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A wee life update and some questions for my readers

So guys, I finished my Open University degree! I’m not sure how much I mentioned it on here, in real life it feels like all I’ve been talking about for at least the last 2 months, but anyway I handed my dissertation in a week ago! Which means I’m FREEEE! It’s such a relief, because it’s been stressful! While I found the actual course content interesting, I hated having to study every day (I only have a small window after Milo went to bed and before my brain officially died, it wasn’t like I could do a big chunk in one go). I will definitely not be studying again any time soon!

I’m not sure how I’ll be spending that extra evening time I’ve got now. I know my posts on here have been pretty image heavy since I went back to the studying, and my original plan was to get back into writing more meaty posts. I’ve got plenty of ideas! But actually I’m not totally sure I will end up doing that, it might be quite nice to be away from the laptop a bit more. More sewing and knitting are definitely on the cards and I really should start exercising a bit more! I feel like I got into a little groove where I post regularly without spending forever on blogging and I don’t feel like the posts are ‘filler’ (though they definitely could do with more proofreading) so I could carry on in this way. We’ll see I guess!


So that caveat out of the way, I thought I’d ask you guys for some feedback, if I do end up wanting to make some changes. Here’s a few questions if you fancy helping me out:

What page layout do you prefer?

I recently had to ditch my old blog theme (the original thesis 1) because it wasn’t compatible with wordpress 4 and the new theme (thesis 2) works quite differently design wise so it might be an opportunity to do a bit of a redesign if I want.

You might remember I used to have my front page set up to only display one post in full and then lots of small images and intros with ‘read more’ (they’re called teasers) below that. I like this sort of layout because it means you don’t have to scroll down lots and it looks tidier. However, since switching to the new theme, which doesn’t offer that option as standard, my stats have gone up slightly, but consistently. I’m not sure if this is because the new theme has better search engine integration, or because people actually prefer the more basic blog set up? Or maybe it was just a fluke!

What kind of posting frequency works for you? And what length of posts?

I currently do Mon-Wed-Fri-Sun, which works pretty well for me in terms of having time to write the posts. Although sometimes I’ve got so much stuff still to blog about I feel it’s getting a bit ridiculous how old the stuff I post about is. Like right now I still have some photos from Copenhagen left to edit and that was in blumming June!

I usually have posts scheduled at least a week in advance, and it does occasionally make me feel weirdly disconnected because I’m not responding to what’s happening right now. Like I sometimes don’t get round to blogging outfits until weeks later when the weather has changed and they look really odd, that sort of thing.

There’s also occasionally a bit of a trade off between post length and frequency. There’s lots of posts (like this one for example) that could easily have been split into two. I think as a reader I’d prefer longer and less frequent posts to wee bitesize bits, but then I know this is the age of twitter and short attention spans, and reading things while waiting in the supermarket queue, so who knows!

What kind of posts do you most enjoy?

At the moment I guess I’m doing outfits/showing off finished craft products/project 52/what we did at the weekend type posts. There’s also a couple of series I’ve let slip, Milo’s monthly chair pictures where I talked about how he’s doing, and shopping updates (which I personally thought were pretty boring to write towards the end). Is there something else you’d like me to cover?

I’ve just read Kerry’s excellent post about the commercialisation of sewing blogs, and I was quite shocked by how many commenters were saying that they really don’t like sewing bloggers to talk about non-sewing related stuff like what they did at the weekend. This really surprised me!

I like to get a sense of who bloggers are, so I always like to see people cover a variety of topics. And it’s pretty bloody hard to properly pick a niche and stick to it! Who has time to sew or knit enough to sustain a regular posting schedule (plus, what are the ethics of churning out handmade clothes? It that really that much better than buying lots? This is maybe a topic for another post though!)

I guess I was just slightly taken aback by these comments (and to be fair, there weren’t that many, they just jumped out at me) because I only just recently gave my friend Amy of Craft and Thrift some blogging advice which essentially amounted to ‘stop worrying about defining yourself and filling a niche and just post what you fancy posting about and then if you’ve done that for a while, usually some themes will naturally emerge’. And now I’ve feel like maybe that’s a minority opinion!

I’d love some thoughts on all of this!

unrelated illustration clickable for source

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • anne 3 October 2014, 11:34 am

    Love your blog – it gives me a nice combination of everyday life, crafting, and Edinburgh glimpses (used to live there :))
    I kind of prefer the latout where you scoll to get to next post. Find it slightly annoying to click have to click every post in the teaser, ususally causing me to read far less blogcontent.
    To me four posting a week seems fine, as do lenght of post – although have missed your wordier post 🙂 (congrats on the degree!!)

    Have a fab weekend!

    Anne, Denmark (currently :))

    • Franca 4 October 2014, 12:23 pm

      Thank you, I’m glad you’re enjoying it, and also thanks for your views!

  • Alice 3 October 2014, 1:02 pm

    Congratulations on finishing studying Franca! I’d love to hear more about your experience with the OU – I’ve been thinking about taking one of their shorter year long courses for quite a while but wasn’t sure if I had either the motivation (I find it a lot easier to study in a really structured environment) or the time to get all the work done.
    As for posts I definitely like having some more personal posts intermingled with crafting stuff. I totally agree with you about needing to get to know the blogger behind it all, I’m far more likely to read consistently if people talk about their lives and I have an attachment to the author. Just crafting stuff is great but I tend to only click through if it is something I’m really interested in.
    I’m also a big fan of having a bunch of posts on your landing page. It means that when I first click through I can get a good idea about the blogger and what kind of things they post about – writing style is really important to me and it takes skimming a couple of posts for me to work out if I want to add them to my reader.
    Don’t know if any of that helps but there you go. Looking forward to seeing where you go from now!

    Alice xo
    Alice recently posted..Day Trip: Visiting AberdourMy Profile

    • Franca 4 October 2014, 12:40 pm

      Thank you for your comments!

      Re the OU – you obviously do need motivation and time, but if you are considering studying out of work I’d definitely recommend the OU. They do break things down into bitesize chunks and apart from for the dissertation, you only have to read what they provide you with, which makes things manageable and was great for me because I always had a tendency to waste time searching for and printing out far more than I could ever read.

      The only negative I would say is that the tutors are not proper academics, so get to the edge of their knowledge very quickly. They seem to see their job as very narrowly focused on answering questions about the course content, if you ask a question that’s even slightly beyond what is covered in the course materials, they basically refuse to answer. We had our tutor tell us that he hoped no one would ask about econometrics because he was ‘not good at maths’! Overall, the OU is great for teaching you what you need to know about a subject, but if you’re looking for excellence in research it’s probably not the ideal match.

  • Jessica 3 October 2014, 3:55 pm

    Hi Franca,
    First, congratulations! I can’t imagine studying with a kid, well done.
    As for your questions, I agree with you that having a bit of variety in blogpost subjects is a good thing. I have been reading your blog for years and years, I love your eye for colour and the voice of your writing; I also really appreciate your thoughtful posts, what you have to say is invariably interesting to me and I usually both agree with at least most,but also come away with something to think about. So thank you for those. Lastly, I definitely really like the more personal posts too, they are fun. I certainly like to feel I have some idea of who the person behind a blog is. I think, on the whole, from the sample I read or have read of each, I would say that sewing or knitting blogs do more often tend to be solely about the making, whilst style blogs (of the sort I read) are more likely to expand naturally from “I wore this” in to “I wore this to do such & such”, and thence into further thoughts.
    As for the setup, I agree with Alice: when I look at a blog for the first time I am unlikely to have the patience to open each post separately in order to form an opinion – I’d rather just scroll down. So if the first post I read doesn’t really grab me, I’m unlikely to bother, whereas if there are a few posts on the initial page I will look at them all before deciding whether it’d be worth clicking on.

    • Franca 4 October 2014, 12:46 pm

      Thanks for your comments! I feel reassured now about my magpie approach to topics.

  • Amy 3 October 2014, 10:41 pm

    Interesting read from Kestrel Makes! How weird that it’s almost exactly what we’ve been talking about recently! I still think you’re right in saying you should write about what interests you, not your readers. Ultimately it’s your blog and you’ve got to have the motivation to write so there’s no point forcing yourself to write about things with stats and sponsors in mind if that means you’re giving up on writing about things you enjoy or find interesting. Also, congrats on finishing studying! That’s awesome!

    • Franca 4 October 2014, 12:47 pm

      Thank you!

  • Steph 4 October 2014, 11:21 am

    Congratulations on getting your dissertation in, that is such a brilliant achievement.
    I have always enjoyed your blog and while not currently into sewing or knitting I enjoy those posts along with your other posts – I agree that it is nice to get an idea of the person behind the blog. I agree with another of the commentators and your own advice that you have to write about what you are interested in – it comes across in your posts and makes them more engaging.
    Personally I like a mixture of short posts and long posts on blogs. On the layout front I prefer the one full post and ‘teasers’ of others, but that’s just me. Hope the comments are helpful.
    Steph recently posted..Team Bambi Re-enter the Fray – Or How I Started Running AgainMy Profile

    • Franca 4 October 2014, 4:43 pm

      Thanks Steph! At least there’s one person that likes the teasers! I think I’ll keep it the way it is for now, but I might do a proper design overhaul in a bit and will reconsider then

  • Melizza 4 October 2014, 1:31 pm

    A blog is your very wee stamp on the Internet. And I think it’s totally awesome to write what you want. Stick to a niche or not. It’s your space.

    I really enjoy your blog because it’s such a nice mix of everything. Congrats on getting your degree done!
    Melizza recently posted..Blog Hop!My Profile

    • Franca 5 October 2014, 8:24 am

      Thank you! It is such a relief to be done!