Blogging Tips

Becoming a Blogger

Today I am starting a series on the behind the scenes of my blogging journey. Although it hasn’t been a very long one, I hope it is the start to many more years.

I will be writing about many topics anywhere from where it all started to where we go from here. I may even pull Henry along for an article or two so we can see his insight into things. He seriously is the brains behind the tech and researching side of things. I don’t know what I would do without him!

My main reason for writing this is to encourage others to take a step of faith and go for your dreams. It’s not going to be easy and it may get lonely, but keep in mind you don’t get anywhere without stepping out of your comfort zone and working hard!

As a caveat, I want to say when I talk numbers or money, it is not to brag or toot my own horn. If I share something, I’m doing it because I think it is encouraging and will add value to you, the reader.

I have been meaning to start this series for a couple of weeks now, but thought, who would want to read about my day or my life. Then it hit me, I was that person several months ago that was reading an article wrote by Sarah at Life On Virginia Street and was soaking up every word of an article she had written about a day in the life of a blogger. I was fascinated with what she did, how she had grown, and exactly how she was doing it.

After thinking about this and how inspired I was after reading her blog, I felt it was time to write about me and our journey so far. This series of articles will also answer many questions I get from many of our followers.

A Blogging Background

Henry has quite a bit of experience in the blogging world. Way back in 2008, he started his first blog as a way to get customers to his newly created business. He owned that blog for about 3 months before deciding to try and sell it.

I’ll never forget. We were living in a 2 bedroom apartment while building a house. Late one night he posted the blog on an online marketplace for small businesses. The next morning we woke up to a full price offer of $40k!

At that point, we realized there might be something to this blogging thing. Since then, he went on to start, grow and sell several other blogs.

Over the past ten years, Henry has repeatedly tried to get me to start a home design/decor blog.

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

Many of you may not know, but I actually was a teacher for many years. I then chose to stay at home with my children. I loved being a stay at home mom, but my heart always longed for still having my own career. I don’t want that to seem selfish because I truly love my children, but sometimes a mom needs her own outlet, her own escape to make herself feel like a real person.

I knew I didn’t want to head back into the teaching field at this time. Working full time with all we had going on just wasn’t really an option for me. You see, Henry owns his own software business and we love to build and and remodel houses. It is kind of our side gig that we just enjoy it and happen to make a little money as well.

Last summer, Henry started talking to me again about starting some type of home blog. He had some great points: we love houses, we love designing, and we have some pretty good experience. Why not start a blog about all of this?

I literally thought he was crazy! I mean why would anyone want to read about my ideas, my style, or opinions on home decor and home building.

After a month or so, Henry convinced me to step out of my comfort zone and take the first step.

Coming Up with a Name

Knowing what our content would be about, the next logical step was to come up with a name. I wanted a name that would convey what our blog and content was all about, but would not limit us in any way down the road. Because really who knows what direction a business might end up going.

On a drive to a weekend basketball tournament for my daughter, we spent the whole time brainstorming ideas and finally came up with Plank & Pillow. We felt like it was a name that covered the building side of things as well as decor. The domain name was available, so we rolled with it!

What Does Instagram Have to Do With It?

The next step was to start an Instagram account for Plank & Pillow. I already had a personal account, but this one needed to be separate. It needed its own identity.

Now, what does Instagram have to do with blogging and why did we start this account before our blog? We knew we would eventually need one, and an Instagram account can be set up much quicker than a blog. So we went ahead and did it.

I remember the first post and how we watched every like come in. We got so excited when it reached 20 likes. Every follower was so exciting and every time we posted was like we had just published in the New York Times!

Our First Instagram Post

Then, the the most exciting thing of all was when we had our first share. I remember Noell from JetSettfarmhouse and Cheri from Strangefarmhouse shared our exterior picture and we gained around 1,000 followers each share. It was crazy! We were on cloud nine.

I also have to mention phillip_or_flop who was so helpful early on about sharing tips about how to grow the right way on Instagram.

We then launched our blog a few weeks later. I learned very quickly that the Instagram account was taking lots of my time and the blog was not getting the most attention.

Instagram is a great tool, but if you let it, it will suck the life out of you. Henry and I researched and spent many hours doing all the right things to grow our account and I think we’ve been pretty successful in doing so. I am here to say, it is not easy! Many don’t know or see the many hours, networking, commenting, taking pictures, and editing pictures it takes to grow organically.

What’s Next?

So, we’ve been at this for several months. What happens next? Well, we are still around and we have grown quite a bit.

More to come…Why did we keep going when we weren’t even making money? How does Henry and I manage our time between his business and Plank and Pillow? What are the reasons behind us building a new house? And how are we making money at this time?

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16 Comments

  • Reply Miranda

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve just started our blogging journey so I look forward to following along with your series!

    April 23, 2019 at 7:26 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hello Miranda! We are so happy you found us and are following along!

      April 24, 2019 at 2:50 am
  • Reply Zoe Hunt

    Looking forward to hearing more about your blogging journey! I love that Henry brought up the idea of the home blog–my husband Andrew had the idea for ours too. It was something I hadn’t really considered, but it’s been so much fun and a great creative outlet!

    April 23, 2019 at 7:44 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hey there Zoe! I know, its crazy isn’t it! Henry actually loves decorating, building, and projects just as much as I do, so this is fun to him also.

      April 24, 2019 at 2:51 am
  • Reply Jonie

    Oh, thank you so much!! I recently started an IG account and remembered you said to “grow your account organically.” It stuck in my head and makes sense to me!! I feel I am ready to learn more about blogging! I am excited to see what God has In store for my husband and I as we we set out to decorate our farmhouse, grow our organic garden, and harvest our organic olives from our olive grove to produce olive oil and share our experiences along the way!! It’s funny because I was just going to check on your site to see if you had information on blogging Today!! I think it’s meant to be!

    April 23, 2019 at 10:40 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hello Jonie! This is so exciting about your new journey! This will make some great content for a blog or IG account. Yes, God just has a way of working things out and placing us in the right places at the right time…so glad you are to day to check our blog out.

      April 24, 2019 at 2:53 am
  • Reply Shaina

    Thank you SO much for sharing! I can’t wait to read more of this series. I am a new business owner and blogger and love looking to others (like yourself) for their knowledge and experience, it is always so helpful as I try to grow!

    April 24, 2019 at 1:06 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hello Shaina! So glad you are following along. I am also very excited about this series. It is something different and hopefully will be helpful to ones like you! Make sure and sign to get our newsletter also!

      April 24, 2019 at 2:53 pm
  • Reply Linda

    Love your blog and I just happened to see your IG account along with this post on blogging. I’ve been wanting to for years and have an IG account with casual photos now. We sold our house in a subdivision after 16 yrs and will be building a farmhouse. I’m glad I found you to help me start this journey. My husband is I.T. and I would love a link to maybe one of your husbands blogs so I can show my husband. I keep telling him he has so much to give in that form after managing for decades.🌻

    April 24, 2019 at 1:55 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hey Linda! Glad you are here and following along! Yes, Im sure you have much to offer and Im excited for you. Him knowing lots on the tech side of things is a major plus!

      April 24, 2019 at 2:55 pm
  • Reply Kathy

    I love hearing about everything you are doing! You and your husband are so talented!!! Love your style, your home, and you!!! I have never considered doing a blog but I’m coming along for the ride! Who knows! 😊 Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas. You are one of my favorite accounts that When I check in you are at the top of my list!!! 💗

    April 24, 2019 at 4:49 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hi Kathy! Thank you so much. It is so helpful and encouraging to read comments like yours. So glad to have you following along!

      April 25, 2019 at 2:32 am
  • Reply Leah Schmidt Reinert

    Thanks Brooke!! I’m super excited for your series!! I just wrote my first post & I’m clueless what to do next! Haha!! But, my big question is about niches! I keep hearing “if you confuse, you lose!” I understand what they’re saying, but I’m afraid I keep trying to add to much to my “brand” cause frankly I LOVE the process of learning & doing!! Hmmm…any thought on niches? Thanks again for writing this series!!
    Leah

    April 25, 2019 at 2:14 am
    • Reply Brooke

      You’re very welcome! And way to go on starting a blog! The main thing is to be consistent, whether it be one post per week or three – just keep putting out great content. You won’t see results overnight, but if you keep at it, it will pay off.

      As for your niche, it is good to stay focused on one niche, but I think it’s ok to occasionally post articles that are a little outside of your niche but related – as long as it is helpful to your audience. For example, we occasionally write about blogging and photography. I feel like that is ok because many of our readers probably want to start a blog about home decor or a related niche. Hope that helps! I’ll be talking more about these topics in upcoming articles.

      April 25, 2019 at 2:44 am
  • Reply Marie

    What a great blog post 💕 Thank you so much for sharing. I have always wanted to start a blog but I have a very rewarding career that I love and have no desire to walk away from. Do you think it is possible to have a successful blog as a side-job or does it require full devotion? We are building a home, and I have begun to use Instagram @fiftyoneacres to share our journey and it has stirred my inner muse that has slumbered since my college days as a moderately successful short story writer.

    April 28, 2019 at 11:25 am
    • Reply Brooke

      Hello Marie! I do think its possible to do both. Of course, like anything, the more time you devote to it, the faster it will grow and develop. You should give it a try, it sounds like you love writing and have something to write about!

      April 28, 2019 at 11:59 am

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