A Day in the Life of a Craft Blogger

A Day in the Life of a Craft BloggerIt’s always fun to see people’s reactions when I tell them I’m a blogger. Since it’s a somewhat new career, I think the job description is a but unclear to those who don’t blog themselves. And although on the surface it may look like it’s confetti, crafting and cupcakes all the time, there’s a lot of hard work and hours that go into it.

So if you’e ever been curious about what actually happens behind the scenes, you’re in luck. I’m spilling the beans! Working from home has taken a little bit to get used to, but scheduling out my day helps me stay focused. Not every day is the same, and I certainly can’t speak for other bloggers, but here’s what a typical day, Sunday-Friday, might look like for me:

8:00am — Wake up! I read my email, Instagram, and traffic stats from bed as soon as my alarm goes off. This is also around the time I start promoting whatever blog post I publish for that day on social media.  Continue reading…

3 Awesome Photo Editing Apps

3 Awesome Photo Editing AppsLast month I spilled the beans on how to grow your brand on Instagram, so now I think it’s only fair that I share my top three photo editing apps! Unless it’s a photo from one of my projects, I take all of my Instagram photos with my iPhone camera. It’s taken me a while to develop my style (I don’t really care for the preset Instagram filters), but now that I have it, it only takes me about 1-2 minutes max to edit a photo. If you don’t have these already, here are the apps I recommend you download immediately!

3 Awesome Photo Editing AppsVSCO is by far my all time favorite photo editing app. It did take some getting used to at first, but now  using it is easy. There are tons of great presets, and you can buy more packs (starting at about 99 cents). Additionally, and probably why I love it so much, you can adjust the exposure, contrast, saturation and more. It really gives you the most control of all the editing apps I’ve used. Available for Android and iPhone.

3 Awesome Photo Editing AppsI use Afterlight to add special elements to my photos. While they do have preset filters, they also have have fun features like light leaks and polaroid frames. I’ll also use this app to crop my photos if I want a custom size (not square or 4×5). Available for Android and iPhone.

3 Awesome Photo Editing AppsAnd for those moments when my photo doesn’t fit into the standard square frame (see here), I use Whitagram. You can choose from a variety of colors to set as the background, but I find that white is the least distracting and blends into the feed nicely. Available for Android and iPhone.

I hope this were helpful! Most of these do take some time getting used to, but oh the difference you will see in your photos. If you have any additional apps you think I should check out, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

How to Grow your Brand on Instagram

How to Grow your Brand on InstagramAfter receiving one of the kindest shout outs ever in Lisa and Sarah‘s Alt Summit presentation, I thought it’d be fun to share some of my own personal tips with you about how to grow your brand on Instagram!

Since rebranding my blog back in March, I’ve seen a 167% increase in Instagram followers (holy crap, right?!). It’s by far one of my favorite social media platforms because it gives me the freedom to be creative all while allowing me to be personable and connect with others. If you aren’t on it already, or perhaps you’re not that active, I urge you to give it a try! Here are five easy things you can do to grow your brand:

1. Hashtags. I’m not saying you should tag your image with 100 different adjectives, but rather find the hashtag that members of your community use and get involved. If you go to an event, check the specified hashtag and interact with others. Are you a blogger? See what tags other bloggers are using on a regular basis. Don’t just tag your photos with it and be done; take the time to check out what others are posting and engage (comment/like/follow, etc).  Which leads me to my next tip..

2. Be Active. As with all communities, the more you put in, the more you will get back. If you don’t like or engage with others, there’s really no incentive for them to interact with your photos. This also means be active in your posting. I may not hit it all the time, but I at least have a goal to post an image once a day. Since moving to this approach, I’ve noticed an increase in engagement all around.

3. Find the Right Time. Think about your ideal reader/customer and when they are most likely to be on their phones. If you take a really great picture at 2am, that doesn’t mean you have to post it then. Of course this is personal preference (perhaps you like to live in the moment), but I tend to stagger out my images to ensure as many people see them as possible.

4. Use the Explore Section. Now, you might be saying to yourself, whaaat? This feature used to really stink in my opinion, but Instagram has made a few changes recently that I really like. It’s now so much easier to find images you’ll like because the photos are based on likes from other people you already follow. Interacting with new people, especially those you wouldn’t have otherwise known about, is always a great way to grow.

5. Take the Time to Edit & Write a Caption. Of course you’re going to capture that beautiful sunset and hashtag it #nofilter every now and then, but for the most part, your iPhone images will need a little editing. VSCO CAM is hands down my favorite photo editing app as it allows me to adjust basic things like exposure and contrast without it appearing too filtered/edited. I tend to edit my photos the same way each time, which really help build a constancy in how my images appear (great for brand recognition). Captions are a great way to connect with your followers. If you take a picture of paint, don’t just title it “Paint”. Maybe talk about the project you’re working on, or prompt a question about their favorite color or type of paint. Get creative and get people talking!

So that’s it! If you have any more questions, feel free to leave a comment below. It took me almost a year before I took a photo I was really proud of, so if you’re new to it, don’t worry, you will improve! And if you don’t believe me, just head on over to my profile and scroll down a bit :)

10 Tips for New Etsy Sellers

Do I have a treat for you today! Casey from Vitamini Handmade is here to give you insight into running a successful Etsy shop as a new seller. Her work is beyond adorable (and so is her blog!), so if you’re considering selling your goods online, these 10 tips for new sellers are the perfect place to start. So without further ado, take it away Casey!

10 Tips for New Etsy Sellers(Mini Cooper Canvas Tote available for purchase here)

Hi everyone! I’m Casey and I started selling my screen printed gifts and stationery on Etsy in 2008. In the past 6 1/2 years running my shop Vitamini, I’ve shipped my handmade items to countries all over the world and have racked up over 1K sales. I currently run two shops: Vitamini, featuring my mini car themed items, and Vitamodern, featuring my retro-modern designs. Etsy has come a long way since I first started up, but it’s still a wonderful (if not the best) place to sell handmade goods online.

So Long Dachshund Card, vitamodern on Etsy(So Long Dachshund Card available for purchase here)

Starting and setting up shop can be intimidating if you don’t know where to begin. We all know clear, attractive photography can go a long way in helping your listings shine, but besides that there are lots of other things you can do to give your shop a boost, get your items seen, and encourage shoppers to seal the deal and make a purchase! Here are my top 10 tips for successful selling:

1. Use strategic listing titles

Listing titles help your customers find you in the product search, so instead of naming your handmade cutting board “Wood Block No. 5” use descriptive terms in the title instead, like “Walnut Cutting Board 8″ x 10″ Handmade With Reclaimed Lumber”. It may not be very poetic, but it will help you in the product search.

2. Use all of your tags

Each of the 13 tags is a different way for your customer to find you. Use them all!

3. Use all of your photos

Your customer might move on if she can’t see the back of that beautiful quilt you just stitched by hand. Use all of your product photos to show every angle of your product.

Just Married Mini Cooper Card-- Vitamini on Etsy(Just Married Mini Cooper Card available for purchase here)

4. Write clear, informative product descriptions

Use clear and to the point terms when describing your products. Include materials, dimensions, and any custom options.

5. Fill out your policies

Your shoppers should know how long it will take to receive their purchase and what they should do if it arrives damaged. Fill out all of your shop policies so you’re clear on shipping methods, times, your return policy, and lead times on custom products.

6. Don’t list items all at once

There’s a carousel of newly-listed items at the bottom of the Etsy Front Page. Spread out your new listings so they don’t make their appearance all at once.

7. Make treasuries

Treasuries get featured on the Etsy front page, so make treasuries whenever you have a chance. Have fun selecting products to fit a unique theme based on trends, seasons, colors, anything, really. Send everyone you include in the treasury a Conversation letting them know so they can help spread the word and add views, likes, and comments. Maybe yours will be featured!

Retro Succulent Card, Vitamodern on Etsy(Retro Succulent Card available for purchase here)

8. Join teams

Teams are a great way to connect with other like-minded sellers. Find a team that fits your product niche or one that’s local to your area. Team members make great support systems!

9. Be active

Comment on articles, add shops and products to your favorites, add people to your circle, and send thank you conversations to your customers. The more active you are, the more people have a chance to connect with you. Don’t get lost in the shuffle.

10. Tell your story

People love handmade products because they’re made by real people with interesting backgrounds and experiences. Use your shop profile to tell everyone who you are, how you got started, and why you love what you make.

If you’re looking for more tips and tricks, there’s a wealth of information in the Etsy Seller Handbook . Don’t forget to search and ask questions in the Forums if you’re looking for something specific!

Have any tips to add or questions for Casey? We’d love to hear your response in the comments!