Posted in Blogging

The Importance Of Having A Blog For Your Business

When you run an online business – or even an offline business – being able to get your name out there and market yourself effectively is a huge part of everything you do.

If you’re not able to market yourself, then you’re going to find it really difficult to remain in business for any length of time and will soon find yourself burned out, not enjoying what you’re doing and not having any clients or money come in.

Many business owners make the mistake of believing that simply putting up a website and some social media pages is going to be enough to bring clients in, but that’s just the beginning – you have to be actively bringing people to those places so that you can show your expertise.

So, if you’ve never considered having a blog for your business before or you simply don’t know where to get started, then in this post we’re going to consider the importance of having one.

It builds authority:

When you have a blog for your business where you’re regularly posting content, then you’re going to be able to build authority around whichever topic you’re writing about, and being seen as an authority in business is ultimately what will help build trust with your audience and lead them to eventually buy from you, so having a blog for this reason is very important especially if you’re looking to make money from it in any way.

If you’re not sure if your business will be able to create a blog with enough content or what you should be writing about, then take a look online at other blogs such as those like for inspiration.

It drives traffic:

Although generating organic traffic from your blogging efforts will take a bit of time, the great thing about being consistent with the content you post is that you will start being able to rank higher in Google over time so as long as you’re creating original and useful content that’s targeting the right keywords that your audience are searching for, then you’re going to find that you’ll be driving traffic over time as people search for the terms used on your site.

You own the content:

As much as social media is a truly wonderful tool for growing your business and marketing yourself, the fact is that none of us own social media and the content on there technically belongs to the platform we’re posting it on.

This means that, for example if Facebook or Instagram were to go out of business tomorrow, not only would your audience go with them, but your content would as well, so it’s important that you have other places where you’re connecting with your audience, such as through your blog and email list.

You can repurpose the content:

Just because you’ve posted something once doesn’t mean that everyone has seen it, so as you grow your business and more people are coming into your audience it’s tempting to think that you need to be creating only new content, but if you think it’s useful then you can repurpose existing content to other formats such as podcasts, vlogs, and even e-books or courses that you can then sell for passive income.

Hopefully those points have convinced you that blogging is essential for your business – have a look at some of my other blogging-related articles for more helpful information.

The importance of having a blog for your business

Photos by from Pexels, altered by Lee Devonish

Blogging For Artists

Over the past few years I’ve built up an online publishing business by trial and error, and have ended up in the strange situation where I earn more from blogging than I do from my art!

There’s a lot of good, free advice out there, but unfortunately there’s just as much biased, low-quality information floating around as well.

It can be even more difficult to separate the general advice from the information that will be genuinely helpful to artists – specifically those working in a fine art practice.

There’s also the issue of several cognitive biases at play which means that the market becomes saturated with people barking the same things in the same space for the same reason, simultaneously creating the impression that blogging is something that everyone can do and should be doing, and that everyone who does becomes successful.

Neither of those statements is true.

You want to be a professional artist, not a professional blogger.

When taking in any advice, ask yourself how it will enhance your goal of promoting your art.

You may well find that professional art blogging actually is for you, but that should be a conscious decision. Lots of artists get overwhelmed at all of the technical aspects of blogging and digital marketing and decide that it’s too much for them. Just take the basics that will work for you and run with them, and leave the rest behind.

The benefits and pitfalls of blogging for artists


  • Search engine optimisation and link building can help your website get found
  • Blogging can build authority
  • A blog can provide an additional passive income stream


  • Blogging can consume your limited time and focus
  • Most blogging advice is geared towards different industries, and can appear out-of-place on a fine art blog
  • You may end up sounding like everyone else!

Should you start a blog for your art practice?

I do believe that you should.

The discipline of art blogging in itself can do a lot for your art practice, providing structure, motivation and a way to track processes.

Still, if it seems like too much right now, you should have a well-presented static website with the option to add blog posts at a later date.

Find out how to get a cheap or free domain name and website here.

There’s a lot to cover here, so this post will be updated regularly with links to new articles.

Some blogging topics I’ve discussed:

Use the links above to jump to pages on that topic.

Why you probably shouldn’t start a blog

Blogging can be exactly what you need to enable you to work from home or supplement your creative practice. I do wish I’d taken it up years ago. Yet, that doesn’t mean that everyone will be able to commit the time and energy to regular online publishing, and that’s ok.

For those who need an online presence but can’t commit to blogging, a static website is a good step.

How to name your blog without sounding like a fool

It’s not as serious as naming your child, but it still requires some thought. Translating real-world concepts to the online world takes just that bit more consideration than some give it.

How bloggers fake popularity (and you can do it too)

In an industry ruled by the appearance of influence, vanity metrics have taken over as king. The problem is, they don’t tell the full story.

The psychology of blog post titles: how being mean gets you readers

Our brains are wired to respond curiously towards negging, and the best (and meanest) publishers know just how to pull your strings.

Why do so many blogs look the same?

In a risk-averse industry populated by relative amateurs, visual hegemony is inevitable.

Rise of the bots: why your auto dms on Twitter aren’t fooling anyone

Feeling pressured to be everywhere at once? Welcome to blogging. Here’s why handing the front desk over to a bot isn’t always a good idea.

Is blogging worth it for artists?

I believe it certainly is worth it for an artist to start a blog. It can be a brilliant way to promote your business and supplement your income, all whilst wearing your pyjamas, if you so desire.

However, it can be a massive time-suck, and it can easily derail you into becoming a full-time blogger instead of a full-time artist!

As with everything, it’s best to go into it with your eyes wide open. I hope this helps you to do just that!

How To Name Your Blog Without Sounding Like A Fool

Pssst – this title is an example of negative bias in action!

Let’s face it, you’ve got enough to worry about with the whole blogging thing.

I did warn you about how much work it was going to be when I told you why you probably shouldn’t start a blog, but you’re determined, so let’s pick a good name.

What are you selling?

Maybe you’re not selling a product, but you’re still selling something: you’re selling yourself and your site.

Your name says a lot about your industry, even in the arts. For example, if you’re an artist, chances are you’ll want to use your own name. If you’re setting up an art business, on the other hand, you’re probably going to be using a brand name to encapsulate what you do or offer.

Now, this isn’t set in stone, but in general fine art revolves around the persona of the artist as an individual. Brand and identity in this case go hand-in-hand, even when artists use pseudonyms or construct alternate identities.

On the other hand, we often see designers and artists who teach online using branding to create a larger system in which to operate. That’s not to say that it has to be this way; it’s just that it’s what we now expect to see.

As an artist, I was always going to use my name as my domain and site name. For my other sites, I’ve had great success with a variation on a common phrase – see “punning” names below.

Think search

If you’re not coming at this from the point of view of an artist/creative, (or even if you are, it doesn’t matter) you might want to take the totally pragmatic view of sticking your search keywords into your domain name.

People are out there searching for answers to their questions, but they don’t know you yet… so as above, think about what you’re selling, and whether your site name could spell it out for people passing by.

Sure, this isn’t always a good idea for everyone, but think about whether it would work for you. Personally, I’ve found that my SEO success has come from optimising individual blog posts rather than relying on my blog names.

Watch out for trends and puns

For ages it seemed as though I only saw blogs that had names made up of something-and-something. Usually the two things that were placed in juxtaposition to illustrate just how different this person was.

Wow, she likes/does/is those two different things? That’s AMAZING! I want to be her friend! Ok, you get my drift.

Anyway, I don’t mean to be horrible if that’s your blog – I’m just being overly salty. Just don’t jump onto the tail end of a trend – any trend.

On another note, puns can be a pretty good way to capitalise on a well-known phrase and make your blog “sticky” in your readers’ minds, but this doesn’t work very well when you’re the tenth person to have that idea. If there are already several websites that are derivatives of the punny phrase you’re after, you should probably look elsewhere.

Basically, if you see too many blogs with names that look the same, don’t bother using that cookie cutter.

Future-proof it.

Of course, you may be writing a blog all about your family… but if you base your blog’s name on the number of kids you have, their ages or your age, you’d better be pretty sure you don’t ever pop any more kids out, and you’ll inevitably have to wrangle with what happens when you all grow up.

If you end up going super-specific in any sense, just be prepared to pick and stick, or you’ll end up with a fair amount of inner turmoil, which you could always blog about, I guess.

Read the URL!

It might sound great, or describe your company perfectly, but what happens when you mash the words together into your web address?

Hint: if you can’t figure out what I’m on about, just write it down and do a quick word-search game when you see all the words pressed together. If there’s nothing rude or lewd, it’s a start.

Look at these folks who didn’t check first.

Oh, and think about what happens when people try to spell it – are they unlikely to get it right because you’re spelling a common word in a weird way? Not helpful.

Get your dictionary out and check your spelling.

Say it out loud.

If this blogging lark works for you, you’ll be hacking away at this business for a long time to come – you don’t want to be stuck with something awkward that you can’t even pronounce… or worse, say to someone else without getting embarrassed.

But because you already know what you’re getting at, you might not notice if your chosen name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Get a friend to listen to you and give honest feedback on how your chosen name sounds to an uninitiated ear.

The domain game

Really, the general consensus is that you’ll be safest with .com – that’s just the way it is. It’s like wearing blue jeans: the blue’s become virtually invisible.

Everyone will naturally assume your domain will end with .com, but there are good reasons to go with others if it fits.

I’ve seen wildly successful blogs using domain extensions that I’d consider very unusual, and in some cases, an unusual extension is a plus point for a site. There are now all sorts of fun extensions available (yes, even .fun) and this means that you can often pick up the name you want even if the .com is already taken, or incorporate the extension into your site name.

Porkbun is my favourite registrar for unusual domains. They always have a huge range of country names and quirky tlds that other registrars don’t offer, so you can find something memorable there.

As an artist, some of their extensions that I’m drawn to include:

  • .art (of course)
  • .design
  • .graphics
  • .ink
  • .media
  • .photo
  • .photography
  • .press
  • .video

Also, I’ve already written about how you can get a free domain name and site, so check that out here.

Not happy? You can always change it!

Hey, no-one can get it right all the time. Sometimes you just need to do a full rebrand. If this happens, don’t just scrap your site; set up redirects to point your traffic to your new pages.

Can you come up with better ideas for blog naming? Feel free to put me right in the comments!

Computer with question mark on screen | How to name your blog without sounding like a fool.
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How Bloggers Fake Popularity (And How You Can Do It Too)

How bloggers fake popularity

(and how you can do it too – although you might not want to)

Are those influencers as influential as they seem?

Once you’ve been around the online publishing world for a while, you’ll realise that not everything is as it seems.

Brands want to work with popular bloggers, and bloggers want to work to pay their bills, so there’s bound to be a bit of fiddling behind the scenes.

If you’re just starting out, or have been plugging away at your blog for a while with little success, you might be wondering what everyone else is doing that you’re not. Well, here goes: you might already be doing some of these yourself, in which case, I’d love to hear your take on it.

Boosting popularity.

There are a couple of ways that bloggers give themselves the appearance of being popular:

  1. Buying followers
  2. Followbaiting
  3. Facebook reciprocation groups
  4. Instagram pods

1 – Buying followers.

Buying followers is the bottom of the barrel approach to boosting stats.

In my opinion, it’s dishonest. Why does anyone do it? Well, if you want to make a living from your blog, you’ll find that brands will have a set of requirements for the bloggers that they want to work with. They’ll have a minimum number of social media followers as well as a minimum DA (domain authority) requirement, but they don’t have a metric for measuring genuine quality of engagement.

That’s why many bloggers are tempted to buy fake followers on Instagram and Twitter, and fake likes on Facebook, in order to look more attractive to brands.

Is buying followers actually cheating?

Of course buying followers is cheating!

Interestingly though, when you do this you often end up cheating yourself – your fake followers won’t actually engage with your material, and this can actually damage your reach on some social media platforms.

Imagine if you keep putting posts out to 100 followers, but only get 1 person responding. Sucks, right? Now imagine that you keep putting posts out to 10,000 followers but still, only one person responds. Do you feel better, or worse?

If Facebook decides that 0.01% of people think your content is good, they probably won’t be pushing it out to more eyes. Backfired.

2 – Buying engagement.

Well, buying engagement is just about the same as buying followers, but it might not be as easy to spot.

On Fiverr, you can buy Instagram commentsblog commentsretweets… I won’t bother carrying on, as you’ve got the picture.

I’ve never done this myself, as I can’t imagine that the return on investment would be good for me. Actually, more importantly, I wouldn’t want to wade through the fake engagement to get to the real stuff from my real followers, which I want to respond to. You know, to actually engage with.

3 – Followbaiting, or follow-unfollow

If you’ve been on Twitter or Instagram for any time at all, you’ve seen it: someone with 25,000 followers chooses to follow little old you, with your 50 followers made up mostly of your mates and your mum, who you forced to join Instagram for the follow and has no idea how to actually use it.

Wow, you think, they like my stuff! You follow them back, happy to make the connection.

Then in a day, they’ve unfollowed you – but you probably don’t know this, because there’s no notification for when someone unfollows. They then repeat, stealthily picking up reciprocating followers and dropping them.

Now, this shiftiness is going on all the time, but don’t go around accusing people of doing this just because they have a few more followers than they are following. Be cool. There’s a middle ground to find.

You can’t possibly be expected to follow everyone on every social media platform forever, but you can decide not to be a jerk. Don’t follow-unfollow. Use an app – there are lots of options out there – to keep an eye on the folks who do this, and just drop them like a hot rock when they do it to you.

4 – Facebook reciprocation groups

There must be thousands of Facebook blogger support groups, all providing some way or other to boost your blog stats.

The most regimented (and useful) ones are strictly for providing reciprocal services for your blog. For example, you’ll have threads dedicated to:

  • Retweeting
  • Instagram likes
  • Instagram comments
  • Facebook page likes
  • Stumbleupon
  • Pinterest
  • Blog visits
  • Blog comments
  • Blog link clicking
  • Google +
  • YouTube likes

Plus, every variation you can think of.

Wondering how come that other blogger has had so many shares for that boring post? Now you know. How did they get so many comments for it? Read them and see if they appear half-hearted or forced, or if they’re coming from the same group of bloggers each time. Now you know.

You could spend a lifetime working away at reciprocal threads, but are they worth it? Yes and no – you may not find a loyal group of fans in the people who are taking part in these threads, but you will probably boost your stats. You’ll still need to find real readers who aren’t in it for what they can get out of it as well.

I won’t condemn these groups as I was a member of several when first starting out (although I don’t participate any more), but it pays to point out that this blogging thing is a business, and you can’t judge a book by its cover.

5 – Instagram Pods

Instagram pods exist to provide guaranteed likes and comments for pod members.

If you join a pod, you’re expected to like and comment within a certain time frame of a member’s post going live, in order to provide the most benefit and boost their post.

This works in the same way as some of the Facebook group threads, but notifications are sent through messages in the Instagram app. There’s some discussion over whether Instagram is about to pull the plug on pods, and start penalising influencers who use this tactic.

I dabbled in pods before but they really weren’t for me. I found the Facebook reciprocation groups hard as you’re expected to share posts you really might not like; it’s even harder for Instagram pictures that you’re expected to like and comment on, but that you secretly hate.

Still, join the Instagram Mafia if you like… you can always leave!

Sounds like hard work, right?

That’s because it is. There are plenty of good reasons not to start a blog and get yourself into all this madness. Still, you’re here because you’re already in it, right?

If you’re just about to start and are still weighing up your options, check out this post on how to name your blog without sounding like a fool.

​Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my observations. Am I too harsh? Give me an earful!

Rise Of The Bots: Why Your Auto DMs On Twitter Aren’t Fooling Anyone

Rise of the bots: why your auto dms on Twitter aren’t fooling anyone

If you’ve spent any time on Twitter, you’ll probably have come across the automated Direct Message, or auto DM.

They’re supposed to be a tool to drive engagement and make new followers feel welcomed. Well, I’ll cut this post significantly shorter than it could be by getting to the point: they’re annoying and no-one likes them.

Some of the most annoying are the ones that essentially go: “hey, thanks for following me on Twitter! Now go follow me here, there and everywhere else, and now go read my blog or buy this thing”. Cheeky or what?

But you’ve been told you should be doing it? Wha? Who should you believe?

A confession: I’ve done auto DMs myself

Yep, I myself have set up auto DMs on Twitter in the past. Why? I read some advice somewhere online that made me think it was a good idea.

Where did I get that advice from? Probably a company that provides auto DM services. Makes sense, right?

Why did I stop? I got very, very little engagement back from those messages, and I would guess it’s because I just came across like every other bod who uses bots.

I’ve even read that they’re not all bad, as they provide an opportunity to start a conversation with someone who might not yet be following you back. But wait – that person’s sent an automated message because they don’t want to start a conversation themselves. They’re probably too busy, or most likely, they don’t check their DMs because they’re also swamped with auto DMs as well.

Adding a “mistake” to look more human? Don’t bother.

week* not qeek, oops - one of the worst auto DMs on Twitter.
Not so convincing after you’ve seen three or four people make the same “mistake”.

There must be some diabolical mind behind that automated message service that, right at the end, purposefully misspells “week” as “qeek”. Then, instantly, it sends a follow up message that says “week*, not qeek, oops“.

This might get you, but not after you’ve followed the second person who makes the identical “mistake” at the end of their message. After the third person makes that identical mistake… well, it’s suddenly more sad than funny.

What to do instead of auto DMs

Lots of people will tell you to simply be a human and engage with people on Twitter to build your following.

Well, they’re right. However…

The fact is that most of us are busy, and becoming increasingly more busy hammering away at every social media strategy we can to give our blogs and businesses a fighting chance in this competitive online space. We’re stressed. We can’t do it all. So we look for easy options.

What do I suggest?

How about taking a bit of time to check your feed and retweet something that catches your eye? Or comment? Or even just like someone else’s tweet?

Oh, and don’t bother starting a DM by apologising for sending it even though you know they’re annoying. If you already know it… just… stop.

Automating social media without being totally fake

The fact is, you can’t be online all of the time, and I’ve even taken an extended break from promoting my work on Twitter because I just wanted the headspace back.

I recommend RecurPost for automating some aspects of social media (including Twitter, as we’ve been discussing). It’s easy to use and has a free starter plan, and leaves no icky feeling whatsoever!

Further reading:

Why Do So Many Blogs Look The Same?

How Bloggers Fake Popularity (And How You Can Do It Too)

How To Name Your Blog Without Sounding Like A Fool

Why You Probably Shouldn’t Start A Blog

The Psychology Of Blog Post Titles: How Being Mean Gets You Readers