Dear ASDP Board

Why Blog?

05/03/2015 2:46 PM | Anonymous

Although a blog lives on the internet, it is very different from a website, but not so easy to explain (which I learned when trying to explain the differences to a friend recently.)

Before I attempt to detail the differences, let’s start with some terms:

blog --derived from ‘weblog’--an internet site where the blog owner can post information-usually in a conversational tone.

blogger --owner and/or contributor to a blog

post --a single entry on a blog (or as a verb, to add an entry to a blog)

follow --to request to be notified each time a specific blog is updated

follower --someone who follows a blog

One way to think about blogs vs. websites is a website is more like the yellow pages and a blog is more like a journal.

Most websites are informational and don’t change very often. You typically have a page about your background, another page with photos of your work, etc. Each page is meant to be read from top to bottom.

A blog is a series of entries, the most recent usually displayed at the top. A blog changes as often as the owner posts new entries. A blog is also inherently more interactive. On most blogs, readers can post comments at the bottom of each post (think of a post as a single entry in a diary or journal), and the blogger and other readers can respond. Some blogs require the blogger to approve all comments before they are available for the public to view.

So, what’s so cool about a blog and why would I consider doing one? It is much faster and easier to post information on a blog, including links, photos and videos, than most websites. Blog software is usually WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), and provides easy access to data about your followers/readers. Blogs tend to be more conversational and less formal. And, because the blog changes each time the blogger enters a new post, people tend to either follow a blog by signing up to be notified of updates or check back on a regular basis for new content.

For creative types like us, a blog can be an excellent way to show the process we go through when working on a project. For example, each day for a week you could post photos of your progress. This way, clients can see the care and detail that goes into a garment as well as help them to understand why they can’t get that custom strapless gown in time for this weekend.

The downsides - with any public information, as professionals we need to be careful what we share with current and potential clients and business contacts.

If you choose to start a blog to promote your business, always keep in mind that anyone will be able to see what you post, forever. (No take-backs!). You may shoot yourself in the foot without realizing it.

I just got back from a trip to Europe where most of my free time was spent in fiber-related activities. I would LOVE to post photos of all the gorgeous stuff I bought, but I could risk disqualifying myself for the next challenge since I may be using some of what I bought in some of my garments. You must also be careful about photos you post - copyright laws apply to blogs as they do on websites, so unless you know the origin of the image and have permission to post it, just don’t do it.

Finally, and in this case, “do as I say, not as I do”, check your blog posts (or have someone else do it) for typos, misspellings, broken (non-functioning) links, etc. I really should be better about this since I make my living testing software, but hey, no one’s perfect.

Blog or website? This depends on your budget, your available time (or whoever you manage to trick into doing it), and your clientele. Blogs are gaining more popularity, but aren’t the best place for the type of information typically found on a website, and older users still seem to prefer websites. If you plan to have only one or the other, and don’t expect to have the time to update a blog more than once a week, stick with a standard website. Blogs are living things; and if you don’t update them often enough, folks just stop checking in. If you only want to do one and you’ve got lots to say and show, and the time to post regularly, go with a blog.

Best case in my opinion is do both. Use your website to provide practical information, galleries of your work, directions to your studio, etc., and use your blog to keep in touch with current and potential clients on a more personal level. You can post after conference about all the great new techniques you learned, remind them to bring in alterations and new projects early, before your schedule is filled with wedding gowns and prom dresses, review the latest Red Carpet fashions, etc.

Whichever you choose, always make sure your contact information is quick and easy to find--the last thing you want is an excited client who is unable to contact you right away.

Written by Juliette (Kimes) Howland

Juliette Howland, Photo by Wayne Kimes

2885 Sanford Ave SW #19588, Grandville, MI 49418 ~ Toll-Free (877) 755-0303 

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