Next Level Blogging with Miriam Dema

 This is our second post on blogging as a lead up to our Blogging for Makers workshop on July 19. We asked member Miriam Dema about her recent experience transitioning her blog to new a platform (wondering which blogging platform works best for you? Find out more at the workshop!). She is always thoughtful about these things and gives some great information on what that was like and why she did it. Thanks Miriam! 

Q: Can you tell us about your shop and a little back story on its evolution?
A: My name is Miriam Dema, I make artwork and other designs inspired by my artwork and the world around me.  I've been selling fine art since 2001, I've had a website of my work online as early as 2003. In 2007 I opened a Etsy shop and started a blog using the Blogger platform to share my work online-- both were links out from my personal website that I designed using Dreamweaver. Since then I've been selling primarily limited edition fine art screen prints at galleries, shows and through my Etsy shop. I've always made, shared and sold everything under my name Miriam Dema. 

Q: You recently redid your blog, what was the reason behind that?
A: For six years I used the Blogger platform to host my blog. But I became increasingly motivated to have everything under one "roof" and have it be something that I am in complete control of. Using free services is a great way to get going but you always have to be aware that when it's free you literally get what you pay for. They have control of your content as well as how well it works...or if it's working at all. 

I also wanted to have a site that was something I could update a bit easier when I have new work to share or want to focus on a new direction. So I poked, begged and generally bugged my husband until he set up an account for me using Wordpress. He manages our hosting-- we have a lot of content online including two other businesses as well as some community domains we take care of. Thankfully he got me going but since then he's been pretty hands off and urging me to learn as I go. 

Miriam's old website and blog.

Miriam's old website and blog.

Q: What was the transition like and what lessons did you learn from it?
A: Hard. No really. I'm not that inclined to understand web stuff and there were and continue to be *a lot* of challenges along the way. I made a rather unconventional choice and I bought a complete theme for my site that I have been very happy with. It was more than some people would spend but less than others- while I could have taken longer to design my site from a free theme it was really nice to just have everything ready to go and I plugged in my design choices. Then I had to migrate 500+ posts over from blogger. I'm still plodding my way through the older posts to copy photo's and host them somewhere secure. 

In addition to that I decided to use the Wordpress platform to build pages for the content that was previously on my website including galleries of my work and some behind the scenes info as well as an about page. All along the way I'm learning how it works, why it gets fussy and always, always trying to figure out way to speed it up and how to get it to work well for people that want to see who I am and what I'm up to. 

Q: You made decisions about your blog, choosing an option that had some pitfalls (in that they all do!). Why did you go the route you did?
A: I do think that Wordpress is a great blogging platform. For blogging. But there seems to be a growing trend to shoehorn every bit of what you want on a website into it. It's worth considering if using it for more than a blog is good for your business in the long run. It's not the only tool you should have in your tool box when it comes to a successful web presence. 

Q: What recommendations would you give to makers starting their own blog or looking to make a transition like you did?
A: A really good question to ask yourself would be "Do I want to maintain a blog?" Don't do it just because some article said it's something you should do. A good blog gets updated fairly regularly, has good content and great photos and people want to check it out. It's an annoying, pesky, easy to ignore time suck if it's not something you actually want to be doing. I have friends and family that live all over the place, my blog allows them and people who have purchased my work to see what I've made recently and a little bit behind the scenes. I also like to share cocktail recipes now and then and get out and into the great big world and share our adventures. I really do think of it as a journal. A little view into the making and creativity that makes up my artwork and designs. 

Reach out to people. If you do go the Wordpress route know that there are meetups and groups online and tons of info to get help and learn as you go. People are really passionate about Wordpress and they really like to answer questions and help out. 

Q: Anything else?
A: Keep it simple and be patient. It's not gonna happen over night unless you pay someone to do it for you. I keep working at little bits and pieces to mold and shape the site into something I'm proud of. I make some mistakes and learn things along the way, it's been challenging but also a bit rewarding. I just try to be patient and know that I'm doing my best. 

Q: Where can people find your stuff?
A: I'm at for my site and on all those other places like Instagram, Pinterest, facebook and Twitter I'm @miriamdema.  Stop on by and check out what I'm up to!