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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Making 2018 the Best Year Ever

With the new year approaching we are all thinking of what we want to accomplish in that year. We are setting goals and planning for January 1st. I am doing the same thing. I have been looking back on everything I have done in 2017 and it was a lot! Then I think about 2018 and I know I want it to be so much more.

I started this blog to share with you my creative ideas and tutorials. After looking back over this last year I realized I didn’t do very much of that. So I apologize to all of you who are here for the crafts, ideas, and inspiration. I am not going to sit here and make all these excuses about why I didn’t get that content out because the truth is, it obviously wasn’t my top priority.

In 2017 a lot has happened to me personally. For those of you who have been following along I got engaged, bought a house, started my Youtube channel, got a full time job, and lived life. A life that had good times and bad where I was motivated and then depressed. That’s enough about me though because this is about the blog and all of you. If you want to know more about me personally keep an eye out for a post all about me.

When I started this blog my intention was for it to be a hobby. I wanted to create a place where I could share my projects and crafts. Mostly for me to look back on but if others wanted to see then why not show them. I then found out I had some family and friends following along who I don’t get to see all that often. I figured why not add some personal stuff on here to because I am sure others are probably going through the same things I am.

 

That is when I realized it was much easier for me to sit down and share my life with you. All aspect of my life from crafts to food to bad days. Now looking back on the last year and the few DIYs I have shared with you I realized that is what I want this blog to be.

Next Year

So in 2018 my goal for the Createlynn blog is to share with all of you my life. I want to show you all of the crafts I am making, the trips I am taking, what I am eating, how I am feeling, things I am thinking. I want to incorporate mind, body, and soul into this blog. BUT I also want to give you what you want.

You are obviously sitting here reading this for a reason but why? What do you like the most about this blog? I want you to tell me what you like or even dont like. Tell me what I am doing right and wrong or if there is something you want to see that I am not doing at all. Leave a comment, send me an email, or message me on social media.

What you can expect from me for 2018 is more activity. I want to make sure you all are hearing from me at least once a week. I know once a week isn’t very often but I want to be realistic. If you want to see me more follow me on instagram, join our Facebook page, subscribe to YouTube channel, or follow me on twitter. I am working on overall activity on all social sites for 2018.

Don’t forget to let me know what you want to see.

Something Terrible Happened

When bloggers, youtubers, and social influencer share their lives they usually only share the good parts. I know personally sometimes I get jealous of how great their life seems but I have to remind myself they are human just like you and me and they too have bad days. They just choose not to share them online.

It was one of those days.

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like it is just one thing after the next? Well that was my day the other day. I left my house with low tire pressure and ended up having to buy a new tire. There was a nail in my tire and it could not be patched. I know this could happen to anyone but with the holidays money was already tight as is. Oh well I got over it pretty quickly.


Then I went to work on some video footage and my external hard drive would not turn on. I save all of my photos, videos, and blog drafts to an external hard drive. Well hoping it was a problem with the cord or the setting on my computer I went to Apple for help. At the end of this long day I found out it was the hard drive and I would have to take it to a data recovery technician.

This process is very expensive. I am just so sad and mad about this because not only is all of my work on their but personal photos as well. So now I am disappointed about possibly losing all of my personal photos and videos. Then all of the preparation I am doing to keep giving you content while I am on away is lost as well.  

I am going on vacation in a couple weeks so thankfully I still have time to get some things together. Although, I am still going to be missing a lot of content. I appreciate you all and your patience as I try to figure this out.

Take a deep breath and move forward.

I just thought I would show you into the behind the scenes of my life. I am human just like all of you and every day things happen to me as well. Just like everyone else I work hard but sometimes life happens and things get in the way. At the end of the day I remind myself that tomorrow is a good day and to focus on moving forward to better things.

Motivational Monday

Monday has come once again. Always following the weekend. Monday will always come but motivation will not. Today is one of those days for me. Since the moment I have stepped out of bed I new it was gonna be a slow Monday. I know we all have these days weather there on a Monday or not we just cannot find motivation. So I am going to share with you how I try to create motivation.

Most of us work a consistent job schedule myself included and most days knowing that we have to get up knowing most of our day is going to be filled with work. Personally to me that is not motivational. So what I do is think about what I want to do after work. I know that when I am not working at my job I need to make the most of my time.

Get a good start to every day!

First I get a cup of coffee and my planner. This could be an actual planner, your phone, a note pad, anything you choose. All it needs to be is somewhere you can make a list and keep handy to look at it later. Personally I like a planner but you have to choose what works best for you. Then I take the 10 or 15 minutes I need to enjoy my cup of coffee and plan my day.

I take one day at a. I start by filling out everything I have to do that week. Pay bills, appointments, meetings, ect. Next I fill out my other ‘needs’ groceries, laundry, etc. for that day. Then I work on my ‘wants’. I reward my self with my wants once I complete my needs. So crafting, tv, painting my nails, ect. I found doing this not only motivates me but it lays out a plan for my day. It shows me what I need to do and help me prioritize my time.

I repeat this process when I get to work only much quicker. I am lucky to have a pretty laid back work environment where I have to prioritize my own day. So I look at my work calendar and prioritize my tasks. This helps me to see what I need to do that day and what I can work on for the next day if I have time.

By planning my days and listing it all out I can see what needs to be done and see what I have completed. The important thing is to keep things realistic. Do not make a long list of tasks to complete if you know you won’t have time to finish them. I also found this has helped to to be more productive and spend more time doing what I want because we all need to take a break from the hustle of life to do what we love. I do this every day not only days that I need motivation.

Inspire yourself.

On the days I need a little extra motivation I will spend my time before work or during lunch finding motivation. I search for inspiring photos, quotes, activities, songs, ect. I like to create a motivation board. It sometimes has a focus and other times is just what ever I want it to be. It can be for the day or the week or month or how ever long you want. I try not to do any longer than a week because I tend to forget about it. I usual search Pinterest to find pictures and quotes to post on my ‘board’. Then I open them in photoshop and create a photo collage ad get creative. This is something to create focus with little energy and effort. It is something that you can put as little or much energy into and make about anything.

Here is what I made today. None of these photos are mine and they can all be found on Pinterest this is for motivational purpose. The main focus is self improvement though health and wellness. It also motivates me to keep up with those things so I am in good shape for my wedding. I also added the succulents in coffee mugs because they are so cute and are a possible craft.

This took me probably 15 minutes but it helps me to see the goals I have set and to stay focused on them. These are things I want to focus on this week but next week my board could be completely different. I hope this helps you find your motivation.

May Favorites

I haven’t done a post like this before so if you like it please let me know. I thought I would try something new. I also have been working a super secret project for you guys so stay tuned for more details.

Here of some of my favorite products I have been using lately. I try to incorporate a product from different categories of life. I also try to link everything.

1. Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Moisturizing Mousse

I wanted to try a self tanner but I didn’t want to pay a huge price so I tried this. I think it works great! Its easy to apply, you don’t have to wait for it to develop, and it doesn’t turn orange. When it starts to fade it looks natural. One thing I like is that if I want it to be darker I’ll take a shower in the morning and apply it right after then that night I will apply a second coat. I also apply this with a mitt I bought separately, I think it makes a huge difference. 

2. Resistance Bands

I don’t always have time to go to the gym so I got these resistance bands. They took my home workout to the next level. I like these because they act as if I am using weight but with out taking up the space of weights. They came with a little carrying bag to keep them all together and I store them in my living room end table. I think if someone wanted to add a small piece of equipment to their workout these would be what I recommend. Their good for total body use and take up very little space, plus their cheep but good quality. 

3. My platform bed frame

I had a platform bed that I had for three years. I like it but it was very high so I could store stuff under it. Since I didn’t need the storage any more I decided to get a lower bed. I wanted something cheep, sturdy, easy to put together, and minimal in appearance. After some much digging this is what I got. I had my doubts at first but after using it for a few months now it had held up great. It is very sturdy, easy to put together, doesn’t squeak, and still has enough space under it for some storage. I am very happy with this purchase. 

4. The Knot Wedding Binder

I like to keep things organized and write everything down so when I started planning my wedding I quickly learned I needed something. I researched and researched some more and this is what I purchased. I love it! There is pre made pages, and schedules, and tabs. This is truly an organizers dream binder. I could not have made a binder this organized myself. This is also my first wedding and the first wedding of my siblings so the tips and information this binder provides is amazing. There is even a plastic page where you can put the business cards of all your venders. Down to every last detail is in this book. Then I also like that there is still space in the rings so I can add my own pages. They also have an app and website that all align with the binder. This would be awesome for yourself or even an engagement gift to someone you know is getting married. If you want to read my engagement story  here it is.

5. The Wireless remote control for Cannon DSLR cameras

I never thought I needed one of these but I do, You do. If you like taking photographs I would highly recommend this little tool. It was cheep but effective. When I have my camera on a tripod and I ma trying to take some self portraits this helps but it can be used for so many other occasions. Like when taking photos that you don’t want to have any shake in this is great or with kids or animals you need to get their attention. I recommend any one to add this to their camera gear. I was easy to connect and start using right away. It is small and come with a little bag. It light weight and doesn’t bulk up your camera bag at all. 

I hope you all enjoyed this post and please leave a comment if you want me to make this a monthly thing. I hope you enjoy these products. Also I am thinking about making a post about my camera gear to blogging equipment, let me know if that is something your interested in. I really appreciate your feedback.

 

 

 

 

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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.