Social Media as a Career

Goals. We all have them, right?

Well today we’re going to discuss my blogging goals for the Summer Blog Social that is being hosted by Liz from a belle, a bean, and a chicago dog and Jessica from Four Plus an Angel.

So there’s a specific prompt….

What are your overriding goals for your blog and social media presence? How have those goals evolved over time?

I can most certainly tell you that when I started out just over a year ago I had no goals. None. I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing and just hoping for the best. And I learned a great deal! Wow… I seriously couldn’t believe how much there was to this blogging thing. Numbers, stats, commenting, Google Analytics, mingling, joining groups, reviews, giveaways… the list seemed endless of all the things that you could take into account where blogging is concerned so many directions that you could go with it all. But now that I look back what it comes down to is what you really want to do with your blog, where you want to take it, and most importantly having fun with what you decide to do.

Alright, my goals.

So I love this blogging & social media thing. Being able to meet new people and interact with them on a daily basis is great. I’ve met so many people and it amazes me everyday how helping and generous they all are with their time and knowledge. Not that long ago I decided that social media is something that I would love to be able to do all the time and some day I want to be doing this for a living. Blogging & social media as my official career is my goal.

Is it a lofty goal? Maybe, but I think that it is one that is definitely obtainable. I just need to get pointed in the right direction and with help I believe that I can make it happen.

The first couple things that I am doing to get closer to that is increase my content ensuring that it’s good content too. Next on the list is getting more organized when it comes to blogging and my posting schedule. Easy peasy! I’ve been doing it for almost a week now! Yay me!

So there you have friends, my goal. Just one to make it easy on myself.

What do you think? Any suggestions on where or how to start?

Comments. Are they important?

I was thinking about writing a post for Pour Your Heart Out since last week… Friday to be exact and some how it snuck up on me and I’m a bit behind the game since the linky went live Wednesday morning. If I’m lucky I’ll be like the 100th person to link up.

I may ramble a bit through this so I apologize in advance if I do.

So I have a blog (duh…) and I write and write…. And sometimes I ignore my blog for a couple of days here and there because life has a tendency to step in and take hold of my time.

Often I try to make an effort to write a really good post and other times I get busy and try to get something out quickly that isn’t of the highest quality. But when I write something that I think is pretty good I tend to hope for comments & constructive criticism and nothing happens.

Nothing. Meaning that half the day goes by before there is one comment.

It’s disheartening. It makes me wonder if I did something wrong, if I wrote something that offended people, or if what I wrote wasn’t comment worthy.

And honestly, I don’t know what it is.

There are times that I just let it go and not worry about it because really I need to write for me and not for comments or anyone else. Right?

Then there are other times where it does bother me.

The most important thing I need to remember is that comments aren’t everything, numbers aren’t that important, comments aren’t that important, and I need to remember what is. My writing. The words that I write are what are important.

I like what I do and I like writing. And I’m going to keep on doing it with or without comments. I just need to come to an understanding that not everything is comment worthy even though people read it.

They are the Fab Five!

Thanks to Trop50 for sponsoring my writing about fabulous bloggers. This year Trop50 is granting 50 Fabulous Wishes. Click here to enter for a chance to win $1,000 to celebrate a friend with a refreshing attitude about looking and feeling fabulous!

There are so many amazing bloggers out there that I admire and love to read and to narrow it down to just five of them is no simple task. How do I pick one over another? What if I leave someone important out… what if this…. what if that… Do you see my dilemma?

Well, I’m going to try and narrow this down for you and share with you some new, some of, but in the end they’re all friends and great bloggers.

1. Single Mom on a Budget

SingleMomonaBudget

I’ve known Jill for almost a year now and she is a terrific friend and has some of the best deals around for the Denver area, coupons, giveaways, and great ways to save. We met last fall during the Back to School, Back to Blogging even that Gigi over at Kludgy Mom was running. We both were looking for someone to be a faerie blogmother and decided that we’d do it for one another and since then we’ve been supporting each others posts, guest posting, and just helping out in general when one of us needed.

We quickly found out how much that we have in common and that we got along well! She’s been a great friend and is always there when I need her.

So take a few minutes and check out her blog and some of the incredible deals she has to offer.

2. Ciao Mom

Elena and I met when we were paired as writing partners for The Red Dress Club. She is an amazing writer and I love reading what she writes whether I see if before it’s posted or if I just happen to be wandering by her blog. She recently vlogged and I was finally able to “meet” her! She’s a wife, a mom, and most importantly a survivor. Go over and read what she has to say… you won’t be sorry. I promise.

3. Mommies in Timeout

For some reason Elena (yes, there are two of them on my list!) doesn’t have a button, but I’m fully confident that when she has her blog redone that she’ll have one then!

I met Elena a few months ago through The Red Dress Club as well. I started reading through her posts based on the prompts and was pulled into her blog and have been reading it ever since. She too, is a great writer and knows how to tell a story! I should also mention that she is one of the reasons that I actually stepped outside of my comfort zone and started doing vlogs. So a huge thanks should go to her for that because I vowed that I would never do it!

I recently had the opportunity to actually met her in real life and she is one of the nicest people that I’ve met and I was so glad that I had that opportunity. What’s even better is that we live less than 2 hours apart and can get together again.

4. Kludgy Mom

Kludgy Mom

Okay, first of all if you haven’t heard of Gigi’s blog yet then you must living under a rock or something! She’s is so talented and always has something really cool going on at her blog like the Facebook 500, App Girl Friday, Back to School, Back to Blogging or her newest event, The Summer of Love.

I have learned a great deal from all the great info that she has shared with everyone and really appreciate it. It’s people like her that help us who are new to the blogging world and encourage us to stick to it.

5. Dysfunctional Supermom

Dysfunctional Supermom

Brandi is just awesome. She is funny, open, honest, foul mouthed, and all around a great friend. We met a while back on Twitter when she asked about blog buttons or something and I offered to make her one. Since then we’ve been friends and I’ve been reading her blog daily (or when she posts).

She tells it like it is and doesn’t hold back, and best of all she doesn’t apologize for anything. She is who she is and is confident in that. I admire that because I’m the quiet chicken in the back of the room where as she’s the one being loud and having a great time talking to everyone. I know that if I needed something and asked her she’d come through for me even though we are several states apart.

There you have it friends, the Fab Five! If I didn’t mention you that doesn’t mean that you aren’t totally awesome too… it just means that I was limited to five and these ladies were the first to come to mind.

Share with me a great blog that you read!

Don’t forget to enter the 50 Fabulous Wishes contest for a chance to win $1,000 to celebrate a friend with a refreshing attitude about looking and feeling fabulous. I was selected for this Tropicana Trop50 sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do. I received compensation to use and facilitate my post.

Gleek Retreat ~ Counting the Days!

I have to tell you that I am sooo.. excited! Why you ask, well because this weekend, 5 days away, I’ll be joining a bunch of great people in Holland for Gleek Retreat!

Gleek Retreat is a blogging conference that is held right here in Michigan every year and was created by bloggers for bloggers. The conference is held over the weekend and that is one of the best parts about it… I’m able to go and not miss work or to much at home.

This will be my first ever conference and as I talked about before there’s a lot that goes into deciding whether or not to go to a conference. This one is a mere 2 hours from my home and looks like it’s going to be filled with a ton of useful information and even more fun.

Maybe your thinking to yourself… that’s not all that exciting… but I’m here to tell you that it really is and I’ll share the reasons why.

  • I haven’t been away without my kids or husband EVER
  • I haven’t done anything with friends in so long I may have forgotten how to act (I apologize for this in advance ladies)
  • I can use all the help I can get when it comes to writing and blogging
  • I get to go on a dinner cruise
  • I get to eat my dinner uninterrupted (YAY!!)
  • I get to use the bathroom alone
  • Holland is a great city with a lot to see and do. (Shopping anyone?)
  • I need a “girls” night out (I apologize to any men who may attend)

It goes without being said that I will miss my family and that they’ll probably miss me even more. I say that because they’ve never had a weekend where dad is the one doing everything so it may (or may not) be a challenge for them all. It will most definitely be a learning experience for them though….hey… I just had a thought…. maybe they’ll see how much I do for them and totally appreciate everything and be gushing over me when I get home (I can dream can’t I?).

Anyway be prepared for a few posts reviewing the conference, what I’ve learned, and of course a ton of pictures!

 

Gleek Retreat

Hey!! Let’s Meetup!!

Alright everyone! Let’s get together!

I’ve been tweeting it for a while, chatted about it with Amy (@amyplus1x3 & @justthe10) and then again today with a few others (@fourplusanangel @NaynaDub) and we all decided that we need to meet up!

The idea is to meet up with a bunch of great ladies outside of a conference! We have a lot in common too… moms, bloggers, friends… oh and the most important part… we’re all from Michigan! And no matter what I think that we’d have a ton to talk about!!

So let’s set this idea into motion! Here’s my idea…

  • Find a somewhat central location where we can all meet up
  • Pick out an awesome restaurant
  • Set a date & time

Another thought is that we could make a day of it and go shopping and out to dinner!

What are your thoughts?

Here are a few others that I know are from Michigan and should join the party!

@BuriedWithKids @ksluiter @dutchbeingme @bargainshopmom @MommieDaze

A Break

I think I need a break.

I love blogging.

I love talking to people on Twitter.

I love meeting new people.

What I don’t like is the pressure to post all the time. I feel that if I don’t I will lose readers, friends if you will. I will be looked down upon.

What I lack is time. Time to write really good content instead of crap.

Where do I get this time? How do I fit everything into my day that I need and want to do? How does everyone else do it?

So I’m lost….

So for this week I am taking a break until I can get something done. This will be the only post that you see from me this week unless I find those few mystery hours in a week or someone wants to guest post.

If you have a post that you just love but aren’t comfortable posting on your own blog or don’t have one let me know and I’ll help you out.

For now though I am off.

It’s all about the numbers

When I started blogging I knew nothing about stats, ranking, and how it can affect you and your blog. I was amazed how fast you can get sucked into tracking stats and where you stand in the world of blogging and within the internet. What’s even worse is stressing over these stats and trying to find ways to increase them.

I’ve recently started looking at them again because to qualify for various review and giveaway opportunities you need to have specific stats and I am realizing that for the majority of them I don’t qualify. Often I find that the ones that I do qualify for are products that I’m not interested in or ones that I feel my readers wouldn’t be interested in either.

But what do the stats really mean? Are they something that I need to worry about and put some effort into? I’ll be honest with you…. I have no idea what I can do to increase them. I’m not sure where to start or if I even want to. I didn’t get into blogging to become a statistician!

So let’s take a look at some of the stats that I’ve gathered and compare notes.

Alexa

  • Traffic Rank: 456,230
  • Traffic Rank in US: 98,574
  • Sites Linking In: 14

Klout

  • Score 59
  • My profile for Klout is here

Peer Index

  • Score 52
  • My profile for Peer Index is here

Google Page Rank

  • My rating is 0

Twitter Grader

  • My grade is 93
  • My Twitter Grader profile is here

Google Analytics

  • Page views for one month 1511

StatsCounter

  • Page loads for one month 2532

Twitter

  • Followers 899
  • Following 639

RSS

  • 165 subscribers

Google Friend Connect

  • 150 followers

Facebook Fans

  • 168 fans

Alright, I know that there are a lot of stats there to look at and process but what is your first impression?

Blogging Conferences ~ To Go or Not To Go

When I first started blogging there was all this talk about BlogHer and who was going and who wasn’t. I had no idea what everyone was talking about or what the big deal was. I think that someone Tweeted something about BlogHer with a link and it peaked my curiosity and I clicked on it.

From there my world changed! My eyes were opened to a much larger world. A world of conferences that could introduce me to all sorts of new people that I’d making lasting friendships with, teach me great things that I never knew, and help grow my blog to epic proportions (okay…. maybe not that last part). There was Bloggy Bootcamp, Blissdom, Type A Conference, Savvy Blogging Summit, Bloggy Conference and so many more!

I soon realized that all these great conferences were not close to where I live. I was a bit bothered by it because on top of the cost of the conference there was travel costs, hotel room, and food. I was trying to figure out how to justify the cost to my husband (he doesn’t see the point in going) because it wouldn’t be a little drop in the bucket. I think that I estimated around $500+ depending on the conference and where it’s at. That’s seriously a lot of money! I’m still trying to figure out how people are able to afford going to one much less two conferences!

Another thought (or two) crossed my mind. If I were to go how do I decide which one(s) are the best ones to go to and which one would best serve me and my blog? I have no idea really. It’s not like you can compare them up front since all the information isn’t available until closer to the date of the conference so you have to go on a hunch…. what you ‘think’ is the best one. You want to be able to learn from the speakers and workshops that are offered because that’s part of the reason for going, education. So how to decide is another dilemma.

So now what happens if I don’t go to a conference? I know one thing for sure…. you feel left out! There are Tweets, pictures, videos, blog posts and all sort of information flying around out there about who went, what they did, and so on. You hear about the amazing things that they’ve learned and how they’re implementing changes not only in their blogs but their lives as well. If I don’t go does this mean that my blog won’t grow? How am I going to get some of that incredible knowledge that was shared at the conferences?

I also have to think about my family and my job (yuck) because I can’t just take off for a conference when I feel like it. I have to make sure that I can get the time off from work, which means taking precious vacation time and arranging for childcare and/or make explicit lists for my husband. It seems like a lot of work! How do you all do it?

I am happy to say that I did register for a conference! I am going to Gleek Retreat in May! Now this is not a huge conference but for me it’s a start. It’s one that I can attend without changing things around in my life because it’s on a weekend and it’s right here in Michigan just under two hours from my house.

I’m looking forward to meeting some of the great bloggers in real life that I’ve connected with on Twitter and through their blogs as well as my own as well as learning few new things that I can do to improve my writing and my blog. So stay tuned for some updates!

I’m curious… if you’ve been to a conference or two how do you manage it all?

What I’ve learned about blogging

I started blogging back in May of 2010 and have enjoyed every minute of it. Along the way there have been up and downs and I’ve learned a great deal.

Blogging isn’t easy. I don’t care what anyone says, it’s hard.

There is so much that goes into it that I didn’t realize before and there is still even more to learn. Learning is good though! Right?

Time… yes. Time is huge with blogging. You have to be committed to putting in the time that a blog requires, seriously! This is something that I didn’t know when I started and honestly, it’s something that I didn’t even think about at the time. Creating a schedule for blogging is the way to go! This way you have it all laid out what you’re writing, when, and it allows you to get in all the blog reading & socializing that you want.

I think a lot of blogging really depends on what you want to do with your blog and where you want it to go. Do you want a large number of readers or is your blog just something for you to keep track of things, vent, and share your life with friends and family? Maybe it’s a bit of both. I do know that when I visit a blog that hasn’t updated in a while I tend to not go back as often, so updating is important.

Content is so important. Really it is, because if your content is lacking then you won’t have a lot of traffic to your blog. Then again it all depends on why you started your blog. For me I find this to be rather difficult sometimes because I don’t know what to write or where to go with an idea. I know that there are times when my content just down right sucks and then there are times when I write something that’s pretty darn good.

I often wonder will anyone really want to hear about what I have to say? And if they read it will it be worth commenting on? Like I said I struggle with this a lot and get all worried when my stats drop!

Promotion! This is huge (or at least I think so)! Promoting your blog via Twitter & a Facebook fan page will also help drive traffic to your blog. Basically it’s you getting the word out there about your blog and the great posts that you’re writing. I can tell you that I’ve tested this by writing something and not promoting it at all just to see what would happen. Very low traffic… no comments…. nothing.

There are tons of resources out there to help you on your blogging journey and the community of people you meet will be the best support team you’ve ever had! I know they have for me.

Here are a few sites that have helpful tips, tricks, and ideas!

Problogger

SITS

Kludgy Mom – B2SB2B Challenge This was a great 6 week challenge that Gigi did! Lots of great info!

BlogFrog This is a community for bloggers but you can find a lot of info here as well.

Do you have any great tips for a blogger? I’d love to hear them!

I’m not at Blissdom!

Well, by now you’ve noticed that many people aren’t at Blissdom and that I’m one of them. I really wanted to go, but with all the logistics I wasn’t able to. My goal is to get to at least one conference this year though! I must meet all my great online friends in real life! I must!

After Tweeting about not going, Mom with a Minivan asked me to join her blog hop! How could I not?

You can also check out Sluiter Nation and Not Just Super, Just Mom for their awesome blogging event as well!  It’s a lot of fun!

1. When did you start blogging and Why?

I think I may have answered this a time or two. Let’s just link to those instead of me writing the answer all over again! So take a look here and maybe here and hopefully that answers the question! But feel free to come on back here and ask as many questions as you’d like!
2. What is one thing you are going to do this week that is WAY cooler than going to Blissdom?

Well, for starters I’m going to go to work and do fun & exciting product management type stuff. You’re jealous aren’t you? I’ll also continue on with my duties as chauffeur to the children, cook, maid, laundress, teacher, and wife.

Really the best part about NOT going to Blissdom is that I’ll be celebrating my son’s first birthday! I’m pretty excited about that!

3. Share a post that you think says a lot about you or is your favorite.

Hmm… something that says a lot about me or is one of my favorites. Now for some reason this is a tough one because I’m not sure what to share. I wrote a post a while back about 10 things that I believe and this could be a good place to start to learn more about me. I’m not sure that I really have a favorite. Actually it’s more like nothing has come to mind immediately which is fine.

I do invite you to take a look at new post, old posts, and whatever grabs your attention in between!