Handmade Monday - a linky blog party every week!

Tie on Bird tags 
Tie on Bird tags by Little Brick House via the Craft Blog UK Group on flickr

Written by Wendy Massey of www.1stuniquegifts.com

 You might have heard that taking part in linky parties are a good way of getting more traffic to your blog – and you’d have heard right.   This increased traffic for everyone was exactly what I had in mind when I started a weekly linky party – Handmade Monday - on my own blog.

Handmade Monday doesn’t have many rules: you add your link on the Handmade Monday post on my blog (it’s very easy to do), you link back in your own blog post - and you talk about whatever suits you within the handmade theme.  It’s for bloggers only – no links direct to shops please (they will be deleted).

A lot of bloggers use it to talk about what they’ve made that week or fairs they’ve attended.  That way, it gives people a chance to round off their week, looking back on small, large or multiple achievements (or learning from disasters!) before starting another.  I designed it to be really easy to fit into, whatever craft you blog about.  It doesn’t matter if you sell your crafts or not, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a brand new blogger or have been at it for several years.

When I started Handmade Monday, I anticipated we’d all gain readers and followers  - I didn’t expect the sense of community that’s grown from it and I definitely didn’t expect so many people to tell me it actually motivated them!

One of the participants, Ros of Rosmademe, says Handmade Monday has inspired her to carry a little notebook everywhere (always a good idea – I’m never without mine) and as she gets an idea, she’s also thinking, "That would be great for Handmade Monday".  I’ve heard time and time again how people feel it’s a motivator: it gets them making so they have something to show.  

I’m blown away by what’s happened here – like any project with a variety of contributors, it’s taken on a bit of a life of its own.  People have likened it to an online coffee morning, and it definitely has that feel.  We pop in and out of each others’ blogs and, like Jan at Handcrafted by Picto said, “We’re more likely to leave each other comments now, because we have got to know one another”.  From what I’ve noticed, that even extends to comments outside of Handmade Monday posts.

The other thing that goes along with getting to know one another is the support that people get when they’ve had a bad week, or just need a bit of advice (such as doing their first ever craft fair).  We’ve even had two new baby announcements by bloggers in the time we’ve been running – this sort of thing adds a real warmth and sense of sharing in someone’s life.

And what have I got out of running it?  The same as everyone else: it motivates me to get a new design finished in time to share; I love the sense of community and I love having increased visitors and comments (who doesn’t?).  I also love that other people are benefiting too.  I’ve even bought a cushion as a result of a Handmade Monday post, I’ve had technical help (all the way from sunny Florida!) following a request - and I’ve even met some Handmade Monday bloggers in real life.

If you want to join in, please pop along to my blog any time between sixish on a Sunday evening and noon on a Tuesday (UK time).  It’s always great to see new bloggers and you’ll be made welcome!  To encourage more comments on your own blog, it definitely helps to have a bit of a hop around and comment on as many others as you can (actually, that’s not really any hardship - there are some great reads and tons of inspiration).  You don’t need to do it every week (not everyone does) but, like everything else, the more you take part the more you get from it.  

Thanks Wendy! Sounds great doesn't it - will you be getting involved?! You can read more about how to take part at http://www.1stuniquegifts.co.uk/blog/about-handmade-monday and why not say hello to Wendy on twitter too! - @1stuniquegifts