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eBook Review: Making a Great Blog by Diane Gilleland

Reported by Rachel Johnson
Diane Gilleland is a fixture in the online craft world. She runs the informative and fun craft site, CraftyPod.com, which consists of a frequently updated blog, and truly amazing weekly podcasts all about “making stuff.” She also contributes to the creative community blog: Make + Meaning, and co-manages a monthly “tweet-up” called Craft Social. I have been following Diane and CraftyPod since 2006 when I met her at one of the monthly Crafty Wonderland craft sales in Portland, Oregon. I have always been impressed with the quality and helpfulness of the content she produces.
Recently, Diane has also branched into online publishing with a line of how-to eBooks. Even though I have been blogging for nearly seven years, I knew that there was still plenty I could learn from an expert like Diane, so I jumped at the chance to purchase two of her books during a recent promotional sale she was having. I purchased Making a Great Blog and Social Media for your Crafty Business (today, I am only reviewing Making a Great Blog, but stay tuned for the next installment!)

Making a Great Blog is a 47-page eBook that also comes with eight pages of helpful worksheets. According to the book’s official description,

“It’s designed for beginning bloggers, and for more experienced bloggers who need to get re-inspired. And most importantly, it’s written specifically for art and craft bloggers.”

Once you purchase the book, you download it in PDF format via an emailed link. The entire purchasing process was simple; I was able to open the book on my personal computer within minutes of my purchase–instant gratification!

Anyone who has started a blog knows that there are many online resources that can teach you the technical side of setting up a site and publishing content. What Making a Great Blog focuses on are the often more difficult tasks of creating valuable content and persevering through “blog fade.” The four main subjects covered in the book include pre-blog preparation and planning, generating quality content, the visual side of blogging, and blogger etiquette.
In Making a Great Blog, Diane addresses broad topics like why a person may want to start blogging, and more detailed topics like specific blog post ideas and how to write more interesting, informative, and narrative content. There are also suggestions for how to improve your blog photography and design (with photo examples like the one seen above), plus common sense — but unfortunately necessary — guidelines on blogging etiquette.

Personally, I was reminded to bring more cohesiveness and structure to my own blog’s subject matter and to focus on my readers instead of my own needs, but each reader will take away their own favorite ideas. The book is definitely geared toward (and will be most helpful for) beginner bloggers. However, I believe everyone, from true beginners to experienced professionals, will find more than one helpful tip or reminder in Making a Great Blog that will improve their blogging skills.

Pros:
  • Immediately available for download and reading–no need to go to the store or wait for a package to arrive.
  • Very clear and concise writing, with a little humor and personality sprinkled in. It is a quick read that is broken into easily-digestible chapters and sections.
  • A unique perspective on blog development that focuses more on creating good content instead of only explaining the technical “nuts and bolts” of setting up a blog site (although, there are plenty of links to technical resources provided for further study, too).
  • Includes guided worksheets and list prompts that help the reader focus and improve their blog in a wide variety of ways.
  • Making a Great Blog is not about tricks or “get-rich-quick”-style tactics for gaining an immediate (but low-quality) blog audience – it is about helping you do the real, valuable work of creating and publishing quality content and becoming an important member of the online craft community.
Cons:
  • Most helpful for blogging beginners, and although I recommend the book for any blogger looking to improve their craft, experts may not find it as helpful.
  • For some, the lack of a physical paper book may be a drawback.
  • If you are looking for extremely detailed technical instructions on how to build a website, Making a Great Blog is probably not the book for you.
Making a Great Blog the eBook is available for purchase on CraftyPod.com for $12.50. Have you purchased or read this or other eBooks before? What do you think about eBooks as an educational medium? Do you have any suggestions for other books or resources that can help with successful blogging?

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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3 Responses to eBook Review: Making a Great Blog by Diane Gilleland

  1. Cyn March 1, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    Oh gosh isn’t Diane great? She gave me a copy of her Social Media for your Crafty Business ebook to review and it was so valuable to me. Then I took her course on tuning up your crafty blog and again, the information was invaluable PLUS the group chats and one on one assistance was amazing!
    http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com

  2. rachel johnson March 1, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

    Absolutely! I love Diane and have learned so much from her Podcasts. She is such an asset to the online craft community!

  3. SisterDG March 2, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    Aw, *blushes* you are the nicest women ever! Thank you so much, Rachel, for this great review, and thank you Cyn for the lovely comment!

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