Things to Consider When Starting a DIY Blog

Welcome to part two of the Business of Blogging series. This is an eight part series where I tell you all about the business of blogging and what I have learned along the way. If you are just joining us make sure the go back and start from the beginning so you don’t miss any information or tips. Don’t worry your not far behind all you missed is the introduction and what I wish I knew before starting a blog. Alright lets get started.

I have always been interested in what goes on behind he scenes of blogs, youtube channels, and basically all successful social influencers. I want to know what the typical day looks like for a full time blogger or YouTuber. In my research about DIY and craft bloggers I couldn’t find any posts that talked specifically about the work it takes. They all talked about sharing your crafts, taking good photos, make tutorials and all the other obvious stuff.

Well this post is not like the others. I want to shed some light on all the work that goes in. I am not trying to convince anyone that being a DIY or craft blogger is a bad idea. As a craft blogger I feel like we as craft bloggers have an elevated work load because on top of making the blog post we have to make the project that the post is about. So I am going to start with my biggest tip.

Start in a Specific Niche

What I mean by this is choose a specific style of crafting to start with. This way you can focus on that one crafting category (scrap book, painting, drawing, card making, knitting, crocheting, ect.). I personally to this day struggle with creating content and keeping a consistent audience because I do all types of crafts. By not narrowing down my niche I get overwhelmed with ideas and crafts to make but then struggle to follow through on all those ideas because I get excited on the next thing before I finished the first.

So this year I am going to focusing on narrowing down my niche to a specific type of crafting. By getting specific in your niche you are letting your readers know what you do. Your readers will easily be able to say oh she/he makes cards. Then if they like card making or find your content interesting they will continue to come back. Yes there are other crafter who are all over the place like me so that is how I keep readers coming back but I know I could grow my audience by narrowing my niche. So this brings me to my second point.

WatercolorsStart with what you have

A craft blog is a great reason to learn new skills and share them with your readers but first you need to get readers. So start with what you have. This goes for camera gear, your computer, your work space, and your craft supplies. I think all bloggers think well I don’t have the newest and best camera so I need to get that for my blog but you don’t.I started blogging by taking photos on my iPad. Smart phones have great cameras and they make editing easy because you can do that on your phone as well.

The same goes for craft supplies. Look in your craft supplies and see what you have. Most crafters tend to do one style of crafting a lot more than others. Figure out what you do the most and work from there. I always think of all these great project ideas but I realize I don’t have any of the supplies for them. Just like making a grocery list when thinking of post ideas be looking at the supplies you have and a lot of times you will have great ideas. I noticed the posts I make from supplies I have always turn out better and more successful than the other.

Craft your stash. This will help keep supply cost low. This way when you need to buy something you haven’t spent all your money on craft supplies already. Something else to keep in mind when thinking of your posts is to think about what your going to do with it when its done. You don’t want to spend all this money on supplies for great posts then have random finished projects every where.

Work Work Work

Lets talk business. I am assuming that if you are still reading this you are interested in turning a DIY or craft blog into a career or at least a side hustle. So far we haven’t talked much about treating your blog as your job but don’t worry we are about to get into that. Just keep in mind that I am talking about my personal experiences and that everyones experience will be different.

Starting a blog required full time hours with part time pay.

Honestly the one thing I underestimated was the amount of time the goes into a successful blog.  I knew it was going to be a lot of hard work but I did not realize how much time it truly takes. When starting a blog most bloggers are doing everything them selves. Even some full time bloggers still do every thing for them selves. Therefor your productivity depends entirely on how much time you put into your blog. If you are like me you probably currently have a job that you rely on as your income.

When starting a blog as a business you have to think like a brand (we will get more into this next week). Keeping with the craft theme, Jo Anns store is a business and yes a brand but with in that Jo Anns sells other brands of craft supplies like Cricut for example. Before Cricut can sell any of its products on Jo Anns shelves they must test the product to make sure the crafters buying it will like it. They also have to plan the perfect time to release the product.  That is the same for every single post you put out.

Create a process

Before I put out a tutorial on my YouTube channel or blog there is a lot of prep work that goes in. This will probably be a similar process that you will do for your craft blog. Remember when creating tutorials for your readers that there is never a right or wrong way to make that craft and to encourage creativity. I alway say that my tutorials are just guides to spark ideas in my readers to create something new. Also your readers may not always have access to all the supplies you are using so remember to not use anything that couldn’t be easily substituted with another tool to supply.

My tutorial process generally follows these steps. First I think of the craft I am going to make (this usually involves Pinterest and other research to make sure the craft hasn’t been made a bunch of times already) . I like to draft out my project on my computer making it easier when I go back to create the posts to not forget any information I want my readers to know.

Next I check for my supplies to make sure I have everything I need. Then I will sit and draft out the steps to make the project. After that its time to make the craft. I make sure I have all my supplies, a clear craft space, memory card space, and a charged camera battery. Slowly making the project and taking photos along the way. The photos give my readers a visual of what I am talking about. After that I put my post together.

If I am lucky everything will go to plan but that usually doesn’t happen. There are many times I have to remake the craft because I need a few more photos. In addition to getting content for the blog I also have the think about photos for marketing.

Time ManagementTime Management

Later on in this series we will go into more detail about scheduling blog posts. For now I want to talk about how your post schedule will affect the crafts you make. I feel like there is two main categories of crafters. The ones who like long crafts that could take days or even weeks to make. Then the quick crater who likes fast easy crafts. Personally those are the crafts that I prefer so that is what I make for my blog.

When thinking of your crafts keep in mind the amount of time it takes to make. If it is something that is going to take you days to make it might be a better idea to create a series. Make several posts about the same craft to avoid overwhelming readers. This is also a great way to give readers something to look forward too.

Another thing to keep in mind is the amount of time it takes you to create a post. Personally it takes me a couple hours to create a post. Ultimately it depends on the craft and how much detail I need to go into. The amount of time for the craft and the post all determine how far in advance you need to start your craft. Most bloggers don’t create a post and publish it when their finished. To learn more about creating content and posing schedules make sure to come back for part five of this series.

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What I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog- The Business of Blogging

Welcome to The Business of Blogging series. This is part one of the series . If you missed the introduction I encourage you to go back and read it so you know what we will be talking about in this series. Starting a blog comes with a lot of pressure (at least for me it did). Trying to make sure everything is right from the start and at the same time not even knowing the half of what it take to run a successful blog. In this post we are going to discuss everything I wish I knew before starting my blog.

I want to say I made a lot of mistakes along the way but I don’t think of them as mistake so instead I say that I had a lot of learning opportunities along my blogging journey. No one is perfect so don’t be shocked if you quickly realize you should have done something differently. One day you will look back on it and it will all be part of the journey.

Before starting your blog there is going to be a lot of planning. So I recommend finding a place to take notes and write out questions, and the answers to those questions. Personally I wrote everything out in a note book and I still have that note book today. Once you have found that place start your research. While researching these are a few key point to decide about you blog.

Hobby or Business?

I never even considered this when starting my blog so this questions is where I was presented with a lot of learning opportunities. One of the first decisions about your blog you need to make is; will this blog be a hobby or one day will it make some type of money? Before making any decisions keep reading.

A hobby blog is great. It can be an online diary, a place to share with family and friends, something you start because you just need something for you. A hobby blog has no dead lines, content restrictions, and over all you don’t care if you have any readers. It is also a great place to test the waters and see if blogging is for you before you take the plunge into unfamiliar territory.

Then there is blogging as a business. Your starting a blog and know going in that you will one day you’ll be relying on this to make some type of income. Or you may own a business already and want another area to connect with your followers. This is where you treat your blog like its your job even though you won’t be making any money at first. Business blogging involves thinking about finances, content type and schedules, marketing, and analytics.

All of that is what The Business of Blogging series is all about. If you are now thinking that blogging will just be a hobby for you I encourage you to keep reading because there will still be helpful information to you. Now that you have an idea of weather your blog is going to be your business or your hobby you need to think about where you blog is going to be. On the internet duh!

Free Platform or Paid Website?

Like I said earlier learning opportunities. I started my blog on WordPress where I created a free blog. I was able to create a blog for free and share it with others. It was a great place that told me when people were following my blog and was easy to get readers. I was also able to connect with other bloggers pages and read what they were sharing.

Then I started looking into making money and realized that would never happen because while I named my blog and was able to share with others at the end of the day WordPress controlled my blog and could take it down at any second. That was about a year after I started that blog and realized I loved it and I was willing to put money into it.

I then relocated to HostGator. Which is a web hosting service that allows you to pick the plan you would like and pay to have a web site like Createlynn.com. This is my website that I chose the menu titles, the background color, the url (if it is available), I also control when the website is shut down and won’t be restricted.

I personally use HostGator to have my website and the back end of my website that I see I use wordpress. I don’t know all the technical terms, I don’t have experience with coding, and I do not have any type of education on websites other than what I thought myself. So here is where I tell you to do research and watch videos, read blogs, take free classes. That is how I learned and I am still learning.

Niche (no its not a curse word)

Niche- denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population (as stated by google dictionary)

Your niche or your specialized section of the population is what your going to make your blog all about. This is specifically true for a business blogger To get readers to your site and to keep them coming back you are going to want to talk about something that you and they are interested in. So today you are reading this post because you are interested in starting a blog. You will continue to come back and read my blog if you find my posts interested or informative and wish to read more.

Your niche is what your blog is going to be all about. For example sports, arts and crafts, beauty, fashion, ect. So you want to pick a topic you are passionate about. When first starting out though you want to get specific. Keeping your niche specific is going to help you generate more content and let you audience know right away if they want to keep coming back.

My niche is DIY or Arts and Crafts. Personally I do not focus on a specific area of DIY because I enjoy many types of crafting. If your thinking about starting a crafting blog consider starting on a specific type of crafting (painting, drawing, scrapbooking, card making, crochet, knitting, etc) then once you build an audience start to branch out. If you are interested in starting a DIY blog come back next week for my post all about starting an arts and crafts blog.

Time and Money

Before starting a blog know how much time you plan to spend on it. Think weekly, monthly, and yearly. How long do you see yourself working on this blog. What do you see your blog looking like in a year or five years. Don’t choose a niche you can’t picture yourself posting about in a year. Don’t pick a niche you will run out of content to write about.

Finances need to be in your plan as well. How much are you willing to pay for your website. Will you need any equipment to start your blog. Do you have a computer to work from? A camera to take pictures with? What other expenses will you have along the way?

As a craft blogger I have to ask myself several questions before every post. What am I going to make? Do I have the materials I need? How long with this project take?

There are different variables that are going to affect both time and money. Don’t plan on making 5 posts a week while working a full time job, taking care of three kids, two animals, and your husband. Set realistic goals and change them as needed. I have a full time job so I know that I can realistically get two posts out a week. Something else to keep in mind when planning time and money is that having a successful blog is that your going to need more than a blog.

Being a blogger off the blog

Being a blogger is more than having a blog. This is something that took me time to realize. Successful bloggers have such large audiences because their readers feel connected to them. I notice my posts that get the most views are the ones that I am personal in. Like my post about my engagement . This doesn’t mean I would have a successful blog if all I did was talk about my life. Readers want to see that you are a person just like them and they want to find ways to connect with you.

Later on in the series we will talk more about building an audience. Know going into your blog you are going to want to start some social media account for your audience to follow. These will be great places for you to get more personal with your audience and show your readers who you are.

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Easy DIY Christmas Gifts

With Christmas quickly approaching the pressure is on to get the perfect gift. A gift that is hand made is a great option, weather your on a budget or want to give something from the heart. DIY Christmas Gifts can be personalized and one of a kind.

I wanted to make DIY Christmas gift tutorials to share with you but unfortunately I ran out of time and I want to make sure you all have enough time to make these gifts. So instead Im going to share with you some handmade gift idea that I found from some of my favorite blogs. I will link all of these idea so you can find the tutorials.

5 Easy DIY Christmas Gifts

DIY Patch Laptop Case

This photo belongs to A Beautiful Mess at https://abeautifulmess.com/2017/03/diy-patch-laptop-case.html

I found this DIY on A Beautiful Mess and fell in love. Patches are so trendy right now and they can easily be personalized to fit anyones style. Just make sure you buy the right size case to fit the recipients laptop. This would also be great to do with a backpack, purse, iPad case, or basically anything. The best part is the case doesn’t even have to be fabric, it could be a hard plastic case too.

DIY Arm Knitting Infinity Scarf

This photo belong to ALLDAYCHIC at http://alldaychic.com/arm-knitting-30-minutes-infinity-scarf-diy/

These are a GREAT gift to give to all your girl friends. Once you make a couple of these they take no time at all to make. Last year I gave all the ladies I worked with these infinity scarves for Christmas and they loved it. Their easy to make and by simply switching the yarn your using you can create a totally customized look for each persons sense of style and their a big hit.

Sugar Scrub

This photo belongs to The Little Pine at http://www.thelittlepine.com/top-5-homemade-sugar-scrub-recipes/

Personally I love to pamper myself a couple nights a month. I usually apply a hair mask and a face mask, take a nice long hot shower, exfoliate my skin, put on some nice lotion, and paint my nails. This is my time to relax, destress and focus on myself. I know not everyone gets time to do this so gifting a sugar scrub could encourage someone to take some time for themselves. Along with this you could add a few other spa items and make a whole gift basket.

Fleece Blanket

This photo belongs to pinnedandqepinned at http://pinnedandrepinned.com/how-to-make-a-fleece-blanket/

Handmade blankets are my favorite gift to give. This tutorial is so easy and the finished project it so cute. It requires fleece and pom pom trim. If you don’t have a sewing machine you could also hand sew this. If you don’t know how to sew you could use some fabric glue.

DIY Christmas Ornament

Another great gift is something they can use every Christmas. Christmas decor is something people will see every year and be reminded of you. Check out my DIY Snow Man Ornament tutorial. 

There is only 15 days until Christmas so there is just enough time to make these DIY gifts. You may even decide to make some gifts for yourself this year. I would love to see if you make any of these to leave a photo in the comments or tag me if you post them.

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Easy DIY Snowman Christmas Ornament for your Tree

December is here so let the Christmas decorating begin. This is our first Christmas in our new house so I am excited to decorate the whole house. We bought our first Christmas tree and in an ideal world I would have a totally DIYed Christmas tree but unfortunatly its not going to happen this year. That doesn’t mean I am not going to DIY some of the ornaments. So I started with this DIY Snowman Christmas Ornament. It was very easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of supplies.

I used some blank pages out of some old books I am using for other projects.  Tare them into about 1/2 inch strips. You could also cut them if you want a cleaner edge.

Then take the paper strips and wrap them around the handle of a small paintbrush. Using my fingers I rubbed over the paper to create heat to keep the curl when releasing the paper. Make enough curls to fill a clear ornament to the desired fullness. 

If you want to skip using the paper you could easily do the rest of these DIY with a plain white ornament. Avoid using anything with glitter or a texture on the outside because the snowman face is a sticker.

To make my Snowman face I used my Cricut and cut it out with vinyl. You could also use sticker dots, paper and glue, permanent markers, or paint. 

This DIY Snowman Christmas Ornament would be great to personalize with a name or date. This is also a great technique to use and make some original ornaments.

Want to see a video tutorial?

If you want to see a video of how I made this click here.

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Spring Clothes Pin Wreath

Today I am going teach you how to make this cute spring clothes pin wreath. This wreath doesn’t require a lot of supplies or time to put together. I got most of my supplies from the dollar store so the cost of this DIY was only $5.

Supplies:

-wire wreath form
-clothes pins
-spray paint
-flowers
-wire edge ribbon
-one pipe cleaner
-hot glue gun

This wreath is spring themed but can easily be modified by using different colors of spray paint and embellishments to be any theme you would like.

Instructions

Start out by determining how many clothes pins you will need to go all the way around your wreath form. I clipped the clothes pins on and ended up needing 60 clothes pins for a 12 inch wire wreath form. 

Next take the clothes pins off the wreath form and decide how many you would like of each color. I did 20 clothes pins of three colors. This is optional but I also spray painted my wreath form white because it will show through the clothes pins. Once all the clothes pins and wreath form are painted just wait for them to dry. 

Once they are dry begin clipping them to the wreath form. Place one clip on the inner two wires. Then the next clip on the middle two wires. Repeat this all the way around creating a pattern with the clothes pin colors and placement. 

Once the clothes pins are all the way around your wreath form you will notice their is probably an area that their is an unpleasant gap between the clothes pins. This is where you will place your bow. My bow has three loops on each side. Simply attach the bow using the pipe cleaner and trimming off the excess on the back.

Once the bow is attached trim the edges to make the tails even. I chose the pointed ended but it is completely up to you.

Next add your embellishments to the wreath. I chose to use fake flowers and hot glued them to the clothes pins. 

I finished my wreath by adding on the trimmings from my ribbon to tie it all together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thats it! Simple. Easy. Quick.

The great thing about this wreath is that the clothes pins are not permanently attached to the wreath form so it can easily be remade to work with another Holliday or season.

Here’s to Something New…

When I first started my blog almost a year ago my main focus was DIY, or so I thought. I realize now that my focus was crafting. I love to craft and being creative but it truly works your mind. Lately I my mind hasn’t been where it needs to be, to happily craft like I want. I never do anything I don’t want to so I stopped crafting, which meant I stopped blogging.

I had time to take a step back an evaluate my life. I am at a time in my life where things are changing and I am experiencing major life events. I realized that DIY does not only apply to crafting but so many aspects in our lives.

I want my blog to be a place to share with others and connects with them. I want to share my creative ideas along with other things happening in my life. I want this to be a place for people to come and read about me and my story. I want my readers to know that their are other people experiencing what they may be going through weather it be good, bad or creative. I want my readers to know that I am a real person with a real life.

Something to look forward to.

From now on I am going to share with you not only my crafts and creative ideas but things happening in my life and world around me. I want all of you to know me and feel connected to me through life and creativity. I want to create a community where we can all go to get guidance, reassurance, and support. Connect with other through comments, to hear not only about me but about others as well.

Here is to new adventures and experiences.

DIY Pom Pom

Hi friends! Today I am excited to share with you this fun DIY for making pom poms. I would highly recommend buying these inexpensive pom pom makers. They are very easy to use and the pom poms come out almost perfect every time. There is very little waste when making them as well.

Supplies Needed: A variety of yarn in colors and thicknesses. Pom Pom makers, I got mine here. Small scissors and a ruler (optional).

This project is super simple and easy to make. They look so cute and can be used in so many different crafts. While making one does not take long it does become time consuming when you need to make a large amount.

Your pom pom makers should have come with instructions so they may be slightly different than mine. First open both sides of the pom pom maker and start wrapping one side with yarn. Make sure to push the yarn loops together to keep them tight. 

Once one side is completely wrapped with yarn then cut the end to separate it from the ball of yarn.

Next your going to wrap the other side of the pom pom maker and cut the end. Make sure to push both sides back in to prevent the yarn from coming off. Next cut about a 12 inch long piece of yarn and set it aside. Once that is complete, you are going to cut all the loops of yarn along the side of the pom pom maker.

Once you have cute the yarn all the way around, take your piece of yarn that you set aside and put it into the crease of the pom pom maker and tie a knot. 

Now open your pom pom maker and pull apart the two sides to remove the pom pom. 

Once you have your pom pom out of the maker then tie another knot in your string to keep all the pieces secure. Lastly trim the pom pom and the long string to make it look as desired. 

There you have it an easy and quick way to make pom poms. With them easily customizable I will definitely be showing you ways to incorporate these into your crafts.

Holiday Inspired Pom Pom Wreath

Hi friends! Today I am excited to share with you this fun DIY for making a pom pom wreath. I decided to put a twist on this simple project by adding in Christmas ornaments to give it some shine. Now is the best time to get ornaments since most stores have them on sale. While it may not be Christmas any more you can use ornaments all year long in crafts.

Supplies Needed:

You will need a foam wreath form, mine was 14 inches. A variety of yarn in colors and thicknesses. Christmas ornaments, mine were the standard size but any size will work. Pom Pom makers, I got mine here. Small scissors, pliers (optional), a hot glue gun and glue sticks, and one pipe cleaner (optional).

This project is super simple and easy to make. What takes the longest is actually making the pom poms so once you get the hang of it, put in your favorite movie and by the end you should have them all made. I made almost 100 pom poms for this project, in three different colors ad two different sizes. I decided not to use the cream pom poms so I did have pom poms left over. If you want to know how I made my pom poms check out this post for step by step instructions. If you would like to see video instructions for how to make this project check out my video.

Fist is to remove the tops from the ornaments. Grab your pliers and pull the top of the ornament off where you would normally hang it. We will not need the toppers so feel free to throw them away.

Next start placing your ornaments around your wreath to find the proper placement. I use the top of the ornament where we removed the topper to push the ornament into the foam wreath form. It helps to keep them in place and hides the top piece. 

Once that is complete start filling in-between the ornaments with the pom poms. I start with the inside then move to the outside of the wreath form and then finish with the top. 

After you have the inside of the wreath form looking exactly how you want, hot glue all of the ornaments and pom poms to the wreath form. I suggest hot glueing all the ornaments at this time so you do not have to worry about one falling off as you move your wreath around. 

Next repeat the same process on the outside of the wreath form until the desired look is achieved. 

Lastly repeat the process on the top of the wreath form. I did not want the front of my wreath to have a straight line of pom poms so I used mostly small pom poms on the top and alternated them as I went along. 

The Wreath Hanger

Now that all of the pom poms and ornaments are securely attached all we need to do is put a hook on the back to hang it by. This step is completely optional. I took a pipe cleaner and cut it in half. 

Bent it into a ‘U’ shape and poked it into my wreath form. Then to keep it secure added some hot glue where it was attached to the wreath form to make sure the weight of the wreath did not pull it out. 

This is what my wreath looks like completely finished.

This project is easy, quick, and good for people with a small budget. It is also a great way to use all your scrap yarn left over from other projects. I made this wreath in a cream with maroon ornaments as well to use when it is not the holiday season.