Revive Your Blog

I have witnessed a large number of artists build successful blogs.

I have also, sadly, watched even more artists’ blogs flounder.

There is plenty of room in the blogosphere for meaningful artist blogs.

With this article, I’m calling on all artists who have it in them to revive their blogs – to recommit to the practice of blogging and the art of improving what you write and share.

Why Blog?

1. Blogging adds fresh content to your site.

Your content is built on a virtual space you own – not Facebook, not Instagram, not whatever-the-next-great-social-media-site-is. It powers up your site rather than turning over the traffic to one that you have no control over.

©Marta Brysha, You Are Standing in My Light. Hand embroidery with hand-dyed silk dupioni and hand-dyed silk thread.

©Marta Brysha, You Are Standing in My Light. Hand embroidery with hand-dyed silk dupioni and hand-dyed silk thread. Used with permission.

You can always share your blog posts to the social media channels, but the traffic will then point back to your site.

2. Blogging helps you grow as an artist.

You learn a lot about your art and your goals as an artist when you blog and interact with people.

Almost every artist I know who blogs regularly has shared with me that this is their #1 reason for blogging. It may not have been their most important reason for starting a blog, but it’s a strong incentive to maintain it.

Listen to this interview with artist Margret Short from the archives about what blogging did for her, including the positive response she received from her galleries.

3. Blogging can make you an expert.

When you share how-to content, demonstrations, and videos, you can quickly become an expert in your field. This is particularly valuable when want to lead workshops, teach online classes, or write a book.

4. Blogging provides content that you can repurpose.

Think about those times when you had to sit down and write an artist statement, grant or residency application, or complete a submission form. And your mind went blank. Nothing! The struggle was unbearable.

©Jeanne Rhea, Synchronicity. Alcohol and acrylic inks, silver leaf, and resin on Ampersand Cradled Claybord, 22 x 18 inches. Used with permission.

©Jeanne Rhea, Synchronicity. Alcohol and acrylic inks, silver leaf, and resin on Ampersand Cradled Claybord, 22 x 18 inches. Used with permission.

When you regularly write about your art, you build a vocabulary for your art career and business.

Above all, you must write for yourself.

Blog for Yourself

Sounds silly, doesn’t it? That you would spend a lot of time writing without anyone else reading it?

What I mean is that your blog will be more meaningful (to you and to others) if you write to discover more about your art and process.

Write for the sense of accomplishment.
Write because it gives you pleasure to understand your art on a deeper level.
Write because you might connect with someone, somewhere that makes it all worthwhile.

Writing whatever it is you think collectors want to read is often a mistake because the most sophisticated collectors want to get inside your head. They want to know about you, your work, and your life as an artist.

Give them this joy! And make it a joyful process for yourself too.

Patience, Grasshopper

The first hiccup on the road to blogging stardom happens when you realize your blog isn’t a smash hit immediately.

There’s no instant gratification at a blog’s birth. No showering of thumbs-up signs or insightful comments.

©Martha Carroll McCowin, Eidolon Series #8. Mixed media and nails on cradled panel, 20 x 20 x 2.5 inches. Used with permission.

©Martha Carroll McCowin, Eidolon Series #8. Mixed media and nails on cradled panel, 20 x 20 x 2.5 inches. Used with permission.

The lack of comments, readers, and feedback could leave you despondent if you let it. But you won’t, because you remember that you’re writing for yourself. You’re going to keep it up regardless of who else shows up.

You didn’t become a skilled artist overnight and you shouldn’t expect to be an expert blogger out of the gate.

Be patient, grasshopper. Go easy on yourself and embrace the learning process.

This commitment to a practice is the reason that blogging isn’t for everyone. If you can’t maintain it, your blog will start looking unloved and won’t do you much good.

I advise you to keep your renewed enthusiasm for your blog to yourself until after you’re certain that your commitment will stick.

Are you ready to revive your blog? I’d love to hear your thoughts about blogging and see your blog – just leave a comment and a link below.

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91 comments to Revive Your Blog

  • Nice reminder with some great points. Thank you . I might just commit to reviving it ! Re commit, that is . 😉

  • After taking Creative Content Camp I can’t remember now why I let my blog languish as long as it did! Thank you for reminding me why I write, Alyson. Great article with lots of good reasons to keep it up.

  • You are right. I need to recommit myself to my blog. It was going so well for so long and now it’s been a year since my last post. Thanks for the push.

  • My husband is working on a new website for my painting and I’ve started to make blog entries, sometimes wondering why I’m working on this. I do like to write and often make journal entries about my painting day. I think a blog is a great way to track what I’m working on and get some insights into my process, as well as share with whoever wants to listen. Your article just confirms that it is time well spent. Thanks. My new website is not up yet, still on the old format, but coming soon.

  • This is a great post!
    Thank you for the reminder and your information and your explanation of “why” is clear and incite full.
    Thank you!

  • Great post. I really like the point about writing for oneself…

  • Love the point “blog for yourself.”
    I never thought about that. That is a wonderful reason and also helps encourage me to be more self-reflective. Thank you for this great post and have fun chasing the eclipse!
    Carol

  • Great advice… and “kick in the pants”! I’ve let my blog sit idle for about 3 years – along with my artwork. Yes, it’s been that long since I’ve “done anything”. Why? It’s something that happens to me periodically… More? Read my upcoming blog post.

  • I’ve been blogging since 2003 and very consistently since 2011 so I’ve been around for a while 🙂 I’ve chosen not to turn my blog into a pure art blog because there’s only so much I can write about my own art every week. But it is a creative and self-expression blog so I do post my art now and then

    Figuring out what others want to read is nearly impossible unless they actually answer when you ask. So I give it my best go every week and hope people will read, like, and share it.

    • I write my blog like you said Linda in a larger scope. I do it once a week, except in summers and holidays. I write about whatever I want to wrjte relating to art, design, fashion, inspiration. And I feature other artists and designers, because yes, I don’t have enough to write about my own work, and writing about others helps build my credibility in the art and design fields. I do many posts which highlight my own artistic process focusing on color and texture. But like Alyson recommends I write for myself. But I also now have some side income writing paid blogs, so I’m glad I’ve stuck with blogging. Im a talker, so It gives me a voice on a variety of topics, in addition to my own art.

  • I find blogging as another way to communicate about my art. I started my website with just a blog, explaining my process and inspiration. Once I started entering shows online a bit later, it was easy to glean from my posts for artists statements and entry info needed. So yes as you have written I am a true believer in artists blogs.

  • As an introvert I have definately found that blogging has helped me become more comfortable talking about my art. I recently moved my blog to my new webssite and this post is a timely reminder to review my blog and content. Thank You!

  • Blogging about our work also becomes a chicken-and-egg motivator for making the work: No work, nothing to write about!
    I’m so looking forward to my new little workspace after months of living in a building site, so that I can remind myself and my readers that I’m an artist as well as a coach 🙂

  • I received such a nice compliment from a fellow artist this morning. She didn’t know that I follow Alyson faithfully- and she forwarded this post to me saying how much she enjoys my blog and encouraging me to keep it up! How flattering 💕

    I totally agree about the. Log being mostly for me as a way to document and explore my feelings about the work. I love the perks of collectors and fellow artists being able to appreciate it too!

  • Thanks, Allison. It is good to remember that I write first for myself. Especially since I usually only get one or two people that respond to what I write.
    It doesn’t take long to get out of the habit of writing…and then it becomes so hard to begin again.

    You suggested once to have a writing day where you do more than one post. I envy that as I cannot seem to do more than one in a sitting.

    Thank you for your encouragement.

  • This is a timely post for me as I recently revived my 10 year old blog. You’re spot on for all the reasons to do so!

    To jump-start my dormant blog, I’ve challenged myself to a 100 painting/posting regimen. During this time I’m taking notes (analog) in my journal as to possible directions this jump-start will take me. It’s a way to revive the blog, focus on my new medium and solidify/explore some new goals.

    Thank you, Alyson, for all you do for artists – especially reminding us to make art for ourselves first and foremost!

  • Need to recommit as well! I had great intentions a couple years ago when I redid my website but have been putting more time into social media posts. It makes sense. Thanks Alyson!

  • I started writing a blog post every week (Tursdays) last November and love it! You are completely right about writing gives you the opportunity later to use it else where. I’ve used blog posts for applications and grant proposals. I highly recommend it and am looking forward to my one year anniversary.

    http://kimberlydenglish.blogspot.com/?m=1

  • Susie Seitz King

    I am now impatiently waiting for my web designer to finally take my first website live. To say this has been 10 mos. of anxiety attacks is an understatement. I will say I already have a new, much improved site in the background. I’ve always thought the best way to reach potential collectors is through personal connection. When they purchase your art, they are purchasing a part of you that went into the creation. Share that with them when they buy. It brings a deeper meaning between them, the art, and you! I want a blog on my next site. I’m an introvert…perfectly happy to stay in my home studio when responsibilities get out of my way. But I can be chatty at times, like now, lol! I like the idea of having a link to my blog page on my social media accounts. If they go to my blog, they will also be at my website. Like going shopping with a friend! I’ve always been afraid to make the jump into blogging because it has to be a commitment to show up with new content. I’m realizing it doesn’t have to be a lot and can also contain visual interests. Alyson, your email has encouraged me to delve into this idea and add it to my list of what I want to change up on my site. Thank you for the nudge.

  • Mine’s suffering from the complete collapse of my studio work this year during a particularly bad stretch of depression. I’ve done one painting this year. I’m doing better and intend to go back to painting. But I still need to put time and energy into my health.

  • Love this as it validates my habit of posting a blog every Friday for almost 6 years: I write for me! I don’t journal but my blog is like an art journal and I want non-artists to enjoy it as much as other artists. If anyone wants to trade a “guest blogger” spot contact me at art@cindymichaud.com, check out blog at http://www.cindymichaudart.blogspot.com. My goal is to update my website and somehow get the blog on a tab without screwing up my current email subscription list. Technical difficulties way over my pay grade!! But blogs are a joy for those who love to write.

  • Thanks for pep talk. By coincidence, I have been thinking about this very thing. Posting on Facebook is easier than on my blog, and more people see it. I switched to Apple from PC a few years ago, and have struggled to learn all the ins and outs of maintaining my blog in the new framework. That’s my excuse, anyway. You have inspired me to work harder on my blog. Thanks!

  • I keep telling my husband, who is also an artist that he should blog because he’s a great writer and prolific painter and poet. I operate at a slower pace, but want to have my own blog going too. I’m sure both will reflect are individual interests. Thanks for the tips and it’s inspiring to read other people’s comments.

  • Great points, Alyson. I work in marketing, so know the importance of owning your content, and still find myself posting more to Facebook because it’s so easy. I tend to think blog posts have to be long, carefully composed articles. The idea of using it as my own journal really appeals to me. People *love* work-in-process and “behind the scenes” posts – even if it’s just a quick shot of a messy table mid-painting! Going to go find something simple to post right now 😉

  • I’ve been writing a blog about my experience as an Australian artist in Singapore for over 3 years and have found it a fantastic way to connect with others. I’m amused to see more than half my website traffic coming from a single entry on a product that I don’t even sell! I try to recycle my blogs by placing the link on my FB page etc. And I place a newsletter sign up link on most pages. Pls take a look: https://jenniferlimart.com/blog/

  • Timely reminder. With the illness and death of my father and the associated responsibilities thereafter, I let my blog slide. I am now going to take the bull by the horns and get back on the path of regular blogging. Thank you!

  • My problem is that I am not a “wordy” person. Writing or speaking. I could tell my art journey in one very dull paragraph. How do blogs featuring visuals such as photos or drawings fit into the concept of a successful blog?

  • Elizabeth Davis

    Hi Alyson, I feel your emails are quite useful and enlightening. Thank you for them. I would like to start a blog but being not tech-y I have no idea how to create one, where to look online for a blog site, if that’s a thing, etc. Would you be so kind as to point me in the right direction? Elizabeth

    • Hi Elizabeth, check out Blogger, the google platform for blogging. It’s very easy to use once you get the hang of it. If you need help with something involving the set up, just google “how to do *whatever* on blogger”. There are lots of directions and videos posted online.

      Blogger may not be as polished as some other sites, but I’ve found it’s great for starting out.

      Best of luck!
      Frances

    • Hi, Elizabeth. Agreed that Blogger is easy to start. But I might put you on WordPress.com.

      This blog uses WordPress.org, which is installed on my server and requires a little more tech know-how than WordPress.com. You can always switch to it later.

  • This is all great advice! I just started my blog (I’m on week 7) and while I’m really just figuring out what this whole blog thing is… I’m having fun learning, writing again, and having the deadline. This little push and motivation is going to keep me going!

  • Yes, I blog for myself! My dear 12 followers (of which a couple are family) are hanging in there with me. My entries and photos remind me that I’ve created a body of work and learned much along the way. It also helps to have something I can direct people to, who inquire about the work I do.

    • Fascinating blog! Amazing work you do and great stories. You can post a link to each post on FB or other social media and you can also add an email subscription so folks receive it automatically in addition to the follow business. It was so long ago I did mine that I’m not sure I could explain but go for it.

    • Tawn: We love those loyal subscribers.

      You have a FANTASTIC blog – so focused!

      I would love to see the blog formatting updated a bit because I think your blog has HUGE potential for a lot more than 12 subscribers.

  • Very good advice!
    I have three blogs: Two on quilling, one in Spanish and one in English. The Spanish blog http://quillingchile.blogspot.cl/ aims to spread this art in Spanish-speaking countries, and in the English blog, http://creaquilling.blogspot.cl/ which I now translate into Spanish, I am sharing my work in quilling. And I have a third blog where I put all my different manuals in Spanish http://pilys-art.blogspot.cl/
    As you will understand to have three blogs more or less updated, it is a great job and that is why I do not write very often. I have noticed that it would be better to concentrate everything on a blog because basically the topics I write about are quite similar (quilling, scrapbook, paper, tutorials, workshops, ideas like replacing materials, etc.) However the question is: How do I do it? What blog? Or do I make a new one that conveys all three? What name do I keep? My idea is to return with enthusiasm to publish periodically and so Revive my blogs, but now only in one. What do you recommend me?
    Thank you so much! And a hug from Chile.

  • I read all the time from Marketing experts to write for your target audience. Write for your avatar. Write for everyone you want to attract. This advice is paralyzing to a new blogger like me because I begin to doubt who my avatar is and what they want. Thank you for this simple advice to write for myself. As you allude, write for yourself and they who want to know you will come.

    • Anne: I KNOW! That’s what’s so frustrating. They’re talking to people who (like me) offer a service or fix a problem. Art doesn’t do that. It’s so much more personal. I’m happy this is helpful advice.

  • Thank you so much for featuring my work. It is more than apt that you should have a post about reviving your blog as mine has languished somewhat unloved and neglected for way too long (in fact I laughed out loud when I saw my work featured on this post because I am guilty as charged!).

    When I started my blog I loved it. Because I work in a very slow medium there are often long periods of time when there may be nothing particularly exciting for me to photograph in terms of new work, however, I would share photographs of the things that were inspiring me and talk about my process. Basically I knew nothing about blogging, but I shared stories and things that I was excited about and I enjoyed it. If I found an artist that I was very excited about I might share their work too. I was blogging twice weekly and had built up a small following even without a mailing list. Then I started listening to “experts” about what my blog “should be”; ie that it should be only about my work directly, that it should only ever feature my own work and never the work of others (I only did this occasionally and when I was really excited about work I had seen and wanted others to see it). There were other “don’ts” but I honestly don’t remember them all now. I became somewhat bored with my blog and because I wasn’t sharing my artistic life the way I wanted to. At the same time it didn’t help that my internet service became so slow (because the satellite service had been way over subscribed) that it would take over one hour to upload a single image, the connection would drop out frequently causing me to lose work and overall it became somewhat torturous.

    Of course, now I am in a different place – as an artist and in life in general – than I was 7 years ago when I started my blog, so it’s not just a matter of going back to what I was doing before. It weighs heavily on me that my blog sits there languishing, so thanks for your very timely blog post, Alyson.

    • By the way, the title “You Are Standing In My Light” is thanks to my husband: when he comes into my studio to talk he always stands on my left side in front of the window that lights my work. I always have to say to him – you are standing in my light – and so it was the only title for this interpretation of a solar eclipse.

    • Marta:

      1. We are so grateful to have you allow us to feature your art. So perfect for our big eclipse celebration.

      2. 1 hour to upload images? I’d give up, too! I do hope you re-start it. How funny that we timed your work to this post.

      3. LOVE where the title came from. Great story! Hmmm … sounds like a blog post to me!

  • This blog post was extremely inspiring to me. I have lost some momentum in my blog for a variety of reasons (life gets busy, periods of under confidence, periods of not being sure what to write about), and this has inspired me to get back on it. Thank you so much Alyson!

    Kellie

  • This was such a timely read for me. I have been blogging for about 18 months, publishing every Monday. When I started I had my mentor tell me I must blog for my target audience. What I have discovered is that my heart is not in a target audience; whomever that might be. Just a couple of weeks ago I missed a Monday blog. I had no love to put into it and so I didn’t put anything into it and let it go.
    I have been wanting to change the focus of the blog to be more me, and possibly more interesting. Now I feel like I can.
    I am a photographer of flowers and nature and that is where my heart lives. There are other realms I play in that might come into the blog in the future. But for now I am going to start writing for me.
    Thank you for this timely message Alyson!

  • I was already starting to think that I need to re-vive my blog….I started out on Blogger, but was thinking WordPress is somehow better? Should I stick with what I have on Blogger or switch to WordPress?

  • Ooops I don’t think I’ve blogged since May. And I’ve had lots of changes in my life – a worldwide trip and an international adoption, and a new direction with my art since then. It’s hard to keep writing when your audience is 7 and you know all of them since they are your best friends and family. But you make a good point to write for yourself- I forgot about that part! Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  • PS Holy cats! I just found out I have 93 more subscribers to my blog than the last time I checked.

  • My blog is at http://debbiehstudio.org/blog/
    I was at first scared to put my blog address up, because it’s not as nice as your’s Alyson.
    I don’t have many viewers. I only put the entries I really like on that blog. My biz Facebook page for Debbies Home Studio is weekly. That one is primarily friends and family. I reach more people if I put something on my personal page, but I only put personal stuff on my personal page. Sometimes a biz post will shift over into personal also. Since I’m an author/illustrator, I am on Goodreads. It’s social media all about books, so it’s a good place for an author to be. They have a Goodreads author program that provides a blog with no pictures. Since I only have about 16 viewers and my friends and family don’t read that one, I call it my not quite for prime time log. I use that one to post things that are book related or stuff I want to talk about that I really don’t want my family to read.

  • I love artists blogs and reading them and I’m disappointed when I find an artist I love and they haven’t written anything in their blog for years! With that said, I wish I could be more regular about posting on my own artist blog (http://www.artbylindy.com/blog). It takes serious commitment and I know I should have more of a schedule with it. I can say though I’ve been blogging since 2008 and I do like looking back at some of my posts to see how far I’ve come.

  • Thank you. Your post was just the push I needed.

  • I really like the reasons given for why to blog. You make a very good point about a blog being a much more stable environment to share on than Facebook and other social media sites.

    I’m in the process of creating a new website on WordPress that will feature a blog that covers a number of subjects (categories?)–art; writing; travel and it’s influences on my art & writing; and room to play. When I first created a website (salliewolf.com) a friend suggested that I treat it like my own personal playground. I like that concept and think a blog can work well that way too. I intend for mine to be a fun place for me to post discoveries/adventures, almost like a scrapbook of the things I want to share. Most important for me in my new website (it will keep the same url) will be the ability to post from my phone, esp. when I’m traveling.

  • Susan Dougherty

    Thank you for this blog. I will make time to get back to my blog. I am a caregiver to my mom and i let the blog go but you are right. It will make me feel better if nothing else!

  • Great post! When I began my blog, I was afraid I had nothing to say that others would want to read. How wrong I was! I have been amazed at the feedback I get on the blogs that were more personal and less about promoting my art.
    I also learned that I LIKE writing! Who knew?! I struggle at times to find a new topic, but with patience, the topic usually presents itself and it is not what I thought it would be. As long as I am authentic, the words flow easily, once I get started.

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