these tips:
~ Shorter names are easier to type and to remember. If your name is concise enough, you can use the same one across all your social media channels. (I didn’t do this at first—learn from my mistakes! :))
~ Try to not have words that end and begin with vowels next to each other. It makes the URL more difficult to read. (i.e. iloveanimals.com)
~ Don’t use words that need an apostrophe. (i.e. werethebest.com) I made this mistake with a former blog, and it annoyed me to no end to see that misspelling every time I logged in.
~ Research your ideas to see if they are in use already or if there are near matches. Also research your blog name on social media—especially Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
~ Consider a name that will grow with your business. I’ll admit that when I started Little Girl Designs, I had a completely different focus for my business—that of designing printables for children. Soooo, when my passion began to evolve, my name needed to change too. This is okay and can be done, but if possible try to think as big picture as possible.
~ You might want to use your own name. The only thing to consider here is to make sure it hasn’t been used before. You don’t want to be tanjamatthews2.com.
CHOOSE A PLATFORM.
I chose my “blogging platform” to be WordPress.org. This was for a variety of reasons. I wanted the freedom to be able to make any design changes I needed as well as run ads on my blog. There are other websites to start a blog for free like blogspot and wordpress.com, but they limit the amount of design changes you can make.
WordPress is the industry standard for blogs these days and is regularly updated. There are thousands of articles on how to use WordPress, and many of the themes and plugins that are created are made for that platform.
If you are not looking to create a business, I would go for a free blog site option like blogspot.com or wordpress.com. Your url will look something like this: jenniemoraitis.blogspot.com. However, if you want to earn money from your blog and business, establishing your own “dot.com” is important.
PICK A DOMAIN AND HOSTING.
Here’s where you’re going to get chills. Or at least I did. When I finally decided on jenniemoraitis.com as my URL and blog name, I logged onto Bluehost to purchase my domain name and hosting.
Go to Bluehost.com, and click on “get started now.”
Then select the plan that works best for you…
You’ll then be directed to a page where you’ll enter your new domain. Whoohoo!
There are many different hosting options, but we decided to go with Bluehost and have had a great experience with them. For blogs that are just starting out, it is a great option.
I love that Bluehost starts at $4.95 a month to host your site. That is a REALLY good price.
When you sign up with Bluehost, the process is really simple. They also have a chat feature that I’ve utilized when I’m confused.
WordPress is now installed automatically for Bluehost sites. (From the Bluehost site: “Every account features 1-click WordPress installation.”) That saves you some technical know-how for sure!
CHOOSE A THEME.
A domain is your blog’s house, but your theme is the decor. We started out with a free WordPress theme which worked well for the first couple of months. Then I started wanting different options and found that the theme couldn’t support them. I began researching and admit that after a few days, I handed that task over to my husband.
There are A LOT of theme developers out there, and not all of them are created equal. My husband is a graphic designer and has done a lot of work on websites so he was able to quickly discern if a theme designer was legitimate or would end up being a headache later on.
With that said, we ended up choosing a theme from Angie Makes. There were several options to choose and from there, we were able to update the colors, fonts, etc.
Customer service with Angie Makes was phenomenal. The developer personally emailed us back and regularly updated the theme to coincide with WordPress updates. This is really important because if WordPress updates something and your theme doesn’t update, you might end up with a really clunky-looking blog overnight. **Though we had a great experience with Angie Makes, they don’t make themes anymore. However, they still do offer their support for their products if you’ve bought them in the past.**
So, that is a basic tutorial on how to start a craft blog. However, if you want to set it up for success, you’ll also want to follow these tips:
BRAINSTORM YOUR FIRST 10 POSTS.
Ten posts? Really? Yes, really. I highly recommend making your blog go live with a minimum of ten strong posts. Not ten posts that say things like, “This is my new blog, and I’m glad to be here”, but strong content that will help others.
What kinds of DIY projects and crafts do you like to make? Start there. Is there a holiday coming up in the next couple of months? Do you like to decorate for the holidays and make special crafts for them?
HOW TO COME UP WITH 50 IDEAS IN 20 MINUTES.
Get a stack of 3×5 cards. Write your main topics on 3 to 5 of them. These will be your menu items. (Mine are DIY Crafts, Tips, Life, Letter-writing, etc.) Now set your phone alarm for 20 minutes and brainstorm as many DIY projects, crafts, and ideas as possible that fall into those categories.
If you get stuck, move to the next category. Don’t think about whether or not the projects are actually feasible, just write-write-write. When the alarm goes off, you can go back and refine, but it’s better to have a lot of ideas that can be fleshed out or adapted then nothing.
LEARN HOW TO TAKE GREAT PICTURES.
Photographs will make or break a DIY or craft blog. You don’t need to have a fancy camera or have the world’s best indoor lighting in order to take great photographs, though. Start with these few items:
~ White foam board from the craft store is your new best friend. Buy at least three pieces: one to lie your items on flat and two to stand up and form a sort of box around the piece on the floor.
The two pieces of foam core that are “standing” will reflect light onto your piece. You can also use sheets of scrapbook paper with minimalist designs for your background, but definitely use the two large pieces of white foam board to reflect light.
~ Use natural light. Turn off the glaring kitchen light and take photos in the brightest part of your home. As someone who lives in a very dark apartment in the Pacific Northwest, this is a really difficult task, but if I can do it, you can too.
Indirect light is the best, so avoid shadows and glaring sunlight. Photographers like the hours before sunset when everything is golden—hence, the golden hour. You will love that time of day too.
~ Learn how to use your camera. Search YouTube videos, read your camera’s manual, whatever it takes. You might need to purchase (or borrow from a friend) a tripod if you’re struggling with blurry photos. We have a DSLR but I usually use my point and shoot camera because it takes great photos.
This is the Canon camera I use, if you’re curious. It’s an older model, so I’m sure the new one is even more amazing.
(P.S. We do shoot all of our product photos with the DSLR, however. Just want to be clear on that one.)
GET TO KNOW PINTEREST AND INSTAGRAM.
As soon as possible, set up business Pinterest and Instagram accounts. Other social media sites are important too, but since you’re a craft blogger, you’ll find that you’ll get more traction on social media sites that focus on images.
I’ve found that it’s really important to create boards that are in your niche that have a similar look and to curate (re-pin onto your boards) pins that are beautiful and high-quality.
As for Instagram, the key is to have clear photos, a similar color palette, clear calls to action (i.e. “Click the link in my profile to learn more . . .”) and relevant hashtags. That’s it? I know, by now your head is probably spinning with information, so I’ll make this simple for you.
Go to the leading bloggers in your niche and click on the hashtags that they are using. If the images fit your ideal people (the readers you are writing for), then that’s a hashtag you’ll want to use for your images. Keep a list of hashtags on your phone so you can quickly copy and paste them into the comment section of your Instagram posts.
Hope this helps you in your journey to start a craft blog!
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