Blogging for Makers Podcast Ep. 4 — Using Pinterest and Loving It!

Blogging for Makers Podcast Ep. 4 - Pinterest

Pinterest is one of those rare and wonderful things that is both extremely useful for your business and wonderfully enjoyable at the same time!

In this 35 minute podcast, Tim & Kim talk about the tips and tricks Kim has learned in her Pinterest-ing experience which has built her following up to about 100K on Pinterest.

Social Media and blogging go hand-in-hand and are really two sides of the same coin.

This podcast is also available on iTunes.

Blogging for Makers Podcast Ep 3 — Time Spent Blogging is Time Well Spent

blogging for makers podcast ep 3 time spent blogging is time well spent

Building a blog can be an incredible journey but it can also be a ton of work!  In this podcast we share our experience with the hard work of blogging and offer a first-hand report that it is worth it.  Find a comfy spot for thirty minutes and listen in… what  you hear might just change the course of your blogging future!

Blogging for Makers Podcast Ep. 2 — Ten Secrets of a Successful Blog

Blogging for Makers Episode 2 Image1

In the members area here at Handmade Tickle , the talk for the last few weeks has been all about blogging. The reason is simple… blogging is the best long term marketing tool an online business owner can possibly have.

But a great blog doesn’t just happen overnight.  It’s a long term commitment and can be hard work. With post #1000 going live on Everything Etsy this past week I can tell you it’s possibly the most wonderfully fun and engaging hard work you’ll ever do.

This podcast will teach you some of the secrets to make that fun hard work pay off for your business.

Grab a cup of coffee and hang out with Tim and Kim for the next thirty minutes as we talk about 10 Secrets of Successful Blogging in the second Blogging for Makers Podcast!

Subscribe to the free Blogging for Makers Podcast via Feedburner here.  You can also download this podcast to listen to later. (right-click and “save as”)

A Peek Behind The Curtain

Here’s a little image gallery of what comes with membership in Handmade Tickle:

Blogging for Makers Podcast Episode 1 — 10 Types of Great Blog Content

Blogging for Makers Episode One Image1

Grab a cup of coffee and hang out with Tim and Kim for the next thirty minutes as we talk about 10 Types of Great Blog Content. These 10 ideas combined are all the “formula” you need to build an outstanding blog!

Subscribe to the free Blogging for Makers Podcast via Feedburner here. iTunes pending

Our First Tech-Talk Podcast!

This is kind of exciting! We had our fourth live event today but it was the first one we’ve recorded in order to produce a podcast. That’s exciting enough, but what really excited us more is to see that Handmade Tickle is actually doing what we envisioned and dreamed about, which is to help makers be bloggers too.

Give it a listen if you have some time. Tim, Kim, and three wonderful Handmade Tickle members talk about all sorts of blogging related techy stuff, such as:

  • Putting audio files on your blog
  • What web browser people prefer and why
  • How easy it is to change and customize WordPress themes
  • How to make an email link
  • The difference between pages and posts on your blog
  • and just general chit-chat of course – Handmade Tickle is a community of friends after all.

 

 

What if Your View Was Longer?

Clearwater Beach, Florida has some of the whitest and softest sand in the whole world.  I’m not just repeating something I’ve read either.  I know it to be true.  We live near Clearwater and have visited the beach hundreds of times.  The sand is always amazing.  We’ve also visited beaches on every shore of the United States and in dozens of countries around the world and few (if any) have matched Clearwater for whiteness and softness of the sand.

Clearwater Beach

Sand is one thing that differs between beaches. Every beach has unique sand. But some things are the same everywhere. Distance to the horizon, for example, is the same (from sea level) on all beaches in the world.

When I was a kid, my dad told me the horizon was about six miles out.  Either he was guessing (which dads do on occasion, I hear) or he was just feeling very tall that day because you have to be about fifty feet up in elevation to get a six mile horizon.  From sea level, it’s generally about 3 miles out.  After that, the curvature of the earth is such that things beyond are hidden from view.

Our vision into the future has many of the same limitations.  We do our best to predict what will happen down the road a piece and we often make our plans accordingly.

My question is this:  What if your view was longer?  What if you could see five years or ten years into the future?  What if you could see, and I mean see for sure, like a movie, what would happen if you consistently and persistently built upon the dream you have?

I think people would do much more than we do.  I think we would realize that the long term benefits are huge and that the only way to reach them is to keep going.  I think we would be cured completely of the “this isn’t working” foolishness we so often fall victim to.

Think of it in terms of something I know you can understand.  Diet and/or exercise.  I want to lose a few pounds.  So I diet for a day or two and then I blow it.  At that point I hop on the scale, see no discernible improvement and say to myself “this isn’t working”.  Judging by the tightness of my jeans, I’m thinking I say that more often than I want to admit.

The truth is that it was working.  No doubt it was working.  I just didn’t keep with the program for long enough.  You get the idea, right?  We’ve all been there.

So take that same thought process and apply it to the business or dream you want to build and the steps you’re taking to build it. Since I’m writing this on HandmadeTickle.com, which is all about Blogging for Makers ™ lets say the dream is to build a huge ginormous blog that attracts thousands or tens of thousands of visitors every single day.  That’s a great dream!

When you first start out, your view is limited.  I remember!  When we started blogging I couldn’t even imagine the kind of traffic we get on EverythingEtsy.com now.  But now I think it’s not enough.  I have to see farther out.

For you, the limit of your vision might be getting 500 subscribers, 1000 daily visitors, or one sale a day that originates from your blog.

What if your view was longer?  Wouldn’t you just keep going?

~ Tim

Building a Blog is More Like Raising Kids Than Like Building a House

Here’s three things I’ve done more than once.

  1. Raise a Kid
  2. Build a Blog
  3. Build a House

I’m supremely thankful that God has helped me to do a decent job at all three.  Especially number one, which is the most important job I’ll ever do and, even though I say it’s something I’ve “done” more than once, the truth is that it will never be done.  Raising kids is a lifelong endeavor.

In talking to a blogging client this morning, I found myself repeating something I’d said to this same client over and over again: focus on the next step.  I could tell I was frustrating this ambitious and sometimes impatient successful businessperson.  He wanted to just “knock this out” and felt that my desire to focus on one step at a time was a way to postpone as much of the necessary work as possible so I could work on my other projects.

(and here I sit twenty minutes later working on Handmade Tickle…)

But as I got off the phone the apt comparison hit me:

Building a blog is more like raising kids than like building a house.

Both are huge projects, but one is finite and finishable while the other is not.  One is tangible in every way while the other has mountains of intangible aspects and involves things like feelings, dreams, and passion.  One can be rushed (haven’t you ever heard of “fast track” construction?)

The other can’t.

When you raise kids you don’t really have a “daily” step-by-step plan for doing so.  Sure you develop routines and habits that are part of parenting.  We get up at such and such time, we focus on education for such and such hours, we do chores on this day or that day, etc.

You also have over-arching goals such as “I want to raise an honest person.” or “I want to instill work ethic.” or “I want my kids to love art.”  It’s different for everyone but every active parent has these general parameters for what they’re trying to “help” happen.  The truth is that the kid becomes something more than what you expected.  They end up blossoming in ways you never imagined.  It’s really kind of amazing if you ask me.

One thing a (sane) parent never does is sit down with a pen and paper and say “alright, today I’m going to raise this kid… let’s get ‘er done.”  That would be kind of silly.  The job is never done and there a million possible paths to take.

Building a house on the other hand has a pretty definite path.  Plans first, then prepare the site, then build the foundation, then the structure, then close it off to the weather… you get the idea.  If you have enough people, the whole thing can be done in a few days.  We’ve all seen Extreme Makeover.

Building a blog is like raising a kid.  You can’t plan the whole thing out and you can’t expect not to make any mistakes.  You just do what you think is the next best step.  One day at a time.  You keep a general concept of what you want your blog to accomplish, to become, to actually grow-up to do for you and for others.

But you can’t force it.

Treat your blog with love and give it your best shot every day, day after day.  You’ll look in a few years and be amazed!  The good news is that it doesn’t have to take eighteen years and that there’s a darn good chance your blog will actually be feeding you in ten years rather than you still feeding it!

The Educational Opportunity of WordPress

Kim and I like to watch TED talks at least a few times a month. There is always something to learn. Always some new perspective to spark our imagination. Always a new idea or a window through which you can peer into the future.

One talk we watched recently was by economist Andrew McAfee who shared his vision (and concerns) about what future jobs might look like. Not unlike prophetic headlines plastered on the covers of magazines and newspapers for my entire life, McAfee’s overall prediction was that computers are undoubtedly taking over the world of work.

However, unlike the story in Popular Mechanics I read in junior-high school promising a flying car in every garage, this prediction was accompanied by two important kinds of data. First, there was the data on the screen which was given as part of the talk. That data painted a picture of a very hard-pressed middle class with shrinking opportunity.

The second data was already in my head and served to corroborate what I was seeing and hearing in the talk. Over recent years I’ve noticed what appears to me to be a clear slide in the prosperity of neighborhoods I’ve known my whole life. Areas that used to be solid, clean, well kept, and safe were, well, not so much. It’s a clear confirmation, not far outside my front door, that there really is a shift happening in the middle class and I’m sure that technology is part of the “why”.

What This Has to Do With WordPress

WordPress, which is the software platform that runs this website and is pretty much what Handmade Tickle is all about, is taking over huge swaths of internet real estate. It runs over twenty-five million sites and is growing faster than any other platform. This is great news because WordPress is open source and free.

It’s also great news because WordPress is one of the most resourced technologies in history. There are thousands of websites that teach it, thousands of videos, and thousands of code samples to use for just about any purpose. It’s easy to learn WordPress, if you want to.

As I consider this idea that computers and tech are taking more and more jobs away from future workers, and I match that up with the clear increase in opportunity for people who know WordPress inside and out, I think to myself: everyone needs to learn WordPress!

Obviously if everyone did, then the skill would be less valuable. But everyone won’t. They won’t all listen to me, sadly. But you can. You can learn it and it won’t take you that long and the best part is that the learning process itself can be fun. It can also be profitable!

You can have fun just starting a blog to share the things you enjoy, the things you make, or the ideas you have.

You can make a profit if you start a blog that becomes an integral and important part of a business you’ve created.

Sell on Etsy and make a blog to be a resource for your customers. Sell organic produce at a local farmers market and make a blog to share the best recipes you can find. Scour the internet for great information about _____ subject and become known as a “curator” and a thought leader in an area of knowledge.

Through the process you’ll build at least two things. First, you’ll build a blog (an interesting and amazing website full of information, entertainment, and utility) that will serve any number of functions. Second, you’ll build yourself, your knowledge, your skills, and your future opportunity in a world that relies heavily on the web and, in large part, on WordPress.

Learn With Me (and from me) on Handmade Tickle

Handmade Tickle is a members only community that teaches Blogging for Makers ™ and membership includes not only free hosting and set-up for your WordPress site, but it also includes direct access to Kim and I in the community forums, live chat, and regular webinars.

Learn more about membership, or go straight to the sign-up page to join today.

Proudly Powered by WordPress

Handmade Tickle is all about WordPress.

Let me explain a little bit further.

Our experience with WordPress goes back to 2008 when we started our first blog.  We were building a blog for the exact same reasons we suggest to Handmade Tickle members today… to build a community that we could enjoy, become a part of, and might eventually help support our business.

Little did we know how fateful that first Google search leading to WordPress actually was.

We didn’t know a thing.  Kim read a few blogs already, but I personally didn’t even know what a blog even was.  She said she wanted one, so I set out to accomplish the request like a good husband.

I was also an experienced business owner, having been in the construction business for many years.  It was pretty obvious to me from the very beginning that having an important part of your business situated on what was essentially “free rent property” didn’t make sense to me.  I could see the obvious investment in content creation and community building that might happen and I just didn’t think a “free” platform would be the most secure business move.

I’ve since seen over and over again how many ways that “gut feeling” was true.

I’ve seen free blogging platforms go under, change ownership, slap unwanted ads on sites, change rules, and even shut sites down unexpectedly.  I’ve also seen countless restrictions and limited options for customization as compared to the unlimited and unrestricted options on a self-hosted WordPress blog.

Even though I didn’t know it at the time, the decision that “we should own our own domain and have our own hosting account” was the right call.  It’s never too late to move a website, and I’ve helped many a blogger move to a self-hosted WordPress site, but it saved me a ton of work starting off on the right foot from the first step.

The Clear Leader in Self-Hosted Blogs Was WordPress.org

I quickly found WordPress.org where I was able to learn what WordPress is. I was also pleasently surprised to learn that it was Open Source and Free.  The site pointed toward the first steps to getting started and the die was cast.  The future unalterably changed.

Starting off was incredibly difficult!  People say it’s easy but it was anything but for me.  I didn’t know the first bit of code.  No HTML and I had never even heard of CSS.  It took days and days of effort just to get a simple site going with a good looking theme.  It’s easier than that now, but not much if you don’t know anything.  That’s why we started Handmade Tickle.  Members get a major head start and lots of those first steps can even be done for you if your site is hosted (for free) with us.

I can’t really express enough thanks to the WordPress community for what they created and the work they continue to do.  Most of WordPress is developed and maintained by volunteers from around the globe.

The WordPress Community has Built Something Wonderfully Useful

Since that fateful first day, I’ve installed WordPress hundreds of times and built dozens of major projects on WordPress, including Handmade Tickle, EverythingEtsy.com, Etsypreneur.com, CrazyTreeMedia.com, and so many sites for others.

As I’ve gotten more deeply involved in the world of websites, from eCommerce, to blogs, to informational sites, to interactive communities, I’ve become aware and familiar with other options.  Each time, I see that the huge assortment of plugins and themes available for the powerful WordPress core code makes WordPress the best choice for almost every project.

(there are exceptions, such as our premium membership forum area, and our Etsy shop!)

WordPress is the fastest growing platform on the web and is absolutely ideal for small businesses and individuals who want to get started blogging and build a community online.

That’s why we use it.  That’s why we say you should use it.  That’s why we support WordPress.