Friday, August 31, 2012

{What Blogging really looks like} Fiona from Oil & Jas




I’m pretty new to blogging but one thing I’ve already figured out is to blog when my little guys are asleep. This is because I find it particularly tricky to see the keyboard with a little guy on my lap who wants to practice his typing skills and it's even harder with two little guys on my lap fighting for my attention. So, blogging at my place looks like a very tired Mumma sitting at the dining room table, her hair a mess, a nice hot cup of tea in one hand and the keyboard under the other.


About the Contributor Fiona Aranda is the creative mind and hands behind children's' label Oli & Jas.  She is also a stay at home mum of 5 gorgeous kids (ages 16, 12, 10, 4 and 3).  Fiona handmakes accessories just for little guys including ties, bow ties, belt, wrist cuffs and my unique & original Oli & Jas Jean chains.  You can read her blog at www.oliandjas.blogspot.com.auand you can follow her on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/oliandjas 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Creative Men


Around Mother's Day I wrote a piece about the creative women in my life.  I think coming up to Father's Day that is is only fair and appropriate to talk about Creative Men.  I've noticed over the last couple of years the rise of the creative male, with Kaffe Fassett and the blogger Quilt Dad to name but two.  I think male creativeness has  mostly been represented previously in the form of metalwork, wood work, stone masonry and landscape design rather than the fields of crochet, knitting or quilting.  It fills me with joy to think that men now feel confident to express their creativeness in these areas, as women now do in the previously male dominated fields.
The creative men in my life are a little less obvious.  One of my Grandfather's was always to be found pottering around under the house making things.  We have little chairs and a doll's high chair that my children now play with and sit on that he made for my brother and I when we were children.
My Dad doesn't have any particular creative outlets but he is always very supportive and eager to listen.  He loves to hear about (and see) what I'm currently working on and offer any feedback he may have.  His mother was a prolific knitter and I know he loves to see me knit.
Our son Guy wearing armour, a shield, helmet and a sword my husband made for him from cardboard
My Husband is creative in his own way.  He loves to paint miniature soldiers and is actually quite good at it (he paints stuff I can't even see without the aid of glasses!).  He is an excellent cook and is creative with food.  I think his particular talent lies though with the things he makes for our son to play with.  Like most little boys he loves knights and dragons and vikings and fire trucks and all sorts of things.  We collect cardboard boxes and together they create the most marvelous things to play with.  Swords, shields, armour, fire trucks just to name a few.  These things are not only sturdy but also have the most amazing detail.  My Hubby doesn't do these things by halves!  He is also very supportive of my hobby/habits/obsessions and often will give me advice or an opinion that I hadn't thought of previously.  This is the man that even went into a quilt shop in New York whilst on a work trip and bought fabric for me!
So as we approach Father's day I would like to celebrate and thank these wonderful creative men in my life.  Love you all :)


Bree Di Mattina describes herself as a blogger, craftster and mum.  She is mum to Little Guy and Miss Amelie and 2 furkids. meandmy2guys was born out of a desire to document her creations and crafty journey.  Her creations are fun and functional articles for the home and family. Bree has been crafting her whole life and eagerly involves any willing (and sometimes not so willing) participants!  To find out more about Bree go to her blog - www.meandmy2guys.blogspot.com.  If you wish to check out Bree's creations go to her Etsy store. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

WINNERS: Artful Business Conference


The winners of our giveaway were drawn this evening.  

I'm pleased to announce that the winner of the Event Ticket is No. 6  Fiona Holmes @Imogens Angels 
and the winner of the Virtual Ticket is No.2.  Angela ~ Yes, Dear! 

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter and to promote this great conference.  If you are attending please look me up - I'm a short red head.

Christine



{Blogging 101} Content & Topics

So you have created your blog, you've read about rookie mistakes, now what?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Its time to think about content and topics.  


  •  Remember its your blog so it is up to you what and how much you share
  • You can include personal information by way of story telling. It's more interesting to explain something with a personal point of view.
  • Its okay to talk about your business but remember to have a happy mixture and lean towards your blog being informative and less salesy.
  • Think about frequency of posts.
  • Many people think its ideal to post once a day.
  • Remember if you post too often (twice a day) and you may overwhelm your readers.
  • A big blogger told me she didn't see much growth until she posted 3 times a week.
  • It's okay to post weekly, just say so in your About Page and maybe in the footer too. People will know what day/s you update the blog and expect that. Try to keep those day/s to train your readers to visit on those days. [You should include an About page].
  • Consistency is key.
  • Don't apologies when you can't post. People just hear a negative and get turned off.
  • Why not cover local events to help draw some local attention (markets, pop up stores, etc).
  • Have a theme that your topics revolve around. This helps keep you on a focused track.
  • Longevity; blog about something you're passionate about. Something you could yak about for ages.
  • Use peoples comments & questions as ideas for topics you could blog about (ideas can come from any ones blog, not just one - give it a twist to make the idea your own).
  • Decide where to draw the line. Will you discuss personal/family topics. Should you change the name of family members for privacy.
  • Keep track of your stats (eg google analytics), you can see what post topics were popular with your readers (eg tutorials) and base future posts around that

CHA Contemporary Handmade Guest Writer


About the Contributor:
Jeanie is a curvy, accessory loving, blogger. Exploring colour and style to suit a plus size. Jeanie encourages you to
 be you. Jeanie is for positive body confidence, and wishes all women would feel beautifully confident. Jeanie also gets her geek on with blogging, photography, & photoshop.


Visit Jeanie at inspiredwish.com or follow her on Facebook.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Win a ticket to the Artful Business Conference 2012

Would you like to win a ticket to the
Artful Business Conference

September 5th and 6th, 
Portside, Brisbane 
(valued at $397)

or a virtual ticket to the event
(valued at $127). 

Simply tell your friends about this event through your social media networks* and "Like" the Artful Business Conference FB page. Once you have done this, leave a comment below.  The winners will be chosen by random draw at 6 pm Monday 27th August.  

*Remember to tag the CHA and the Artful Business Conference!


Have you ever been to a business conference or workshop and felt you learnt a few tips, but they weren't really speaking to your needs?

Have you ever been to a seminar or spoken to a business advisor and  felt that they just didn't GET IT?

That's what Elle felt at times, so she decided to create the Artful Business Conference, a two-day conference jam-packed with keynote presentations and workshops that speak directly to the micro-business owner, the creative entrepreneur and those of us who think outside the box.

If you run your business from the Right Side of your brain – this conference is for you.

It has been made possible by incube8r gallery and a myriad of small business sponsors, whose support has enabled Elle to create an incredible event for the creatives of Australia.

If you can't make it to the actual event, held at Portside in Brisbane on September 5th and 6th -  you can join live online via simulcast.

The entire conference is being recorded and videos will be accessible for 6 months for all attendees to take their time watching and re-watching. This also means that even the workshops that are run at the same time can be viewed online later, so you are in fact getting three or four days worth of valued learning.

If you want to know more about the conference join Elle for a Q&A call this Monday between 2 and 4pm AEST - you can learn how livestream works, find out more about what will be taught at the conference, or just stop by and say hello. Register your email address and you receive all of the call details.


Friday, August 24, 2012

For the man (big or small) in your life

Mens Kombi t-shirt by Billymac Clothing
Sterling Silver *Dog Tag* Keepsake Necklace by Halle Jay
Wooden Crayon Trucks by Quirky Designs for Kids
Large Classic Combi Paperclip Bookmark by Sophie and Jack
Racing Red Cot/Crib Quilt by Pollykinz Designs

Personalized Burlap Bookmark by Blue Jacaranda

Pirate Treasure Map by Creative Wishes





The Handmade Cooperative is a shopping blog dedicated to promoting quality Australian handmade products for children. Their fortnightly shopping guides feature unique and stylish handmade products made by their talented coop members. As a cooperative, their 60 members are able to support and promote each others products, which help their members reach a greater number of potential buyers.

Vist the Cooperative's website at www.handmadecooperative.com.au

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Starting a blog by Ali Benyon – Cheeky Pickle


What I love about blogging and why I personally blog ...

What I love the most about blogging is that each blog you read is so totally different. If the blogger has embraced the whole “blog thing” entirely, then their true personality will naturally come out, their character will show through and their reader will slowly get to know and trust the writer. The reader will start to understand the hard work that goes on behind the business and maybe even start to respect the blogger that little bit more. That takes time, effort and lots of hard work, but personally, I think its well worth it.


In the beginning...

I first came across blogging via a lovely friend and I must admit, on first view I thought (and not one to mince my words) “a pile of self indulgent poppy cock”! Well I’ve kind of changed my view on the whole blogging thing since then and can’t imagine running my business without one now.

Social Phobia...

The sole reason I decided to start a blog back in 2011 was to support my business, Cheeky pickle. I could see that to run a business in today’s age, you HAVE to be social. You can only write so much on a Facebook or Twitter post, and I found my business was needing a much bigger platform. However, being a rather private person, the thought of writing about my life seemed horrid and scared me witless. The other aspects of blog writing that scared me were...

1 What on earth was I going to write about?
2 Would anyone at all find it in any way interesting?
3 Where on earth would I find the time?

Well after eighteen months of writing, these are still my main fears and obstacles. Unfortunately, (for me anyway) they don’t go away!

Mistakes I made...

To start off with I knew I had to choose between Blogger and Wordpress. I loved the look of wordpress, it was pretty and professional. However, being the techno phobe that I am, I opted for Blogger as I found theirs the easiest to set up. In fact I was up and running within the hour. Looking back though, I wish I had gone for Wordpress..... but I ‘aint changin’ now after all the hard work I’ve put in, no way!


When I first set up the blog, it looked very basic and I did what I “thought” I was supposed to do. I added wallpaper (which I changed on a daily basis!) and silly buttons/quotes/affirmations here and there. This was SO, SO not me, but still I felt the need to mess, prod and tweak at every given opportunity, treating the blog almost like a piece of artwork, rather than an extension of my business. Consistency was certainly not on my vocabulary list in those days. Saying that, messing around with the “behind the scenes stuff” actually taught me a lot and now I’m a bit of a Blogger whizz.

What should I talk about?...

So the next major issue was what on earth should I talk about? I had decided very early on that I would be keeping my blog strictly professional and stick to the topic of business. However, things don’t always go as you plan, do they?

There are many reasons why people write blogs and it became obvious to me that solely talking about Cheeky Pickle bored me senseless and just didn’t rock my boat. So I tested the waters by stepping outside the rather tight box I had created for myself and wrote a personal blog. I was surprised by the response I received and found for the first time people were commenting on my posts. When you write blogs, people actually commenting feels a bit like winning the Olympics sometimes :) This was a huge turn around for me and very, very slowly I started to let my personality show more and more in my writing.

Gaining confidence...

As I started to gain more confidence in my writing, I dared myself to go further. I soon realised that (and I don’t pat myself on the back very often, honest) I was actually quite a good writer. People wanted to read what I had written and were commenting and e mailing me. Two of my most popular blogs are nothing to do with Cheeky Pickle at all; they are a couple of funny ones. First Market Memories where I talk about how horrid that first ever market I did was and Don’t worry love I’ll look after the kids, where I describe a typical Saturday at my house.

The biggie...

I then decided to put my whole self on the line, warts and all, when I decided to go for it and write Ghosts of Business Past, Present and Future. A very personal blog about the growth of my business. It was a massive step for me. I really wanted to help other small businesses, but at the same time it felt like I was stripping myself bare and showing myself, totally naked to the world. It was a very scary moment when I finally hit that post button.

I was amazed and shocked at the response. It went viral and I was urged and encouraged to continue in this vein. I had finally found my little niche spot in Blogland, something to call my own.  Following on from this blog and with its huge popularity, I decided to launch the Cheeky Chats and Cheeky Blogs (Facebook forums with discussions about handmade and business related topics. I also had and still have guest blogs on my blog by some very inspiring business ladies) I can honestly say that at this point is when my business was truly born.

Eighteen months on...

Looking back, my blog has changed considerably. In the beginning I wanted to write short, weekly, if not daily blogs, with fabulous photography, like others I have admired. But that’s not me.  I know now that I can only write about what I feel passionate about, what inspires me....and my blogs are never, ever short! I still get nervous about writing, I think everyone does. I still constantly ask myself the questions – How will I come across? Is this boring? Am I wasting my time, is anybody actually going to read it? But at the end of the day, if you don’t just write it and press that send button, you will never know, will you?



About the Contributor: 
Owner of Cheeky Pickle, Ali is a Textile Designer, originally from the U.K. She comes with a BA (hons) in Mixed Media Textile Design and has an established background in the Textile industry. She loves mixing simple, bold designs with an eclectic mix of mediums, creating unique and texturally exciting Art pieces. Ali finds her inspiration from simple, natural and organic shapes and textures, that can be seen in nature. To find out more about Ali go to her blog cheekypickle.blogspot.com.au or follow her on Facebook.


Monday, August 20, 2012

{Blogging 101} Rookie mistakes to avoid

WiFi at Moulin de la Galette, after Ramón Casas i Carbó
 WiFi at Moulin de la Galette, after Ramón Casas i Carbó. Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com
If your blog is for business, here are some guidelines to help put your brand in the best light. (These apply to personal blogs also). I picked these tips up at blogging conferences and via online research.

Never plagiarize. That goes for both text and photos. If you didn’t write it, or photograph it, then you need permission to use it. That also goes for taking words/photos from hardcopy magazines. Giving credit may not be enough. Check with the owner of the original work case by case.

Don’t use words like “click here”. Instead use key word phrases for links. This lets people know where the link will go. EG. An interesting article is the Handmade Originality in the online world.

For a more professional touch, own your domain name. It cost approximately $10 per year and is an easy process. As your business grows, you’ll be glad that you did this early on.

The blog header should not be huge. Ideally it won’t take up more than 1/4 or 1/3 of your screen.

What ever you want people to do, that goes at the top. (Visit your store, sign up for your newsletter, you decide). It's referred to as 'above the fold'. It's what people see first.

Include an About me page. Don’t rely on a spiel in the sidebar. An interest About Me page goes into a little more detail. Even if your not sure what to include yet, set it up.

Include a photo of you. People need someone to relate to. Have one in your side bar, and another (different) photo on your About Me page. This makes you more likeable. People want to see the human person behind the blog. Use easy to read fonts for the body of text. The headers is the place to go nuts with groovy fonts.

People like white space. A dark background design with light text has been known to give people headaches. Your blog might look sexy as hell, but it’s readability will be low.

Add a favicon. A favicon will add to your blog’s branding, include one.
"A favicon play /ˈfævɪkɒn/ (short for Favorite icon), also known as a shortcut iconWeb site iconURL icon, or bookmark icon, is a file containing one or more[1] small icons, most commonly 16×16 pixels, associated with a particular Web site or Web page" source: Wikipedia

Don't overcrowd your side bar. If it’s a mess, clean it up. You don’t need every widget known to man kind. Decide if it really adds to your brand, or is a distraction. With the clutter gone, your blog is easier to navigate. The reader’s attention will also be drawn to what is most important.

Remove Blog Rolls and friends logos, and place in a Page of their own. They're still highlighted, but not crowding the side bar. You can sort by category (ie Craft, Fashion, Food etc) if you have many blogs that you follow.

No more than 3 colours is recommended. Keep your personality in the look, but be mindful not to scare people away also. Never include music that automatically plays. Never never never.

Make it easy to find your contact info. Include a way to reach you. This can be included in the About me page, a separate page would be better.

Include a search this blog option. Include a Blog Archive section. Some first time visitors like to see 'Most Popular' posts.

You can create a 'landing page' which you use instead of your main blog address. This way people land on a page that welcomes them, tells them about the blog & you, and points out popular posts, your store, etc. These are highly recommended (I'm yet to do one, but it's on my to do list).





CHA Blogging 101 Series: 

Week 1: Why do I need a Blog?
Week 2: How to start
Week 3: Rookie mistakes to avoid
Week 4: Content & Topics
Week 5: Photos can grow your audience
Week 6: Where do I find readers?
Week 7: If you build it, they will come
Week 8: Technical Stuff


CHA Contemporary Handmade Guest Writer
Jeanie is a curvy, accessory loving, blogger. Exploring colour and style to suit a plus size. Jeanie encourages you to be you. Jeanie is for positive body confidence, and wishes all women would feel beautifully confident. Jeanie also gets her geek on with blogging, photography, & photoshop.

Visit Jeanie at inspiredwish.com or follow her on Facebook.

Friday, August 17, 2012

What Blogging Looks Like :: Bree Di Mattina

Blogger Bree Di Mattina from me and my 2 guy
"Blogging for me looks like whenever and wherever I can.  Some times on my mobile if it's just a few words and one or two pictures.  On my laptop or tablet either on the lounge or at the kitchen table if it requires a bit more depth.  Currently I'm blogging whilst watching the kiddies watch some tv before bed.  Sitting in my favourite arm chair.  I love blogging.  Regardless of what you blog about or like to read about it, it can turn an otherwise lonely day into an adventure!"


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

PayPal Here


It appears that PayPal has come up with a market saviour and its called PayPal Here.  According to the PayPal Here website, this cool device has a number of great features, such as being able to access your funds instantly and market leading security.  Personally I think this little device will make selling at markets a lot easier and cheaper.

But before you sign up you might like to find out first hand if this product is for you.  Kasia from ink.paper.cloth recently used her PayPal Here device at South Australia's Lollipops Market and has kindly shared her experience with the CHA.

1. Why did you decide to sign up for PayPay Here?
Over the past few months I have held a stall at a few local markets and after testing the market scene, I love it and am planning on continuing attending markets until the day I can own my own bricks and mortar store. Needless to say, it was time to look into offering my customers more payment options and PayPal invited me to register for the first rollout of PayPal Here. I jumped at the chance and after looking into the costs involved in getting an eftpos machine, I am glad that I did.

2. What do you need to do to get your own PayPal Here device?
When PayPal was ready to roll out the new feature, I was informed that it was now available and to register and download the iPhone App so that I can receive my swiper attachment. I did straight away and then received another email saying that I need to get my PayPal account verified.

The process took approximately 2 weeks, during which my account was limited to only receiving payments. Paperwork such as Drivers Licence, Passport and Business Name Registration needed to be submitted which was no biggie, but as PayPal account name varied slightly from my official Business Name Registration it took a little longer. As frustrating as it was at the time, it really is reassuring that PayPal does its job well at confirming everything which in the end makes it a safer online payment method.

3. Do you need to purchase any special equipment?
The PayPal Here device / attachment is free and seeing I already had an iPhone, I didn't have to pay for anything.

4. Was it easy to use?
Hmmm… well, my first pointer is that you make sure you push the device in properly if you have a cover on your phone. Despite the fact that I didn't initially and had to scan the cards manually it was very straight forward. Once it was plugged in, it really is super fast and just awesome.

Watch the demo on the PayPal Here website, it really is that simple.
ink.paper.cloth at Lollipop Markets - August 12, 2012
5. Would you recommend it to other handmade businesses. 
Absolutely! Its not a feature you have to use and if you have an eftpos machine you can still use it at markets and so on, it just gives you another option as a backup. It costs nothing if its not used and if you do, the costs are minimal. For me the choice was simple, either paying $40/month for an eftpos machine my customers may or may not use at the monthly market I do or have PayPal Here as an option if someone is stuck for cash and only pay for the transactions that are made.

I was concerned about the response I would get when people saw that it worked with an iPhone, but everyone that did at my last market didn't hesitate.  They were simply blown away by the technology.

Thank you Kasia for giving us this insight.  I think I might just pop over to the website and sign up!


Kasia Leach launched ink.paper. cloth. on 6th of July 2012 with the aim to inspire others to create and embrace the handmade life rather than shop for already finished products that have been mass produced.

The ink. paper. cloth. online store is filled with supplies for creating, giving and celebrating such as paper bags, blank kraft tags, muslin bags, hemp cord, twine, natural ribbons, paper seals and a carefully selected range of kraft based papers.

Kasia sells many of the supplies she uses in her own art, enabling her customers to purchase a handmade product or be inspired to create their own version by purchasing the raw materials.

Web: http://www.inkpapercloth.com
Blog: http://inkpaperclothlife.blogspot.com.au
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/inkpapercloth

Monday, August 13, 2012

{Blogging 101} How to start



The best blogging advice I received in the beginning was: Just start!

It’s was true. I started. Later tweaked, amended, changed direction, regrouped. ‘Just start’ was good advice. It didn’t have to be perfect. By not starting, I was missing out on capture readers, potential customers. Missing out on fine tuning my blog writing.

To start you’ll need:

A blog name – make it something easy to find. Make it relevant to your brand name. Make it searchable. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same as your store/brand name. Complimentary is okay. As an example a person who sews might have a blog called, Bobbins and beyond.

I stuffed up on this one. The name 'Inspired Wish' does not tell you what my blog is about. It’s too vague. It’s wishy washy at best. I started out as a handmade jewellery maker. I don’t create jewellery to sell anymore. At least my blog name still suits my current focus. However, if someone searches for 'curvy fashion' they won't find me.

Take the time to ponder and consider your blog name.

A blogging platform – pick one that appeals to you.

Blogger is my personal favourite because it’s easy to use. I tested out wordpress and blogger and blogger just felt easier for me to use.

Others are Typepad, Tumblr, Weebly. Note there are two types of wordpress. There is Wordpress.com which is free. WordPress.org requires some technical know how and a hosting fee. Google blogging platform to find your preferred one.

Make sure the platform you choose can do all the things you want it to. If you want to add a shopping cart to your blog, do your research to work out which allow for that.

Existing Content – this goes beyond adding an ‘About Me’ page. I’ve seen many struggle with this concept. Please believe me this IS important. Once your blog is set up, the first post written, you’re excited. You’re busting to share it with people. Please, for the love of kittens, resist that urge. Hear me out.

Chances are people will visit. They’ll say nice things about your blog. However, most won’t hang around. IE won’t sign up to follow your blog. Why? Because there wasn’t enough to tell them what to expect if they did.

Solution; write 5 to 10 blog posts BEFORE sharing your blog. This way people know what they’re signing on for.

There you have it. Just start.

Start with:
1) A blog name
2) A place to blog
3) Write a few blog posts



CHA Blogging 101 Series: 

Week 1: Why do I need a Blog?
Week 2: How to start
Week 3: Rookie mistakes to avoid
Week 4: Content & Topics
Week 5: Photos can grow your audience
Week 6: Where do I find readers?
Week 7: If you build it, they will come
Week 8: Technical Stuff



CHA Contemporary Handmade Guest Writer
Jeanie is a curvy, accessory loving, blogger. Exploring colour and style to suit a plus size. Jeanie encourages you to be you. Jeanie is for positive body confidence, and wishes all women would feel beautifully confident. Jeanie also gets her geek on with blogging, photography, & photoshop.

Visit Jeanie at inspiredwish.com or follow her on Facebook.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Winner :: Your Favourite Blog

The winner of our 'Your Favourite Blog giveaway' is Rebecca at Mellebug.


"I love Danamadeit, great tutorials and know hows."


Rebecca your free copy of the latest issue of *bespoke* will be sent to you early next week (when I get your address).

Click here to purchase your own copy of this great magazine

Thank you everyone who took part in this giveaway, its been fantastic finding out about all these great blogs.

Christine

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Favourite Blog:: yes, dear


I love Yes Dear...I was first drawn to the blog by a friends personal recommendation of this lovely lady she knew who liked to blog and the amusement of seeing my fathers favourite phrase to use to my mother ;) as a blog title! 
But then Ang's raw, open, witty, eloquent way of writing what so many of us mothers, women and parents, working or stay at home feel on a daily basis through her own eyes and experiences...she makes me cry,sigh,smile, snort and laugh so hard I have to cross my legs! 
Whilst reading her posts I get angry, bereft, emotional, feel empowered and joyous through reading her daily posts but more often then not I say to myself thank GOD its not just me or us ;) ...and whats the cherry on the cake for me os she is the most amazing supporter of handmade here in Australasia :) she manages to engage both up and comingn ad established handmade designers local to her in Tasmania but also across the continent in her giveaways and she has has engaged so many of us folk with her daily chats :) 
www.isaidyesdear.blogspot.com.au 
Georgie from Monkeys Over the Moon

We received this comment at the base of our Your Favourite Blog post. It was so wonderful that we had to share it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

{Blogging 101} Why do I need a Blog?

You’ve heard that blogging is good for business. That voice inside your head begs to differ.

Do these sound familiar?

1)  It’s extra time away from creating.
2)  My life is already busy enough.
3)  Every man and his dog has a blog.
4)  I'm not that sure I have that much to say.

We're here to explain in simple terms why having a blog is important?

You need a blog for the BENEFITS:


benefits to blogging for newbie beginner bloggers


HUMANIZE your brand. People love storytelling and being able to relate to others.

People prefer to buy from those they know and TRUST. If people already know your face, then simply keep the relationship alive.

VISIBILITY. A blog is a place for people to connect with your voice & images.

Powerful tool for real time DISCUSSION with your community.

BE FOUND. Appear in search engine ranking.

A blog is a LOW COST marketing device.

SIMPLICITY. Setting up a blog is much easier than setting up a web page.

Gain EXPERT STATUS. Chances are you know your stuff. Sharing some know-how or tips, people will realise what a gem you are.

PROFESSIONALISM. Handing out business cards and saying “I don’t have a web site yet” sounds lame. I've heard this too many times. Today there is no excuse not to have an online presence. It is social proof that you ‘get’ social media.

BOOST TRAFFIC. Fresh content may inspire people to visit your store.

Blogs are great example of CONTENT MANAGEMENT Systems.  You'll have the ability to appeal to all readers preferences; text, video, audio, pdf, etc.

RESEARCH. Blogging allows you to work out what is popular with your readers. You can conduct polls to get to know your audience and their preferences. Test ideas with your community.

You can respond to negative press and MANAGE your reputatoin. I’m reminded of, 'be so awesome that people will never believe a bad word about you’. If there is a crisis to manage, you can put the fires out on your blog.

POINT OF DIFFERENCE. Chance to show what makes you so special and different.

You can blog about common customer questions with a Q & A section or various blog posts.

Be a NETWORKER. Opportunity to bond with other bloggers, attend blogging conferences. Blog connections can lead to suppliers or partnerships.

SELF EXPRESSION and fulfilment. Blogging is a fun way to explore what you do, and why you do it.  

MEDIA / PR attention. A tweet or facebook status probably won’t attract the attention of reporters. A tweet with a great blog post attached has a better chance.


How do the benefits stack up? 

If all of a sudden you find yourself curious about blogging, stay tuned for our Blogging 101 series. We'll answer some of the common blogging questions, and help you avoid rookie mistakes.


CHA Blogging 101 Series: 
Week 1: Why do I need a Blog?
Week 2: How to start
Week 3: Rookie mistakes to avoid
Week 4: Content & Topics
Week 5: Photos can grow your audience
Week 6: Where do I find readers?
Week 7: If you build it, they will come
Week 8: Technical Stuff



CHA Contemporary Handmade Guest Writer
Jeanie is a curvy, accessory loving, blogger. Exploring colour and style to suit a plus size. Jeanie encourages you to be you. Jeanie is for positive body confidence, and wishes all women would feel beautifully confident. Jeanie also gets her geek on with blogging, photography, & photoshop.

Visit Jeanie at inspiredwish.com or follow her on Facebook.

Friday, August 3, 2012

What does blogging look like?

This is what blogging looks like at my place.

Our cat Liam, a very affectionate Red Burmese, thinks he's a parrot at times and the rest of the time he just wants to sit on my hands, the keyboard or on my lap.  As a full time Mum and a part-time blogger/small business owner I usually blog around family activities, this is Miss H who decided she was bored with her fairies and she wanted her photo taken too!

Christine

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Your favourite blog!

We would really like to know which blog you would call your all time favourite and why.

Seriously, we would really like to know and to entice you to tell us we will be giving away a copy of the latest issue of *bespoke* (Issue #7)!


*bespoke* Issue 7 is packed with inspiration for the crafty and creative.  This issue is great for CHA readers as it is devoted to creatives who want to make some money from selling their craft.

So tell us what is your favourite blog is and why by leaving a comment below.  The winner will be randomly select from the comments below.  

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

Details:
1. Giveaway ends 9th August 2012.
2. The winner will be randomly select from the comments below.
3. Winner will be announced on Friday 10th August at 6pm.
4. Multiple entries can be made if you can't decide on just one.
5. Pay it forward, let the world know which blog is your fav through your social media networks.  Remember to link it back to the CHA so I can see who agrees with you. (#ContempHandmade)