Wednesday, January 27, 2016

QueerJoe's Top 10 Rules for Successful Knit Blogging

Do you blog about knitting or other fiber arts?  Are you considering starting to blog?


My Hints, Tips and Suggestions for Knit Bloggers

I've been consistently blogging about knitting and queer issues since 2002, and not always well, but I've learned a lot of things about blogging in those years, and thought I might share my top 10 list of "do's and don't's" of knit blogging.
  1. Pick The Right Blog Host Platform - If you're not currently blogging and want to start, make sure you pick the right platform for your blog.  Technologies have changed a lot since I first began blogging...I used to have to FTP photographs to my blog server and then write my own HTML to embed the photographs into a blog entry.  While I have ended up on Blogger as my platform,  I don't know that I would have chosen it if I was starting today.  Here is a great, simple comparative guide of many of the popular blog platforms.  In my mind, it's a matter of deciding between flexibility/functionality and technical abilities.
  2. Pick a Theme and Stick With It - I blog about fiber arts and queer issues.  Every blog entry I've ever done has one or both of those in it.  Don't start a knitting blog and then start writing posts only about your latest, favorite recipe.  Unless that's part of your theme...knit blog with Recipe-Thursday posts...you get the idea.
  3. Post Regularly and Persistently - Nothing bugs the shit out of me more than fast finishers...especially in blogging.  Don't start blogging without committing to it for at least a year.  Nothing worse than getting all excited about a new blog, and it peters out faster than a...well, again you get the idea.
  4. Post a LOT of Photos - Even if you write exceptionally well, and you're very witty (like Franklin or Stephanie), people are still usually more visual and want to see bright, vibrant, well-staged photos.  My photos aren't always anywhere close to that and the quality of my photos is probably one of the reasons I'm not a top-tier knit-blogger.
  5. Do You Knit Enough to Supply Blog Content? - Knitting isn't the fastest hobby on the planet, so make sure you'll be able to keep up with the demand.  Yarn store purchases, fiber-related flea-market finds, gifts of pattern books...all of those help fill in the gaps when you can't knit quite fast enough.
  6. Pay For a Domain - Nothing says you're committed to continued blogging as your purchase of a domain name to represent yourself.  It's relatively cheap, although, you do have to know how to forward your blogging platform to the domain name, but it's worth it.  I love that's I've been QueerJoe.com for all this time.
  7. Let Readers Get to Know You - Blog readers want a relationship with you.  Let them have one.  Include lists of "100 Things About Me".  Post photos of yourself, your partner/spouse, your pets.  Reply to comments and/or e-mails to make sure readers know you're actively participating.  Make sure you keep the important things private...be cautious about posting photos of children, location information in your photos, work-related things you don't want public, etc.
  8. Market Your Blog - There are a number of ways to do this...post actively about lots of things in Social Media...and make some of those posts about your blog entries (with links), participate on others' blogs through comments, but be careful about posting links in comments without permission.  Use the label settings to include search terms about your blog, so that it shows up in search engines more.  Have contests and prizes.  Ask other like-blogs to exchange links.  Link to other more popular like-blogs.  Set up an RSS feed (if you don't know what it is, it might be worth looking up) Don't be discouraged if you don't get hundreds of readers a day right away...just keep at it.
  9. Consider Monetizing Your Blog - You're not likely to make a ton of money even with a very popular blog, but I do make enough to pay for the blog costs.  Here is a good blog post about a bunch of bloggers' ideas on monetization and how to do it.  And know that you have to balance the possibility of alienating readers with flashing ads to what minimal income you get doing it.
  10. Enjoy Yourself - If blogging isn't fun, stop doing it.  For me, it's never been a chore.  I love interacting with readers, I love the excitement of coming up with a new topic I think y'all will like.  I love writing.  I love being a minor celebrity in the online community of knitters.

Current Knitting

See?  There is knitting content!  Kind of.


Here are the three projects I'm currently and actively working on.  The niece blanket, the nephew cardigan and the experimental stitch project.  I've made significant progress on the experimental stitch, mostly because it's like a lace project that looks like a lump of yarn before it's blocked.

Readers' Comments/Questions

Regarding the experimental stitch project, Sue H. writes, "what does the stitch look like when completed? Please show!"

Someone has taken a lot of effort writing up a beautiful pattern for this stitch and I'd prefer to give her credit and I'd prefer not to give away all the secrets of this cool pattern stitch.  So, if my experiment comes out well, I will be pointing you to this designer's pattern in all it's glory.  I'm making a different type of garment, so I may give supplemental information about mine, but it will still require that you purchase her pattern for the stitch, or re-engineer it yourself.

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