WordPress Blogging Basics for Artists and Creative Business Owners
— Of course your creative business website will have images but what about writing about your studio, experiences and community engagement in your WordPress blog (or any other website/blogging platform)? Will that help to engage your audience and increase connections to your clients? Sure as heck YEAH, it will! Not only will it bring another layer to your site but blogging well will increase your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which means that (when done correctly) your website will slowly work it’s way up the Google ladder so when potential clients search for things like, “pottery in Lancaster” and you’re a blogging Potter in Lancaster, PA, you’ll have a better chance of showing up in their search.
Blog writing increases the number of pages on your website.
That’s the REAL secret to SEO. The more content you have, the more the search engines will have to find you and share your website to people searching. Blogging also has an indirect impact on your audience and SEO because it inspires longer visits to your website. By bringing your audience quality content that they’ll want to read, they will stay on your website more than a minute or two – which tells search engines that your site is a good place to send people looking for that type of information. Get it? It’s all about engaging and keeping people interested and ON your website!
Alright, now that you know how VALUABLE writing articles is, how do you do it easily? Here, I’ll show you…WordPress Lessons from Beginner to Savvy Blogger – Getting the Most SEO, Social Media and Functionality from your WordPress blog. This “how to” is based on WordPress because a.) it’s the most standard web platform and b.) it’s what I use for Detroit Art & Business Institute and Embrace Creatives.
When you login to your WordPress site you’ll see navigation links down the left side that lead to each section. The first link is “Posts“, this the area where you will be blogging. Each new post must have a relevent title, actual content for the post, and keywords added (relevant to the content in your post). You will have the ability to add video, images, and other media in this area. Always remember to continue to Save Draft until it’s ready to publish, and continue to “preview” in order to see it in full, before you hit “publish.”
Inside POSTS is “CATEGORY“. This is where you set up the different topics you’ll be writing on. Mine are “General Business”, “Marketing”, “Financial”, “Sales”, “Customer Care” and so on… Create 2 or 3 categories and add as you go. When you create your posts, the categories end up on the right hand side of the page for you to easily toggle on and off. If necessary you can create a new category directly inside the post by clicking on the + Add New Category link.
Below posts is “Media“. This is where all your images, audio, and videos are stored. Every time you upload a file it is stored here, so when you’re writing a post, you don’t need to upload that same image time and again, just select it from your media files. Be sure when you upload to give the image an alternate name that helps describe it and a caption if needed.
“Links” are unimportant to blogging so don’t worry about that area right now.
“Pages” are your Wordpress website pages and unless you’re linking a blog post to one of your web pages, again you don’t have to worry about this area when blogging.
“Comments” are where the comments on your posts show up. It’s always important to make sure that in the Settings area in the sidebar, under Discussion, the area labeled “Before a comment appears” is set to, “an admin must always approve a comment”. (This is usually the default, but you should check anyway.) Oh, your SPAM comments will land here too and it’s important that you periodically delete your SPAM comments.
If you want to bring in a guest blogger, you’d enter them into the “Users” area or your WordPress website. This areas is where you control who manages your site/blog and who can create articles. You are your sites’ admin, but you can always add someone to help and make sure you give them the appropriate admin privileges.
“Settings” is the first area you want to tackle before you even publish your first post! In “General” you want to name your website and blog, add a tagline which helps explain it, and select your time zone. Then select “Reading” to decide how many posts should load when someone comes to your blog page. I suggest 3-4 posts before they have to click to the next page.
Next inside “Settings” is something very important, “Permalinks“. A permalink is the link to an individual blog post. If you don’t USE permalinks, your reader will never be able to bookmark or return to a particular blog post that they like. They always come back to the main blog page and have to work hard to find the particular article you wrote. For most WordPress themes, you must change the default permalink setting from a “numbered page” to another type. Detroit Art & Business Institute is set to, “Post Name”, which is the easiest. “Month and Name” are commonly used for blogs that do not post articles frequently. Once you make your selection, the title you name your pages and posts will become part of the address and the search engines can find them easier. If left on the default (plain) you will not be found.
Permalink Example: http://thedabi.com/blog/ask-creative-business-advisor-much-commission-galleries-deserve/ Here, the permalink is everything after “blog/”. Without the permalink, my blog article links would all be, “http://thedabi.com/blog/”.
Now it’s time to WRITE! You know your audience, your clients… so write what they’d like to read. Obviously it should be a topic you’re comfortable with and understand well. Don’t pick your title until you’ve written your article. The title will come, however your title is very important and shouldn’t be vague. Your title will be seen by Google and they will use it to bring clients to you so the more targeted words you use, the better. In addition, the article you write should have the title words inside the body. Meaning, if I’m writing an article about how to mix paint without making a mess, I CANNOT use the title, “Art Marketing for Beginners” because my article won’t be about marketing at all. Google frowns upon authors using different words inside their article than they use to tag it. I suggest you draft your article outside of WordPress but if you write inside, you’ll notice that WordPress added a wonderful feature that removes the sidebars so when you type, you get less distractions. Wherever you end up drafting your article make sure to save often. There are a few types of articles available to bloggers;
1. How To’s and Tutorials
5. Person or Studio Stories
Make sure to mix them up so your audience doesn’t get bored. If you have a large amount to say on one topic, split it up into a series of blog articles.
Here’s a helpful Toolbar guide as well. When you’re inside your WordPress Post you’ll see the toolbar at the top. Add Media is where you would upload images, videos and such to bring into your post. Underneath is the main toolbar with BOLD, ITALIC and so forth. You can add bullet points (they don’t work with my theme) and quotes. Next is a horizontal line which adds a line to your post. To the right are your justifications, Right, Center and Left. They determine where you text is placed. Default is “left justified”. To the right are LINK and UNLINK. If you’re linking text to a page in your website do NOT choose “open in new window”. To the right of links is a strange 3 line icon. This is used at the top of your article as an INSERT MORE tag. When used, it STOPS your article (invisibly) and inserts a “read more” box so when someone clicks on your main blog page, “http://thedabi.com/blog/” they won’t read the entire article, but instead, get a summary and have to click “read more” to get the full article. To the right of the line break is the Toggle Bar that toggles the actual toolbar from simple to full. Next door you’ll see a “person icon” which is used to add the Avatar (image) of the person who wrote the article. I just added mine (see it below?):
On the next line is a crop down menu that allows you to pick the size of your letters. Default is “Paragraph” and that should be used for the body. You can play around with the other options. To the right is Underline, then Justify which pulls the text all the way across the page. Next door are your colors. Next to that is Paste As Text which allows you to past a Word doc in your blog. I don’t use that at all. To the right is Clear Formatting, in case you want to bring something back to “basics”. If you want Special Characters, you’ll choose the upside down horseshoe. The next two are Indents. Undo and Redo are important then there’s the ? which gives you any keyboard shortcuts.
Lastly, to the very right you’ll see “VISUAL” and “TEXT“. Unless you know HTML code, always stay in VISUAL-mode.
Well, that’s it! To be honest, it’s best to get inside and play around. NOTHING YOU DO IS PERMANENT! Even if you publish, you can always change the article back to DRAFT and edit. Worse comes to worse and you TOTALLY screw up, if you’ve written your blog post in an outside file, just delete the WordPress post and start again.
Ready to make more money with your art? I invite you to join the hundreds of Artists who’ve moved their business forward with Mind Your Art Business education. I developed this very affordable accelerator for SERIOUS artists who want to end their frustration and increase sales. My deep-dive but easy-to-understand course covers every aspect of your art business and is available, 24/7 for ONLY $30/module!
Artist, Creative Business Advisor, Startup Founder
Detroit Art & Business Institute, LLC
Embrace Creatives, LLC
What will your write about in YOUR website? Who do you want to target?