Monday, February 2, 2015

Advice for Prospective Bloggers

Periodically, I have readers ask me for advice about starting a blog. There are a few things I’ve learned the past four years of regular blogging but I am only able to share from my limited experience. I don’t blog for money so I can’t tell you how to get rich doing it. I spend time writing at The Workbench Diary for three reasons: 1. The connections to other artisans 2. The mutual education it provides. 3. The writing practice. Oh, and it’s fun. If that lines up with your vision of blogging, maybe something on this list will be helpful to you in your journey...

1.       Ask Yourself, “Why?”
                Before you start building your blog, the first thing I recommend you do is spend some time thinking through your motivations and goals. What are trying to accomplish by writing in this format? Marketing your business? Trying to get rich from writing? Proselytizing? You may discover some of your goals are realistic and some are less so. But until you ask these questions, you won’t know how to design your site to best achieve your goals.

2.       Analyze Your Favorites
One of the reasons you’re considering blogging is probably because you’ve read other blogs you enjoy. Take a critical look at those sites and figure out what it is that sets them apart from others. Is it the types of posts? The photography? Their writing style? Their transparency? Figure that out and see if you can’t incorporate those elements into your blog. My posts have evolved over time as I continue to identify which ones work and which don’t.

3.       Fit Your Niche
                We don’t need another Chris Schwarz. The reason we all enjoy Lost Art Press is because they found their own niche and embraced it. It’s not good form to try to slavishly copy another blog’s content. Think about exactly what knowledge, insight, or interests you have that others don’t. That’s what you wanna share.

This is the end of Part One. Part Two coming soon…


  1. All good advice! As a voracious woodworking blog reader and occasional poster, I know how much effort goes into these blogs. Besides trying to clean up my bookmark mess, I created a website feed of all my favorite woodworking blogs to help encourage the bloggers to keep at it, I know traffic can be slim pickings sometimes especially when you start out. If any of your readers want their blog listed on the feed (, just drop me a line at siavoshb [at the yahoo mail].

    1. Yes, Thank you Siavosh. I regularly check Woodspotting because things turn up there from blogs other than on my blogroll. I particularly enjoy the "gallery". It's fun to see everyone's photos together.

    2. Thanks for the kind words Joshua. Shoot me an email if you ever have any suggestions on making the site better or you have a favorite blog not listed. Also a belated congrats on the new family addition btw :)

  2. I second to what Siavosh says. All good advice.

    A thing that I find important is to post regularly, especially in the start. If someone decides to give a new blog a chance, it isn't any good that there is only 5 or 7 posts, and then the whole thing stops,
    My own advice is to make sure your Internet connection is up to the task. Blogging from remote locations like a dog sleigh or a ship can be really frustrating. 30 minutes for uploading 3 pictures to the post is fairly normal but does strain your patience.


    1. You're right Jonas. Regularity is important. I am so glad my internet connection is good. Thank you for continuing to write and post pictures as you do. We all appreciate it!