Do you have a blog for your art? How dressed up is it? I’m not just talking about whether it looks pretty or not. I’m talking about things that will make your blog an effective marketing tool for promoting your art. What are some of must-haves you need for your blog? Here are 6 important things you need to have:
1. A domain name– a domain name for your blog whether it’s a separate name from your main website or a subdomain of your website (eg: yourwebsite.com/blog) is an important part of branding your blog. Even if you are using a blogging service like Blogger, Typepad, WordPress.com, you should still get your own domain name for your blog. It looks so much more professional than yourblog.blogspot.com.
2. A custom banner– While the generic banners you get with your blog templates work just fine, you can dramatically upgrade the look and professionalism of your blog by using a custom banner. If you’re not any great shakes with Photoshop or Gimp, then you can hire someone to do a professional banner for your blog for about $50 or less.
3. A sign up box for your mailing list– If you have a mailing list for customers or potential buyers, make it easy for them to sign up for your mailing list by putting your sign up form on the sidebar of your blog…even if you already have one on your website.
4. RSS subscription buttons– A lot of people like to read blogs through a feed reader like Google Reader or Bloglines. Make it easy for them to keep up with your blog by putting on some RSS feed buttons or links on the sidebar of your blog. If your readers prefer email, consider using a service like Feedblitz or Aweber to deliver your blog posts via email. And please remember to offer full feeds to these folks as well.
5. Links to your website and other social networking sites– If you have a main website or an Etsy or Artfire store, you definitely need to have links to those places on your blog. If you are an Etsy user, there is a free widget that you can place on your blog that show pictures of the items that you have in your store. Also, if you are a Twitter user, have an account on LinkedIn, or have a Facebook fan page, you should also have links or widgets that link to those places so people can follow you or fan you.
6. Share links and buttons– Finally, make your blog easy to share by adding social networking buttons so that people can easily share your blog posts to their friends on StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. You can use a service like Feedburner’s FeedFlare, AddThis, or Share This to add these buttons to your blog. Or if you’re running WordPress on your blog you can use the Sexy Bookmarks or Share This plugin.