When you start out selling online, all the ‘experts’ on online success say, “You’ve got to have a blog!” So when I started, I also created a blog, though I didn’t know why.
There have been times in various online venues when I’ve asked the question, “Why do I need a blog?” I’ve yet to receive a definitive answer. Yet, the consensus still seems to be that if you’re going to be an online success, you need one. So I set out to see if I could answer the question myself so that I could share the results with others who have the same question.
You’re walking down Main Street in Anytown. You walk past a storefront with an interesting display in the window, which you stop and admire. You decide you need a closer look, so you go into the shop. The person inside greets you with a smile, welcoming you in. You ask about the item that caught your eye, and a lovely conversation follows. The chat evolves into a personal exchange and suddenly you feel connected to the shop keeper. Money changes hands and you leave the storefront with an item and the feeling that you’ve made a new friend.
None of this happens in your online shop. This is precisely where your blog comes in. Your blog needs to replace the conversation that connects you with potential customers. Your blog doesn’t need to be focused solely on your art. In fact, it will be barely read if it is. Your blog needs to make you, the artist, a person; someone with whom the reader can connect. Certainly, successes, improvements, and new items can be written about on your blog, just to keep the followers reminded that you are selling these things. But more often, your blog needs to acquaint the reader with the person you are.
My blog doesn’t rank on Alexa and isn’t famous, but it does get read by those following it, and my followers continually increase, albeit slowly. I think it’s so fascinating that the most-read piece on my blog had nothing to do with art or online selling at all… It was a political piece I wrote just after that last presidential election. That was by far the most telling thing I have ever written on my blog – it let the reader know exactly who I am and where I stand.
So if you have a blog, use it! Discuss bits of your life as it relates to those who may be reading it. Open a discussion on a current event. Share a recipe. Just be a person so that when a reader becomes a shopper, they will want to deal with someone they know first.