By Christina VanGinkel
I have found myself checking other people's signatures on the crafting boards I visit lately to see if they have a blog or website related to the hobby we share. Why the sudden fascination, I am not sure. People have been putting address in their signatures for quite some time, but until very recently I have ignored them. Then, one day out of total curiosity and a bit of writer's block I might add, I decided to click on one.
What I discovered was like a completely new world, with people sharing insights into the hobbies that they love. Tips on buying hobby supplies, how they used something in a way it was not intended, stories about hobby conventions and sales, and directions to shows. I also discovered tips on hotels to stay in, and eateries to avoid if going to a show being mentioned in the blog or on the website, even links to numerous small stores that catered to the particular hobby under discussion, stores that others might overlook because they are local or so small that they do not really have an advertising budget.
Beyond this though, I found personal essays about why people partake in the hobbies they love, stories about how they started, who turned them on to the hobby, how time spent participating in the hobby is like self treatment, therapy for the masses who cannot afford therapy other than the retail kind. I discovered such intimate details amongst many of these hobby related blogs that at times I felt as if I were eavesdropping on someone's private life, their very private life at that.
Many of the blogs and websites offer up specific information on why or why not to buy something or attend a specific event. When I read that someone has tried a technique I was considering, or tested out a product I was considering buying, it is like having my own personal shoppers and testers. I can read through why they liked a show they attended one year, and why they are going back the next, and at the same time, why they are never going to another party with such and such a company again, no matter how significant the hostess benefits are.
Each blog is usually a bit of self-discovery for the reader too. People often feel a connection with the readers they hope to attract. People who have a love of a hobby they both share, and in this sameness, they often spill out personal stories about their lives, their kids, their loves, their losses.
If you think creating a blog or website about a hobby you love is something you would like to do, check out one of the many free places online that will provide you with web space to do just that. Most offer at least some limited picture space, while others offer up quite a bit of bandwidth for those who want to share pictures related to the hobbies they love. Scrapbookers especially would do well to find a site that is going to offer them enough space to upload the occasional layout.
You can find free blog sites to post online by typing in what you are searching for in any major search engine. Sometimes being specific is a good idea, other times it will do nothing more than provide you with blogs on the subject. For example, if you would like to create a blog about scrapbooking, type in 'free scrapbook blog'. You will find several that cater to those wanting to upload pictures. If typing in a specific hobby does not bring up a match, just do a general search for 'free blog'. If a website is more to your way of thinking, type in 'free website'. If you insert a specific hobby, you are more likely to come up with websites about the hobby itself than you are places that are offering up free space. Do not overlook Blogger.com as an ideal place to post a blog about your hobby. Blogger.com is free, and easy to use. It also offers you the option to ad AdSense to your personal blog, which can even net you some revenue, which you can then use to help fund your hobby!