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Sunday, February 27, 2011

.:You asked, I Answered:.

Awhile back, I said that I'd be happy to answer any questions you all had for me! Personal, blogging, crafting, or otherwise!

So here are my answers to the questions I got!

"I want to know how to pronounce Sumo. Is it like the wrestlers or like summer?"

It's like the wrestlers! I guess the correlation between Summer (my real name) and sumo was close enough for my husband to turn it into my nickname! My whole family calls me Sumo now, my nieces and nephews call me Aunt Sumo, and we've even had some friends (my husband's friends from before we were together) ask me what my real name is because they had no idea since he always calls me Sumo!

"How much time a day do you spend blogging? Do you schedule your posts?"

I try not to spend too much of my kids' awake time working on my blog. But I would say that I put in at least an hour a day towards it. I like to just take a nap time every once in awhile and crank out a bunch of posts. I'll also admit, guiltily, that sometimes I put on a movie for my two year old, while my 10 month old naps in the morning so that I can do that, too. (I said sometimes, not every day!) So yes, I do schedule posts. I like to have 3-5 posts lined up at a time. I'm kind of anal like that.

"Where do you find inspiration for your projects? And is Sumo your real name? What is its origin?"

As to inspiration for my projects, it really comes from all over! Sometimes an idea just pops into my head. Other times, I see something somewhere else and tweak it to make it mine. Other times, I find something I want to use and create something around it. I wish I could say that I spent more time looking through catalogs and other stores' websites to do knock offs, but I just simply don't care to make time for that! I get enough of that from looking through other blogs, and the rest I just pull from myself. Obviously, I've done lots of baby ideas, and the inspiration there comes from my girls! Often, I'll see things in stores and boutiques and think to myself, "I can make that!" and so I do...or at least try to! :)

And if you read above, then you know now that Sumo is NOT my real name, although it may as well be according to the amount of people who call me that! But Summer is my real name - whenever my husband introduces me as Summer to someone it just sounds so wrong coming out of his mouth! :)

I'd like to know who designed your logo...it's so totally adorable!

That would be the fabulous Julie from Leelou Blogs. We grew up in the same town; she was my younger sister's age. She has an older sister that is my age. There's some pretty amazing women and craft mavens who reside our little town in Oregon. Click here, here, and here to see a few more!

I would like to know the best way to get sponsors on your blog. I know about Google AdSense, but how else do I monetize? What's a good rate to charge for someone for putting their button on your page? Should I contact people? Or is there some site out there I don't know about?

Alright, let's break this down!

Let me start off by saying that I don't really make money on my blog.

Sponsors. Honestly, I haven't done much to get sponsors for my blog. All I've done is write up a post when I decided to start accepting sponsors, and then posted when I've run specials. I was lucky that there were people reading who wanted to be a sponsor on my blog.

As to contacting people to be sponsors. That is totally up to you! Personally, I haven't done that as of right now, but I've considered it. When I've seen other bloggers discuss this, some suggestions were that when contacting potential sponsors, you offer them maybe the first month free so that they can see if it is worth it to pay to advertise on your site. Or, you could offer them buy one month, get the second month free. You'll want to offer something really great to sweeten the deal because they are taking a risk - monetarily - to advertise with you. You want to make it worth their while!

When starting out, I say start low! That will entice people and they really aren't out much if it doesn't work out. For instance, I started out offering $5 a month to have a button on my site AND writing up a feature post. Once you've been doing that for awhile, you may find that it is taking up too much time to write up all those features, and you can re-visit a price increase. I've done this once. Other options are to offer button swaps with other blogs of similar sizes - I do this with a couple of different sites. You can check out my advertising page to see what I currently offer to get a better idea.

It's also great to have giveaways. This can drive traffic to your site, which will increase your readers and make people want to advertise with you more!

Another way to make money blogging is to become affiliates for different companies. Lots of companies offer affiliate programs, and it's a fairly easy way to make money sharing products that you love. Many of the buttons in my sponsors section are companies that I am an affiliate for.

A new site that I've recently found out about is Social Spark. I just barely learned about this site, and am not even fully set up with it, but my understanding is that you set your own price to write up posts about products that would be of interest to your readers.

I'm certainly no expert on advertising, but that's what I know right now! I'm still learning about all of this stuff, too! I really think you have to decide how much time you want to put into your blog. Most of us aren't really going to make tons of money doing this. So you have to determine if it's worth putting in a ton of extra time - time away from spending time with your family - for what you'll be bringing in. I bring in a little, and it's nice to have a little chunk here and there, but for now, I don't want blogging to turn into a full time job for me. It's just finding a balance!

I'm new to blogging and looking to get followers. How do you get followers and people to read your blog?

I get this question, or some variation of it, quite frequently in my email inbox! So here's just a few things I recommend to help get you going!

* Linky parties: There are TONS of linky parties out there for you to link up your projects to. It can definitely be overwhelming, so just decide how many you want to worry about - maybe you just want to start out with 2-5, and then go from there. This is a great way to get exposure, and is in essence, free advertising! Most linky parties are for crafts, recipes, diy, and home decor. I allow everything at mine - including giveaways and etsy shops. Just be sure to read the rules. As most of you probably know, it costs now to host linky parties, so it's nice to be respectful to the host of the linky party by reading the rules and linking back. Well, it is nice to do that no matter what, but especially nice to be mindful now that it costs! You'll notice on my Monday and Tuesday posts, that I post text links to the parties I participate in.

* Comments: Comment, comment, comment! This is a good way to get bloggers to notice you. If you feature an idea from another blogger, leave them a comment and let them know. They might tweet or post as a facebook status to check out their feature on your blog. If you comment frequently, blog authors begin to remember you and are more likely to check you out.

* Blog swaps: This is a really great way to get exposure! Contact other bloggers to see if they'd be willing to do a blog swap with you. You are getting seen by all of the readers on the blog you swapped with, and that person will be sending readers over to your blog to see what they are posting about. It's a win win! There are also lots of blogs that allow people to write feature posts sharing ideas, tutorials, and recipes. You may not get a post back in return, but you are still getting people reading what YOU wrote and getting people interested in following YOUR blog.

* Post frequently: You don't have to post every day, but I'd say try to post at least three times a week. That way you are keeping yourself out there and people will keep reading.

There is a great site - CrafterMinds - that is all about how to get your blog out there and be successful at it! There is also a weekly chat on twitter (#crafterminds) every Monday at 1 pm PST. A lot of your favorite bloggers are involved in this and give great advice! It's a fabulous resource!

How do you get everything done?

Short answer? I don't!

Long answer: There are simply not enough hours in the day for me to accomplish everything that I want to! But there are a few things I do to help me get close!

My mom was telling me about a Dr. Laura show she was listening to on the radio, where a mother had called in and complained that she never had any time for herself. Dr. Laura asked her what she was doing at five in the morning every day, to which the mother replied that she was sleeping. Dr. Laura then told her that that was time she could be using for herself.

I couldn't agree more! I get up at 5:15 every day. This gives me time to work out, shower, and get started on my google reader before my kids are up. Yes, it's early, but I like to have that time to myself to start my day. I don't like having to worry about exercising and showering while they are awake, and I certainly don't like sitting on my computer all morning reading blogs while my kids need me. (Although, having a nursing baby does force me to sit down, so I often read blogs while I'm nursing. What will I do when she's done? That's coming up!)

I'm also a list maker. I make lists of projects that I want to do, lists of orders I need to make, lists for stores that I need to go to. It helps keep me organized, and I love the satisfaction of crossing something off my list.

I try to make a plan of how I am going to spend my day. For instance, one day last week, I chose to spend nap time cutting out fabric for tons of different things I want to make. The next day, I used that time to sew without having to stop and cut fabric as I moved from project to project. Some days, as I mentioned above, I use nap time to write a few blog posts. And, also as I mentioned above, there are days here and there where I just let my daughter watch a movie while I try to get caught up on things. It just helps me to think things through, and make a game plan to help me accomplish as much as I can.

But like I said above, I don't get everything done in a day that I'd like to! Between my two year old, my eleven month old, and the four month old I watch, my mommy/caretaker duties keep me plenty busy and those come first!

I sometimes will wait and do some of the computer business at nite, after my kids are in bed and if my husband is in bed already (he leaves around 5:00 a.m. each morning for his clinicals at the hospital!) I like to do projects during the day when the lighting is good for my pictures. But I pretty much stay away from the computer and my projects once my hubby gets home until the girls go to bed. And even then, sometimes it's just hubby and me time after the girls are in bed and it all gets pushed on the backburner. Family first!

Is there anything you could share that we don't know about you?

Um....let's see.

I love Diet Coke. Okay, I LOVE Diet Coke. Oh wait, you said that you don't know about me? I guess that is pretty common knowledge.

Well, here's a few quirky things about me:

I love the smell of lipstick.

I think you should always use fresh garlic when cooking, not the stuff from a jar.

I believe you can tell how clean a person really is by checking the inside of their microwave.

I do a weird thing where I 'ruffle' the edge of my sheets with my fingers. I usually don't even notice I'm doing it. (Sometimes I do it to my fabric, too. I know, it's weird.) My whole family makes fun of me for it.

I love just about any form of lilies.

I'm really bad at math.

I used to be obsessed with whales, and somewhere I got some weird CD of music that had whale noises in the background. Growing up, I would listen to it to help me fall asleep. Yep, another weirdy thing about me. You'll keep reading, won't you?

Whew! That was a lot! Hopefully you learned a thing or two about me, and maybe got some tips to help you with your blogging adventures. Feel free to comment if you have other questions or tips that you'd like to share!

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for the answers...I especially loved the one about the advertising...because I'm considering starting to offer it now that I'm close to 500 followers. I appreciate the answers!

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  2. Thank you so much for answering my question. I thought for sure my husband was the only one "nice" enough to give out those "lovely" nicknames. FYI, you are the 2nd blog I started following, & still one of my favs.

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  3. It was great to read more about you...thanks for that feature!

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  4. Thanks for sharing all that. I love Diet Coke, too! It sounds like you have a pretty good idea of how things are working and how to manage your schedule. I'm going through some of the same things with my blog and hope to start offering advertising opportunities soon. Thanks for doing the linky parties. Those are so great for getting noticed. I started one on my blog for Etsy shops, but it's slow in starting. I'm glad I'm following your blog.

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  5. Thanks for putting this Q&A together. I enjoyed reading how you balance your work/blog life with your family life. And I've been trying to avoid getting up early to get things done...but I think I'd better give it a try! Thanks for the gentle push that I needed ;)

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  6. That's a great post, Sumo !
    Really agree about waking up early. I'm not a workaholic, but my day job's tasks doesn't allow me to finish them on time if I just work them at the office. So I usually take them home. I wake up at 2 a.m., turn on my notebook and work until 5 a.m. (when I must take a shower) and go to office at 6.30 a.m. If I want to do some crafty projects, I may not sleep at all !!

    Keep it up !
    Citra

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  7. Thanks for the follow. I hope you will follow me back ;-)

    ~Avalon, Avalon Cat Cartoons

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  8. That was SO helpful! Thanks for posting the info about advertising & getting followers. I should try the 5am thing. I do the opposite & stay up too late, then I'm exhausted and get nothing done.
    I also love Diet Coke :P
    -Jessica

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  9. THanks girl for the words of wisdom! I might just think about the 5 am thing but maybe do 6? lol

    chickhardware.blogspot.com

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love reading them! I try to reply to questions the best I can, but you can always email me at sumossweetstuff {at} gmail {dot} com.

Sumo:)