Monday, December 20, 2010

Now we are 5! (12 Top Tips for being a Long Term 'Daily' Blogger)

Last Monday my blog celebrated its 5th birthday. 

Making A Mark first started off on its travels on Tuesday 13th December 2005 with a beta blog of just 4 posts.  Having got the hang of this blogging thing and had another think about a title and scope I then published to the world at large in January 2006.

A work in progress - it's a green furry plant without a name!
coloured pencils on Arches HP, 10" x 8"

Since then, this blog has:
  • gained 2700+ subscribers (and a few bots!)
  • had more than 875,000+ visits from unique visitors
  • in the last year alone Making A Mark has had over 0.25 million visits
  • achieved more than 1 million pageloads a long time ago
  • ranked as the #3 art blog in the UK (Thanks to the Creative Tourist)
  • ranked as being in the top 30 art blogs in the world (Thanks to blogrank)
I've created a blog post almost every day during that five years apart from when I was out of the country or taking a planned or unplanned break.  Most of those have been very long and have lots of links to other information!  (Plus I write a few other posts as well on my other three blogs and two group blogs)
  • I've written a total of 1,702 posts in the first five years - which makes an average of 0.93 blog posts per day or 340 posts a year!
  • I get a daily visit from the Google crawlers and my posts now get indexed by Google so fast that they are very often there before I have time to turn round and check!
As a result of my reviews of exhibitions, books and art materials in the last five years I now get
  • invited to press previews and am allowed to photograph paintings in major exhibitions.  When the paintings are by Van Gogh that's a very big deal!
  • receive books and art materials to review
  • receive invitations to private views for numerous exhibitions plus major awards ceremonies and dinners
I've also had to create a completely separate blog Making A Mark Reviews which aims to provide a focus for and consumer's guide to quality and value in art books, art supplies and services to artists
    However it doesn't stop there!
    Archives add substantial value to a site with very little extra effort.
    Jakob Neilsen
    I've also tried to make my archive a bit more organised and accessible within the 130 art-related websites providing resources for artists and art lovers associated with this blog.

    CLICK HERE to link to or create a bookmark to the compendium of all these websites.

    Virtually all of these came about either as a result of the blog projects I chose to undertake or as a result of researching topics for this blog or because of something I read on somebody else's art blog!

    How to be a long term blogger
      Last year I created 12 tips for being a blogger who survives the longer term.

      Here's a reminder for all those who come and read and for all those that I have read over the last five years!  I've revised it slightly to make it easier to highlight the lessons learned
      12 tips for how to become and remain a long-term 'daily' art blogger
      • focus and values - I find it useful to have a framework in my head about WHY I'm blogging and the values which drive HOW I blog
      • write about what you enjoy and value - and that way you'll never ever be bored
      • emphasise learning and sharing (and sharing your learning).  These are two approaches to blogging art which have provided me with an awful lot of material and an awful lot of traffic!
      • do your research - I probably spend as much time, if not more, on reading about my interests as I do writing about them
      • be interactive: find time to read/look at and comment on other art blogs - they are ALWAYS a really great source of stimulation! :)
      • pace yourself - find a frequency of posting which works for you and then take regular breaks as well
      • create a routine - I find that a modicum of routine is very helpful to staying on track
      • stick to one topic per post if possible - it enable titles to be simpler and more focused, makes the blog more accessible and increases the likelihood that your post will be indexed by Google for that topic
      • be flexible - try out new ideas for a series of posts or regular/routine posts
      • keep a file of ideas for posts (ie I sometimes just write a post title and save it as a draft!) for when your imagination goes out to lunch or takes a break
      • planning guidelines are good - have a notion of what you'd like to focus on in coming weeks....
      • ....but also 'go with the flow' and don't be a slave to "the plan".  Some of my best posts and endeavours on this blog arose quite spontaneously.  
      How about you?  What have you learned from long term blogging? 


      1. Congratulations on your blog birthday Katherine!

      2. ***Happy bloggy birthday!***

        Also I would like to say a huge THANK YOU for all the time, effort and sharing of information that have gone into the blog over the 5 years. MAM was one of the first blogs I bookmarked when I discovered that blogs existed and is also the first I recommend for it's wealth of information.

      3. Happy blog anniversary, Katherine. The list here is spot on.

        Your WIP flower is also very nice. Subtle and fine, it will bloom into a wonderful finished work.

      4. Five years!! How time flies. I started my first blog on Jan 23 2006 and it turned into The Red Shoes in June of that year so we are almost the same blogging age!
        Happy Birthday!

      5. Happy blog birthday, Katherine. You are a fine example to us all - keep up the good work!

      6. Happy Blog Anniversary!!! I admire the energy and time you put into the posts:) Thanks!

      7. Happy birthday, dear blog! I am your dedicated reader.

      8. Congratulations, and thank you for your tireless dedication to this informative site.

      9. Happy 5th birthday...i really enjoy your blog! Thank you for sharing soooo much with us :) Happy Holidays too!

      10. Mank thanks for all your good wishes - and for bookmarking and following Making A Mark

      11. congratulazioni!!!!
        Buon anniversario
        This blog is life for painter.
        I'm a new one I just started last jannuary to have a daily appointement with it and it's really pusshing me on and on.
        Grazie, grazie e grazie

      12. Hallo, Here I'm againg.
        Just to say that I've gone into the archive, to look at the very first blog to see what it was like. And it was really simple, like the one that everybody dreams to make.
        I've made a blog with one of my friend to compare the botanical species portraits between my Garda Lake side and the Sardinian ones.
        It's a very simple blog ,but we enjoy and I hope other people too.
        So I'm learning a lot from you and the blog will improve, I'm sure: grazie thanks
        renata and auguri a tutti

      13. Hello Renete - it's good to see yet another blog by a botanical artist

      14. Congratulations on you five year anniversary! I always enjoy your blog posts and am a regular reader. So thank you as well.
        Also, Marking a Mark inspires me in my blogging process as well and I liked the 12 tips offered here. I will use them.


      15. Congratulations on your five year blog birthday. It is quite and accomplishment. You, alone, are the model for blogging success: disciplined, creative, always researching and above all, always an interesting read. Thanks for all you have done Katherine.- another dedicated reader

      16. Congratulations, Katherine! I have been a reader for the the last 3 years and appreciate all of your work and dedication.

      17. Congrats indeed - going long term is quite the experience... started mine middle of June in '04, but never could approach the amount of postings over the course of time - still, to hang in there and keep at it, bringing in freshness and new information is what has made yours a welcome to see... may there be many more years...

      18. Well done on the blog Katherine. Really informative and a good read...I don't know where you find the time. Keep up the good work. All the best, Steve

      19. K, Festive congratulations on your 5th Blog Birthday. As one of your enthused readers from the beginning, I tip my hat in your direction for the time and attention to detail in all of your posts. It has been a pleasure to witness the changes you've streamlined over the years to your layout, headings, inclusions, organization, subjects and resources. You are forever making it easier for us - your avid readers - to find what we need on these lovely pages. Thank you for always trying so hard. Bravo to you.


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