What are your opinions on having a stand alone blog site (i.e. www. your name here blog .com versus being a member of a blogging network like Blogger?
I seem to get a few hits from my blog, but I have a feeling it`s just other jewelers checking out my work. And my blog isn`t part of my website...it`s part of a network of other artsy / jewelry people.
I`ve been working really hard to post on my blog as often as I can each week...but for some reason I have a hard time blogging about MY work. I seem to blog about other people`s work and exciting things I`ve discovered. Harmful? I don`t like the idea of talking about myself all the time.
I think your questions are good ones—and I`ve struggled with them myself as I blog. Before answering your main question, I`m going to go off on a tangent in response to your later ones.
I have two and a half blogs: two are topic-specific (Small Failures
is about practical sustainability and Bar Stories
is about alcoholic drinks). The "half blog" is my business website blog. I started with the intention of doing something in much the same vein as Jeff (Fisher)—various topics but still relevant to my client base. I have since realized that this is not the most appropriate route for me and am currently working towards creating a library instead. The blog portion of my business site will then be titled "Studio News" instead (so I`ll use a blogging platform but it won`t necessarily be a standard blog).
So, to get back to your questions. On both my blogs (Small Failures has a dedicated domain and Bar Stories is hosted on BlogSpot), I have links to my company website in the sidebar and in the footer. I actually do get a decent amount of traffic driven to my company site from those links. I rarely discuss my company
in either SF or BS (and yes, the latter acronym is deliberate), but I do when it`s relevant. For example, I recently started a column for BoDo
, an online business magazine for designers, that focuses on sustainability in the design field (The Sustainable Studio
). Although it was specific to professional designers, I posted about on the Small Failures blog because it was relevant to some of those readers, too.
Cross posting like this is helpful for a couple of reasons:
- It points readers to where you want them to go (your company site).
- It generates link equity in the online search engines (which helps boost your ranking).
The key, as in all writing, is to keep it relevant.
Which brings me to your concern about blogging about yourself. It`s okay to blog about other jewelers, because it builds relationships and good karma. It`s also okay to blog about yourself. It`s all in your framing. A few ways to frame a self-referential post that might help you feel less "self-centered" or whatever concerns you about it include:
- Filling a need: If you have a line of jewelry that is perfect for a particular occasion or type of customer, blog about it and point out why it`s so perfect. Your readers want to know if you have something you can offer them!
- Telling a meaningful story: If you`ve just completed a piece that you are particularly proud of, blog about it. Talk about the idea behind the piece and what it means to you (and to the potential wearer). People want to connect, but you have to give them the means with which to do so.
Those are just a couple of ideas to get you started. The other thing I`ll say about your readers is that it`s okay that many are fellow jewelers checking out your work. This means that you are playing a role in your field—you have a place in it, among your colleagues. I think these relationships are just as important as those you have with your customers. They build brand equity and as you continue to share your colleagues with your customers/readers, so will your colleagues (in many circumstances) return the favor.
And now getting back to your initial question about domains. I went to your website and would never have found your blog if I didn`t know you had one already and was looking for it. The link should be in your main navigation menu, regardless of whether you host it or it`s part of a network.
My second bit of advice would be to track stats on your blog. I don`t know if you can do this through your hosting network, but if you can use a free service (I like StatCounter
) you can find out where your readers are coming from. If no one is finding your blog directly through your hosting network, then you might consider hosting it yourself instead. If, however, you see many click-throughs from other places on the network, you know it`s generating traffic for you and might be worth staying there.
I hope this brain dump was helpful in one way or another.
(Also, as an aside: you can see how I`ve scattered [relevant] links throughout my post. This builds link equity in the search engines and helps drive traffic where I want it to go. I notice you don`t do much of that in your blog posts. It`s a great way to tell other bloggers/sites that you`re writing about them, because often they check their incoming click-throughs to ID where their readers are coming from. I`ve gotten many reciprocal links this way without ever contacting the people I link to. Again, though, make the links relevant and use them in moderation.)
| Notes From the Rodeo
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