Blogging Guidelines

Card by Hand painted cards from Toronto, ON. iCraftGifts.com is not only a marketplace for Handmade Gifts. It's also a community of like-minded people. Here, at iCraft, we provide a free blogging platform for all iCraftGifts.com members called Blog Central.

Guest bloggers are welcome too. All you need to do is register to get a Community Member Account.

Blogging is a great way to gain new followers and to draw additional traffic to your store.

We review all blog postings before publishing them to ensure the quality of every post.

This means that not all posts will be approved and published.

We are looking for interesting stories and good images for our Blog. Best posts are timely, appropriately researched, well-written, and geared to Handmade, Art & Craft, Fashion, Home Decor, Kids Crafts and DIY in particular. Make sure your post reads like a story, that is, has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and contains at least one quality photo.

Share your personal stories and experiences. For example, tell us how you decorated your tree and your house for the holidays this year, post pictures of some of the handmade gifts that you made for your family members, post tutorials and DIY projects, interview iCraft sellers etc.

Some tips before you begin

Blog Categories

  • Write on topics that fit with the handmade theme of our blog. You can see all the available topics (Blog Categories) listed on the right side of Blog Central and the category pages. If you have a suggestion for an additional category, let us know.
     
  • Focus on a single topic per post.
     

Photos

  • Each post must have at least one quality photo.
     
  • Your main blog photo has to be at least 400 px, to be included in the "Featured Blog" section on the home page of iCraftGifts.com. The system will size the image, based on the centre point of the image.
     
  • The maximum width of the photo, inserted table or embedded media is 647 px.
     
  • To insert an image in your blog post, click on the Images icon (sixth from the right on the first row). Click on Browse Server to the right of the URL box. This takes you to your own space for images on the iCraft site. Choose ‘Upload’ in the top row of icons. You can then pick the image you want from your own computer. Then choose “Upload Selected File” and the image will appear in your personal collection. Double click on the image you have chosen, and it will appear in the Image Properties panel.
     
  • On the Image Properties panel, enter your alternative text.
     
  •  Give your images a little breathing room by putting a 10 px space around them. On the Image Properties panel, enter your alternative text. Adjust the width/height if desired. Beside ‘border’ enter 1 px. Beside ‘HSpace’ and ‘VSpace’ enter 10 px. Use Align to move your image to the right or left of your text. The default position is centered.
     

Learn more: Photography Advice


Alt tags

  •  Alt Tags are ‘alternative’ text you provide describing your photos. Alt tags are important to make the content of your photos accessible to screen readers. Search engines also read these tags.
     

Links

  • You can add links in your blog post. We reserve the right to research links, and remove any we find inappropriate.
     
  • Don't include too many links to external sites, especially to our competitors. The goal is to promote our own pages through the iCraft blog.
     
  • Write descriptive text for links: more people will click on them.
     
  • For example, if you say "Click here to learn more", users don’t know where the link is taking them and what they might expect when they arrive. Say instead "See more knitting patterns on my blog". People will know immediately what to expect after the click.
     

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

It’s a competitive world out there, so to be noticed in a useful way:

  • Write clear short descriptive titles for your blog posts, using relevant key words.
    Good titles will stand out in search engines, newsfeeds, Twitter feeds, and other external sites. People often read only the first three or four words of a heading when scanning a list of possible places to go on the internet.
  • Choose two to four relevant key words or phrases that best describe your post and enter them in the Tags field, (where they will be used as hyperlinks to other posts using the same keywords/phrases). Start with your strongest key phrase or word.
     

Learn more: Blogging with SEO in mind; Holiday blogging

Duplicate Content

Duplicate content occurs when Google ‘sees’ that there are large amounts of content that either completely match other content or is mostly similar. Duplicate content can occur inside one domain, for example in a seller’s store, or across domains, for example using exactly the same content on your iCraft blog as you’ve used in a separate blog.

Duplicate content reduces the entire site’s value to Google.

"Most search engines strive for a certain level of variety; they want to show you ten different results on a search results page, not ten different URLs that all have the same content. To this end, Google tries to filter out duplicate documents so that users experience less redundancy." ~ Google
 

Originality

  • Respect copyright and financial disclosure laws. Don't copy material from other sources, except in quotes, mentioning the source. You must have permission to use images you find on the web unless they are specifically labelled as free.
     
  • Don't post articles that you, or someone else, already submitted to other blogs.
     
  • Don't practice ‘article spinning’ (changing just enough in someone else’s articleto supposedly get around the rules against duplicate content.)
     
  • Don't post with the sole purpose of driving traffic to another site. Spammers are not welcome!
     
  • We review all posts and comments, so none of the spammy messages will be approved.
     

Self-promotion

  • Promoting your own store and your own products is fine, as long as it’s subtle and fits into the story.
     
  • Don't post with the sole purpose of self-promotion. Try to add value. Provide worthwhile information and perspective.
     

Suitability

  • Use appropriate language and proper grammar and spelling.
  • Humor is good. Just don't joke about objectionable topics, such as sexual orientation and religion.
  • Our blog is family friendly. Don't use ethnic slurs, personal insults or obscenity.


iCraft reserves the right to review, edit, or delete any Blog Post.

Blog submissions must meet our team's quality standards in order to get published.


Good Resources on Blogging:

There are many posts on the Forum and the Blog with helpful information about blogging.

Blogging: How to get Started

Blogging with SEO in mind

Holiday Blogging

7 Blog Elements that bring readers and makes sales

8 Attributes of Content That Inspire Action

Demystifying Blogging

A few Simple Rules for Writing Effective Web Content

Writing to be found

Commenting Guidelines
 

Questions?  Contact us

Photo credit: hand painted cards 

Last Updated: Aug 19, 2014

3 Comments

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Sep 11, 2014 | ReFuseClothing

How long should I expect it to take for my blog to be reviewed?

Apr 19, 2013 | Lannie

Oh good, I'm glad the guidelines seem clear. If anyone has a suggestion about a useful Help topic that may not have been covered so far in the Help section, please let us know.

Apr 18, 2013 | JaJeJems

I think the revised guidelines are great. I really appreciate the detail in your instructions about inserting pictures. I always have a problem with that! Lots of other good information as well. Thanks!
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