Sunday, 8 August 2010

We have sunshine - a rarity these last couple of weeks - it's been warm, hot sometimes, but utterly dull. So today is a lovely change. And of course, I'm indoors! Ya gotta do what ya wanna do, huh!
I wanna talk about this here blog a bit and it involves you, so please don't leave just now. See, WOYWW makes the hit rate over here quite high. And a short browse will show you that I also signed up for the Crafty Blogs 'chart' when I started the blog. This for two reasons, curiosity and experiment. Probably like everyone who blogs, I really enjoyed watching the hit counter turn over and was always delighted to find someone else had asked blogger to let them know when I posted. I'd be lying if I said that has worn off, but I don't think to check it very often anymore - you kinda grow out of that and instead just want to hone your writing skills and keep your posts interesting.
Any of you with successful business blogs, those of you who are 'personalities' in the craft industry and so on, will be completely au fait with the 'behind the scenes' part of being a blogger.
As your blog becomes statistically more popular, so you're approached by a number of individuals and companies who want to take advantage of your 'exposure' to do some marketing. Do not be flattered by the individuals who tell you that you.are.fabulous - it really is all about your statistics; honestly I've had approaches from Etsy based shopkeepers who quite clearly have never read a word of my blog, but they see the Wednesday stats pushing up and assume that it's worth trying to get me to endorse and expose their......whatever. Panty liners in one instance. I know, my life is all glamour.
But I'm really interested in what you think - there's currently a couple of things in my inbox offering really generous give-aways, but not remotely craft related. Now at the risk of being pompous to the point of laughter....does my accepting and 'doing' give-aways compromise my freedom to say what I like about any product do you think? Some of the companies offer me a gift or voucher of some sort as a 'fee', others think the give-away itself will attract more readers for me. I dunno . Would you as an intelligent reader, assume that I was endorsing these companies and their products? I already know that I'm not about to start displaying their badges and widgets...I'm a bit touchy about free advertising - after all, I put in all the work and they get the benefit. Nope. They can do the WOYWW thing - that would have the same ultimate exposure! And of course, I'm not technically savvy enough to do it properly and also as I have pointed out to several of them - how many of us scroll down to the bottom of every blog we click on to....I rarely go further than the bottom of the article I'm reading.....and they ain't having front and centre. No sir.
And here's something that a lot of people ask me - how do you build up your statistics? I don't know. Be interesting and honest and don't consider it a competition. And how do you get people to comment? That's like being a friend isn't it - to get a comment, a commenter you must be. It's a two way street.
So with all that rambling - what do you think about sponsored and unconnected give-aways on blogs? Be honest...really, some of the emails I get that could be deemed to be 'hate mail' have made me very much less afraid of the truth!
And the card is made form K & Co papers, MS punch and a Nestability die, stamp by Hero Arts: this is an endorsement!!


Anonymous said...

I think if you aren't getting anything from the deal, you should tell them to shove it! Just my opinion though :)

Foil Play said...

Fabulous summery card!

I think it is your blog Julia, your very hard work has got it to where it is, and it is entirely up to you if you want to accept any of the giveaway offers - I reckon anyway you'll know which you feel comfortable with.

Bluefairy4U said...

Hi Julia, as you know I love visiting your blog and try to get to all the other blogs on WOYWW but never manage it due to commitments, but honestly I love your blog and all the colours and doings on it and I think it would be a shame that companies want to exploit you, you love blogging your stuff and we appreciate it. So you must do what you feel and if you have the time!! Lots of love

Darcy said...

if someone wanted to give me a 'craft' product to test and blog about, and be happy for me to tell the truth, even if I didn't like it...then I would do so, but I am really not interested in advertising other products. I guess just do what you feel comfortable with.x

The Crafty Goat Girl said...

Hi Julia, wow what a great post! Made me think about a few things, as I have been approached recently, to do some work but nothing is ever what it seems! Go with your gut instinct hun, if it feels right, just do it! If not, in Kelli's words, tell them to shove it! hugs Heidi xx

scrapcat 1 said...

I love reading your blog and when you review a product or range (do crafts stamps) I really enjoy reading whatg you thinkas I know it will be based on your opinions not you promoting the product. I don't know if this would change but I wouldn't like to see you honest witty comments disappearing for fear one of your 'sponsers' didn't like what you had to say.
I am sure you will do the best thing for you and the rest of us will either like it, lump it or choose not to come to your blog. Take care and have a fab rest of the weekend

JoZart said...

It's great to see honesty shining through. I agree that friendship, and blogging is a two way street and it is a shame to spoil it by being commercial. I always think that business and pleasure doesn't mix and I like to "Buy & Sell with strangers, Wine & Dine with friends".
I have made some good cyber friends via blogging and don't want to use blogging as a business venture. I love to openly share information on what and how I make my projects and I'm not looking for reward.
I'll be honest that I'm scared WOYWW is getting too big for me (or you) to cope with and I am reasonably new to it but, since your mention in Craft Stamper, so many more people are posting. Will there be a limit ever? I find it hard to reach enough people each week. I want to encourage newbies yet I want to spy on favourites... any tips?
Interesting post, Julia but that's my tuppence worth!
Jo x

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I've had this same conversation with a few of my blogger friends. First, you get followers when you publish interesting posts, make great art, and attract those who are most like you. You also get followers when you have a "hook," like WOYWW.

You get comments when you leave comments. Like you, I find it that simple. I can't understand why more people can't see that.

Sure there will be some people who you leave comments to who will never leave one in return. When that happens, I stop leaving comments to them. Of course, I give it at least four or five times of commenting before I stop. After all, we are all busy and some people only comment once or twice.

I, too, have been approached twice, but I hate the stipulations the people put on my giveaways. Mine is "MUST LIVE IN THE US or Canada." Look at my stats. Nearly a full ONE HALF of the people who visit me are from the UK. Why would I discriminate? This is an interesting post, and I applaud you for your honesty and cute card, too.

Sunshine Girl said...

At the end of the day Julia its your blog and you must do what you feel comfortable with it. WOYWW is a good deal of fun but you will find people will come and go over time just because habits and circumstances change the same will be if you endorse stuff - some people will stay and enjoy the advice others will move on but again its your blog, all yours and noone elses so just do what you want to do and enjoy it! I quite often join in challenges not particularly to win the items on offer but because I have just gotten into sketches so I use their sketch and then enter the competition just because I can - its got me a bit more exposure too which is nice but not the reason I do it - I come to your blog because your posts make me smile and I enjoy noseying at other people spaces and chatting to them too - I have only been doing it for 5 weeks now and already feel that I have made new friends. If I see competitions where I have advertise on my own blog I would only do it if I thought others would be interested and also I wouldnt be interested in a craft blog that advertised other stuff either because thats not what I go to read - not sure if any of this really helps you though - just go with your gut feeling and dont let anyone pressurize you into publishing anything you dont want to.

Ann said...

Hi Julia,
I keep coming back to your blog because your posts are rambling, random, funny, interesting, and honest. It's like we are friends with common interests, and are 'chatting' to each other (rather like letter-writing used to be).
WOYWW has really taken off and it's all due to your hard work and enthusiasm - it's good that other bloggers have found you and your world - but personally I think it would be a shame to change what you do in any way to accommodate the wishes of 'companies'.
At the end of the day, it's your blog and your choice, but your honest humour cheers my day!

Cardarian said...

Hmmmh tough one - for you I mean! Your blog is lovely - because it is so honest and so down to earth! I love your cards - they always inspire me and I love your comments on certain products because they are critical and I can trust what you say about them - still as far as we all know you through your blog I don't believe that any endorsements would ever change you so I don't think there is any harm in taking them - girl it is your blog and your decision! We can't decide for you! It is of course a question how much change these "adverts" would do to your blog - pop ups, or other things they might want you to use! That might turn away people who think of this as a " friendship " blog which I consider it at the moment too! I am sure you will make a good decision because you are a lovely smart lady!
Lots of hugs,

Krisha said...

Julia, I find your comments quite refreshing, I guess honesty is that way. I'm fairly new to the blog society, and only have a few followers, but I'm just as happy. I feel that when I give credit for the images I use that is enough of an endorsement. Would I put their advertising on my blog.....probably not, unless it is a company that really inspires me, I use constantly and I would have to get A LOT in return.(an we know that is not going to happen) BUT that is just me, I put a lot of time into my cards and art work, as all of us do, and why should somebody else prosper from our hard work? I have followed WOYWW for only a short time, as I love to see other artist's work space, and I do read their whole blog LOL! I blog hop quite often and when I have enough time I leave a comment, after all the comments left on my blog are all ways a great inspiration to me. KEEP UP YOUR INTEGRITY, YOUR FRIENDS WILL ALL WAYS STAND BESIDE YOU!

chrissy xx said...

You have to do what you feel comfortable with, after all it is your blog!! But, Wow look were you are now a great blog, a great following. I love popping in to see what you are up to and although I am new to blogging. I do tend to shy away from blogs that seem to be doing lots of advertising, and pushing certain things every time you go on their site. Mainly because Crafting is one of my hobbies, and certain sites are very much like door-to-salesmen ~ you don't want it every time you 'open your (door) blog'

nicandalfie said...

hi, i dont have a blog but i love following yours and have found a lot og others to follow through you, as has already been said your blog is bright and fun, your comments are refreshing and honest and you encompass everyday life, the whole thing is great, i love to craft but dont blog because of the time it would take and i wouldnt have the first clue on how to make it fun, i follow other blogs who 'advertise' but i check on them once a week/10days yours i look in on everynite over my coffee because its fun and informal like coffee with a frien! Its really what ever you feel comfy with and from your post its not gonna sit well with you xx

Serendipity Stamping said...

My dear, this is your blog and you have many, many followers/friends that are inspired by your wit, work, honesty. Advertising for advertising sake? Perhaps if it were craft related, but it would be products you use and love if you choose this route. All in all it is the way you feel about doing so. Take your time, we will still be here. And I am a new person on your blog, so don't know how much my opinion means but there it is anyway.

Helen said...

Tough one! I love your blog, it really makes me laugh - and think - and I am sure that wouldn't change. I guess it depends what involvement the sponsor would insist on, and how worth your while they would make it - I suspect not very! Your blog is already so popular, one of the funniest I read and long may it continue! I do have to say I don't much like pop up ads (although my settings block most of them, which will defeat the company's point!) You will make the right decision for you, it won't stop us visiting.

SDCrafts said...

Briefly, I'd be flattered by the good guys and ignore t'others...and choose which products to review but do it as a Sponsored Post - that way, regular readers can pick and choose whether they read the review. Every so often, you can have a give away of a product you don't wish to review but think your readers might like to try and win. OR you can simply carry on just as you are! Which is brilliant.

There again, you could line up your own sponsored WOYWW products - mugs, pens, etc and let readers buy them to bring in a little income for you - making it quite clear to other bods that you are perfectly capable of marketing your own brand - thank you!

But mainly, be flattered Julia - the girl done good.

Heather x said...

I make a lot of Popcorn The Bear cards, a couple of months ago I got an email from a "company" who said they were backing craft blogs and would I be interested in them advertising my blog if I advertise their an idiot I said yes, then I found out that the so called company was nothing to do with crafts....they sold popcorn machines!
I'd say research them 1st, find out who they are :0)
*Hugs* Heather x

Heather x said...

Oh forgot to say, I love your card Julia :0)
*hugs* Heather x

Twiglet said...

Hi Julia - as Wipso and I don't make cards really, I don't think adverts would influence our decision to follow your blog. We love being involved in WOYWW, we love your own brilliant and funny blog and we love the contact we have made with lots of great bloggers because of you. As lots of folk have already said - you will know what your happy with - just research well. I think SDCrafts comments are sound too.
Go with the flow - it would be good to think you could earn a little from all your efforts.

secret scrapbooker said...

Great post Julia. I blog to show what i make, dont have many real life crafty friends so its nice to get a bit feedback and of course i love it when people say nice things :0)
Im awful at writing things so i like to show pictures.
I have had emails from companies one was quite offended when i didnt reply so i then emailed back saying that i thought they were joking. I dont get that much blog traffic but i dont care about that. As for endorsing products and advertising its up to each person im not gonna think any less of anyone for getting stuff from companies and if i dont like the products i wont click the links.
BTW lovely bright card :0)
Kate x

Clare H said...

Hi Julia, thanks for visiting my blog, yours is gorgeous!! I will never advertise or give away anything for another company but that's just personal preference, I really couldn't be bothered with the hassle of it, if they don't give up the goods you can bet your life your gonna get hell over it. I do however advertise of my own free will products or fast service that I have tried and tested and am really happy with, as I think it is just good sense to shop where other people recommend especially on-line which can be a mine field of bad service and awful goods.

On my WOYWW picture the stamp packets on the old fire are a fast view reminder of thickness of parcels and envelope allowed for that stamp type. I used to run an atc swap so it came in very handy, just never got round to taking them down LOL and the pattern on the table its actually an old kitchen worktop that I made legs for so it doesn't matter if I ruin it.


Joanne said...

I appreciate your asking us for opinions on the matter, but to be honest I think it's like cold selling, you know that irritable man in the supermarket who doesn't believe you have any windows in your house!!!! So annoys me. I've been approached twice -me for goodness sake - what on earth can I offer them. I'm a complete amateur crafter who has struggled through thick and thin to even produce a blog let alone any crafty pieces worth a good comment, so why come to me??? I think I have made my point there because if they come to me and come to you - a professional, then there is something wrong with the proposed deal. Have you honestly ever gotten anything for nothing?

Luv Joanne xx

Scrapping With Sherry said...


Thanks for coming by and taking a look at my Wednesday work space pix. You wanted to know what was i the glass jars... One of them is full of Tim Holtz fragments and fragment tags and the other has Tim Holtz swivel clasps, trinkets and stuff like that.

I really enjoyed your blog post and although I have a few thoughts on the matter I dont feel like I have enough experience or knowledge about the blog world to comment on the subject. However, one thing I do have experience with is people and I know from my past experiences that you are never going to make everyone happy... never! Therefore you have one responsibiliy to yourself and that is to make yourself happy and be true to yourself. If you do this the rest will follow...

Thanks for welcoming me and letting me take part in the Where we Work Wednesday photo. Very cute idea!!!

Take Care~ Sherry

Chrissie said...

I came over and read this this morning and then I went away to think about it and here I am back again and I still don't know what to think really. Probably the best thing to do is to follow your gut instincts as everyone else has said,and if you fancy it, do it, but think about no 1, not all the other folks who want to make a fast buck!
I'm still only about half way through commenting on last week's WOYWW and we're nearly ready for the next one! Schish!

Rosie said...

I can only tell you what I'd do in your position (my blog not attracting the crowds yours does)! I might be persuaded to mention craft products provided I was free to be honest about what I thought of it, but wouldn't want to mention anything else. After all, why would anyone care what brand of washing powder I used etc. I can't see what's in it for you either, unless you get free stuff to try out and play with! If the latter, I'd be happy to volunteer to help you with that .... he he he

Linda Elbourne said...

I realise I am far too late to comment ... but I take whatever they wanna give and then say whatever I likes anyways :0) I know I am no help whatsoever ... but you know ... I like to add my two pennorth :0)

Linda Elbourne said...

I forgot to say ... I am completely and utterly obsessed by that ranking ... I was n't until I made number 7 once ... for about 5 seconds and now if I start to drop ... I come out in a cold sweat and take up the feotal position :0)(I am sure that is how you spell it ... aint it????)

Hels Sheridan said...

Hey hunny... or should I call you Mrs Popular? LOL Only joking hun... actually, I have had a couple of emails recently, one asking me to endorse their "threads" an American company selling crap basically...and mensware at that...erm... do I look like *don't answer that!!LOL*
So... I usually just delete them.. but... if they were gonna off me cold hard cash for a small advert in my sidebar...erm.. could I do it? I dunno...depends on what they are flogging and what they want me to do... at the end of the day, our little pieces of the Interweb are just that...ours. I am all for freedom of speech, hey, have you ever read to the end of my posts??? I know I waffle on alarmingly most days but it is my outlet so I guess I am allowed to.. if peeps wanna read it then goodly, if not, they can close the window can't they? I am not helping at all here am I?? Ok, to answer your Q... it is YOUR blog hunny... so if you want to get something for a small ad, then that should be up to you and no one has the right to judge. As for the Crafty flag thing... I put it on my blog the day I set it up... all those years ago... and there were only a few blogs out there... then they made it UK only and there are so many talented peeps that there isn't enough room at the top... I am happy happy happy that mine is in the top 50 - but that is only cos I have been incredibly lucky... Yours is more or less the same as mine.. and that is cos you had a brilliant idea, so why shouldn't your blog be up there hun? At the end of the day, I don't think that anyone should have any right to criticise anyones blog.. I have had my fair share of mean old comments...the last one said... "it's always about YOU isn't it?" Erm... YEP, cos it is my blog ROFL Anyways hun, I have done my usual and waffled and you have probably nodded off... so... do what is best for you and ... THANK YOU for dreaming up the WOYWW, I have made some really lovely friends because of it... and seen so many inspirational blogs I would have probably there... did I actually help or did I just mutter a load of old bumpf?? Hugs x

Esther said...

Hi - just watned to add my thoughts, I've only been blogging a couple of months but was lucky enough to find WOYWW quite quickly! I don't ahve friends nearby who craft so enjoy the sharing of thoughts and inspiration the blog world gives me - I agree wiht Darcy about 'testing' a product and commenting like you did with the stamps from Do-Craft that are tiny - you were honest and funny and I enjoyed reading your blogs. I personally think other advertising would get in the way of what a crafting blog is all about, but then everyone has their own concept of what that is.Okay so I'm rambling now, I know what I would do - I would happily review/test craft products as long as I could be frank about my opinion and only promote those that I felt were worthy of it, but would not simply 'advertise' for advertising sake...but as others have said before me- it's your blog to do with as you wish, but I think it's perfect just as it is!! Esther xx

carlytheprincess said...

Hi Julia
I love your honesty and if someone approaches you who has actually read your blog, they must have a hot product as they would know you would tear it to pieces otherwise. If they have not read your blog and want exposure, they may be surprised when they get an "honest" review.
I'm sure you will do the right thing for you honey x

Alix said...

i can't believe anyone would spend their energy sending you hate~mail julia...that is shameful and i hope you have the presence of mind to see if for what it is {{{{you}}}}
as for advertising...i'm with the general opinion for a change...its not my thing...i don't want to have to say i like something if i dont...but i'd be more than happy to honestly review any free products!!


lovebug_rita said...

Beautiful card :-)

Spyder said...

Some one emailed me to advertise their saucepans on my digi store??? why? Obviously they hadn't been in to see what it was! But they are fascinating them there blog counting things, I like the craftyblogs one best, that's the only one that seems to 'do' anything. The other ones I have I only put on, because some nice person emailed me and asked if I'd like to join in, and I do like gadgets. The first time I had Crafty blogs,it was up in the 500's the next day 300's 'Oh no,I'm getting lower!' I cried, of course I thought it was better to be higher...we learn. Hubby is now in to it. 'How come you were 51 last week and now you're 76?" (Hopefully he didn't mean my age)
Now the clever little gadget is measuring how lazy I am!
Love your card...


Lynne said...

Morning Julia, I know I am late, again! mega problems this week with blogger. Anyway, I enjoy reading your blog, like many others I can relate to the everyday things you tell us about. I have meet lots of lovely cyber friends through WOYWW and I thank youy for that. As it grows I find it harder to get round everyone, even when I am not have blogger problems, I would hate them to think I am ignoring them especially when they have visited my desk and left comments. So I for one would not like to see your blog change, but it is your blog. Phew! Lynne xx Ps Love your card.

The Paper Princess said...

Morning Julia,

This is a great post filled with great responses because it touches upon issues all of us bloggers have to deal with at one point in time or another. I think, ultimately, it comes down to an issue of personal integrity. When you think about your blog, and your readers, and the vision you have for it - does the (fill in the blank) feel right and make sense for you in light of the criteria you have set forth for yourself and your blog? Does it serve a benefit for you and your readers? Is it a strings free offer, or does it ultimately come with a price that feels too high to pay based on whatever measure you are using? I don't think there is a clear cut answer - I think ultimately, you have to trust yourself to make the decisions that are right for you and your blog, and trust that your loyal and faithful readers are going to be there regardless.

On one of the blogs I follow, the author received a critical comment from a reader whoe just wanted to read one type of article on the person's blog, and the author had the nerve (had the nerve!) to present a fuller spectrum of his life and creativity. Can you imagine?! The funny thing is, the reason I read that person's blog is for the "everything else" that the critical commenter wanted deleted from the blog. It just goes to show you really can't please everyone - you can only be yourself and trust that your true audience will find you.

How do you build up your statistics (ie, grow your blog?) First and foremost, by producing a quality blog - one filled with quality content that makes people want to return to it. Second, by publishing regularly (no one is going to return if your last post was three months ago!) Third, by making genuine connections with other bloggers. You do this by visiting other blogs, commenting on them, getting to know people out there. Regardless of how many people show up on your sidebar, you know who your core audience is at any given time - the people who regularly visit and leave comments. Build relationships with them. When people write you - write you back. As you grow, it becomes more difficult to always contact everyone, but contact as many people as you can. I know that I always remember people who write me back when I leave them a comment, so I assume that when I take the time to do the same, they remember me too.

Anyway, enough rambling for now - great card, heading over to WOYWW!


Paula Gale said...

Hi Julia

I'm trying to catch up with a a few of your posts because I simply haven't been blogging or even had blogger on to a great extent recently. Your post is really interesting and i'm so happy for you that you've moved all the way up to number 24 'in the charts' - you defo deserve to be in the top ten in my opinion. Your musings are amusing and thats what most of us come here for and for the fact that its a place where a lot of friendships have been made and support has been found.

At the end of the day - you must do what you think is best for YOU... but never sell your soul to these people - there MUST be mutual benefit - which i'm sure is very rare in the advertising business that preys upon bloggers that set up blogs to blog - like most people who come to visit you :O)

Paula x x x

Doone said...

ooh Julia, Its ten thirty and its 32 degrees and i am on holiday - AND I COULD BE doing holiday things and I'm actually CHOOSING to write this - and you hooked me - NOT BECAUSE YOU ADVERTISE - but because you are interested and interesting -if you ran ads I would think - bummer another person has sold out to capitalism - but we all have to pay the bills, and capitalism paid for me to be on my hols in what is close to paradise,,, - do as you wish I will still check out your blog - 'cos you are OKaY ...and so long as you are choosing its fine to take advantage...just give to the disadvantaged in equal measure when the chance passes your way - and if you doubt YOURsELF - check out your TOP centre front AD - it's why i first took a second wasn't woYWW now I am going to read what everyone else said!