What Haven Means to My Blog (and to YOU!) - The Kim Six Fix

What Haven Means to My Blog (and to YOU!)

I am finally getting a chance to sit down and write about the wonderful experience I had at the Haven conference.  I have so much to talk about that I decided to split it into 2 posts.
Haven Maven
Today I am writing about what I learned at Haven and how it is going to impact my blog and ultimately how it is going to effect you, my awesome readers!

My second post will be about how Haven impacted me personally, and I will tell you about all the people I got to meet, from my super-hero bloggers I always have admired, to all the newbies who I hadn't heard of before, but can't wait to follow.
So what did I learn at Haven?

1. My blog is an expression of who *I* am, take it or leave it. 
I realized something big at Haven that I didn't understand before.  Although it is a niche conference, for DIY blogs.. people's definition of DIY is very different.

I met people who ran the gamut from hard core power tool totin' hands on and getting dirty types (like Ana White, Pretty Handy Girl and Sawdust Girl) all the way to the other end of the spectrum, bloggers who mostly focused on design and decorating (like A Thoughtful Place and Infarrantly Creative) as well as people who loved home improvement and used professionals to do the work while they were the full time bloggers.  That diversity is what makes DIY blogs so awesome.  You can always find someone who thinks like you, has a similar skill sets as you, and you find interesting.
Hands=On at Haven Conference 2013

At the conference I attended a lot of the 'hands on' classes that were offered.  I refreshed my skills on how to install molding at the "Let's case this Joint" class taught by Brittany and Sandra.

I consider myself on the "get dirty and lug around lumber" end of the DIY spectrum. I've never used a stencil or chalk paint in any of my projects!  Shocking I know!  But my blog does have a lot of other non-home-improvement projects like sewing, crafts and recipes.  I know that may not be what everyone enjoys, but that is what interests me and that is what I will continue to post about.  I always want to be genuine, to be the 'real' me.   I don't have to please all the people, all the time.  And if I'm not your niche, I understand.  No hard feelings!

If you aren't interested in a recipe, or you don't know how to sew, feel free to skip on past those posts when you see them in your feed, I promise that soon I'll have another DIY home improvement project on the horizon!  I just can't be tearing out bathrooms and remodeling kitchens 24/7! And even if you don't want to be the actual person installing light fixtures or new faucets, that is okay too.  I just want to inspire people to know that things are possible!

2. Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. 
I've been blogging for a long time, and when I see successful bloggers I have to remind myself that their success didn't happen overnight.  Ana White was a wonderful keynote speaker and she touched on this a lot.  That you have to focus on the long term, and what is not only best for your blog but also what is best for you.  Be the tortise not the hare.

Being a successful, well liked blogger with a good reputation takes time and hard work.  I have a lot going on in my life, and I have to prioritize my children and husband first.  It is possible to be successful without sacrificing them, but it will take me longer than someone who is blogging while not simultaneously taking care of a second grader, preschooler and 3 month old.   I have to be careful about taking on only as much as I can handle, since if I am going to around for the long haul, I don't want to burn out early, and I don't want to miss out on my life.  My kids will only be this little once.

3. Good content is KEY! And I want people to know when it is MINE.
This was a main theme in a lot of the talks at Haven.  If you build good content.. they will come.

Am I dating myself by using a Field of Dreams reference? 

I try really hard to generate my own content, and to try not to step on the toes of any other bloggers.  It is a fine line between being inspired by someone, and copying them (not to mention downright stealing their content!)

Sawdust and Embryos had a great post recently about the proper etiquette you should use when visiting links and pinning to/from Pinterest. Always try to find the original source! This is a huge pet peeve of mine since I get about 30% of my blog traffic though Pinterest.  And as great as that is, I often see my content pinned from other places.  Roundups and features, which although they may link back to me, aren't actually driving traffic to my site.  When someone takes a bunch of projects that they love, and puts them into one large composite graphic, very few of the people pinning that graphic are going to visit all the original sites which actually CREATED that content. 

And if you think it doesn't matter consider this: My kitchen remodel has been pinned more than half a million times.  We aren't talking about just a few page views. If I only knew the numbers from all the other sites that have used my images I am sure I would be depressed.
If you are interested in finding out your URL's pincount this is a great little site to do it!

To counteract this as best as I can I have always watermarked my photos, so that I stake my claim to a project. I know it isn't an iron clad guarantee, but it doesn't hurt.  I will continue to do that, and in the future, you may even see that my watermarks will probably cover slightly more of the image than they currently do.  Now that I am aware of how important finding the original source can be, I am going to try to make myself easy to find!
Okay, maybe not THAT easy to find!
And NO! I didn't use ESP on those cabinets so stop saying that on the pins!!**

4. It is okay to ask for help
It wasn't until I met other bloggers in person that I realized that not everyone is doing their own site coding. When did I miss the memo?!  I am still plugging along in Blogger, using a free blog template and tweaking my own HTML with the help of Professor Google.   I had no idea that even smaller bloggers were using webmasters and having custom sites templates made.

I now see how much time and energy I spend trying to re-invent the wheel.  It must just be the DIY (and the cheapskate) in me, but I always thought I could figure stuff out on my own.  Perhaps long term I will look into having someone help me redesign my site.  I know it isn't the most user-friendly layout, and I wish stuff was easier to find. Plus, after my migration over from my old site I know there are a lot of broken links and missing content.  I want my blog to be more user friendly, and I now see that I may just have to recruit some help to get it that way!

5.  Blogging is a TON of work and there is no shame in getting paid a little to do it.
I have always shied away from a lot of advertising on my blog and I have never have run affiliate ads or sponsored posts. I always felt I wasn't a 'big enough' blogger to do those things. I didn't feel like I should be be making money doing something I enjoy.

I am not sure why I thought that, because in all honesty, blogging has been a losing venture for me.   The costs of projects (not to mention time investment) is way more than I have ever earned back   And although I never started my blog to make a living out of it, I did think it would cost less than my other hobbies.

I did join BlogHer a while back, and although I made a little money, it barely covers the cost of my hosting fees and other expenses.  After sitting through the SEO (search engine optimization) class with Brooke and Court and advertising class with Rhoda, Beckie and Cassity during the conference, I know I could be earning a little more than I currently am, and so going forward you may see a little more advertising in my sidebars.  I am hoping that I can generate enough revenue to justify hiring someone for a big site redesign (see point #4.)
Learning how to get my Google Juice on!

I promise not to go crazy with advertising.  And bear with me since it is a learning process.  I'll be honest with you when I say that I am not 100% sure of what I am doing!  I do know that I want to stay true to who I am, and I will NEVER endorse or recommend something I wouldn't actually use myself. I only want to work with products and services that I really believe in, the integrity of my blog is on the line.  I waited this long to take on advertisers, you know I am going to be picky about it!
The great swag we got at the conference.. and while some vendors would be a great fit (*cough* cough* Home Depot) others just don't fit my niche.

So there you have it: Haven has changed me, and my blog, hopefully for the better.  I hope you stick around and see how it all works out!


** This is sorta an inside joke.  Someone has scraped my content and incorrectly identified the photo with the following description:
"To paint over ANY surface, without sanding, use a product called ESP Easy Surface Prep, available at hardware and paint shops. Wipe on, wipe off and paint in 90 minutes. Works well over enamel paint , without having to sand. SAVES HOURS of work. It was recommended to me by a professional painter."  
Anyone who reads my blog knows I didn't do ANYTHING remotely like that and it irritates me to no end to read that on thousands of pins!!!!Must be an ESP salesman! 


What Haven Means to My Blog (and to YOU!) Reviewed by TheKimSix Fix on 10:30 AM Rating: 5 I am finally getting a chance to sit down and write about the wonderful experience I had at the Hav...