Kathy from DanishMamma

Kathy is Danish, and that creates a bond with me, since I’m Dutch. Not exactly the same country, but very close, and we both are in a new country, moved from the far, far away.

DanishMom screenshot

Can you first introduce yourself, where you come from, and what is your background?

Hello, my name is Kathy Dalton. I was born in Odense, Denmark but grew up in Salt Lake City. My degree is in Communication Marketing from BYU and have worked in advertising, marketing and product development prior to leaving my corporate job to become an entrepreneur and blogger.

What are some of the topics you write about on your blog?

I write about raising children, our two dogs and the adventures we have as a family. We love to travel and took our family sailing in Denmark last summer.

How did you get started blogging? What made you want to start a blog?

I started blogging for the company I worked for, but after our son was born prematurely we wrote the blog as a way to keep family informed of updates. It was a great way to journal our experience.

Once upon a time, not so long ago lived a fair maiden with golden hair. She dreamed of creating a community where she could find others like her. Thus the blog was born.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Inspiration comes from our day to day life and from the great bloggers I am surrounded by in Utah. I enjoy attending conference and learning.

Do you have a specific piece you have written, which you are really proud of? Can you tell us how this came together, and the story behind it?

The hardest post for me to write was after I was put on bed rest with our daughter and we were preparing for another premie. I sobbed the entire time I wrote and edited this post: Baby Girl Wish to Hold You

I had been put on bed rest two weeks prior and we were expecting her to come any day. Our son was born 6 weeks prematurely unexpectedly when my water broke at 34 weeks. After he was born, we never got to hold him. They took him away and it broke my heart.

I once wrote a quick blog post about the Wireless Switch on a Dell computer, which became my biggest traffic driver on my blog. I called this accidental blogging success. Do you have content which you didn’t spent a lot of time on writing, but turned out to be some of your most popular posts?

It’s all about being included on a database somewhere in cyber space

Did you also have posts you spent a lot of time on, which in the end are not driving a lot of content?

I am not the craftiest of bloggers and created these garden markers that took forever to make, photograph and edit. But I was pleased with the end result {Tutorial} Gardening with Kids: Seed Starters & Garden Markers

I’m not very crafty, but enjoy doing projects that instill creativity in our children.

Are there any people, or other bloggers, you see as examples or to whom you aspire to?

Jyl Pattee is someone that admire. She is always kind and makes you feel important when you talk to her.

Have you been featured on large blogs, media or in TV programs? If so, how did they find you?

Mandi from Vintage Revivals bought my orange velvet couch. The couch has been featured all over her blog and on the news! My Surrogate

I’ve been on our local news station a few times, interviewed by the associated press and featured in parenting magazines. Most are from HARO requests.

Can you tell us your experience and how this has made you more successful?

It’s always great to connect with news sources that are aligned with what you are doing. It’s been great for third party validation.

What would you do differently this time?

When the World Progress Report with Joan Lundon called me, I had a screaming child vying for attention.  Next time, I would have a baby sitter come for the 1/2 hour call.

Where can we find you online?

 

Blog: www.danishmama.com

Twitter: @danishmama

Facebook: www.facebook.com/danishmamablog

Tara from Tara Made It

Tara is a successful blogger I first met through Twitter. We got talking about everything and nothing, and she agreed to do a Q&A with me.

Tara Made It Screenshot

Can you first introduce yourself, where you come from, and what is your background?

Hi there, I’m Tara Rex from taradaramadeit.com.  Canada is my native country, I was recruited to work as an RN in a busy ER/Trauma Room in the states 10 years ago and am now an American.  I have always been artsy fartsy and have dabbled in many different artistic mediums, but always have come back to sewing and textiles.  I decided to open a sewing company and make a go of it in February 2010 and haven’t looked back.  With 2 young boys at home, this has allowed me to stay at home with them and be accessible to them, and to participate at their schools on a volunteer basis!  My sewing company, taradara, is currently being considered to be featured on the hit TV show Shark Tank on ABC.

What are some of the topics you write about on your blog?

I write about various topics.  I certainly do not have a niche {or maybe I do by not having one}.  I write about DIY, sewing, Etsy, owning a business, family activities, local events, conferences, sharing information, and whatever I think about that day.

How did you get started blogging? What made you want to start a blog?

I started blogging after I attended a creative conference a few years ago.  It was apparent to me that if I wanted to succeed with my online sewing company that I needed to have a blog.  It was the best thing I could have done for my business and for myself.

The story was basically that I saw what a lot of the other handmade businesses were doing and how they were becoming successful.  I listened to their advice and put it in to action.  I’m very active in social media and have taught myself a lot {with an abundant more to learn}, but it has a major driving force to my my success.

Where do you get your inspiration?

My inspiration never comes from one source.  It doesn’t come from a few sources.  It very well comes from whatever the universe or my boys put in front of me.  There are a lot of things I’d like to write about, however, finding time is a major factor that I struggle with daily.  I know I’m not alone with that!  What I’m saying is that there is inspiration on a daily basis and it could be from something as simple as pebbles in a shoe or yummy fabrics I’d love to get my hands on or that I’m actually working with.  I don’t look at magazines much, I poke around on Pinterest but I don’t find blogging inspiration on it, I look to more organic signs.  I’m probably not the best person to give advice on this topic because I really don’t stay on top of trends, I just really write what matters to me and that’s what comes across the most genuine and true.  That’s inspiring to me.

Do you have a specific piece you have written, which you are really proud of? Can you tell us how this came together, and the story behind it?

I wrote about the “Power of the Written Word“.

This post took me a long time to decide to actually write it and put it out there.  It is a very ‘baring’ post.  I wanted to write for such a long time that I finally just said that I was going to do it!  It means so much to me because it’s about something I wrote about over 25 years ago.  I had forgotten about it, and when I was 36, I actually competed in a bodybuilding competition, something that I had wanted to do for so many years.  I had just had a baby via c-section, had gained 60 pounds, and wanted a way to shed the pounds.  Well, I found a way!  I competed when my second baby boy was just 7 months old and I WON 3 trophies that day.  It was truly one of the proudest days of my life.  It was something I did for ME.  For moms, this is not something we do for ourselves, so this was really a memorable moment in my life.

I once wrote a quick blog post about the Wireless Switch on a Dell computer, which became my biggest traffic driver on my blog. I called this accidental blogging success. Do you have content which you didn’t spent a lot of time on writing, but turned out to be some of your most popular posts?

I wish I did … I REALLY wish I did.  But, I don’t.

Did you also have posts you spent a lot of time on, which in the end are not driving a lot of content?

Oh sure, of course, we all have those ones.  I have a few … ahem.

Are there any people, or other bloggers, you see as examples or to whom you aspire to?

Oh, there are many.  Jen from Tatertots and Jello.  Allison from House of Hepworths, Jo Packham from Where Women Create/Cook, and many more.

Have you been featured on large blogs, media or in TV programs? If so, how did they find you?

Yes…

  • 9News: I sent a press release with my Golden Globe swag bag information {TWICE}, and they contacted me.  Sent a crew out and shot a story
  • FOX31: They found me from a press release that was sent out from someone else announcing that I had won an ‘Inventor of the Year’ award in the Denver area. They did a story on how a MOM is making it happen.
  • FOX Small Business of the Day: Found me online
  • American Express Open Forum:  Their contributing writer found me on Etsy, I was on the front page when he was looking.  Right place right time.
  • Business Insider:  Same as the American Express
  • The Denver Post:  The Mile High Mamas blogger was doing an editorial in the post on ‘what mothers really want for Mother’s Day’.  She asked if I would like to be a part of it.  The Editor from the Post emailed me and asked if they could FEATURE me in their story!  They sent a photographer to my studio.
  • Mile High Mamas:  Same story as The Denver Post
  • 9News:  Mile High Mamas had a spot on the morning news featuring different Mother’s Day products and featured a few of mine.
  • Shark Tank:  I applied for the show and have made it past the application process.  Waiting to hear that I’ve made it through to the taping!  Wish me LUCK!
  • I’ve been on a few other blogs via link parties where they featured my blog post that they liked.
Can you tell us your experience and how this has made you more successful?

With all of these experiences, they have ALL been great!  I have found that they have spiked traffic to my blog and my Etsy shop and then it drops back to normal.  Sales go way up and then they level out.  But with every time, I have more and more local Colorado people come up to me and say, “Hey, I’ve seen you so many times in the media lately!”.  Or they’ll email me.  I have had some increase in traffic on a steady basis, but not to the level I would like to be, that’s for sure.  It would be great to have consistency and even higher spikes.  In any case, it’s been wonderful, a true blessing.

What would you do differently this time?

I would certainly figure out how to keep you coming back!

Where can we find you online?

taradaramadeit.com

Ashley from I’m Topsy Turvy

Ashley is a successful blogger who likes to bake cakes publishes how to guides on how she made the most wonderful creative cakes on I’m Topsy Turvy. Last year she attended my SEO Workshop at EVO, and apparently grew her traffic significantly after the 3.5 hours marathon sit. I would like to claim any credits for this, however, if you look through the different cakes she has made, and the how to guides, it was bound to happen!

I'm Topsy Turvy

Can you first introduce yourself, where you come from, and what is your background?

My name is Ashlee and I’m a stay at home mom to 5 wonderful children!  I’ve moved 33 times in my life, lived in 7 states and even Japan!  Growing up I was into Theater, singing and dancing.  My dad was pretty ahead of the game and we got a PC for our house when I was 14, and I’ve loved computers ever since!

What are some of the topics you write about on your blog?
I started out as a food blogger, recipes and my cakes, then I started a craft, DIY blog and then I merged them together!  In addition to the food, cakes, parties, crafts and DIY I also throw in some personal posts every once in a while, usually about my kids but sometimes about being a mom to children on the autistic spectrum!
How did you get started blogging? What made you want to start a blog?

In 2007 my husband graduated with an MBA and we had our 4th child the same week.  A few weeks later we moved to Houston TX, away from all family and friends, and then my husband left me for 3 months training in India!  4 kids, new town, brand new baby, no husband…  I was lonely, bored and crazy busy.  a friend suggested I start a blog to update my husband on the kids while he was gone, as well as connect with my family and friends all over the world!  So I started a PRIVATE family blog, and at the same time I started a food blog, July 11th, 2007!  In January of 2010 I started my craft blog and after my first conference in June of 2010 I merged the craft and food blogs, renamed/branded them and the rest is history!

Where do you get your inspiration?

Since I blog about so much my inspiration comes from all over!  I get on kicks, sometimes I’m all cakes for weeks, then all knitting patterns, or all about the kids (summer).  I love getting from my kids, family, friends, pinterest (I’m an addict), fellow bloggers, my sisters, mom and friends!  I’m very visual so sometimes I’ll get inspired in the check out line at the grocery store, or from a picture at the dentist office, I try to take pictures with my phone when I see something I want to remember later, or pin it if I see something online!

Do you have a specific piece you have written, which you are really proud of? Can you tell us how this came together, and the story behind it?

The post about a Lego Star Wars  Birthday Party.

Since so much of my blogging is visual, tutorial based, or just plain showing off my cakes I don’t feel like I’m really a writer, in fact I’m actually very insecure about my writing.  Once someone told me that I apologize too much- which I followed up with by apologizing!  Someone else once told me that when they meet me in real life I sounded JUST like I did when I write, which was the best compliment I could receive!
That said my favorite posts are my party posts, the parties I throw for my kids (myself, friends) include all the things I’m passionate about, cakes, food, crafts, etc…  They not only take the most work, but are so much fun to present and share!  the labels I created for this party are my most requested, so much in fact that I added them as a free download on my facebook page!
I once wrote a quick blog post about the Wireless Switch on a Dell computer, which became my biggest traffic driver on my blog. I called this accidental blogging success. Do you have content which you didn’t spent a lot of time on writing, but turned out to be some of your most popular posts?
Often, actually! Some of my favorite posts, that I expect will be huge, are just average, but the ones I throw out are sometimes the biggest hits!  like my lego head birthday cake

LEgo Head Birthday Cake it was so big and got so many request I ended up doing a follow up with a tutorial a year later! Lego Head Cake Tutorial  then this year a cake that took me not time at all to make has been one of my biggest pinned cakes!  Rainbow Sprinkle Birthday Cake

What did you learn from these successes?
While people love looking at my amazing, difficult, time consuming cakes they really love the easy ones they know they can do themselves!
I should take pictures and do tutorials of the items I think are self explanatory because the ones I think don’t need a tutorial is inevitably the one I get asked about all the time!  apparently what I think is easy isn’t 😉
Also of course my more successful posts are all within the last year, having the correct SEO, knowing how to name my images and put out the best possible post has helped as well. I have older posts that are also simple, and pin-able and should have done better than they did, My plan is to go back and fix those up, I do a few every few months and it makes a huge difference!  the few I’ve “fixed” have not only done better, but helped my overall blog numbers too!
Did you also have posts you spent a lot of time on, which in the end are not driving a lot of content?
For sure!  I did a HUGE post on my daughters Dr. Seuss birthday party a few years ago, I spent WEEKS creating content and creating an AMAZING party, BUT I had a terrible camera and while in person the party was impressive it didn’t read well in pictures. Dr. Seuss 3rd Birthday Party Cake
What did you learn from these posts?
I learned to create one well done table, and started saving up for my nice DSLR.  my industry is an image driven one, so good pictures are huge, I learned to use my camera better, set up tables better, got photoshop and at the same time didn’t create quite so much.  More content didn’t/doesn’t help! one simple project is often better recieved, so I now break up my party posts, the invitation, a recipe from the party, a craft from the party, the cake and then a wrap up with everything, it seems to help a lot, smaller more posts, less overwhelming I think!

On top of simply the content the posts I’ve learned so much about SEO last year (thank you Dennis) that I’ve actually taken some of those older posts, like this one, that hadn’t done well when I thought they should and renamed the images, used the SEO tips and tricks and some other quick fixes (the layout, and order of the pictures/writing) and even though it was over 2 years old it’s gained momentum and done MUCH better!

Are there any people, or other bloggers, you see as examples or to whom you aspire to?

Because I’ve been blogging for 5 years I constantly learn from other bloggers. some I aspire to learn from, and some i learned what not to do from!  it’s still such a new industry I think we’re all learning from each other!  I like being in the middle, bigger than the beginners and smaller than the titans, it’s a good place to be!

Have you been featured on large blogs, media or in TV programs? If so, how did they find you?
Yes, l have been featured and done guest posts on some of the larger blogs in my niche, my top referrers (after google , ravelry and pinterest) are these blogs,
tipjunkie.com/ and u-createcrafts.com/
A local TV network, KSL, is reaching out to bloggers and I was featured as their blogger of the week
My cookies were featured in Vogue Mexico. They found me via google images.
I’m now working on doing a show with an online craft tv show network! Hopefully in the fall!

Craft blogs have weekly link parties, so I link up and they pick favorite posts to features, also I’ve meet both bloggers in real life and are now friends, so they’ve both had me do guest posts as well!
I meet the TV channel through a KSL blogger facebook group!
Can you tell us your experience and how this has made you more successful?
I USED to guest post all the time, but I was losing out on my content, they were getting credit for my stuff, now i’m only willing to guest post for blogs big enough to be worth it, in fact last year the two blogs that were my biggest referrers were also the only two I guest posted for again this year, I’m still willing to link up, and even to a guest post about myself, or with teasers, but not full tutorials.
I’ve also learned how maybe other people see my blog and have cleaned things up, my font for example, changed my water mark, etc…
You learn something from everything you try!  I’ve learned I LOVE the camera, and want to do more TV! I learned to say yes to as much as I can, you never know where it will lead down the road! Be brave, be yourself and HAVE FUN!
What would you do differently this time?
Lose weight?  it’s hard seeing yourself on camera!
For my blog the same thing I said above, I quit giving my content away, and I wish I hadn’t done so much of sharing my content before!  I protect my images with better water marks.
The biggest changes I’ve made over the last year is better pictures, naming my images better and being more aware of my SEO and google analytic’s.  I’m slowly going through old posts and “fixing” my mistakes, and slowly but surely those older posts are doing better, and helping my overall blog!
Where can we find you online?

http://Imtopsyturvy.com
http://topsyturvycakes.com
http://facebook.com/Imtopsyturvy
http://twitter.com/Imtopsyturvy
http://pinterest.com/imtopsyturvy/
on Instagram as @imtopsyturvy #topsyturvycakes

Stacey from Not Just A Housewife

Stacey is a successful DIY blogger who publishes about her projects on Not Just a Housewife.

Not Just a Housewife screenshot

Can you first introduce yourself, where you come from, and what is your background?

I  am stay at home mom with four little boys from Utah. I have always had an eye for design and I have always loved creating things. As a kid I use to save up my money for supplies for my latest project and I would sneak into my dad’s shed and use his tools. I went to school to be a physical therapist for children with disabilities because I had a niece who was born with special needs and I loved taking her to therapy and seeing how sweet the therapists were with her. While it was a nice idea, I hated the classes. If I could back I would have majored in something design related.

What are some of the topics you write about on your blog?

I talk mainly about my DIY and home decor projects. I am working on fixing up my 1938 cottage style home so I have plenty of material for that topic! But I am a mom also so I talk about activities I do with my kids, my life, gardening, and anything else I feel like that day.

How did you get started blogging? What made you want to start a blog?

I have always done projects. And I have always had people telling me I needed to share what I was doing. I would occasionally teach a small group or speak at a church function. But these opportunities were few and far between. Plus they took me out of the home and for me, the goal was to be with my kids. When I discovered blogs in 2010 I was thrilled to have found a platform in which I could share my ideas and stay in the home with my children.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Most of the time when I am doing a project in my home it is a product of problem solving. My home is small and old which means it also has some fun quirks that can be design challenges. I also get a lot of inspiration from my childhood and nature. I try to stay away from pinterest when needing new ideas. I want it to happen naturally and not have it be a copy of another person’s work. But I have found ideas in magazines on occasion.

Do you have a specific piece you have written, which you are really proud of? Can you tell us how this came together, and the story behind it?

The personal, honest posts that are sometimes the hardest to write are the ones that I get the most response from. I think that readers want you to be a real person they can relate to and not some mysterious person behind the magazine worthy shots of your always clean home. My blogging story, The dark side of blogging, and You are not “just” anything are some that not only generated a lot of comments but a ton of emails.

I once wrote a quick blog post about the Wireless Switch on a Dell computer, which became my biggest traffic driver on my blog. I called this accidental blogging success. Do you have content which you didn’t spent a lot of time on writing, but turned out to be some of your most popular posts?

I one day decided to make a mason jar wall planter. It was just for fun. It was not something on my forever long ‘to do’ list. I came up with the idea, shopped for supplies and made it all in one day. It was less than $20 and took me less than an hour to make. It went viral and has been in 2 magazines, on hundreds of websites including HGTV, and has been pinned more than any other post of mine. It is such a simple project that I was not expecting that kind of response. It was crazy. Apparently I need to do more cheap and easy projects that I think up on the fly!

Did you also have posts you spent a lot of time on, which in the end are not driving a lot of content?

Sometimes a big project will not have the big response I expect at first but over time as the project is shared on other sites and pinned it ends up getting the attention I wanted. But in the beginning it is disappointing to have worked on a room for months and not have it go crazy like you think it should I have learned to have patience.

Are there any people, or other bloggers, you see as examples or to whom you aspire to?

I read a lot of different kinds of blogs and the ones that I am drawn to the most are those who are real. The ones that when I am on their blog I feel good. Whether that means they make me laugh, I learned something new or that I just get a good feeling when I read their content. I want to walk away from a site feeling uplifted and like I got something of value from it. That is how I hope people feel when they come to my site.

Have you been featured on large blogs, media or in TV programs? If so, how did they find you?

Yes, I have been on all our local lifestyle shows several times each. And I have been in magazines like better Homes and Gardens. The TV shows contacted me after finding my site. I am lucky that the shows here in Utah are so blogger friendly. I contacted Better Homes and Gardens. I honestly did not expect to hear back from them but was thrilled when they contacted me to schedule a shoot!

Can you tell us your experience and how this has made you more successful?

I do not get paid for these features but I think they do so much for me personally as well as for my blog. I am not the type of person who would naturally want to be on TV. I did it because I promised myself when I started my blog that I would open myself to new experiences even if it meant getting out of my comfort zone. I learned a lot about myself and my confidence grew. I also have been contacted by large companies and brands because of my media coverage. So even though I was not paid for the TV gigs, I have found ways to benefit from them.

What would you do differently this time?

In regards to media? Nothing. Even the mistakes I made were valuable to me. Actually, that would apply to just about everything 🙂

Where can we find you online?

www.notjustahousewife.net

Crafty Blogger Jen from Tatertots & Jello

Jen and I met first at the EVO conference in July 2011 where I did a SEO workshop for bloggers. In 2012, we met again at the SNAP conference, where Jen was part of the crew. I asked if she would like to be featured as one fo the first bloggers by answering a couple of questions.

Tatertos & Jello Screenshot

Can you first introduce yourself, where you come from, and what is your background?

Hi! I’m Jen Hadfield and I blog at Tatertots & Jello and Refashion Files. I grew up in Michigan and New York and now I live in Salt Lake City. I am a fine art major and I have a love of anything creative. I love decorating my house and creating beautiful things on a budget.

What are some of the topics you write about on your blog?

I blog about anything creative — Home DIY, Holiday Crafts and anything in between.

How did you get started blogging? What made you want to start a blog?

I started my blog as a personal blog. My sister had discovered blogs and she thought I should start one. I didn’t think I had anything to say. But one day I was having a bad day and I decided to start one. I was hooked from the start. I loved meeting new people I otherwise would not have discovered in real life. I have made so many wonderful relationships through my blog. It has opened up an amazing new world for me.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get my inspiration for so many different places. Nature, fashion, colors, everywhere I go I am looking for inspiration for new project ideas.

Do you have a specific piece you have written, which you are really proud of? Can you tell us how this came together, and the story behind it?

It seems like my newest projects are my favorites. But anything I have done in my home makes me happy. I just redid my daughter’s room and it was a fun, fast process. My favorite part is the happiness she gets out of the room.Nautical Teen Room with Rustic Beach-Inspired Weathered Wall! A couple other projects I’ve done lately that I love are –Family Picture Gallery Wall — Reveal!! and Aqua and White Kitchen Reveal!!.

I once wrote a quick blog post about the Wireless Switch on a Dell computer, which became my biggest traffic driver on my blog. I called this accidental blogging success. Do you have content which you didn’t spent a lot of time on writing, but turned out to be some of your most popular posts?

Yes!! It is kind of frustrating to spend weeks on a project and get minimal traffic and then spend 10 minutes and get tons of traffic. But I love all of my projects, it’s not just about traffic. Here is one example of a post that I did one day when I needed something to talk about and people really liked it. 10-minute polka dot project

Did you also have posts you spent a lot of time on, which in the end are not driving a lot of content?

Yes, for sure. I have spent tons of time on a project that doesn’t get as much attention as I think it deserves haha – but I have to think of it in a few different ways. First of all, if it’s a project that I love and I enjoyed the process it shouldn’t matter as much how much traffic it got. Another thing is maybe I haven’t promoted it enough. And the third thing I have to remember is that it might not be getting traffic right now, but it could become popular down the road if I submit it to different sites.

Are there any people, or other bloggers, you see as examples or to whom you aspire to?

So many people!! I try not to compare myself to other people, I have found that doing that kills my creativity. But there are dozens of people that I have met blogging and I feel like the creative niche really is very supportive. I love that aspect of blogging. And actually sharing other people’s projects and promoting other people brings me just as much satisfaction as blogging about my own ideas. That is why I started my Weekend Wrap Up Party, where people can link up there favorite creative projects each week. I spend the weekend going through their ideas and I do two wrap up feature posts on the weekends featuring other people.

Have you been featured on large blogs, media or in TV programs? If so, how did they find you?

I have done a local morning show a dozen or so times. They found me through me getting featured on some big blogs early in my blogging career. I have had three magazine features and they found me through the blogs too. I have also been featured through some big websites like Apartment Therapy, OhDeeDoh, Huffington Post, HGTV, Parents.com — I think a lot of these sites found me through Pinterest.

Can you tell us your experience and how this has made you more successful?

Every blogger loves getting featured (I think..) First of all, it’s a great feeling to know that someone else thinks a project you have done is awesome. Then there is the traffic, every blogger loves that too. And you can also put things like that on your sidebar or media page and that makes you more legit.

What would you do differently this time?

I need to be more proactive about putting myself out there to magazines and media. It just seems like I never have enough time to get everything done that I want.

Where can we find you online?

My main site is Tatertots & Jello, I’m also on Facebook,Pinterest, Twitter, Google +. My other site is Refashion Files and I write for Babble’s Home Ec Blog too.