With social media choices multiplying, blogging has fallen out of favour to some extent. The easy interaction and image-rich formats offered by sites like Facebook and Tumblr are certainly convenient. But there are still some good reasons to keep a personal website, particularly with user-friendly blogging software making it so easy to do. Here are five big factors to consider if you're thinking about writing - or quitting - a blog.
By definition, a blog is a weblog, a diary on the web. And like paper diaries, that can mean anything from an appointment book, to a record of events, to an outpouring of one's innermost creativity. And of course, a perfect medium for advertising and selling pretty much anything. It's this flexibility that makes it an ideal tool for an artist. There are no fixed ideas about how a blog should be used, and so you can adapt it to fit your aims, whether that is recording ideas, sharing tips and techniques, promoting your artwork, or selling it direct from your site.
One of the things I really like about a blog is that you have total control over your content, depending on your host. While plagiarism remains an ongoing problem on the internet, you're not signing a user agreement that hands all your content to a third party for eternity. This is immensely important for visual artists - your livelihood depends on ownership of your work. By using a blog as a platform, rather than a third party website, you retain your copyright, and you can edit or delete as you please, without being subject to random changes of format that sites like Facebook like to confuse readers with. Using Google's Blogger or a free Wordpress site couldn't be easier, or you can easily install Wordpress on your own domain.
3. Advertising - or Not
Sites like Facebook have continuous and intrusive advertising, but a blog allows you to keep your feed 'clean'. This looks far more professional and avoids having your creative message sullied by commercialism. If you do wish to monetize
your blog, you can be selective. Depending on the purpose of your blogging, this can be a crucial factor. Why spend your time and effort making money for someone else?
A blog can offer a great deal of flexibility in style and format. Rather than being stuck with a platform's defaults, you can select themes, fonts and layouts to suit your needs. Your posts can be as long as you want, and you have many options for displaying your artwork - Creating Image Galleries in Wordpress
is very easy, and Blogger also offers Gallery Templates
. For an artist, this is particularly important. You want an environment that is appropriate to your style. Your art is displayed in a context of your choice, and not embedded in an unsympathetic colour scheme or worse, sparkling unicorns and fluffy kittens. (Unless you're Jeff Koons, in which case the latter may be appropriate).
5. Permanence and Flexibility
One of the most important benefits of the blog format is the ability to archive, tag, search and export content. This lets you easily create a backup of your work, move it to another platform if you wish, and access and manage your content no matter how old it is. On more transient platforms, it's all about currency, while with a blog, older posts can remain popular and conversations can remain current as long as they are generating interest, whether they are a week or a year old.