Monday, February 08, 2010

building communities

This week I have the pleasure of making two small presentations on blogging: one to a freshman-seminar focused on service learning, the other to art students in a writing-intensive drawing course. While I'll need to shift gears for the different audiences, I thought in both instances it would be helpful to provide some advice of building a network--which, to me, has been the MOST beneficial aspect of blogging.
tips for building a network
These are some of the key lessons I've learned [or should I say leaned] over the last couple of years, but is in no way an exhaustive list. With this said, I'd appreciate your help. What's your advice for the new blogger?

34 comments:

dominique eichi said...

Try to keep the look of your blog simple colors and all.
I am often deterred from very complicated, noisy or wallpaper backgrounds ones.

rhomany said...

I love the colours you've use in this, it's really eye-catching.
My tip: Make it easy to access your archives and wander through previous entries.

Sandy said...

Definite words of wisdom! and quite a fetching layout!!
I need to remember these!

Screwed Up Texan said...

Engage in the conversation with your readers, for example responding to comments. If your readers see that you engage, they'll come back for more.

suzanne cabrera said...

Nice!!!!! Keep 'em coming!

MoolyBee said...

Great post - you make it look easy some days!

One thing I tried to figure out before I started, is to understand my viewpoint/point for the blog. Do I include my kids very much, am I snarky, what is it actually for, and how can I keep a consistent voice?

Oh, that, and make sure your pictures are web-ready. If it takes too long to load, it's no fun to read.

suzanne cabrera said...

MoolyBee---Love the question "am I snarky?" Hehehehe...

Kelley said...

These are excellent guidelines for bloggers! I especially like "become a resource" - that's always a very good thing to keep in mind.

This isn't terribly positive, but I would add "keep it focused." There are way too many blogs out there that read like, "today I made french toast but I kinda burned it. Then I went for a walk with my dogs, it was kinda warm out so that was nice. Uh not sure what else to write about, is it Friday yet lol because I'm tired" etc etc etc.

Kelley said...

Oh hey, would it be alright with you if I posted your image on my blog? (With links back to you, of course!)

suzanne cabrera said...

Of course Kelley. Post away!

jodi said...

this is so wonderful! really great advice & so wonderfully illustrated.

raena said...

I hate it when blogs make you click to enter, then click to go see this or that. The other day I found a blog that I had to click no less than four times to find the loot! Ick...almost gave up. Definitely didn't bookmark; wouldn't want to endure that everyday!

Also, I love it when people put what materials were used...type of sketchbook, medium, etc. Sometimes I'm too embarrassed to ask because I feel like it is a question they've probably answered a thousand times...I just don't know where.

And I loved that color tutorial you did a while back!

Diahn said...

This is great, Suzanne - the only thing I would add is to make sure your contact information is on your blog. People may want to get in touch with you outside of the comments section...

Barbara Campbell Thomas said...

Take what you do seriously but don't take yourself too seriously--remember a blog is always in progress, always being made...love the image you've got here, can't wait to hear you talk tomorrow!!!

Candied Fabrics said...

This is a fantastic list...and the comments are awesome as well! The one thing I would add is to reply to commenters! I try to do this and have made some nice friendships that way. If I comment oh, say 5 or more times and never hear back, I find myself less likely to comment I understand that the big blogs this is too overwhelming...which is why I hardly ever comment on those! I feel like, oh never mind, everyone's already said that!

Anyway, this is an awesome post! I just posted a survey on my blog to get to know my readers better, and your image would be a great one to illustrate my point when I post the results - do you mind if I use it? (with credit and link of course!)

Lrc said...

I love your hand drawn sketches...good tips, not sure that i have anything else to add.

cindy said...

your list is terrific! mine is super simple - blog about what you love. a very successful blogger also told me when i started to do it for myself first and don't let anyone bully me into being something i'm not, including me!

suzanne cabrera said...

Wowee! This is adding up to be a REALLY great list. Thanks for all your thoughts!!!

Candied Fabrics---Can't agree more about the replying to commenters. This is something I was great at doing at first and want to continue to work on. I think, as a commenter myself, it makes all the difference to feel as though your voice was heard...and appreciated.

suzanne cabrera said...

Oh, and by all means, feel free to repost this list. In fact, I'd really appreciate it if you did!

dave terry said...

Keep it simple and clean. Make it clear what your blog is about. I think you do both Suzanne. Great job. I love stopping by.
...dave

Krista Meister said...

Lots of great ideas, I can't think of what else to add!

I do like what Dominique said about keeping your blog background clean. Black backgrounds look really cool but are hard for some people to read. Noisy backgrounds can detract from your post. If your blog is about art, your artwork looks best on a white or neutral background, as if it was in a gallery wall.

Suzanne, this is a wonderful topic! You'll have to let us know how your presentation went.

Liz Steel said...

great post - I agree with adding comments - not that I do it often to your blog.... I think the more you comment, the more comments and encouragement you get yourself.
Also, have fun, don't take it too seriously and be yourself!
BTW, although I don't comment much I do really love your blog and follow on my google reader all the time!

Candied Fabrics said...

Thanks Suzanne! Here's a link to my post! Big surprise, people want more tutorials! ;-) http://tiny.cc/k3tJK

aimee said...

i saw this on candied fabrics and recognized your sketchy goodness immediately! teeeerific post! :)

Kendall Park said...

These are great tips! I will definitely take these into account for my art blog. :)

Ana Gonzalez said...

Very good tips Suzanne Thanks.

I also found that people enjoy learning, the tutorials are important and the stories behind our creations also especially like and informal treatment and with a touch of humor and irony.

Making videos is very interesting explanation about our work,

Queenie Bee said...

Great tips indeed. Thank you for investing in me when I first set out! Another tip is to talk about or show images of where you live, if you think it might be interesting.

Caroline Binz said...

i really appreciated all the tips and your talk in my drawing class!

~Valentina~ said...

Suzanne, these tips are *SUPER* and love everything I'm reading in the comments! *GREAT*

David said...

Be honest and real...

Anthony said...

I think you hit it right on the head. Perfect. "Become a resource" -- this is important stuff for taking it to the next level, something I need to work on myself. Thanks for posting this, Suzanne. Inspirational as always.

spellingqueen81 said...

Thank you! This was very inspiring. I'm going to work on my blog right now!

miti said...

Suzanne...Serendipity! I actually just finished my first tutorial (on creating a personalized buy me coffee button) and came to visit you! Your blog's ambiance is so serence and peaceful (for are not blogs like interiors?), so I gave you a shout out for you are my zen design inspiration! Incidentally, It was so nice to finally see your smile in your flickr photo! Have you thought about making a book of your sketches...I love blurb.com and can't wait to use it for my art and poetry book! my advice is to become part of networkedblogs and other blog communities. Also I found great advice on copyblogger.com on how to build a successful blog.
Hugs!
It is so good to see you continue fighting the good fight (time vs. art- I amphatize as a fellow prof)!

Keith said...

Brilliant advice, am taking it all to heart right this instant.

Ta.