Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Journey into Blogland

This pic was inspired by those on the Raining Sheep blog
It's huge, vast, and I felt like an explorer braving the grand unknown. In the last few days I've spent over 8 hours in blogland reading, surfing, jumping from blog to blog. I've never put so much concentrated energy into checking out other people's blogs. The blogs I usually read are blogs that I've come to organically (for lack of a better description), they're written by friends, or found through a link in a friend's post or recommendation. Rarely have I taken the time to really search out other artist's blogs.

I had an assignment you see, find 14 links to specific blog posts that fit your theme. I chose inspiration because it's an endless fascination to me and I figured I wouldn't mind putting in some time reading about what inspires people most. Then I split it up into smaller subthemes like "finding inspiration at home", or "being brave and acting on your inspirations" or " about blogging your inspirations". But I found it really hard to just type in something like "inspired by art materials blog" into Google and find something like I wanted. So I took another tack and tried picking artists who I thought really really love their art supplies and then reading their blog until I find something that fit. Really NOT the most efficient way to search out an unknown post on a specific topic. Finally, feeling completely loopy I would end up just blog hopping and forgetting completely what it was I had been searching for.

Photo from Raining Sheep
Here are a few things that I figured out from all that time blog hopping:
1) Pictures matter- a lot. One of the things that would keep me on a blog were the pictures. Was the color nice, were they crisp, did they appeal to me aesthetically or emotionally? Did the photographer shoot from unexpected angles? Some of the pics that appealed to me least were people's trip photo's. Many that appealed to me were photo's of someone's living room, or a vignette in a window. Nothing special as it's focus but so so pretty to look at when done right. One blog I really enjoyed because of the photo's was Raining Sheep.
2) I like the post written in a friendly "just stopped to chat" sort of tone. That might just be because that's how I like to write so that's a personal preference. I also like it when a blogger really comes across with a voice that's authentic. They really share who they are and aren't just hyping their art or niche interest. Ranting occasionally is ok- if it's something your passionate about, but if you do it every post it gets annoying and I want to move on.
3) I like good content and I like it when others are sharing something I find interesting or valuable. For instance, I really enjoyed this post by Tanner Christensen at his Creative Something blog. Which really turned out to be a great find. Many of the tools or ideas he expresses in his blog are things I spoke on in my book but from a slightly different perspective.
4) I really like tutorials. I love seeing people's ideas and projects brought to life. I'm a craft book junkie though and a good tutorial is just like a fix for me. It makes me want to see more. So blogs that either had their own tutorials or linked to tutorials by others were super fun.
5) I like a blog that's not overwhelming to look at. Too many colors and textures and fonts and it makes me want to hop along to the next blog. That being said, I do like colors and textures and pretty fonts but feel like there has to be a balance and something that's over the top in this area (or has too much information in it's sidebars, or has too many flashy things going on, or plays music...) just overstimulates me. Making use of the pages option is a very good alternative to putting it all on the front page. Here's a blog that I feel does it just right. I want to spend time here.

So the best part about my time spent blog hopping was that it gave me a clearer vision of what I'd like this blog to be. Some things I think I'm doing fairly well, some things I'd like to improve, and some things are just really really good ideas that I think you'd enjoy too. Like video tutorials and digital art. I'd like to learn more about these as well as just how to take better photos in general so I could create really cool visuals for the blog. I really do love how blogs are organic and are constantly changing and evolving by their very nature. So how about you? Anything you can think of to add that you really feel draws you to a certain blog? Is there something you feel you're doing well on your own blog? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. As always, thank you for your comments!!!

5 comments:

Mousy Brown said...

Full of great ideas and lots to think about! I've never really analized what it is I like about the blogs I read but I do know that most times I know within a few minutes...really given me food for thought (as always!) Thanks Jen :D

with a chance of said...

These are such great tips. These are a lot of the same reasons I stop by a blog. I'm going to have to pass this along. Thank you for sharing!!!

Jen said...

I agree with many of your observations. I love blogs with great photos and I am really enjoying tutorials, too. I love all the sharing. I look forward to checking out the blogs you suggested, too. Thanks!

Tanner said...

Hi Jen, thanks for writing about Creative Something, I'm so glad you like the blog and find inspiration from what I write!

Diving in to blog hopping like this makes for an interesting experiment. It's always surprising to see who you encounter and read about their thoughts or ideas. Thanks for sharing. :)

Concetta said...

What a great exercise - I think your blog is great too! And boy...8 hours...phew!