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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The Business of Blogging Free Series: Introduction

Eek! I am excited to finally announce we will be doing our first ever blogging series called The Business of Blogging. I have had several people emailing me asking about my blog and what goes on behind the scenes. So I decided I am going to share it with all of you. Normally people would charge an arm and a leg for these series but mine is completely free.

In this series I am going to share everything with you from what to know before you start a blog all the way to how to make money blogging. I am going to talk about things like what to blog about, marketing, creating content, posting schedules and more.

Five years of Blogging

I started gaining interest and actually started my first blog in 2012 when I was 17 and a junior in high school. I launched a blog on a free blogging website where I shared tutorials similar to what I do now. I had no idea what I was doing and after about 6 months quit because kids in my school were making fun of me. I knew then though that blogging was something I really enjoyed.

My junior year of college my graduation date was finally in sight and I had to start thinking about what career path I wanted to take. I really liked marketing and everything to do with online advertising and social media. So I started looking into blogging jobs. I wasn’t having any luck though,  because I didn’t have any job experience in blogging. I thought what a better way to get experience than starting my own blog. I knew going in I wanted to start a blog for experience. Never thinking about the possibility of making money from my own blog.

So I researched everything I could think of about blogging. I even paid for a blogging course. I paid hundreds of dollars to watch a one hour video that left me with a lot more questions than answers. It was a total rip off but if I would have never taken the course I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. I was discouraged but also more motivated than ever. It made me realize that there is so much more to blogging than I thought. That is when I promised all of my future readers that I didn’t even have yet that one day I would pay it forward.

A completely free series

I know personally how I felt after paying all that money for that course only to walk away unfulfilled. That is why I created this series to share with all of you, for free. Now I am going to give a disclaimer right now. This series is composed of information I have learned through my blogging journey. It may not answer all of your questions and is not a step by step manual of how to start a successful blog. My goal for this series is to share all of the knowledge I have with you. I hope it answers some of your questions and leaves you asking more.

This series is going to be full of great information to help you avoid mistakes and setbacks I have experienced. It is also going to be a great way to start a conversation that may lead to more information. During this series leave comments, send me emails and direct messages through social media. If you know something that other should know and I didn’t add it please comment so everyone can see. If you have questions please ask them because others may have the same questions as you and I may have just forgotten to add that bit of info in.

I look forward to going through this series with all of you. Every week on Tuesdays for the next 8 weeks there will be a new blog post up that will continue this series. Make sure to add my blog to your favorites so you can see all the new posts.

First post in the series is Tuesday February 6th, 2018

This weeks posts is going be what I wish I knew before starting a blog.

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