Advice for new bloggers 30


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Beth @ Plum and June is doing her yearly New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop again! I participated last year, and it’s where I became friends with some of my favorite quilty bloggers. You can read my introduction post from when I joined in last year.

So I feel a little weird giving advice to new bloggers since I by no means feel like I’ve figured things out here! But I guess I’ve figured out a few things in the last year, so here are my 7 tips:

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I’m authentically a huge dork.

1. Be Authentic – Yep you’ve probably heard this a billion times at this point, but I think it is the most important part of blogging. With so many blogs and quilters out there, it can be hard to find your way towards standing out and being unique. I know I have a tendency to compare myself to others, but really the person who is best at being you, is you. And that’s the most unique thing you have to offer. If you’re having trouble figuring out what your voice is or how to be authentic, write like you’re chatting with a friend. This is an ongoing thing, I still work on this a lot!

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I love all things color so much, I created the Palette Builder to help other people love color, too.

2. Figure Out Your “Thing” – This is related to #1. When you’re starting out it’s okay to not know what that thing is, and it’s also okay for it to change over time. But keep an eye out for a thing that really resonates with you, that you keep going back to. It might be FMQ or paper-piecing or tutorials or cats on quilts or your love of Sherlock. Once you figure out your “thing” make sure you post about it from time to time. Has it been a while since you’ve done a post on paper-piecing and that’s your “thing”? Queue one up! For me, I decided my “thing” was color. I remember how nervous I was when I hit the publish button of my first color tutorial, because I was afraid no one would take me seriously. It has gotten easier over time, and so far, I’ve [mostly] been taken seriously! Find your “thing”, and own it!

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The upper right corner wasn’t supposed to have that chunk taken out of it, but it worked out with the improv piecing. (Photo by Leanne @ she can quilt)

3. Don’t Be Afraid of Mistakes – This is related to point #1 as well (which is why it was point #1). No one is perfect, and you’re going to make mistakes. In your blogging, in your quilting, in your life. Mistakes are how we learn, and they are what other people will identify with the most. I’m not saying turn your blog into a bunch of posts about how many mistakes you’ve made, but don’t be afraid to post about them from time-to-time and how you fixed it (or how you laughed about it!) We’ve all been there! And people identifying with you makes them more likely hit the follow button. (Did I mention that on my last commission quilt I whacked off the corner of the quilt top by mistake? Yah. We all make mistakes.)

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I’m writing this post on Friday so I can enjoy my three day weekend without having to worry about making this post on Monday.

4. Be Consistent – The previous three points were more about content, but it’s really hard to write into a void. Writing a blog is really tough at the beginning because it feels like no one is listening. Growing a community of readers is part of why we do this after all! People often won’t follow a blog with only one or two posts, because there’s not enough to get a feel for what the blog or the person writing it is about. So sometimes it takes weeks or months of writing before you gain traction. Don’t give up, and be consistent in your writing. The followers WILL come. Figure out a schedule, and stick to it. When new people come to your blog, they’ll see the consistent posting schedule and be more likely to follow you. Learn how to schedule your posts, it’s amazing what a huge difference that will make on your time and sanity.

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The WIP Wednesday linkup at Freshly Pieced.

5. Link Up – If people can’t find your blog, they won’t be able to follow you! There are lots of weekly link-ups you can participate in, as well as blog hops, and giveaways. The WIP Wednesday link-up by Lee @ Freshly Pieced and the Finish it Up Friday link-up by Crazy Mom Quilts are two very popular link-ups. The bi-annual Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway is a great way to get people to your blog as well!

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My local quilt guild and all the quilts we made for a charity drive.

6. Reach Out – If you want your blog to be part of the community, you need to be a part of the community. Follow other blogs and comment on them. Join in bees and swaps (although be careful of joining too many. I think a lot of us have done that before!) Join or start a local guild. Take part in charity. Go to quilting events. You don’t need to do all of these things (unless you have that much time, in which case, awesome!) but try at least some of them out. We have an amazing community, and you won’t regret taking a part in it!

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Comparing yourself to others will just result in cranky face. Don’t do it.

7. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others – I touch on this in #1, but it will kill the joy of blogging faster than pretty much anything else. It can be really easy to fall into the trap of comparing your blog to others. That person has more followers. That person got asked to be on a blog hop. That one got featured on some big site. If you look, you will always find someone who has had more opportunities or has grown faster or bigger or whatever. Your journey is completely unique, and you will have opportunities that those other bloggers didn’t. Try to enjoy those and realize that you will get more opportunities the longer you blog. And a lot of times, opportunities start by you letting people know you’re interested in them. If there’s a blog hop you want to be a part of, let the organizer know you would be interested in joining in on the next one. Want to do samples with new fabric lines? Let the fabric designer know you’re interested. I got to know Heather Ross because I told her I’d be willing to help her with her booth at Quilt Market and she happened to need someone to help. You never know what doors will open by letting people know you’re willing to help.

I hope these tips help, and I’d be happy to answer specific questions anyone might have! And if you’re a new blogger, go join the Blog Hop! It’s a great way to meet other bloggers and gain new readers, and it’s just a lot of fun in general.

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I love comments, and respond to each one!

30 thoughts on “Advice for new bloggers

  • Vera

    Good advices Anne. I’m participating this year. I didn’t know the Acquxxxxx whatever word last year but I seen few blogger’s participate and I liked that idea.

    • Susan Raineri

      Brilliant, Anne. I wish you were my daughter so I could brag on you!! Great tips. I’m thinking of starting a blog about learning to quilt the way I did, one quilt at a time…tips on getting started, on piecing, layering, and finishing. We’ll see..my spare time is a bit stretched at the moment with school and my repair jobs, etc. maybe next year!
      Keep on writing!

      • anne Post author

        Dang, thanks Susan! 🙂 You should meet my mom, I think you two would get along. 🙂 I think you’d enjoy a blog and would have interesting things to share, although it is definitely a bit more of a time commitment than you’d think! 🙂 I know what you mean about the spare time thing, for sure!

      • Linda

        Don’t worry about the bragging thing Susan, I’ve got it covered. Both of my kids and my grandkids are a parent’s dream come true. If everyone could be so lucky!

    • anne Post author

      I’m glad you’re participating! It was a bit of work visiting everyone’s site, but it was a lot of fun. 🙂 Do you know what acquainted means now? (It basically means to get familiar with or learn that something or someone exists.) It’s a great way for new bloggers to get a bit of attention. 🙂 And more people definitely need to know about your awesome blog!

    • anne Post author

      Thanks Lucy! Most of what I wrote was kind of a reminder to myself because I’ve been not doing as well on some of those points lately. lol

    • anne Post author

      Thanks Wendy! It’s a bit harder to talk about content since ultimately what you write about is up to you. But hopefully there’s a bit here to help with the decisions that come up when it comes time to write. 🙂

    • anne Post author

      Thanks Debra! I’m glad you found the suggestions helpful. Like everything, keep practicing and experimenting and you’ll figure out what does and doesn’t work for you. 🙂 And I hope you get a chance to play in the hop this year or next. 🙂

    • anne Post author

      HAhaahah you’re not SURROUNDED by amazing, you’re EXUDING it because YOU’RE amazing. And you know I’m telling the truth because I just all-capsed you. BTW, you were totally in my mind when I wrote about this stuff. Note: example of paper-piecing as your “thing”, that was with you in mind. Also the last point was a reminder to myself because I may or may not use you and your accomplishments as a yard stick that I have trouble measuring up to. 🙂

    • anne Post author

      Thanks, Karen! 😀 I’ll admit, I wrote this mostly as a reminder to myself. I’ve been not doing so great on some of these points, lately! lol

    • anne Post author

      Thank you, Beth! And thank you for taking the time and putting in the effort on the new blogger blog hop every year! It’s kind of amazing how much that one blog hop has shaped my blog and my friendships. 🙂

    • anne Post author

      I remember you from last year’s blog hop! 😀 (*waves*) Did you make a block for the quilt at the end, as well? I think we had a really fun group. 🙂

  • Kelly

    Thanks for the advise. I love to sew and quilt although I am not advanced by far. I love reading sewing blogs and have toyed with the idea of starting a blog. My greatest difficulty is deciding on a name! I never imagined how hard that first step would be. I think of a name and check the internet and low and behold there it is out there already. My other main reason is that I would like to make labels to tag my projects as I generally make things for others, but I need a name. Do you have any advice on that? Do you need a trademark for your name in order to tag an item that you would give as a gift or sell? There are probably others out there like me that are considering taking that first step. I would have probably written a blog about it if I had one. Hahaha.

    • anne Post author

      Oh that’s a really good question! Coming up with a name is surprisingly hard!! Especially with so many other bloggers out there. One thing you could do is figure out an angle that you might have that’s unique. Let’s say you really love running you might name your blog Running Stitch. Or if you are a nurse, maybe QuiltRx. Or if you are a gamer and love most crafts, play crafts. 😉 Some people name it after their pets or children (PennyDog Patchwork) or even their own name. Is there something (other than quilting) that you really love? I’d be happy to help you brainstorm names. 🙂

      You don’t have to trademark your name in order to tag an item with it. If you ever became a company, you might consider it at that point, or if you’re really concerned someone else is going to make a company with your name and make you change it after /they/ trademark it. But most quilters and bloggers don’t worry about trademarking. 🙂

  • Diana @ RedDeliciousLife

    Lots of great advice but the thing I’m most excited about is your color palette builder and reading through your color tutorials. It’s something I struggle with all the time and I can’t wait to jump in and get more comfortable with it! Thank you!

    • anne Post author

      Thanks so much! As I was writing the advice and I wrote the bit about “if it’s been a while since you’ve done a post on your ‘thing’, queue one up!” I realized “oh man, it’s been a while since I’ve done a color post. I should fix that!” lol So will probably have something color related up on Monday. Probably about the color Coral. I’m enjoying that color a lot lately. 🙂

    • anne Post author

      Hahaha I learned a while ago to not point out your mistakes, which I guess I should have covered in the advice. I usually point them out if it’s something I learned from, otherwise I just keep quiet because most people won’t even notice! 🙂 In this case, it was the most recent mistake I made (being the most recent quilt I’ve made… lol) so I just used it as the example. I’m SO lucky the background was improved though. Otherwise I would have had to do some serious seam matching to fix it. 🙂