Embracing the challenges & blessings of a blended & bicultural Samoan family

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Tips I wish I knew before my blog was featured

A few months ago I had the opportunity to be a featured blogger with The SITS Girls.  I learned a lot from this experience and wished I had done a few things differently or at minimum been armed with some tips.  With that in mind I thought I might pass a few of those on to you should you have an invitation to be a featured blogger.  I certainly wish I had a resource like this before it was my feature day.

I am only one blogger, and a pretty new one at that (just celebrating 1 year), I decided to reach out to more experienced bloggers for some input.  I was quite honored to have them reply and participate.

Below is a selection of tips from everyone.  There were a lot of duplicate tips which just reiterates the importance of taking these tips into mind on any feature day you might have.

You’ve submitted your blog to be featured…now what?

You don’t know when you will be featured, but it will happen…someday (for SITS, I waited 9 months. Another feature opportunity might only be a month away).

Don’t wait & be prepared!

Leah from Far From Perfect MaMMa

FarFromPerfectMamma.com

Don’t think you have 2 or 3 weeks to prepare for your blog for a featured opportunity.  Start preparing NOW!  Personally I only had 5 days notice (fortunately 2 of those days fell over a weekend) before my feature day.  For other feature opportunities you should have a welcome post ready to go in the event a blog needs a replacement blogger or last-minute hole to fill.  Then do some personal touches depending on where you will be featured.

Do a little cleaning up each day so that it doesn’t seem like such a daunting task when you have only 24 hours left. You will always be tweaking your blog.  It will never be perfect.  Start working on the things you want to change now.  It will give you time to play with the plugins or design changes to see if you like them and want to keep them around.  Trust me, you don’t want to find something you don’t like on the day of your feature.

Write or freshen up your “about me” page. If you have not yet written one, now is the best time (really it should have been done before your blog was public).  Maybe you have not looked at it in the past 3-6 months.  Better go take a look, there might be some things on there you will want to update and make more current.

Posts leading up to Featured Opportunity

Charlotte from My Pixie Blog


Make sure the posts leading up to the SITS day are ones you are proud of showing off. Chances are, you’ll have many new readers and if they decide to poke around a bit you’ll want to put your best foot forward to give them a reason to return and follow.

Elevator Pitch:

Beth from OMG! Yummy

Be prepared! Don’t put off writing your elevator pitch – you never know when you’ll get a feature offer and need a photo and summary of your blog.

Welcome Post

Shell from Things I Can’t Say:

Most of the new traffic you will get that day will be from SITS so you do not need to spend a lot of time explaining what SITS is. Just a line or two with a link. You can always gush about SITS on twitter, facebook, or a follow up post. But your SITS day is about you.

Keep your post short. Under 300 words. Yes, truly, that short. Give a brief intro into who you are and what readers are likely to find on your blog. Highlight your popular topics or any features that you do. Include links, but limit to 3-5. You want to give people a feel for who you are, show them around your blog a little, but not have them think that they need to spend the entire day on your blog just to see if they’d want to come back or not.

Be Yourself and put your best foot forward

Beth from OMG! Yummy

Always put your best foot forward – even if your site doesn’t look exactly the way you want or you’re halfway through a blog repositioning (like me), you can still make each element the very best it can be – photos that are crisp and clear and cropped the right size, proofread, typo-free copy, a post on your own site that welcomes readers and opens the door to even more great content.  Also, be prepared with quality content after your feature day to take advantage of the boost in readership!

Utilize links, favorites & “related posts plugins/features”

Adrian from Adrian’s Crazy Life

Photobucket

You need to plan your “Welcome post” carefully, even more so now.  Back when I had my days, we had links to 3 different posts, so people had a choice of several places to “land”.  With the new format, you’ll need to create those links yourself in your post (blogger’s note: SITS does allow 3 links on the SITS post, however this may not be an option on all feature opportunities, so well worth the advice in general).  I try to have a little bit of something for everyone, so I tried to include one funny post, one that gave some info about me with more of a serious slant, and then something useful like a tip or a piece of awesome advice.  Then I use Link Within on my blog, so each post has additional links at the end to encourage people to explore my blog even further.  I’ve also got my Best Of link on my blog (per advice of the SITS girls) to show all my most favorite posts.  If I can keep someone hanging around reading my posts for 15 to 20 minutes, then I’ve really achieved my goal.

Your day has finally arrived…are you doing a dance?

It’s finally here and maybe you have prepared the best you can, now what?  Yes, you can do your little dance, I did, but no one saw it (thank goodness!). The tips below can make all the difference to get people to your blog and to return after the spotlight moves down the line to the next blogger.

Replying to comments:

Leah from Far From Perfect MaMMa

FarFromPerfectMamma.com

This was my biggie disappointment.  Since I had just moved over from Blogger, I didn’t realize that I needed to install a plugin for comment reply notifications.  Turns out all of my hard work in keeping up with the comments was for nothing as no one who visited knew I responded to their comments.  This is so important for building relationships with other bloggers.  Having someone leave a valuable comment (not just the stopping by from “X” blog) is like someone stopping by the house to say hello.  I’m not going to ignore them at the front door and not respond.

Blogger has a fairly new feature that not everyone knows about.  You can now turn on the “reply” feature.  This will enable anyone to reply to a particular comment and the person who left the first comment will be notified that there is a reply.  Blogger has made it very easy.  Here is a quick step by step to turn it on.

If you use WordPress you will need to install a Comment Notification Plugin.  Be sure you go in after the install and check the settings to change them to your preference.  You may not prefer the default settings.

Utilize Social Media

Deirdre from JDaniel4′s Mom

Reviews and Giveaways

I was so excited that I tweeted and facebooked my post on SITS and on my blog. Social media is so important on your SITS day. You get to use @SITSGIRLS on Twitter and reach all their followers too when you promote your day. It gives you a chance to reach beyond your own Twitter audience to theirs. The same holds true for Facebook.

The Spotlight is gone…but what really matters?

Maximize the new traffic

Leah from Far From Perfect MaMMa

FarFromPerfectMamma.com
  • There will be a lot of traffic and a lot of comments. Take your time and respond to them (you don’t have to do it on THAT day!)
  • Visit each blog who visited you. Comment with something meaningful (not thanks for visiting me on my SITS day, returning the favor). Let them know you read their blog. You don’t have to follow them! Your comment just might make their day and encourage them though.
  • Pay It Forward: If you DID enjoy what you read, tweet about it, link to facebook, etc… Follow them on Social Media.  Maybe even subscribe to the blog.
  • Keep in mind you do not have to do all this in one day.  My SITS day was back in the beginning of March.  I am STILL visiting each blogger.  This is extremely important to me since I didn’t have comment reply notification.  I respect the time people took (when I know they DID take the time) to read a post..or two..or even three.  I want to return the favor….because for me it’s about building relationship and encouraging others.
  • DO NOT do it out of OBLIGATION.  Don’t do the above steps because you HAVE to.  Do it if you WANT to.  If you WANT to build your blog, build relationships, and obtain more readers you will need to invest the time & energy.  It’s not just going to happen. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Some additional words for thought

Treat others how you want to be treated.  As you wait for your feature day, how do you treat other featured bloggers? When you visit them do you do so out of obligation or because their blog looks like one you might want to follow and read more?  ”Roll call” is great (actually required from SITS), it shows your loyalty and enthusiasm, however for the featured blogger do yourself and them a favor and visit the blogs that really do intrigue you.  I would much rather prefer to have visitors who read something interesting or desire to know me and my journey more (another reason why your SITS post and welcome post is so important).

I have found many (only a few are excerpted here in this post) new blogs to follow thanks to SITS and other featured bloggers.  I hope mine was one that people followed because of SITS too.  I was encouraged and blessed by many of the comments people wrote.  It was an honor to hear from those who enjoyed reading my story about how MM and I met, the tender memories that was spurred by my post about the wedding gift from my grandparents, or even the challenges I face in as a bicultural MaMMa.  They touched others and in return I was touched too.  This is what it really comes down to…being blessed by others.  Please don’t jump from one blog to another because you have to, or out of obligation, but because you WANT to.

Do you have advice to pass along to others from a feature day you had as a blogger?  Maybe you were featured somewhere other than SITS? Please share them!

If you are waiting for your first feature, what is one takeaway for you and your blog?

A HUGE thank you to each of the contributing bloggers who wrote me with lessons learned from their SITS day:

Shell from Things I Can’t Say

Deidre from JDaniel4′s Mom

Beth from OMG! Yummy

Adrian from Adrian’s Crazy Life

Charlotte from My {Pixie} Blog

Have you had your SITs day and its my 1 year blogoversary!

Seriously… was it really ONE year ago when I started blogging? YIKES! That is amazing.  I’m so surprised with where this journey has taken me.  I don’t think I will link it here as it was pretty pathetic, plus it is still the old format from my blogger site. So…let’s just move on from here!  If you are not a blogger, you might get bored with the rest of this so you can just answer my question and be done with it…what is your favorite post? Please do share.

For the rest of you who are bloggers, more specifically, those of you who have had a SITS day…this is for YOU (well, I just need some input…the more brains the better than just mine)!

Just two weeks ago I had the pleasure of being the feature blogger on SITS.  Sorry if you missed it, and I’m even more sorry if you are a blogger and don’t know what I’m talking about.   SITS is a blogging community for women who are looking to be better bloggers and wanting to build a community of support as a blogger.  It was actually so encouraging a lots of fun to meet new bloggers.  I’m still going through and visiting each of the bloggers who stopped by and said hello.  It takes a lot of time!

I certainly learned a few lessons as I prepared for the day, on the day, and am still learning them!

So in the spirit of SITS, I am preparing a post called “What to expect for your SITS Day”.  While I have my own thoughts on what to do to help fellow bloggers prepare & engage, I know that many of you who have had a SITS day might have some valuable insight.  So, here is your chance to share what you learned on your SITS day (or in preparing, or thereafter!).

Here are a few questions to get you thinking….

  • What was most successful?
  • Is there something you would do different if you had another SITS day?
  • What lesson did you learn on your SITS day?
  • What ONE piece of advice would you pass along to the next feature blogger on  SITS?
  • Did you use Social Media to market your day? If so, what did you do?

 

 

 

If you have something to offer here, please send me an email (see that cool “contact me” slider on the left side?…just click there) answering one, two, or all of the questions above.  The more answers to the questions you are able to answer, the better chance of you being included in the post.  If there are duplicate answers only one might be selected.

Please be sure to include the URL you want me to link up, the html code for your badge (or just a thumbnail if you don’t have a badge).

Emails must be sent by 11:59 Sunday, March 25th. I will plan to post the week of April 2nd.

When the post is up, if you would be so kind to mention my post on your blog, social media, newsletter, etc… I would really appreciate it.  Here is my badge for you to grab for placement.  That’s it…easy peasy!
”FarFromPerfectMamma.com”

<div align="center"><a href="http://farfromperfectmamma.com" title="FarFromPerfectMamma.com"><img src="http://farfromperfectmamma.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Badge.jpg" alt="FarFromPerfectMamma.com" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

I will email everyone when the post is ready to go.

 

Welcome to my new digs!

Since most of you coming over here are from SITS today I will keep this brief…cause you ALL know what/who they are. It is a great network of approx. 15,000 female seeking ways to become a better bloggers. They provide great tips, conference boot camps, food & lifestyle guest posters, if you are new to blogging (or just looking for a new place to meet bloggers) this is a one-stop-shop!

Blogging Resources for Women
WELCOME to Far From Perfect MaMMa (aka FFPMaMMa)!

Please come on in and take a look around. People coming to my blog is like people coming into my home. MM (hubby) and I are entertainers at heart. We have an open-door policy at our home. People might just show up whenever, or come over when invited…that goes for you too! Today you were invited so you get the special treatment.

My website is literally only 4 days old today! So, please bear with me as there is still a lot of tidying up to do (please ignore the unfinished baseboards & doors still waiting for their first coat of paint for the past 2 years!). I hope if you see something that is not working you will tell me…cuz you know, I am Far From Perfect…even for SITs day!

Since many of you are fellow SITStahs (if you are one of my readers…thanks for stopping by, you can bypass all this an head on in to the kitchen, you know where the mugs are, oh! And there is a fresh pot of coffee on), I have appreciated the introductions I have met over the past 11 months of my blogging. I hope you find this blog a resource of encouragement and possible enlightenment into the world of one bicultural family. If you find you are not perfect in life, well, welcome to my world…we should get along great.

Below is a little bit of what you might find as you go from room to room. I am all about journeying with you and taking you on the tour, however I anticipate many visitors so I will have to spread myself out. I will do my best to get back to you as my priorities in life are: God, MM, Pule, My Family, My Community, WFH business, then…FFPMaMMa. It’s one of my passions, but farther down on the list. I promise, I will get to you. Cause if I were in your home I would expect the same! So please, as you make your way from room to room, I hope you find yourself comfortable with wine, coffee, lemonade…your drink of choice, as they are all welcome here…head on over to the pantry where I have my hidden bottle of scotch.. yum.

Who’s this MaMMa?

My thoughts on Marriage

My journey to Motherhood

Culture

How did I end up with a Samoan husband?

Parenting

Relationships

The necessity of Community

Friendship

Facing difficult situations

How about something a little funny?

What is Pule’s Progress or just some awesome pics of our Pule

The most important thing for me to let you know is that my blog is raw honesty. I may cry, laugh, have outbursts, of just ramble on, but I promise…I will always be honest.

Nuff said, please enjoy your stay…hope you don’t mind if I don’t walk you out. There are some fabulous brownies in the kitchen you can take with you…or since that might be difficult, maybe you will grab my badge and share it with your friends…maybe just for a week or so? That would be pretty awesome.

”FarFromPerfectMamma.com”

here’s the code for ya!

<a href=”http://farfromperfectmamma.com” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://farfromperfectmamma.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Badge.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”FarFromPerfectMamma.com”></a>

Did you look around? What is your favorite post and why? As I build my “Best of” page I would like to list your comment about your favorite post with a link to your blog. I’m all about networking that way.

If you have enjoyed this, can I ask for one more favor? Please consider voting for me? Appreciate it! Now…go on and get…there’s lots to see.  Just click on the image below…the rating is 1-10. 

Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me

Yet-to-be-named Pule update..now NAMED!

I finally did it. When you are trying to “name” something it is usually best not to over think it. This is what happened here. I had my family sending me ideas, even asking my readers to come up with names and nothing seemed to click like I wanted it to.

Then last week I realized it had been a long time since I had written an update and wanted to get one done soon. without even thinking about the name it just came to me. So here it is…

Pule’s Progress

Are you familiar with John Bunyan‘s The Pilgrim’s Progress? It is basically an allegorical story of one man’s journey to find himself and meaning for his life that parallels spiritual meaning within Christianity.  While a similar journey for Pule would mean the world to her dad and I, this is her own personal journey.

(if you are new to my blog, you may not have seen previous posts I have written for my daughter Pule.  These   posts are what actually started my blogging.  The story about that is here
We can pray for her, guide her, teach her, but at some point she will make her own decisions.

Her progress will be her story to tell.

So, please join me in welcoming Pule’s Progress!  I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have writing them (if not more!).

Pule just turned 18 months.  Last night she discovered her shadow.  It was really fun to help her figure it out.  She first saw a shadow of a stuffed animal on the ceiling while I changed her diaper.  I showed her what happened when something was in front of a light (wheels turning….turning…fortunately they don’t squeak like mine!).  I wasn’t sure if she had figured it out yet.  Then we walked outside where it was already dark.  Our garage door light was bright enough to shine a lot of light on our neighbor’s exterior wall.  I saw Pule waving and moving her arms…she was playing with her shadow on the wall.  We went back and forth with it and then went inside where I showed her the shadow on the floor…that was…uh oh…it was touching her.

I don’t remember meeting my shadow, but it was pure joy to see her processing discovery.

Shadows can stir a mixture of feelings.  I, myself, have been fearful of shadows (not sure why).  Maybe it is how they can be used in scary movies or photos.  A shadow is simply the absence of light.  Even that sounds haunting.  However, most of the time a shadow can provide comfort in the heat and shelter during a rainstorm.  God’s intention is that we would be protected with His shadow.  “Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings” Psalm 17:8

This past Sunday I was reminded of another scripture though…a fairly popular scripture: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”  James 1:17

While God can be our protector, He is also our light, our life and giver of every good thing.
God is without darkness.
God is our Father of Light.

May Pule find comfort in knowing God has created her shadow, gives it life, yet also will always provide her with light and protection from darkness.

So, I need your input.  I’m tinkering around the idea of creating this into a meme of my own…For anyone who would like to share a story about their child (or niece, nephew, grandchild, etc).  A story you might find yourself writing in a journal, or something you would share with them once they grew up (they might even be grown up!).  Maybe you learned something through this child’s eyes, or it conjured up a memory for you.  Just tossing it out there.  For now, please feel free to share something from this past week (or so) in the comment area below.  If this turns into something, or you are interested for it to do so, let me know and I will create it into a link up opportunity.  What do you think?

Ask me AnYthiNG!

Ask me AnYthiNG!

Okay… This is a little different, but I am working on my revised “About Me” page for my new website/blog.  I am wanting to a sort of Q&A style for it with photos to accompany.  Thank you Simone over at Great Fun 4 kids who inspired the idea for me…just with a little twist.  Not only does she have some great pics, but she also lives in New Zealand…my 3 home away from home (1st? here…Colorado, 2nd…So. Cal where I grew up…NZ? Mom & Dad lived there for 6 years and I had the awesome privilege of visiting multiple times. Yes, I would happily move there.)

So here is your chance to ask me ANYTHING…. I cannot promise I will post everything, but I will at least do a new post with all my answers regardless (of course appropriate measures will be followed!).

Please don’t be shy…Ask! I will be really bummed if I don’t end up with many comments!  Feel free to ask more than one.

many of you know me well…while others of you I have never met.  Should be fun!

Any of you on Pinterest?  I am! 

And just because I like to include a pic with every post, I’m not leaving you empty-handed….Here’s Pule showing off her new look.