Friday, September 18, 2015

Changes to This Quilter Blogger's Blogging Cycle


Do you remember my 'Katie Jump Rope' from last year?



I was just learning to FMQ on my Janome domestic machine. I snuggled under this quilt last night, and slept in a chair. There were so many thoughts going through my mind--big decisions for me to make.



Quilting is my true passion. It fuels my creative fire, and makes me feel whole. I am here to share my love with you. Some days I feel like shouting it from the rooftops.

I have a request for you, dear Reader. Please hang in here with me while I revamp my blogging process and cycle. I hope by explaining to you now you'll understand my reasons. I need to make a few changes in my priorities.

I want to be a quilter more than a blogger, and am seeking balance between the two.

I won't be posting as often--1-2 times a week. 

I won't be responding to comments only, but I love when you say the project rocked or the colors are great. Do I appreciate them? I absolutely do! They are honey for my heart, but I am trying hard to cut my time online. I will be popping into your blog instead, and reading about what's going on there. If you have something personal to say to me, my email is in the sidebar or juliebehappy1@gmail.com.

I will continue to answer questions both online and in email. Anything you need. I'm here.

I am suspending the Pet Project Show. It was a lot of fun, and I met so many talented bloggers, but it's another big use of my online time.

I want to be a quilter more than a blogger, and am seeking balance between the two.

Almost every blogger starts out thinking blogging is just writing about the really cool stuff they're doing in life. Within a short time, they realize there's a lot more to it. The complex blogging cycle refers to managing your content, marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and maintenance. Let me give you a quick definition of each.

#1. Content: A cycle within the cycle

We break our content down into subcategories like basic tutorials, finishes for the week, project progress reports, fabric buys, etc. Some types we tend to post regularly, and others are fluffy fillers. Yes, we can write fluff. Often we write so we can link that post up with a linky party, contest, or hop. Too often this drives our content, and we fail to post outside that cycle=No original creative content.

Content includes pictures. Taking beautiful pictures is hard work, and is also dependent on your available light. A change of season and position of the sun means where you go to snap some pics in the spring isn't going to be ideal in the fall. Natural light outside is almost always best, but where is your back up if there's a solid week of rain?

#2. Marketing: The way in which you support the expenses of your blog, your art/hobby, or if this is your real job--yourself! Do you sell or advertise something you make, sell advertising for someone else, or what keeps your coffee cup full? 

Or, are you geared toward the social media platforms? Do you work hard to get people to follow you on Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, or Facebook? Many bloggers will follow the trend setters within their field, and see what they are posting. Liking and commenting on someone else's posts is also a way of networking within the community. 

#3. SEO: Search Engine Optimization: How search engines like Google hit on your blog when someone is looking for key words in a search, and you've worded things correctly so one of the top hits is your blog post. Some bloggers write specifically for this, and there are many formulas to help you figure out how. Many times we can read through a post, and hear how many times it repeats those key words. It may not sound as smooth as writing without it, and we need to decide if it's important to our goal.

#4. Maintenance: Do the links on your site all work? Are all the pictures still there? Do you link back to relevant posts you've done in the past to keep them current and active? Do you link externally to other bloggers' posts, and are they still up and live? Do they link to you?

Readers use cetain aspects of a blog page like a search box, links to popular posts, etc., and they can change over time. We need to be aware of what our readers needs are.

Blog pages need to stay fresh looking, current or at least seasonal for some, have engaging graphics and updated pictures. 

Did you have any idea of all this? It's an amazingly complex undertaking for any person, and I'm not the only one saying, "Stop the Merry-Go-Round! I want off!" Even if just for a short time to catch up the rest of my life.

My Plan A 

Content: I want to provide solid content for you the majority of the time. I want my readers to leave feeling they got something worthwhile for their time and effort to visit. Not only pretty pictures, but how to do something new. More than anything, I want them to feel inspired enough to start doing something creative. Let me be your cheerleader.

Marketing: I dearly love both longarm quilting and original quilt design. I am officially opening my door and hanging my shingle for business. Contact me with any questions, but I will be posting more in that area very soon. I will be changing out some of the adverstising you see, and adding others. If you feel it's a nuisance as you are reading, let me know. It does help me if you purchase through my Amazon links, Craftsy, or visit the advertising here.

SEO: I don't write for SEO, and don't plan to. I value an authentic voice.

Maintenance: I have been working through the summer, and will continue archiving content. The rest of the list is long, but one immediate goal is to have a link page with all the current link parties for you. If you know of one I don't have or a new one, let me know. I'll get it on there. This link is in my header under Links & Party Buttons.

I want to be a quilter more than a blogger, and am seeking balance between the two.

Focus is everything. It took me a year to say what I wanted from blogging. I tried on many hats, and some fit better than others. I can't tell you how much the online quilter blogger community has changed my world in a year. Can I say here how much I love you all? But I've got to feed my fire and limit my computer time, throw some balls for Effy, and do some sewing with big learning curves. I know I'm on the right path when I can't get it right the first or second time, and there are so many new things I want to try. Will you hang in here with me, please? I'll see you more often on Instagram if you're there. Follow me as pinkdoxies or the button below, or see you back here in a few days.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's get off the computer, and go sew.

               

Linking up with~
Show Off Saturday
Richard's & Tanya's LAFF
Fort Worth's Fabric Friday Frenzy
Sarah @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Amanda Jean @ Crazy Mom Quilts

31 comments:

  1. Bravo, Julie! I applaud your decision and wish you every success in following your heart.

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  2. "Some days I feel like shouting it from the rooftops." How I love this sentence, and wow, can I ever relate to it....as I can relate to your feelings of frustration with computer time cutting into quilting time. You've made some wise decisions here, clearly with a lot of reflection. I know you are heading into new territory (again!) and I'm looking forward to following along through your blog and through our friendship. :-)

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  3. Ah, Julie, I feel you! I'm struggling a little bit myself as the move has taken away nearly all my fabric and really played heck with my work/life balance. Quilting is keeping me sane, but sometimes it's just too much to write about, even though I'm very excited. And I hate the feeling that I'm behind! I'm trustung that it will work out with time. It's not like there's any penalty (other than a personal one) for not posting. I just keep reminding myself that all transitions take time. Hang in there!

    Perhaps the solution for both of us is at the end of your post--let's go sew! :)

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  4. I completely understand! I started blogging as a way for me to keep track of my project completions and share what inspires me with others. I try to post once a week and that works best for me, so I totally understand your need to pull back. Getting quilting! :0)

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  5. Beautifully written. We start down one road because we want to share our creative life but it ends up with us sitting on a computer and for me that is not working in the right way with my hands! I am pleased you have taken the time to evaluate what is important. I feel we can not do it all justice when we need to spend so much time on social media. For me Quality is better than Quantity and there are only so many hours in a day. Enjoy your quilting time I am off to the sewing room!

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  6. Thanks for all this info Julie as I'm just getting ready to start my new linky party in a couple of weeks. I've always struggled w/ "do I sew or do I blog"? Sewing usually wins as it's easier. Blogging is more work. It's goes way beyond writing something and posting pics, especially if you are looking to grow your follower base and make money at it...then it requires lots of visiting, reading and commenting on others' blogs. A linky party is a huge commitment and I've been thinking about just that for the last year or so. I'm still going forward w/starting it on Oct.1st but now have in mind new expectations/goals and a couple of boundaries to set for myself. Thank you!

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  7. Oh, and good providence w/reclaiming balance in your life.

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  8. I hear you. I am trying to make more time to quilt, which is what I love. My blog is nowhere as complex as yours, but it takes time to get the photos off the camera, etc. I am not a writer either, so it is hard for me. I mainly blog because it helps me document my work and give hints/helps to others on the quilting path. I find myself wanting to spend less time on the computer also. I bought a long arm that I so much stink at and need to invest more time in that.
    I have truly received a lot from your blog and am grateful for the time you put into it.

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  9. I completely understand Julie, blogging is great but quilting and life are better. Good luck on all future endeavors.

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  10. I totally get what you are saying, what you want to do and how hard it is to find that balance. It is easy to spend way too much time on blogging (any social media), because we want to share everything...we love what we do. Blogging allows us to do that. It takes so much time to respond to emails, link and visit other blogs and then there are the blogs that I like to keep tabs on. Before you know it an hour or two has passed by! I will be looking forward to the times you do blog! I'm excited that you are going to offer long arm services! Fill us in sometime!

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  11. Julie, I support you in anything you do, any way you do it, as a quilter and a blogger. I'm glad to have your thoughts and creativity arrive in my In Box, and appreciate the inspiration you have given me. So, do what is nurturing for you, and we'll be here. Thank you for sharing with us some of the "behind the scenes" factors that led to these changes. I read a quote yesterday that said, "Old ways will never open new doors"--perhaps that fits this situation. Let's see, shall we?

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  12. Well, fine, be that way! Just Kidding! I hear you completely. We all need to find our balance and how blogging fits into our long-term goals.

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  13. I'll still be here. Does this men you will cease the pet project saturdays?

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  14. Oh, I soooo understand! Blogging take on a life of it's own and leave little time for the things we truly love - creating and quilting! Nevermind the 'other' things in our lives.. family, jobs, home, etc. So I really get your change of focus. It does take an enormous amount of time, not everyone understands that. And your blog shows that you put the time and attention into it! I must admit I will miss the Pet Project.. but that's okay, I will still enjoy your posts and seeing the girls and everything that you are up to... on your own schedule!

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  15. The balance thing is very tricky and we all only have so many hours in a day. You should spend those doing what is most important to you. I've had some of the same questions recently and am still working on the answers. I typically read blogs and answer email when I can, and often can be a week or more behind. I'll still come check out what you are working on. Good luck on your new direction.

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  16. Good for you. Remember you have to do what makes you happy. Change is hard, but kudos to you for deciding to make a change.

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  17. I am so glad to have met you through your blog and i will stick around. Now i will go sew.

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  18. Hooray for you! I don't want bloggers to send posts daily. I'd rather they spend the time sewing, quilting, designing, or whatever. I like your posts but weekly would be fine with me. I, too, want to quilt and sew and not spend time reading blogs.

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  19. Re-evaluating priorities is good to do. One of my goals this year was to enjoy blogging when I had something to blog about. It should be fun and not a pressure. Enjoy your sewing!

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  20. Sounds like you are making the right decision, for sound reasons, and I hope this works for you and that you can get on with the quilting, which after all is what it's all about. I look forward to seeing the new work you should hopefully now have time to explore and following you on the next part of your quilting journey.

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  22. Its funny when you read a good post that seems to be written so effortlessly that it is too easy to take the blogger for granted. It is a lot of work and I can see the draw of instagram too but I find the longer format so much better for exploring an aspect of quilting and sharing that exploration. Where i find it difficult to keep up is blogging friends- take 2 days away from the computer and you have 100 blog posts in your feed! It always amazes me how many of us love to share this craft and I look forward to your shares in whatever amount, format or voice that fits you best!

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Thank you for sharing your ideas and comments. It's always enlightening to hear what you think, or if you have a suggestions. Some of you really make my day with your wit! I admit I struggle to keep up with replies during busy times, but it's because I'm working on new things to share with you. Give me a shout with anything urgent at julie@pinkdoxies.com, and I'll try to get right back with you.

If you want to be certain of a personal reply, leave your email or email me privately. Many people are not even aware when they have become a no-reply blogger. Yes, I know it's frustrating for us all.

Julie