Our Mom Central VIP: Janel C.
Your kids: I have three boys ages 5 and under and baby #4 on the way, I’m hoping it’s a girl!
Your blog url: amomstake.com
What year did you start blogging?
I started a family blog back in May 2006, but I only posted occasionally when I had family and life updates to share. I enjoyed blogging, but never felt like I had too interesting of a life to share. I started A Mom’s Take on April 1, 2010 (no joke!) and have blogged consistently ever since! I enjoy blogging and often consider it my “me” time!
In addition to blogging and being a mother, what other jobs do you have?
My full-time job includes the laundry, dishes, diapers, and cleaning up toys… oh, wait, that falls under being a mother! I am also currently teaching 8-year-old children at my local church each week as a volunteer.
Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog because I loved entering blog giveaways on a few of my very favorite blogs that I dutifully entered each week for about a year. One day I just decided I would jump in with both feet and start my own blog! I have worked as a product reviewer in a lot of different respects (focus groups, surveys, product trials, etc.) over the years so it was the natural next step for me. I love technology and the computer so a lot of the aspects to blogging come easy for me.
What advice do you have for those starting out?
I recommend you make friends! Connect with other bloggers and find ways to work together and help each other grow! I have made several good friends from blogging and it is really nice to have those connections because your friends that don’t blog won’t always get your excitement or enthusiasm towards all things blogging! I also recommend signing up for all the free blogging groups you can find. There are a lot of great groups, like Mom Central, that offer blogging programs and new opportunities.
Name a few challenges you see or have experienced in the blogosphere.
Sometimes, bloggers are the blogosphere’s own worst enemy! When we as a group undervalue ourselves and often work endless hours for no compensation, it sends the message that our time isn’t valuable. I know that all bloggers work hard and sacrifice time away from family or other commitments to make their blog a success. While not everything commitment needs to be paid, keep in mind your own value for your time and efforts and stick to it. Another challenge I often see is trying to keep up in the fast paced world of social media. Being a blogger, social media is important but with all the new outlets popping up, it’s hard to juggle them all. I tend to join them all, and stay most active in the ones that really fit my style best.
What are your favorite and least favorite part(s) about blogging?
My favorite aspect of blogging is having a voice and getting to share about really neat products and websites that have crossed my path. It’s a unique position to be able to influence those around you and I deeply appreciate my readers and those who truly interact back with me and offer feedback as well. My least favorite part has to be the never empty inbox! I try really hard to stay digitally organized but it seems impossible to keep my inbox empty! If I miss a day or don’t file emails into folders right away, it becomes a huge task trying to catch up! It’s also hard to find a stopping point when I sit down to blog as there is always a queue of projects I should continue to work on.
What is the wackiest opportunity you have gotten since you started your blog?
I think the wackiest opportunities that have come my way have been when a sponsor wants me to try their product, usually something that seems pretty personal, and then pass along what I receive to review as a giveaway prize. Sorry, but that’s just weird and doesn’t work for me!
What are your top three blogging tips?
1. Make a schedule to track all your projects and a calendar to stay organized. I created a Google doc that helps me stay organized and can be accessed wherever I might be. Plus, it makes it much simpler to do my taxes as I have all my past projects and payments listed to be able to report.
2. Backup your blog! I had a plugin I thought was doing this for me, but when I went to update my version of WordPress, my blog crashed and I discovered the plugin was creating “blank” copies! I had to fork out money to my host to restore my databases!
3. Buy your domain name! Buying your own domain name is one of the cheapest things you’ll ever do at about $10/year. Even if you don’t host your own blog and run your blog through blogger or another free service while you are getting started, it will be invaluable to have your domain name when you are ready to switch! Plus, it is much more professional and allows you to have your own email address at your domain name.
What are you hoping will happen for you and your blog within the next year?
I’m hoping to attend my first blog conference and also get to go on a blog trip within the next year!
We love link back love! Please tell us 2 or 3 blogs you love, their URLs, and Twitter names.
- This Mama Loves Her Bargains – mamalovesherbargains.com – @brettbmartin
- OurKidsMom – ourkidsmom.com – @ourkidsmom
- Change-Diapers – change-diapers.com – @chgdiapers
Thanks, Janel! We love working with you!