Jess Van Den shares an insight into her blogging and how it has helped grow her creative business.
When did you start your blog?
I started the Epheriell blog on EpheriellDesigns.com back in 2008.
Why did you start blogging?
I had written a few blogs before this one – and I’ve been building websites since I fell in love with the internet back in 1996 in high school. So, when I suddenly discovered a love of crafting in 2008, it was only natural that I would start a blog to talk about what I was doing, making, and learning. It was also a way to share other people’s work that I loved, and a way to connect with other makers.
Describe your blog in 20 words or less
The place I share what I’m making, the life I’m living, and other people’s work that I love.
What are your 5 must have tools for blogging?
- WordPress, obviously – wouldn’t blog without it
- The Editorial Calendar plugin – I love being able to visually see and plan out posts using this
- My camera – both a little point-and-shoot Canon and my Nikon DSLR
- My journal – to catch ideas when I’m not near my computer
- Social media – because without it, no-one would be reading!
What is your favourite part of being a blogger?
Sharing with – and teaching/helping – other people. I work from home, which can be a little isolating, even for someone who is predominantly an introvert. Being able to share what I’m working on, what I’m enjoying, and what I’m thinking with others is rewarding.
What would be the biggest thing you have learnt since starting your blog?
What hard work it can be! Once it becomes part of your business, you feel an immense pressure to make sure you’re constantly producing interesting content. That can get wearing when you are busy with other work.
If you could start again, what would you do differently?
Well, like I said above, I’ve started a number of blogs, and my most recent one – Create & Thrive – gave me the opportunity to do everything ‘right’ from the get-go! Having a good, responsive theme, the right plugins for WordPress, a defined niche and topic, and a regular posting schedule sharing relevant, practical content are all things that have helped that blog take off quickly.
What has been your blog’s biggest achievement?
Hmm, the quiet achievement has been that it’s enabled me to grow a full-time craft business. The showiest achievement was probably contributing to me being chosen to go on this Problogger trip last year , and also being chosen to speak at the Problogger conference this year.
What do you find is the best way to help promote your blog?
Twitter, facebook, and these days, definitely Pinterest. Of course, you can’t neglect the basics – like SEO – either!
What advice would you have for new chick bloggers?
Have a plan, pick a niche, and choose something that you can talk about with confidence for YEARS. Don’t expect it to be an overnight success – slow and steady wins the race in this case – but you do need to work to get your blog out there in front of people.
Do you (or do you plan to) make any income from your blog?
My blog is an integral part of my business, for sure. I no longer make money directly from my blog (via advertising, for example) but both of my blogs help me to build my audience and bring in new customers and students.
What future goals do you have for your blog?
For the Epheriell blog – just keep inspiring people, showing them the design process behind the Epheriell brand, and hopefully entertain them a little but, too. My husband and I are going to be building a house in the coming years, so it’ll be fun to share that part of our lives with my readers, too.
What is your all time favourite post that you would love people to read?
Whew, that’s a toughie! There are so many… but this one is one I’d forgotten about, but I think is worth reading for everyone. “Why you shouldn’t put your dreams off until tomorrow” – inspired by the death of an online crafty friend a few years back –
What is your most popular post (in number of comments, or traffic received)?
In traffic – this sweet but kinda naff photo-roundup I put together YEARS ago!
Who are your 5 favourite chick bloggers and why?
Arianna Huffington – because she’s created an amazing resource in HuffPost, and is a fantastic writer, to boot.
Tara Gentile – because I love her deep thinking on business strategy.
Sonia Simone – one of the main writers for copyblogger, her posts always teach me something.
Chantelle – because she is one of the sweetest people on the planet, and writes with a raw honesty that is always moving.
Marthe Hagen – because her posts always inspire me to think about my life – even if for just a moment.
Thank you so much Jess for your time!