Mistakes Art Bloggers Make: Here Are The Three Biggies I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Earlier
By Thea Fiore-Bloom, Ph.D.
How do I know the three biggest mistakes art bloggers make?
Ummm….because I’ve made every one of them.
I don’t want you getting tripped up by the same three snares.
If you hop over these traps as opposed to diving into them as I did, you’ll skyrocket your chances of having a successful art blog.
To get your art blog to bloom in the beginning stages, you don’t need to be a great writer or a great artist. You just need to know someone is listening.
Because if you press publish on your first few posts- and all you hear are crickets- you’ll stop writing.
However, if you get even the tiniest bit of affirmation (which I’ll show you how to do in a minute) you’ll keep posting.
And fairly regular posting for at least two years is the Willy Wonka golden ticket to blogging success.
Because it’s right around the two-year mark that many art blogs gel and begin to bolster and boost your art sales or writing services.
So do you want to hear three ways not to be like me and mess this future heaven up?
Let’s do it, ladies.
The 3 Biggest Mistakes Art Bloggers Make
Giant Mistakes Art Bloggers Make #1
Pick Your Post Title Out of Thin Air
Want to ensure you don’t get many readers for your art blog?
Just whip off a title and don’t edit it.
Pick a cute or clever headline that means something to you but will be inscrutable to your reader. That’s what I used to do.
If you want to attract new readers, friends, and buyers to your blog just take the time to compose and tweak your titles.
Before you title a post ask yourself two questions.
First, who is this post written for?
Second, what will this post do for that specific group of people?
Put those answers into your title and you will have something readers will be excited to click on.
No manipulative, sales tactics necessary.
The Before Title
For example, if you want to write about how to do gold leaf don’t do what I used to do.
Don’t title the post something poetic and obscure like “Squares of Light; My Journey.”
(Some of my early magazine editors must have wanted to staple their thumb to the wall when I handed in titles like that for magazine articles.)
“Squares of Light: My Journey” doesn’t tell you what the post is about, or who it’s for, so why click on it, right?
Poetry is important. It’s an art form.
But when post titles emphasize poetry over clarity, we are unintentionally sending our post to the Google graveyard.
The After Title
Instead, why not title your gold leaf post something like: “Six Secrets of Gold Leaf for Beginning Acrylic Painters”? This title clearly tells you if this post is for you and what you’ll get from reading it.
You spend hours writing your lovely posts. Spend at least thirty minutes improving your title, okay?
For a helping hand, get Jon Morrow’s free 52 Headline Hacks PDF. (The PDF is an opt-in, meaning you sign up to his mailing list to get it, well worth it.)
Extra Credit: Give this free blog title generator a whirl and test your title with this headline analyzer.
Okay, now it’s time to unveil the big kahuna mistake.
# 2 Biggest Mistakes Art Bloggers Make
Write as if You Are On Trial in a Star Chamber
Do you ever feel scared when you write?
Do you see a film in your head of you trying to communicate to a faceless crowd of critics who are laughing at you?
This is a universal feeling among writers.
We all occasionally write in “star chamber mode,” especially when we begin something new.
But the problem is the writing we produce in star chamber/fear mode comes off stiff; it sounds defensive and uninviting.
Want your readers to relax and stay awhile?
Want to feel less nauseous and more inspired next time you open your laptop to write a post?
How To Avoid This Art Blogging Mistake
Here’s what to do instead. Take the focus off of what people will think of you and put the focus on the needs of your reader.
Write the first draft of each post as a warm, funny letter to a specific friend of yours. Pick a friend who thinks you are the cat’s pajamas.
Imagine she’s asked you a question your letter/post will gladly answer.
As you type your answer to her imagine a big white lightbulb above your head that reads, “What’s in this for my friend I’m writing this post to?”
What can I say to her that will bolster her confidence or give her some piece of info she might need?
If you practice reader-centered writing, three little miracles will occur for you:
- The pressure will fall away. You’ll struggle way less with what to say and how to say it.
- You’ll stop using that painful “business” voice. Soon your sparkly, unique, real, writing voice will peak out through your brain foliage.
- And you’ll have way more readers.
For a humorous example of a reader-centered article pop over to my piece, Letting Go of Approval: A Story for Artists (That Involves Underwear.)
I’d also advise buying a copy of the reader favorite: Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott.
And speaking of readers and what they like or don’t like, let’s go to our final mistake.
Giant Mistakes Art Bloggers Make #3
Blow it Big Time in the Comments Department
Want to ensure you get NO comments? Do one of four things.
1. Don’t ask for comments.
Here’s a Charmed Studio Post I wrote that drills down into how to ask for comments: How Do I Get More Comments on My Art Blog? 7 Secrets You Won’t Hear Anywhere Else.
2. Don’t answer the comments you’ve already received.
If a sweet, introverted artist has drummed up the courage to leave you a comment, I say, acknowledge the gift and answer them back. Even if you are shy yourself.
When readers see you answer your comments, it shows them you care and they’ll be more likely to honor you with a comment in future.
3. Don’t leave comments on your readers’ blogs.
It feels amazing to receive a comment, right? You feel as if someone is listening.
I think one big reason I receive subscriber comments on my posts is that I leave comments on my subscribers’ posts.
Leaving one another comments creates camaraderie and a mutual network of support among art bloggers.
We need each other’s support to keep being vulnerable on the page.
So stretch your wings; leave comments, answer comments.
As Ram Dass said, “We’re all just walking each other home.”
Over to you. What do you think?
Got any other mistakes we art bloggers make that you are brave enough to add?
I’d love to know in the comments below.
You might also like these Charmed Studio Posts:
Transform Your Art Newsletter in 3 Questions
How To Avoid The 9 Mistakes New Children’s Book Authors Make
Got a book in your heart that wants to be written?
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I never comment on blogs because I never know what to say but I connected with this, especially with your advice about titles/subtitles!
I have a habit of typing in full questions like I’m talking to a person when I search Google and I’m always delighted when I actually find what I’m looking for. It doesn’t always happen, but it usually does.
For example, today I typed in, “what is the number one mistake artists make,” and it brought me to some great advice, including yours!
I’ve been torn by my urge to write and paint and the fact that I don’t make enough time for it or get sidetracked.
Or I’ll start to paint or write and sometimes finish a piece, but more often get overwhelmed by my ideas and abruptly stop before I even start.
The thing you said about writing for the reader is actually what I started doing this morning. I started “talking to” my laptop through my keys and it just felt more natural… even conversational. I even threw in some swears, which really made it feel real! Lol!
So it was crazy when I read this today. I think it’s just what I needed to get out of my own way and stop overthinking it so much!
Painting and writing are my therapy, I can just sit for hours and not even feel the time pass. I need to invest more time into that kind of well-being!
Thank you for the inspiration!
What a gift to receive your comment today. It takes guts to comment and I am thankful you did. There are so many things I want to comment back on! But I will stop dancing about and just start at the beginning.
First off “talking to your laptop” is wonderful.Talking with “swears” is even better.:) Those are both signs of a REAL writer right there. Others might think we are crazy if they see us doing stuff like this. But they aren’t writers. Being that engaged (as you were yesterday) is just the ticket. It indicates you were writing with passion, you were engrossed, you were fully present in the conversation. I bet people enjoy your writing and communications.
That kind of engagement is usually indicative that we are centered and writing more from our soul than our ego. And that is the only way to fly. One great way I have found to increase the chances of this happening on the regular is by meditating before I write to relax. I also try to remember to meditate between drafts of a post to chill and make edits that come from the heart instead of my ego. In other words, meditate in order to make edits that are about helping the reader, not edits that may be made in an attempt to save face or look impressive. Does that make sense?
Meditating or being relaxed is so important because it allows us to be brave and speak freely from the heart. And as I am sure you have seen in your writing or communicating-When we speak from the heart folks feel invited in. When we speak from the heart they want to stay a while by the fireside book nook we have built for them and for ourselves on our blog, on our social media, or wherever.
But speaking from the heart is often terrifying! I know it scares me. Here is a link to two posts that may help you keep up the great work and stay on your journey as a writer.
Hope they help.
This first post/podcast is about handling writing fear, and befriending it.
3 Gorgeous Guided Meditations for Writers: Reduce Fear, Ignite Creativity
And here is one more resource that may be supportive.How To Write More Often: 1 Realization That Can Change Everything
Thanks so much for your heart-centered comment. If you have other questions, I’m right here.
Keep the faith.
Denise McCanles says
Well your blog is a perfect example of everything that’s done right. Your blogs are funny, very informative and you always get the feeling that you’re writing with passion for every subject you cover and a real respect for your readers. Thank you.
Ah thanks so much Denise!! I do have passion for my subject and my inspiration to write is fueled by readers like you. You give me the guts to walk (and when I’m lucky, dance) the plank each time.
Sylvia Larkin says
Thea, you are amazeballs~! Thank you for this blog with chock full of valuable info and links! The timing was perfect for me as I am revamping my art life and newsletter. Thanks a bunch for sharing my art! I always appreciate seeing other artists work, especially if they are unknown to me. By the way, Mineke: I am very partial to Phthalo blue! Thea, like Jen, your sentence:”we need each other’s support to keep being vulnerable on the page” , speaks to me. I have showcased other artists from the get go and can assure you that artists still support each other (at least on IG and FB) where I hang out. Now to check out Kevin and his wife at https://www.dobe-art-studio.com/blog!
Sylvia you are a beacon of the way it could and should be among artists. You believe in support and community among us. As Joni Mitchell wrote in her song that CSNY sang, “We got to get back to the garden.” We have been slightly brainwashed that there is not enough to go around; not enough time, not enough attention on social media, not enough art collectors, not enough galleries etc. The funny thing you and I both know is: artists are our collectors. Fellow artists can be our best customers. I’m an artist and I buy art from artists. I am both artist and “collector.” Our collectors and supporters are all around us, in abundance. Together we rise. We just have to throw off the fear projections thrown at us by a new “art biz industry” that is built around fear. Hola! said Wonder Woman as she hurled her truth compelling lasso of wonder. 🙂 Thanks for everything Sylvia.
Hi Sylvia, glad to hear that you’re partial to Phthalo blue. I’m a recent convert – I always shied away from it, because I felt it was too overpowering, but I overcame my fear and found that it’s a surprisingly congenial pigment! And by the way, I totally agree with what you said about artists needing each other’s support!
Sylvia Larkin says
Thank you, Mineke! To me its such a regal pigment!
Oooh “regal pigment,” well put. Another subtitle idea there.
Shawn Marie Hardy says
I love your writing style. I have wanted to start a newsletter for so long and these are great ideas to use for that as well—if I ever get around to it. xo
Thanks, Shawn! You are a wonderful, down-to-earth, funny, writer- your newsletter will be a hit I bet. One day I will do a post on the benefits of blogs vs newsletters. I think artists need to come up with some sort of hybrid species that incorporates both in one to get the benefits of both blog and newsletter without having to spend the time to writing and distributing and upkeeping both. A blogletter? A Nlog?
Back to the laboratory to work on it. 🙂
Karen Morningstar says
This post came at an apropos time for me! Make sure to check if pictures that you put in your blog posts are accurate, meaning the information that goes with them is accurate! Thanks Thea for another great post, and thank you for using my painting.
Karen I love your painting “Sweetie.” Can you tell us a little more about how and why you created it?
Great post, Thea! I especially like your idea of writing a comment to your own question to open the gates, as it were. I never thought of doing that, but now I will. Regarding #2, I’m guilty as charged… Or at least, I used to be, because at some point last year I decided that I would write as I am, because if I have to follow all the rules (which are often contradictory), I’d never write anything at all.
I currently have a draft in the works with the working title “Who’s afraid of phthalo blue?” What do you think, is this one of those obscure titles that nobody would click on? Maybe I should title it “Five effective ways to use phthalo blue in your paintings”, but that just makes me yawn… SEO might like it, but I don’t. Your two cents?
Mineke, I love “Who’s Afraid of Phthalo Blue?” lol It is such a spin on the film title, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.” Here is what I would do. Use that title, fabulous, funny, and authentic. Then use a little writing trick, slap a colon after it and write a short Google friendly SUBTITLE after it. So it could be Who’s Afraid of Phthalo Blue: 3 Wild Ways to Use Phthalo Blue in Your Oil Painting. Get it? SEO people fight about title length, the more conservative school wants super short titles. But really mega bloggers don’t buy it, they know readers love long, GOOD titles that tell them what the benefit of reading an article is. Want to know the title of the post that brings me the most traffic I’ve ever had on a post is? Are you sitting down?
” Beatrice Wood: What No One Tells You About Her, Why She Isn’t Famous & How She Can Make Your Art Life Blossom.”
Hope that helps.
Thank you so much, Thea, you’re a whiz! I love that Beatrice Wood title, it’s so intriguing. No wonder that one gets the most hits, but the main thing is that whatever the title, you always deliver the goods. I’m going to put my title under my pillow and sleep on it, adding a subtitle is a good idea.
You got the main title. Write the rest of the post in your smart, real true voice and then see what points you came up with and subtitle it after that okay? You got this, you are so smart and have so much to teach other artists.
PS you might want to get more specific and original about the subtitle and describe a benefit that you get out of that color, what does it do for your work? “What is most personal is most universal” as Carl Rogers said.
This post is spot-on! Especially this: “we need each other’s support to keep being vulnerable on the page.” Yaaaaassssssssssss girl!
Jen, you are the bomb. If you guys want to read a beautiful, deep yet funny, art blog check out Jen’s.https://www.jenjovan.com. Inspiring.
This post was truly inspiring! Thank you for sharing your wisdom…and mistakes. 🌸
Ahhh, thanks Kimby! I got so many more mistakes to share, lol. I’ll never run out of things to write about. Wishing you a glorious, creative, Spring. Thank you for commenting, I appreciate you.
An excellent blog post! I think another possible mistake is not having a great few opening sentences at the beginning. I know I sometimes forget this. Maybe an intriguing synopsis.
Great point Kevin! Yes. SEO wise, you supposedly want to have the same keywords that are in your title in the opening line of your post right? So the reader knows they are in the right place reading this article. But I’m not great at it because it is much more fun to open with something funny or something in your heart. An intriguing synopsis as you say, would be just the ticket! Thanks for all your comments btw.
It is a lot more fun to write for real people than the Google machine.
Also guys, Kevin is a wonderful art blogger who writes about cool stuff like authenticity and marketing. Check out he and his wife’s blog at:https://www.dobe-art-studio.com/blog
Oh, one thing I left out about comments:
If you ask readers a question you want them to answer in the comments, answer it yourself first. For example, last month I published the post, O’Keeffe the Thief: What Georgia Stole. I closed my post, as usual, asking for comments. I specifically asked readers to tell me the shape, form, or pattern they have been drawn to investigate throughout their art career. Then I did something I want you to try.
I left my own answer to the question I posed to my readers, as the first comment.
Why did I do this? Because it’s hard for readers to leave comments. And it is especially terrifying for most people to leave the first comment.
By leaving the first comment you often get the ball rolling.You can also beg a good friend to get the ball rolling and leave the first comment, that works too. 🙂