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.
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 are several options to choose and from there, you can update the colors, fonts, etc.
Customer service with Angie Makes is phenomenal. The developer personally emails us back and regularly updates 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.
The Angie Makes theme will cost you around $70, and it is totally worth it, believe me. We were spending way too much time trying to figure out how to DIY our free theme (and half the time, it didn’t work.) Save yourself the hassle.
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?
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.
(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.
To begin, take the top 12-inches of the foam pool noodle and fold down. This is going to be the head of the horse.
To secure in place, apply a good glob of foam safe hot glue on the bottom of the pool noodle that is folded over, and glue to itself. Foam hot glue takes a bit longer to set, so you will need to hold it in place for a bit.
Take a long piece of ribbon, and tie about four inches up from the base of the folded over portion. This will be the horse bridle. Make sure to tie nice and tight so it won’t come loose when the child tugs on it.
Next, let’s give our horse a mane. The mane is made up of curled ribbon bows. The package at the dollar store had a set of two that is perfect!
Remove the bows from the package but leave them stapled to their base. At the staple fold the card board base in half and trim the extra. You want the folded bas to be about 1/2 inch long.
Using a craft knife cut two deep slits into the pool noodle. On at the top of the bend, and the other about four inches below on the longer side of the pool noodle.
Apply a line of foam hot glue on the edge of the curled ribbon bow and slide into the slits you cut. The combination of the glue and the slit should hold the curled ribbon pretty well.
Next lets to the ears. On a scrap piece of paper make a simple template. My ears were about 3 inches tall and 2 inches wide but you can make them as big or as small as you like.
Cut out the outer part of the ear and lay the template on a piece of felt. Cut two larger ears.
Then cut out the inside of the ear and repeat, cutting out the inside of the ear out of a coordinating color of felt.
Apply a line of foam glue (I know felt isn’t foam, but it still works) on the back of the smaller ear piece and lay on top of the larger ear piece. Repeat for the second ear.
To give the ear shape, apply a thin line of glue to the bottom front of the felt ear and fold in half.
Apply foam hot glue to the base of the ear and adhere to the top of the head of the horse. One ear on each side of the mane.
Last come the eyes. I like the larger wiggly eyes, but you could cut the eyes out of felt as well if you’d rather.
Apply a dab of foam hot glue to the back of the wiggly eye and put in place.
Now the toy horse is ready to play!
I made a couple and think they all turned out so cute!! The possibilities are endless with the color combinations!
Is there anything different you would do when making this pool noodle horse? Share and let me know in the comments!
“Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. If you have ideas but don’t act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.”
There are so many people that claim not to be creative, that they are ‘not artists.’
But it is our assertion at DIY Creations that we are all artists, and not only that, but we are constantly creative in ways that we don’t even think about—cooking, how we set up the furniture in our home, how we decorate, how to juggle our children’s schedules with our own, how to make time with our partner when our schedule seems otherwise overflowing—there is more to this creativity thing than meets the eye.
And, not only that, but the creative arts like drawing, painting, sculpting and more, which are how we most commonly tend to think of “art,” are something that was encouraged when we were children—inside of school and out—and yet as adults, this seems to have fallen away. For those children that excelled at art, they became defined as artists, and for those that didn’t, they forever categorized themselves as “not artistic” and say “oh I can’t draw.”
But in the same way that those who claim they can’t sing can all sing “Happy Birthday,” we at DIY Creations believe that everyone can create. And of course while we all prefer that the outcome of our creativity be something attractive and well put together, let us not forget the process itself and how deeply satisfying it can be. Simply by working with your hands, and making decisions about how you want whatever you are creating to be—choosing colors, materials, shape, size and more—you are guaranteed to enjoy yourself, create new neuropathways in your brain and get inspired.
So, come on in to DIY Creations, the revolutionary crafting tavern in Loveland, Colorado—be sure to make your reservation online today—and find out about all the cool projects we have at DIY (not to mention excellent adult beverages!). We have projects for all levels of experience and skill, and you will be so excited that you came in.
And, we are certain that once you come in once, you will be compelled to come back, and this time bring all of your friends.
“Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being. Creativity requires passion and commitment. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life. The experience is one of heightened consciousness: ecstasy.” – Rollo May, The Courage to Create
Once you’ve started a craft blog, there are a few simple things you can do to help make your blog more successful. These are just a few ideas that appeal to readers and tips to attract a wider audience.
Show off your craft – If you are a craft blogger, people following you primarily want to see your crafts. Sure, they might be interested in seeing your little ones’ birthday photos and probably don’t mind hearing about your latest internet find. But what they really love are your handmade items. Even though you may throw in a few family stories, be sure to give your audience what they are after—crafts!
Never commit to anything you can’t follow through with – Technique Tuesdays and Linky Love Fridays are fun, but if you aren’t going to do it for more than a month, it’s pointless to even start. Your readers will start to expect it regularly, but when you fail to deliver you could lose followers. Instead, offer techniques and link lists, but avoid committing to any particular day or promise weekly commitments you can’t keep.
Crafters love tutorials – Crafters love to see your crafts, but what they love even more is when you tell them how you made it! Craft tutorials are what make good craft blogs great. Readers love step-by-step instructions and photos—when you provide that, they will come back looking for more. My most popular blog post is a Copic tutorial I wrote 2 years ago, and it still regularly gets the more traffic than any other post.
Don’t underestimate the allure of good photos – As I already noted, crafters love to see crafts. If your pictures are dark, blurry, or so tiny you can’t tell if that card has a dog or a car on it, it won’t appeal to anyone. It’s worth spending the time getting a good photo—it helps illustrate your work, and readers will love sharing them with friends and other crafters.
Automatic music on blogs is a no-no – I see you are a big fan of Taylor Swift—that’s great! However, your readers may not be. It’d be a shame if readers came for your great tutorial but left because they hated the music. Worse yet, readers checking in during a quick work break might get caught blog hopping because suddenly some song began playing as soon as the site loaded. Eliminate the music altogether, or, as a compromise, offer it as a play list that your readers can click to play if they so choose. In the comfort of their own home, they can then read about your latest projects while rocking out to that sweet hair metal mix you created.
Want blog comments? Be a commenter! – Participating in comments is a two-way street. It’s how we build friendships and readerships on the web. And, it’s just plain old nice. You obviously love that one blog you read every other day, so why not let the author know? It’s good “netiquette,” and it will inspire those bloggers to check out your work and make comments of their own.
Post links to where people can find you online – Linking is especially important if you are selling your crafts online. Put links to your Etsy shop, eBay store, or other online marketplace in an easy to find spot so that your readers don’t have to go searching for the information. If you have online galleries, are on Twitter, or have a Facebook fan page, be sure to put prominent links to this destinations as well. Make these links easy to find, if readers need to search for a link to your online store, chances are they will lose interest while they are searching.
Give credit where credit is due – Even if you weren’t the one who thought up that great idea on how to make ribbon rosettes, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share it with your readers. Just be sure to credit the person who did come up with the idea. Link to the blog or website where you discovered the technique or idea; it’s not only proper etiquette, but it can also bring new readers from the site you linked to.
Be a regular blogger – Blogging is fun, but quite honestly it can be a bit of work to keep updating often. Unfortunately, bloggers who are inconsistent lose readers fast. In order to hold the attention of your audience, you need to have something for them to read or see. No one is suggesting that you post every day, but two or more times a week would be a good start. Blogging software typically allows you to schedule posts to publish at a later date. So if you have a lot of free time on a Sunday afternoon, you can write several posts and schedule them to publish during the week. It can really help if you have a busy week ahead and might not have time to write after taking care of work, home, and other commitments.
Spill the beans on your favorite products – I know I already told you that crafters love to see crafts. But they also like to know what you used to make those crafts, and where you got them. People are increasingly buying supplies online due to the shortage of local craft stores these days. And with so many shops on the Internet, it is not always easy to find a particular stamp, fabric, or tool. Share all the little details about the things you use to make your crafts. Readers will be very grateful you did, especially when they are determined to make the cool project they saw on your blog because it came with a handy tutorial.