Tuesday
Feb012011

Blogging Platforms - What To Use

In our Social Media for Artists Workshop I extol the virtues of writing a blog as a successful marketing tool. And while we discuss what to write and how often, the biggest question is always, “Who should I use to set one up?”

Here’s a rundown of my favorite platforms:

Tumblr

Tumblr is a straightforward blog. They offer clean layouts with a number of template choices, some free and some that are paid or the ability to use your own html. Most of the social media sharing aspects are built right in and only take a few clicks to get set up, plus there’s a number of third party applications that have been developed just for Tumblr. You can add pages if you want to build your blog out into a full website and the ability to map to your own domain is easily available.

If you know html you can do a lot with this platform in the free mode. If you don’t just be picky with the theme that you pick, some are more easily customized than others. If you’re the type that just wants something that looks good and you don’t have to fuss with, Tumblr is a great option.

Typepad

Typepad is also a very straightforward blogging platform. It’s much more limited in the free version than Tumbler, but with just a small price jump you get a lot more bells and whistles especially in the social plug-in arena. Typepad is built more for creating an entire website around the blog, so adding pages and plug-ins is a snap. Typepad also seems to offer more abilty to track traffic and customize your SEO than Tumblr, if you’re into that sort of thing.

I don’t recommend the free version of Typepad for a business blog, it’s a little too simple and unsophisticated. However if you’re willing to pay a small fee, you’ll get great options to customize and great support.

Squarespace

Squarespace is what we use for the Lightbox SF and 200 Yards websites and is a website builder not just a blogging platform. Needless to say I love it. You do have to pay a fee, $13-35, but the ability to build exactly what you want with ease is close to priceless. There’s no need to understand html code, however if you do there’s nothing you can’t do. There are templates for many basic types of pages, journals, photo galleries, file upload, directories, and more. You select a theme and can customize everything from colors and fonts to CSS. The developer forum also provides solutions to many “fixes” you want to make that Squarespace doesn’t support. I’m also a fan of their customer support, all email, but very quick and helpful.

If you’re just looking for a blog to either link to your existing website or just to get started with, I suggest Tumblr. If you’re looking to build a website, but want it as easy as possible and are willing to have some customization limitations then Typepad is the way to go. However if you’re serious about a full business website that can grow with your business, is totally customizable, and still downright easy Squarespace is your answer.

Both Squarespace and Typepad offer free trials, so test them out, or just sign up for Tumblr and put your writing hat on. Sometimes a blank page is all you need to get going.

Monday
Jan312011

Photo Mondays

Meet Leigh Beisch. She swept me away with her beautiful painterly photography and then I checked out her food photos... wow, equally stunning. Beisch is a San Francisco resident who studied painting and photography at The Art School of Chicago and The Rhode Island School of Design. Her painting background really shines through in these abstract photos as she plays with outdoor lights, color and soft textures. These pieces allow my gaze to soften as my mind becomes more active trying to identify hidden pieces in Beisch's photographic puzzles.

Friday
Jan282011

Putting the creativity back into Valentine's Day

February 14th doesn't have to be that day everyone shuns because of its tacky commercialism. Who doesn't want a special day to remind them of their loved one, an excuse to make cupcakes, buy cute cards and spread extra kisses? Instead of giving Feb 14th the cold shoulder, why don't you purchase something cute and handmade or by all means do something creative or silly. For some reason I just love Valentine's Day decor and even if its a year that it is just my cat and I, I still decorate and stuff copious amounts of homemade mini cupcakes in my mouth. No cupcakes for Sailor cat but he does get buckets of kisses!

heart garland by paper polaroid, V day party printables by love the day, love journal by inkello

Thursday
Jan272011

Thursday Link Roundup

Tools of the Trade - Some great resources not matter what stage or type of creative business you have. Of course also appropriate given that we’re focusing on tools and resources this month.

Pop Your Cork: Get Enthusiastic with 5 Heroes of Creative Living - What makes you unique can make your business unique.

Is Your Online Shop Actually Ready For Marketing? - First impressions last, get your website as ready as you can before you begin the effort to drive more traffic there.

The Cowardly Lion’s Guide to Conquering Your Entrepreneurial Fears - Some great advice for us all, not matter what our ideas are.

8 Keys To Blogging Success - Key questions to ask yourself before you jump into blogging or to help you refocus a confused blog.

Wednesday
Jan262011

Creativity in the dark

by alyssa wesneAlright, I know us San Franciscans have a bad reputation for being a little melodramatic when it comes to the weather but I am ready for summer already. All our Midwestern and East Coast friends are surely rolling their eyes and I feel for you. I do. But this past week San Francisco got a taste of warmer weather and I felt full of artistic energy. Since we have another month or two of possible rain, darker days and chilly temps, I am offering a few exercises we can use to create our own warmth and light.

 

  • Spend the first half an hour of your day creating. Emails and phone calls can wait 30 minutes and you will feel more awake by tapping into your creative self first.
  • Commit to one date a week with your artistic self. Visit a museum, the art section of your favorite book store or a quick visit to a great new local boutique. Schedule it early on in the week and give it a priority.
  • Take a moment to sit in your garden. Enjoy the silence in the twilight of the solar garden lights, stop, relax, think.
  • Exercise. If you are feeling stuck, get outside a take a brisk walk, do 30 minutes of yoga or hit the gym. "Every dimension of cognition improves from 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, and creativity is no exception" ( Forget Brainstorming, Newsweek)
  • Eat well and sleep more. We all take this for granted but it is the easiest way for us to be the most productive during these colder months. We need a little extra fuel this time of year. Worry about the bikini months later. Nurture your creative mind now.