How Do You Decide What To Post About?

Q: How do you decide what to post about every day? I’m new to blogging and feeling a lot of pressure. I worry what I write will be boring. Do you ever worry about that? Do you have a checklist that you go through to see if something is good to write about? Do you ever worry that people won’t like what you share? Do you ever skip a post if you think it will be poorly received? Do you try to pace things out in a strategic way? – Nina M.

A: Aw, I’m sorry that you feel any pressure at all, Nina. Figuring out what to post about sounds like it could be complicated, but to us the key is not to over-think it. When we started this whole blogging thing back in 2007, no one was reading (seriously we could hear crickets) so the pressure was nice and low. Sometimes we chatted about big stuff (like our four month kitchen renovation) and sometimes it was small stuff (like a baseboard-related conversation, discovering old wallpaper, or someone accidentally selling our washer).

Slowly our blog grew to what it is today, and so did our commitment to sticking to what got us here: blogging about whatever’s going on in our lives (big or small – random, housey, or otherwise) like it’s our job. Because it actually is our job. Yup, from weird dreams to DIY haircuts and pretty much everything else, it all has a place in our weird little slice of the internet. So our advice in a nutshell would be to chat about whatever you’re genuinely excited to share and the majority of your readers will hopefully connect with your authenticity and feel your excitement right through their computer screen.

And you know I’m happy to be that hyper little cheerleader on your shoulder shouting high-pitched borderline-annoying things like: “you can do it!” and “go get ’em!” – so here’s my humble advice in a nutshell:

  • Find a pace that works for you.
  • Learn what topics you like to tackle.
  • Look for unconscious clues along the way.
  • Skip any post that you’re not excited about.
  • Nothing is too small if you’re psyched to post about it.
  • Try sharing more of yourself, no matter how random.
  • Relax, it’s only blogging.
  • Do. Your. Thang.
  • You can’t win ’em all.
  • A happy blogger = happy readers.

Allow me to do what I do best and elaborate the heck outta those:

#1. Find a pace that works for you. It’s probably one of the biggest “discoveries” that you’ll make along the way. Don’t worry, it’ll happen. Figuring out a pace that works for you will do two things: it’ll help your readers understand what to expect (thereby hopefully reducing your fear of the unknown as a new blogger) and you won’t feel rushed or bored (two things that can quickly kill a blog). We usually share about 2-3 projects a week along with a smorgasbord of other random house/family related stuff. You can see from our monthly round-ups that although some weeks are busier than others, at the end of each month we’re always surprised at how much we’ve done. Sometimes the projects are big and sometimes they’re just small updates. That just tends to be the DIY way – you ebb and you flow. But hey, that’s real life (with real budget constraints, snafus, & timeline challenges) so don’t get discouraged! This tip is probably one of the most important ones since it can easily determine the longevity of your blog (our pace is probably the only reason we’ve been able to blog/DIY non-stop for the past 5 years without burning out).

#2. Learn what topics you like to tackle. Then give yourself free reign in all of those areas (no fear allowed). In the past five years of this blog we’ve been all over the place, which is actually how we like it. And in all of that time, we’ve only renovated one bathroom and two kitchens along with building one patio and one deck, so it’s hardly major work that’s going on at all times. Most of the time we’re just noodling or making small/affordable tweaks (painting something, making DIY art, window shopping, sharing budget blooms, buying/thrifting something, doing small upgrades, rearranging furniture, re-organizing something, sharing Dude Get On That Already & Pinterest Challenges, etc). And sometimes we do full weeks of posts on a certain theme, like our wedding or our blogiversary. Heck, we’ve even had an entire week devoted to organizing! Just chat about whatever you’re loving or doing.

#3. Look for unconscious clues along the way. If we look at our monthly round-ups for the last 1.5 years, we notice that we usually have the same smattering of big and small projects going on each month. There are rarely months with all large things or all small things. We don’t consciously plan it that way, but that just seems to be what works for us. I think if you blog for a little while, the right pace for you will hopefully make itself clear.

#4. Skip any post that you’re not excited about. If it feels like work and you’re not psyched to share it, just let it go. We definitely do things around the house that we decide not to blog about. For example, we don’t always feel like blogging about re-organizing our drawers every time we do it – so we might skip that if we don’t feel like writing it up. That being said, sometimes posts are hard to write (for example, this personal one about my aunt’s passing) but I actually really wanted to write that to honor her memory and for Clara to look back on. It was hard, but it was worth it. So the posts that feel pesky, annoying, and not-worth-your-trouble are the ones I’d actually consider skipping.

#5. Nothing is too small if you’re psyched to post about it. Try to have a no holds barred / no rules policy if you’re excited to share something (people can tell when you’re holding back and blogging can be a lot less satisfying if you are). We love that nothing is too big or too small to chat about with you guys. Thank goodness. I think if there were rules we probably would have checked out about 4.5 years ago. Sometimes we do something really small and we’re so excited by the difference it makes in our home/life that we’ll share a quick little post about it. And sometimes those posts actually get the majority of our readers the most excited (so if we were to leave them out we’d never know that 200 folks would comment about how they liked a tiny/free clipboard project that we shared, while fewer people commented about some much more “hardcore” deck demo that we posted a week later).

#6. Try sharing more of yourself, no matter how random. Occasionally we chat about random things like running and breastfeeding. Sure, we wonder how the heck they’ll go over before hitting publish for a second – but then we just say “whatever!” and click the button. My breastfeeding post actually got over 1,000 comments and John’s post about running earned nearly 500! We never know what will be a hit, so we just share whatever’s going on that we think is fun – big or small, housey or random, kid-focused or grown-up related. Just try to let go of the pressure that you put on yourself (I know, that’s easier said than done) and you’ll be a happier, more enthusiastic blogger. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that you’re not decorating your house or blogging for the entire world, but in our opinion, the blogs where people decorate their house and blog for themselves are the ones that are the most compelling and fun to read. So that might be our biggest tip.

 #7. Relax, it’s only blogging. Personal home blogging (and almost any other type of blogging, actually) is loosey-goosey in a great way – whether it’s your full time job or just a hobby. Either way, the goal is to be real and share “yourself and the way you live” – whatever that might be. We truly believe it’s why we’ve loved doing it pretty much nonstop since 2007 (with no more than a few days off in a row). It’s definitely our job and we are hugely devoted to it, but it was born from a passion, so we gotta keep that passion going. If we only wanted to talk about step by step tutorials every day we’d hire a staff of people to churn out seven projects a week or start a business-y website without “us” in it – but we’re just not into that. That’s why we call this our DIY diary, and not an e-zine or a home improvement database. It’s just life through our lens. Our little rose colored DIY glasses, if you will. Or our Photoshop plastic wrapped glasses

#8. Do. Your. Thang. The truth is that every post that you write will probably be enjoyed by some folks and some people will just scroll on by or click over to another blog that happens to catch their eye a bit more that day. Heck, that’s how we read blogs (skimming or skipping things that aren’t our style and stopping to soak up the posts that call our name). I think getting comfortable with that is really one of the keys to blogging, since it’s impossible to even attempt to make every last post appeal to every last person who stops in (you entire blog will end up being so generic/safe due to Trying-To-Please-Everyone Syndrome or it’ll be so infrequently updated since your standards for posts will be impossibly high). So just do your thing! That’s hopefully why people read your blog – for what YOU bring to the table. Even if it’s photos of yourself in airbrushed jeans that make your butt wink.

#9. You can’t win ’em all. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in five years of doing this, it’s that no matter how hard you try, you can’t please everyone. In fact trying to please everyone can lead to a slow painful blog death. There’s just always going to be someone who wants you to go slower so they can keep up or faster so they’re more entertained, or to post about more giant projects since they want to see something major while someone else might want more small/free projects since their budget is lower. One person’s least favorite post will be someone else’s favorite. Heck, we’ve even gotten requests for more family/Burger/Clara stuff within days of getting requests for less of it. Everyone is different, so you just have to “do you” as $herdog likes to say (third person $herdog = jackpot).

Let’s get mathy for a second. Usually once every 10,000 comments or so we get someone saying they’re not into a certain post (here’s a post about how we deal with criticism in case that helps). Thankfully when you do the math, that works out to less than .01% of comments being in that vein. Those odds aren’t that bad, right? By sharing your life with the internet at large, there’s so much encouragement and good that comes from it. And while there are definitely a very small percentage of people who might take the time to say “this post was so boring” or “I think you’re running out of things to do” – just know that someone has been sporadically saying that to us for years. Yet we’re still here blogging our pants off, following the exact same “formula” that we always have, and gratefully soaking up words of appreciation and encouragement from the vast majority of our readers.

#10. A happy blogger = happy readers. They can usually sense when you’re upset or nervous – and your blog is a lot more magnetic when you’re just being your happy-go-lucky self. So throw caution into the wind and blog to your little heart’s content! When in doubt, try picturing an imaginary bumper sticker that says:

I like that Burger weaseled his way in there. Such a ham. Anyway, that’s my brain dump. I hope it helps at least one or two of you out there who might be starting a blog or struggling with what to post about. And I’d love to hear from you guys on the subject of post subjects! Any advice for Nina? Is there anyone else out there who feels pressure before clicking that “publish” button? Do you have a mental checklist that you go through before you write about something or just share whatever’s banging around in your head? Tell $herdog all about it.

Psst- Wondering how we decide what project to tackle in what order? Here’s info about how we prioritize our home projects (it’s at the bottom of this post). 


  1. Meredith says

    I love you guys! I officially consider myself a YHL evangelist as I have turned at least 2 people onto your blog. :)

  2. says

    Hey YHL! I am a HUGE fan! I check in every day for your posts. I feel like we are friends…yet you don’t know me, I just know you. Stalker-ish, I know, sorry about that. :) I LOVED this post. I actually just started a blog too. I am an avid blog reader and your blog and Kelle Hampton’s blog (enjoying the small things) are two that have inspired me the most to start documenting my own journey through a blog.

    I am curious, I know you did a post a while back about your feeling of safety and the blog, but do you ever worry that putting so much information out there could cause you trouble for your safety? That is one thing I struggle with as I have started my new blog. I want to share and be open, but I don’t want to have my information fall into the wrong hands. Just curious what yall think:)

    Thanks for keeping it real and for the suggestions. They were very helpful!

    -Andrea (AMK)

    • says

      Aw thanks Andrea! I know what you mean about feeling like you put a lot out there. One thing that has really helped us is getting a great alarm system. I worry so much less when we travel and even when we’re at home. The other thing I like to remind myself is that we try to be smart about what we share (we don’t share our address, house number, neighborhood info, etc) and there are probably folks out there with a lot more money/valuables (ex: famous people, haha) so if someone broke into our house they would just get a pillow or two. Hope it helps!


  3. says

    Great advice guys!!! I go through rough patches on mustering up my dedication to the blog. I’m hoping to revive it this week! Thanks for the help.

  4. says

    Great advice! I like your idea of finding a pace that works for you. I blog for me and no one else. I do what I like and talk to my readers (the few that I have) like I would talk to a friend. And since my friends care about what I do, I just imagine my readers do too.

  5. says

    Wow. Thanks so much for this.

    This advice is right on time for us; LHBH is growing and we feel a lot of pressure on posting. Being a self-conscious perfectionist I fret over what to post, if people will like it, if a post is too long or too short… About everything in short.

    Thanks again for the blog love and encouragement!

    PS. We’re blogging about one of things we’re most excited about all this week… Our puppies! It’s Doggie Week at LHBH! :)

  6. says

    I just started blogging about eight months ago and my husband was complementing my style the other day. I told him I have good blog role models. That would be you guys! (and Katie B.) :-)

  7. says

    Great advice! When I started blogging, I was unsure about what to post, too, thinking no one would like it. I tried posting at least once a day, Monday – Friday, and the more I wrote, the easier it got. Over the past year, I’ve met some lovely people and I think part of it is because I’m very very open about my life.

  8. says

    You guys do a great blog and I think Nina asks some great stuff. I don’t really have a checklist for what makes a good post, but I do read a lot of blogs to get ideas for what might be interesting. I figure if I like reading about it, then others might like to hear what I have to say about something similar.

    I think it takes some work to start thinking about your day as a series of things that someone else might find interesting. Maybe you have a great method for folding a fitted sheet, a unique omelette concoction, a funny photo of your cat/dog/child, or an interesting solution to a problem around the house. Those are the things you may want to share.

  9. rachael says

    I think your home inspires people but your success at blogging seems to be another inspiration for some people!! I always look forward to all your posts no matter what the topic is, and its rare but sometimes I do scroll through the pictures. We built a deck last summer so I have no desire to read every word on runs and risers, my husband likes to, but that deck was almost the death of us, so now I’m looking forward to you decorating it! I’m glad you guys just go with your gut and post whats going on in your life, its definitely what draws me in every day.

  10. says

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I love all your posts but these ones even more so since I started blogging. I am new to it and sometime feel like I’m “doing it wrong” if that makes any sense.

    Anyways – thank you again – any an all tips you provide are greatly appreciated.

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