Exactly two years ago I started my little blogging adventure. I never though in a million years that The Bubblist will found its audience so quickly, that the blog will be followed, shared and loved the way in has been since day one. I knew nothing about blogging, very few about social media, but I was driven by my passion for art and my wish to share with a broad audience what the local art scene has to offer. Accessible was my key word. Simplicity and honesty my mantra.
I started the blog to mostly share with my family and friends my arty wanderings, and to document my new life in Tel Aviv, but somehow the blog found you all and really gathered a community around it. I meet readers every week, answer (not always on time) your many emails, connect people together for professional purposes, advise, and attend as much as possible your lovely invitations. Being a blogger is not only a visible online activity, there is of course much more behind. This past two years brought me a lot of joy on both personal and professional level. The blog traveled with me, evolved, had ups and downs, and is still a laboratory for me where I test, interrogate and learn from everyday.
For this anniversary post I wanted to share some blogging tips with you. As a true rookie and self-learner I thought it was the perfect time to spread some (not so) wise words with the bloggers or wanna bloggers out there. To prepare this post, I listed some of the most frequent questions I’ve received by emails, and added some blogging statements I would have love to know about when I started.
Chose a blogging platform you feel comfortable with : I worked with WordPress from the start. I spent a lot of time watching tutorial videos on Youtube, reading forums, testing themes and designs. I’m not going to lie, it took me a while before reaching a look I was happy about (and I’m still quiet not there yet). Your visual identity is of course very important, but don’t be afraid to grow , and play with your different options.
Be consistent and focus : We can blog about anything nowadays, but I’ve learned that it is important to stick to what is your blog about. From the start it was clear that this blog will be about art and culture and nothing else. It’s an important point to keep your audience, be consistent and centered.
Be your own community manager : I always loved social medias, but you really need to become on point when you start a blog. They are perfect to bring traffic and audience to your blog, and for me they are also actual blogging tools. You need to find the good rhythm with what you post, spamming your followers is definitely not the best way, but like for the blog posts you need to be consistent. I mostly use Facebook and Instagram, even though the second one is not entirely dedicated to the blog. Do I pay for followers? No. I used Facebook free trials to advertised the blog page three times for short periods, and was actually happily surprised to see that the new likers were actual people. Do I use contests and give aways to get more like ? No. How I get more likes? Does like matters? A lot of bloggers will tell you it doesn’t matter, but I think it does, I love having new readers, new feedbacks, it keeps me on my toes. It’s been a long time I stopped sharing the FB page as the blog is growing on its own. Always learn more about the new social medias, there is constantly new ways to share your content, be creative and innovative.
Love your existing readers : When you launch a new blog, you are of course looking for an audience. What’s important is to stop obsessing about finding new readers. Be happy with the followers you already got, keeping readers is in my opinion a way more interesting and challenging work. How to keep them? Offering interesting and regular content, be innovative, networking, be where your readers are not going to expect you.
Haters gonna hate : I’m actually quiet lucky with this one. In two years I only experienced once a real hater of the blog, but after talking with some fellow bloggers it is apparently a thing. I always was and still is very humble about my blog. I’m far from being the first one blogging about art, and far from being the last. Just be true to yourself and be proud of what you do. It is important to get in touch with other bloggers, to have a glimpse of their experience, to share tips, and support each other. What about copycats? Everyone gets his/her inspiration from somewhere, so just be flattered. Where do you get your inspiration from? For the format of my post I’m mostly inspired by the online magazine Artnet and the more edgy Dazed and Confused, they are definitely on fleek. I follow also many bloggers, actually very few art blogs, mostly fashion, design or personal ones.
Write about what you love : If you are passionate about something go for it. I first write for myself, to keep connected with art, to keep track of all the exhibitions I’ve seen, the artists I met, the curators who inspired me. Stick to what you love. Good content is the key of course, after years writing papers for college, and press releases for galleries, the blogging format is so much fun, it is really a place of freedom, as English is not my mother tongue I have tendency to write like I speak and my followers seems to like it that way. Being accessible was the whole idea of the blog, making people feel confident about their ability to talk about art.
Growth and community : How much readers do you have? From which country? How many times a month do you check your stats? Do you advertise the blog? Do you make money out of the blog? Blogging is an important part of my life, but it’s not my job. I don’t advertise the blog, I don’t get pay to talk about anything. Do I get some goodies sometimes? Yes. Now let’s talk about numbers. I’m not obsessing over my stats at all, I check it maybe once a week. Since the last blog anniversary a year ago, I had 29.834 unique views, which is huge for such a small platform so I’m extremely happy and grateful. My readers are from everywhere, but the top 6 countries of this last year is Israel, Belgium, US, France, UK and Germany. Growing a community and going beyond borders were two very important things for me, and I hope that it is only the beginning.
Be in touch with professionals : Don’t be afraid to contact artists, art galleries (or any other relevant person/institution in your blog field), museums, curators, magazines when you start. It’s important to be in touch with what’s going on and who make it happen. After a while you will notice that they are coming your way, send you the press releases, invitations and pitch their last show. It will make your work much easier.
Always looking forward : Renew yourself, offer a lifting to your blog from time to time, get into new projects, think about other way to share what you are passionate about, and why not expending your venture? In Few months I’m moving back to Europe, more than probably in London. A new place, new arty adventures, new collaborations, but bringing awareness on Israeli contemporary art will still be a big part of the blog’s identity. I’m planning on focusing on entrepreneurship and social medias, and why not starting to curate my own exhibitions online? I’m just dreaming out loud, but after all when you blog sky is the limit right?
Feel free to send me more questions, to share your own blogger experience with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Since I’m getting more and more emails from you, I’ve decided to answer all of them every sundays.
Thanks for the ride ! It has been amazing so far.