I’m being honored this week with the “In the Bloglight” award by Hometalk.com, “where homeowners, renters, and pros share help with home and gardening”. Hometalk has asked me few questions that you all might be interested in. Come listen in on our interview!
Hometalk: Kim, how did you first get into blogging?
Me: I started with a personal blog and really just wrote for myself. I enjoyed doing creative home projects, décor crafts and recipes, some of which I would teach to women & mom groups. My sister Beth, Home Stories A to Z, was already a successful blogger and kept encouraging me to start a Home/DIY blog. After a few years of loving, sisterly nagging, I finally succumbed and took the plunge into the blogosphere in December 2010.
Hometalk: How did you decide on the name of your blog?
Me: The sand, water, and seashore has often where I have lived. The beach was my front yard for most of my childhood. My husband grew up on the shores of southern California, and the beach has always been our family’s favorite place for fun, rest, and relaxation. I also like decorating with natural elements. You will see a lot of furniture, rugs and coastal inspired accessories in my home made from sisal, sea grass, shells, and other natural fibers. Hence, that is where the name Sand & Sisal came from.
Hometalk: Is blogging something you do on the side, or a full time job?
Me: Blogging started off as a creative outlet of expression for me. My background is in Fine Arts, with an emphasis on illustration and design. After 15 years of being a wife and a stay at home mom to four kids, I felt like I was losing my creative identity and blogging helped me find it once more. When I first started blogging I was also working full time as a Realtor. Thankfully, I’ve had wonderful opportunities to work with over 30 company brands so far. Sand & Sisal has turned into a full time job, which I love!
Hometalk: What was the first project you ever posted?
Me: My first post on Sand & Sisal was ORB, Oh How I Love Thee. That post demonstrates how to easily and inexpensively transform the look of outdated or ugly, builder grade fixtures, hardware, and other home accessories with Oil Rubbed Bronze (ORB) spray paint.
Hometalk: Which project has brought you the most traffic to date?
Me: My #1 project to date has been my Laundry Room Makeover. It’s been viewed 50K+ times, pinned on Pinterest 65K+ times, and featured in First for Women Magazine. It is one of my favorite rooms in the house (to look at… but I’m still not a fan of laundry at all!). #2 is How to Make Floating Shelves and #3 is the Pottery Barn Inspired Noel Tutorial.
Hometalk: What do family and friends think about your blog?
Me: I have had tremendous support this last year from family and friends, which I am so very grateful for. It didn’t start out that way though. My family didn’t understand why I was spending so much time on the computer, researching, writing, editing pictures, answering emails, and working all the social media outlets to promote each post. Blogging takes more time than most people realize. If a spouse is not supportive of a blogging career, then that career simply will not be able to thrive. It became such a strain I almost quit. I had to quickly learn how to balance work time and family time and make sure that I kept family time forefront.
Note to self…. Take a new family picture!! (This pic is from Nov. 2011… I was a brunette then…)
Hometalk: Do you stick to a strict posting schedule?
Me: I wish I could say yes, but no I don’t. I try to post 3 days a week. I’d like to post more but with a very busy family of 6, that just hasn’t happened yet. I strongly believe a blogger shouldn’t post just for sake of posting. Yes, it might give you more page views, but I’d rather give the reader quality vs. quantity.
Hometalk: Kim tell us, what advice would you give to other bloggers that you wish you had known before you started blogging?
Me: To be honest, I had a great blog mentor, my sister Beth, who advised me what I needed to do before I launched the blog. I will ever be grateful to her for that help. I’ll pass along a few of her tips.
1) Blog because you love it! If it is not your passion, then that will show in the quality of your posts and you (and your readers) will quickly lose interest.
2) Have a good library of posts prepared to launch with. I recommend 10.
3) Make sure you purchase your custom domain (URL- .com) before you start blogging. There are a ton of reasons why this is important. Trust me, just do it. It’s only costs around $10 annually.
4) Have an attractive, clean, and navigable blog design. Less is more! Allow your photos to dominate and keep the reader’s attention, not your blog’s background, etc.
5) Brush up on your photography skills. Invest in a good camera and learn how to use it! Post with LARGE photos. Fill the space available. Don’t make the reader strain to see your creation.
6) Study the blogs you love. Ask yourself why you love them. Do NOT copy them, but implement similar formats that you are most attracted to.
7) BE YOURSELF! People want relationships. Allow them to see your personality. Teach them, entertain them, and make them laugh or feel an emotion. We all want to be encouraged and uplifted, so try to stay positive. And lastly, always, always, always be ethical and practice good blog etiquette. The Golden Rule- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, reigns supreme! Crafterminds is a great resource for home & craft bloggers and has wonderful information how to build blogger community.
Thank you HomeTalk for featuring Sand & Sisal in the Bloglight!
If you want to follow me on Hometalk click HERE.