2.6.10

Small Business, Small Steps: Blogging

blogging

I started this blog after I opened my Etsy shop because I read that blogging was a great way to "support your business". What that statement meant exactly, I had no idea, but I figured that anything that was going to get me more online exposure couldn't be a bad thing, especially for an online business. I should mention though, that I hummed and hawed over starting this blog for a long time. I was sure that after a few weeks I would delete it, feeling silly sitting at the computer writing to no one. However, on September 21, 2008 (that's over 2 1/2 years ago!!) I wrote this post, an since then have rarely missed a daily blog post. At times it's been a struggle to sit down at the computer and think of something intelligent to say, or find some great product to share, or a piece of small business wisdom to pass on. But the overwhelming majority of the time, my blog has been a place to share with you. I don't pretend to be a guru or expert on anything, and more often than not I'm putting my random ideas or thoughts out there, sort of like we're chatting over a couple of yummy croissants at a little cafe.

So why am I talking about blogging when I should be talking about small businesses, you ask?

Well, because I've been thinking a lot lately about the role that my blog plays in my business. Although from time to time I'll share a new item in the shop, lately, as English Muffin has been quiet (all that will change soon enough!), I've been adjusting the content of my blog to be less about the particular goings on at EM and more about my interests, inspirations and ideas. For example, I've started the Small Business, Small Steps series which seems to have a nice little following, and in doing so have had a couple great opportunities to share my work with a wider audience. I think that is essentially what that statement I read back in 2008 meant. By sharing with your audience and customers you support the business by bringing in more eyes to your work and inviting people to learn a little more about you.

But Bess, all this "sharing", "supporting" and "inviting" takes time. Do you actually see a financial benefit?

Good question! I have no idea. Well, that's not completely true. I check my Google Analytics and see where traffic is coming from for my website and shop, and indeed lots of it does come from my blog. Whether those views result in sales I can't be sure (there's probably some way to tell, but at this point I have no idea). Blogging is great, but blogging can also be a full-time job depending on how much time you invest in it. And the real kicker is that the posts I spend hours writing are always the ones that get the biggest response. While I'm writing this, Illustrator and Photoshop are closed, my brainstorming list of new products for English Muffin is sitting under a pile of papers and my belly is getting hungry for lunch meaning I probably won't get to design work until later this afternoon.

For me, blogging is something I do for free, and at times I struggle with how much time it takes and whether it might be better to do it less frequently. However, my blog is something that keeps me connected to online friends and customers, it gets me excited about finding wonderful new products, about featuring my fellow designers and about sharing my ideas on growing a small business. The idea of not having it makes me feel a little lost, oddly enough it's become part of who I am.

How about you? I'd love to hear your thoughts on blogging and the role it plays (or not) in your small business or life.

Bess

(image: Rev Dan Catt)

8 comments:

  1. I actually started my blog before I started an Etsy shop, and I have used the blog to drive traffic there but I think of them as separate. They are both part of my grand plan to eventually quit my day job, but they are almost like two separate small businesses to me.

    Recently I became a single mother - I adopted an almost-three-year-old little girl from Ethiopia - so my time and energy for blogging and for Etsy have been significantly impacted! I've recently decided that I don't need to post quite as often on the blog as I used to and that I am going to focus on quality over quantity. I have a big enough audience at this point that people will still keep coming and keep finding me, and I want to make sure that they are satisfied by what they find at the blog.

    Good luck on figuring out what you're going to do with your blog!

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  2. Lovely post! Thanks

    I was very hesitant about blogging when I started. I guess I had this idea in my mind of what it would be like,or what it "had" to be like. Granted, I've only been at it for about 4 months now but I've learned a lot.
    It has been so helpful for my business, not so much gaining more customers (although you're righ, that does help) but it's really helped me begin to develop my own style and voice. There's so much out there, so much to see. Having your own platform to create original content alongside your own brand is priceless.

    cheers!

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  3. Bess, I've been following your blog for a few months and just want to say I always look forward to reading this small business, small steps column of yours. =)

    And as for blogging...I sometimes feel like it's the BEST part of my day. I find a little something I love, and throw it out there into the world for others to discover. It's definitely good for my soul to be able to share it with people who stumble upon my blog. And my etsy shop came after, so sometimes I also share new things that I've made for the shop as well. It's all inclusive. This whole blog + business thing. One compliments the other and so far it's worked out quite nicely.

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  4. Oh I don't know if you want me to go into this...
    I like blogging because it has helped me get exposure for Misketch.
    I like to write, but I hate knowing how many people have read it and why and how many people follow and yada yada yada.

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  5. i think blogging is essential... if anything to act as a record of what you've done... where you've been. To remember, to progress, and to set yourself goals... publicly so you can't back out of them.

    And well... it's fun no? hehe

    thea.
    xx

    (spoonful)

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  6. For me blogging means connecting with colleagues (mainly fellow Etsians) and customers alike. I had a hard time with my blog when I first started, I wasn't sure what I really wanted to share with the world (well, I still ponder on that) but now it's more natural to me. I want to give a face and personality to my collection so it means I share my thoughts and work in process by blogging.

    I hope this makes some sense to you!

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  7. Loved this! This is truly inspiring... I started my blog nearly a year ago and I've had my ups and downs, sometimes with a million things to say, and sometimes with nothing at all. I am no Etsian, but I am looking to freelance in web design and social media. I love that blogging allows for a creative outlet and is the perfect platform to network. Regardless of the reason, I think if you're blogging because it's something you enjoy than go for it!

    It's great to hear other bloggers stories~ Thank you :)

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