Rachel answers questions about being a blogger.
I am a 30-something mama to a beautiful eleven year old daughter. She sparks the creativity in me in every way. My choices in life are driven by her, what is best for her, what is fun for her, and what makes our life happy. We live in the heart of the lake country area in Wisconsin. It is such an amazing place to live and raise your children. The beauty of the lakes, trails, rivers, parks astonish me daily. The community is full of hometown pride. Each little town and city that make up all of lake country is proud to be a part of it. In the past few years, I have been on the constant hunt for fun things to do, places to go, crafts to make, recipes to try, pictures to take. Doing all those things and then sharing who, what, where, when and why with friends and family. So I thought why not take my love for the lake country area, for families, for the community, for crafting, for trying new recipes, for writing reviews, for sharing my stories, and put it all in one place. Welcome to The Lake Country Mom. I am excited to show you how to live life creatively in every aspect in your daily life.
Q: What type of things do I write about in this “mommy” blog?
I am a lifestyle blogger who has literally grown up in the lake country area in Wisconsin. I write about new places to try, whether it may be a place to play, to see, or to eat! I focus on the family. I keep an extensive up to date event calendar, which includes things to do in southeast Wisconsin, with a main focus on Waukesha county. From play groups, story time, festivals, concerts, special events, trick or treat times, parades, school’s out deals, and so much more! I want to be the authentic source on the internet for families in Milwaukee, Waukesha counties and beyond! (southeast WI.) I stay up to date, and keep up with the latest news and happenings locally! I love trying new places and telling everyone about them! I love writing reviews. I always give my honest opinion, I also share about my family life, post a DIY craft, fun & easy recipes, thoughts of motherhood, and most importantly—I let everyone know where to find all the fun! I keep all of my content relative and personal.
Q: Why do I blog?
I blog for every parent…who has heard “I’m bored.” one too many times. I run this mommy blog for every mom who needs to venture out and reach her inner creative woman every once in awhile. I blog for every dad or caregiver who feels overwhelmed and for every couple that needs a fresh dose of fun!
Q: How did you decide to create The Lake Country Mom? Was there hurdles when starting out? How did it become so successful?
Almost 3 years ago I was looking for things to do with my daughter, Cam. I was seeing different events from festivals to famers’ markets, to vendor shows, exhibits and so much more. I tried writing them down, but I was usually too late, and realized I had already missed it or forgot about it. I was always looking for stuff to do. I found it was really hard to find “things to do” all in one spot. I started sharing all of the events I found on my personal Facebook page, then started writing about my experiences at these events and local businesses. I have always wanted to start a blog, so I took this idea and ran with it. I thought well, it has been done all over the place why not here? Why couldn’t I do it? I started on a free blogging website, initially I was going to call in Lake Country Mama. “Mama” has been a near and dear word to me always, and I thought it sounded fun. So I created the “free” blogging website and created a Facebook page for it. As my “likes” went to just a few to a 1,000 in just a week, I was motivated to keep going. I checked a week before and saw my URL or domain name was available but when I went to go purchase it, I soon realized it was just bought! It was gone!
Then I realized there was an ugly side of blogging, and I learned there was “competition” if you will. I learned that there was another blogger in the same area, that apparently saw my Facebook page, and instead of welcoming another blogger or coming to me, instead purchased my domain name to try to stop me I guess. I speak of this because it used to really bother me and actually almost stopped me from pursuing my blog. I felt defeated. I did not even know “her” blog/website existed when I decided to create mine. This other blogger has dubbed herself as the “original” mom blogger in the area. I have never intended to copy, imitate or step on any toes. I had no idea she was even around at the time. Sadly it is still a problem three years later, but I don’t let it get to me. I just hear it and it makes me sad, we are all creative in our own ways, and each individual has their own way of doing things. There are hyper-local blogs everywhere in most large cities and even smaller communities such as ours all over the world. In fact there have been so many local bloggers from Madison to Milwaukee that have welcomed me with open arms, and we are a support system with each other. It’s beautiful.
I thought well, forget it. My name was taken or being re-directed to another blogger. I felt stuck and really bummed out. I thought maybe I should reach out to her and explain myself. But then I realized that I would just move past it, and come up with another name.
“A flower does not think of competing with another flower, it just blooms.”
I literally saw this quote the next day, and thought okay, l will just bloom.
Alas, The Lake Country Mom was born! I purchased the domain name, I bought hosting, and a WordPress template—I was official! Initially it was a typical “mom blog” with an events calendar, but then it grew to a resource for lake country families to not only find fun things to do, but also businesses to try and support, a place to share advice. We have built a community like no other. We have written tons of features on local businesses and events we have attended or help promote, we have created support groups, and have met some incredible people. The support of the entire community has attributed to our success! Today we have thousands of readers each month, we are all over social media, we have been featured in a magazine, the newspaper, been on television, and created amazing groups and our own events. I am get recognized out in the community and approached, which I think is so fun and my daughter gets so embarrassed. 🙂 We have met and worked with incredible business owners. We have supported small and local businesses since day one. I have made the most beautiful friendships through this blog in the most beautiful community ever. We have bloomed and never competed.
Q: Where do you find all the fun things to do on your event calendar?
Well our original focus was the lake country area, but I typically include southeast WI, with a large focus on Waukesha county. We do our best at The Lake Country Mom to provide accurate, useful information about events and activities. This information (such as times and locations) is gathered from user submissions, press releases, local newspapers, signs around town and word of mouth. We do our best to confirm details before they are posted here. Sometimes details change or we are given inaccurate information. Whenever possible, we link our write-ups to the source in which our information came from and strongly urge you to confirm details before you go.
Q: What software and services do you need keep your site running?
The Lake Country Mom uses WordPress, and plugins to add character and function to the website, such as the event calendar. I also hold a degree in graphic design, it helps with “design” and the look of my site, but anyone can figure out how to create and run a WordPress site. I promise. We use FatCow for hosting.
Q: What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own blog?
First, this is the most common question I get. My first response would be, DO IT! Please! My second set of advice would be, do your research. Find your niche. Whether you want to share recipes, give parenting advice, write silly articles, make people laugh, sell your craft, share DIY tutorials, or even do what we do. Find it, love it, own it, and just do it! Google is your friend, ask questions. Find blogs you love, write to other bloggers, stalk them (haha), and you know what- most will welcome you with open arms, will help you, will guide you, will inspire you. Friend them. Have coffee with them. Find inspiration. Read. Learn WordPress. Understand hosting. Connect with like-minded people. Dream big and work hard. You can make it happen.
“Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery – it’s the sincerest form of learning.” ― George Bernard Shaw
Q: Why do you blog when you already have a job as nurse?
Well, like I told you, it started as a fun creative outlet. It eventually turned into something greater than I ever imagined. Business owners reached out to me looking to work together, and that started the birth of our advertising options. That was never my intention. One of the most common questions people ask me is if I make money blogging, and to be honest I do, but it is not my focus. It certainly helps us get bigger and better and allows us to do and create events and offer better features and functions on the site. You can make it as lucrative as you want. I could blog full-time, but I also love being a nurse. Again-do your research. Google knows everything. Haha.
Thank you for reading along. I get so many of these questions in different variations, so I thought I would get it out there and help answer some of them. I also wanted to clear up the air on the how I got started in lake country in case you may have heard differently.
Thank you for being a part of our community. The Lake Country Mom belongs to all of us. Thank you for your support.
-Rachel Reed, The Lake Country Mom