Do you spend untold hours browsing through ideas on Pinterest? Is your idea of a fun Saturday completing that DIY project that has been calling your name? Is your house filled with chalk painted projects and unique items you've created yourself?
If this describes you, then a DIY projects blog might be your dream.
Number of DIYers Online
Although Pinterest certainly has other articles than just DIY projects, the social media network is made up heavily of home projects, decorating, and similar posts. As of July 2015, Pinterest has 72.8 million users and 85% of them are female.
And that is just the DIYers on Pinterest. Not every DIYer is female and not every person working on projects is on Pinterest. You can see how this is a quickly growing niche online and that there is a specialty area for everyone.
Case Studies of DIY Blogs
In order to get an idea of what it takes to create a successful DIY blog, I spoke to two DIY bloggers.
Pretty Handy Girl
[icon link] http://www.prettyhandygirl.com/
Brittany Bailey over at Pretty Handy Girl took some time to chat with us about what she's done to make her blog so successful. About ten years ago, Brittany and her husband purchased their first home. It wasn't long before she was learning to make repairs and do other projects around the house.
It was actually my husband's idea [to start the blog]. I had wanted to hold workshops in my garage for women. He simply said, “I think you'd reach more people with a blog.” I hate to admit it, but he was right.
By offering information online, Brittany was able to reach a world wide audience and not just people close enough to meet in her garage. No matter what type of small business you are running, one way to grow it is to reach out and begin to seek a global audience.
When asked how she avoids burnout, Brittany shared:
I haven't wanted to quit. But, there are times when I need to spend less time on the computer and more time building. Other times I may need to be creative and paint more and blog less. I try to take time off to keep from burning out.
Brittany makes an excellent suggestion about taking time off. Building a successful blog takes time and the rewards can be difficult to see at first. Creating balance of work, time with family and just plain downtime can mean the difference between sticking it out for the long haul or quitting before you reach your goals.
Recently, Gina Baladaty offered some tips in her article “4 Key Lessons for Freelance Writers” about how to create a balance. Gina, a successful blogger, shares that one should “set aside time for family, friends and fun.” Gina has firm work hours that she sticks to most of the time and when she is done with work for the day, she sets it aside.
This is good advice for bloggers. It is easy to fall into the trap of checking social media constantly, going over your stats yet again, or working long hours without a break.
Successful DIY bloggers like Brittany seem to instinctively understand how to change to meet the needs of the online community.
Blogging is a job that takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, and the willingness to try new things and change when the blogosphere is changing. Most bloggers have to wear many hats: photographer, writer, web designer, finance manager, social media guru — to name a few.
Don't just focus on how much money you can make. Don't focus on things you can't measure. You can't control how many people share your articles. You can only write great content, use good social media strategies and pray for a little luck in the mix. After you put your content on your site and you share on social media, you have to release it to the Internet and see what happens.
Blogging is not for the person who goes into it wanting to make money. You have to love sharing your ideas, talents and thoughts with the world. But, you have to have thick skin when someone doesn't like your ideas or thoughts. If you can handle all that, blogging is where you should be!
Shabby Love Blog
[icon link] http://vintagemellie.blogspot.com/
Melissa Urban, Shabby Love Blog owner, took some time out of her schedule to share some thoughts about DIY blogging. She is in love with all things vintage and started her blog in May of 2011. Urban has a good presence over on Pinterest and has over 4,000 followers.
She'd never really considered herself to be a creative person, but when she stumbled on some DIY/Home Decor blogs, she was instantly hooked.
The projects these bloggers were sharing were things I knew I could also do myself. It gave me the confidence I needed to start being creative. It took a couple years to find the courage to start my own blog. That was four years ago and I still learn something new every day and continue to push myself creatively. I went from spray painting a DIY Easter basket for my son as my first blog post to teaching myself how to carve wood spoons. I've learned so many things about myself and my style that I never would have discovered had I not started my blog and developed new skills along the way.
Melissa shared with me how much she loves the work she does and how she wants to entertain her readers. It is key to find a topic you truly enjoy to avoid burnout.
I blogged at least once a week religiously for three years. I felt it was important to have fresh content regularly for my readers. It was fun for me and never felt like a chore or left me burnt out.
However, over the last couple of years I've noticed a change in the way people blog these days. More people do it as a job now rather than a fun hobby they do on the side to share their style and lives with people who have the same decor and DIY interests. It's changed enough that I have taken a significant blog break to re-evaluate what I want out of my blog.
Melissa offers some excellent advice here. Never be afraid to stop and re-evaluate what you're doing. If your blog is no longer enjoyable, you may be covering the wrong DIY topics, or you may be too focused on the monetary part of blogging.
I also asked Melissa what she uses to measure success. I wanted her to share what she is most proud of and how others might apply that to their blogs.
Blog stats and numbers will tell you a lot about your blog, but I don't think that is the most important measure of success. I think the relationships you build with other bloggers and your readers are much more important. I am the most proud when I post about a new project that I'm really excited about and readers and fellow bloggers share my enthusiasm. When I get comments from someone saying they pinned the idea, are going to make the same thing for their homes, or I get featured on someone else's blog, those are the ways I measure success. It's always nice to be able to inspire someone.
What is your measure of success? Melissa's measure is very tangible. She can easily see when someone shares a post, pins it or makes a comment. However, this measure also leads to additional success because she is getting social media attention and her readers are sharing what she's doing with others.
If you feel discouraged at any point with your blog, re-evaluate how you are measuring success. You could simply decide that if you post every day for a year, you are succeeding. You could decide you will share every post on social media and see what traction it gets. Whatever you use to measure success, it should not only be tangible but something you have control over.
Melissa also talked about the importance of finding a unique angle for your blog.
It is important to find a unique niche to set yourself apart from the rest. It's okay sometimes to follow a trend you love or recreate something you saw on Pinterest, but why not take it one step further and put your own spin on something? Strive to make your blogging “voice” and style distinctive! If you try to be like all the other bloggers you admire, you'll only be lost in the crowd. There are so many blogs for people to choose from to follow. Make yours one people love to stop by and visit because they want to see what you come up with next!
This is excellent advice that applies not only to DIY blogs, but to all blogs. As I've said before in other posts on this site, you have to find the angle that no one else is covering and that you are passionate about. Once you do that, your readers will take note and will return time and time again to read what you have to say.
Why are you blogging? Melissa has some thoughts on that as well:
Do what you love because you love it, not because it's what everyone else is doing. You will experience negativity from people along the way, but don't let it discourage you and detract you from the reason you started your blog in the first place. Accept the reality that blogging takes time and hard work to gain a readership, but it's so worth it in the end!
Be True to Yourself
If you love to remake old, beat up furniture and give it new life, then focus on that. Don't try to just write to what you think people want to read, although that is important. Instead, follow the Pretty Handy Girl's advice to “be yourself and blog about what you like. If you stay true to yourself, you will be unique because there's only one you.”