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.
(image: Rev Dan Catt)