Sunday, January 4, 2009

It's 2009! Hello Etsy, goodby Cosmo.

Happy New Year!

I'm putting some of my "beginning of the year" energy into building a new website for my pottery at a social networking/retail craft site called Etsy. I came across it last month while I was reading various pottery blogs and it has been getting good reviews all over. It's dirt cheap: just twenty cents to display each item plus a small fee if you sell through their site. I'm using it primarily as a way to find new customers and steer them to my existing online webstore. As I was building my store, literally within the first few hours of being on Etsy, I received an email from someone who had bought my work back in the 80s and was happy to see that I was still making pots. This is a very good sign! The selection of artists on the site is a younger crowd and I really like the vibe. It's like Facebook for artists and I'm looking forward to seeing how well it pans out in terms of sales. I should have my site completely built by the end of the week at a total cost of under ten dollars. Click this link to check it out!

Over the holidays I read the book, "Clear Blogging" by Bob Walsh. It's a very good overview on the mechanics of blogging and I picked up some excellent tips and ideas. It was great to learn that I did a good job of figuring out how to create a blog by just stumbling through it the past few months. A lot of things in life are just common sense. But I think if I had read this book before I started this endeavor, I might not have jumped into it at all. There is a fair amount of maintenance and diligence needed to have a blog that is read by the masses. So from a business point of view, the jury is still out as to whether or not I should be spending my time doing this. But now I have a better sense for how I should focus my writing so it is something people will want to read once a week. It's pretty clear that my weekly posts should:
  • be really fun to read
  • be focused on the zany aspect of my artwork
  • be shorter so as not to loose my audience
  • use bullet points to make my point, because for some reason you should use a lot of bullet points to make your point
So long, introspective, "talking to myself out loud to myself" posts like this one will just have to go, I guess.

One of the things the book emphasized was to have a "beat" and cover it on a regular basis. This was totally the case with my "Stump the Sage" blog. I started that one on a whim because I really know a lot about rock trivia and I'm a geek for Bret Saunders' trivia shtick every Wednesday morning on KBCO. The blog pretty much wrote itself and it was terribly fun to do. Writing from the perspective of a caustic monkey just fit the subject matter perfectly and I probably could have kept it going if I had much of an audience. But the sad fact is that it just didn't get many hits. The one week that Bret mentioned it on air was good and we got a decent number of viewers. But the next week was dismal and I think the only people who were reading it were people from Clear Channel... DJs and corporate goons. I know this stuff because I have Stat Counter, an amazing service that gives you tons of info on who is visiting your various sites. I sent a fair amount of emails to the KBCO folks to try and get links and such, but they really didn't see it as an asset so I'm letting it drop. So I am sorry to inform you that Cosmo the monkey "died" in a plane crash last week. Life goes on, man. You just gotta deal with it. If this sad news really affects you, I suggest that you leave your thoughts and feelings in the comments section at the "How to Stump the Sage" site (That was a not-so-subtle hint)

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