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Interview with Mama Duck

Written by George Manty  · May 1, 2007

A few weeks ago I asked Mama Duck (aka Lisa) if she would do an interview with me. I was really glad she accepted because I have always wondered how she managed to have her blog noticed so quickly.

Q. Mama Duck, can you tell my readers a little about your blog and how you got started blogging?

This blog is a repository for all the things that the toddler has done, destroyed & discovered. It’s also a resource for parents of toddlers that will continue to expand and eventually become an entire parenting resource portal, laid out less like a blog and more like an informational site. It actually began as I was looking for legitimate money making opportunities online, where I came across Steve Pavlina’s blog and Problogger. After doing quite a bit of research, I decided to start my own blog with WordPress on my own domain.

Q. In 2006 your blog was nominated for “Best Parenting Blog” in the 2006 weblog awards. If I recall correctly your blog had only been around about 3 months when you were nominated. Not only that, but after being in existence for less than a year, your blog has a Technorati ranking of 1,166 . What do you think are the main keys to your quick success?

Blog carnivals, community events, participating in relevant daily memes such as Works for Me Wednesday which can be adapted to include toddler and household tips that are both relevant to my blog topic and great for search engine traffic. Just getting to know people via e-mail (responding to their comments) & through different blog events (Wendy’s casting call allowed me to meet blogging friends right away that I still keep in touch with all the time). I also link my blog in my signature on all the parenting forums, on our signature making board ( and in all my e-mails. When I post stories/photos about the little one, I send the link to all my friends and family, rather than just copying it into an e-mail, then they can share with their friends and so on.

Q. What was the first blog you ever read?

Steve Pavlina, who led me to Problogger.

Q. What blogs do you read on a regular basis?

I just tried to clean out my feed reader, but I still have 130 blogs in there! Some of the ones I try to check every day that haven’t already been mentioned are eMoms at HomeParent HacksDaddy ForeverTrizle & West of Mars. How is that for an eclectic sampling? šŸ™‚

Q. How much time per day do you spend on blog related activities (blogging, promotion, design)?

It took a lot of initial time investment – learning WordPress, researching how best to do things, optimizing, tweaking, setting up ads, designing the templates, etc. However, now if I can manage to leave the template alone, it’s just a chunk of time each week to write posts for the next week, then a bit of time each day to check comments, write quick posts, visit others, etc.. During the week I am usually doing well to keep up with orders and the little one, so I don’t have a lot of time to devote to the blog every day. Once the framework is there, it isn’t a ton of work just to write posts & answer e-mails.

Q. If you could only give one piece of advice to someone just starting to blog what would it be?

Research ahead of time. I’ve seen a lot of people who say “I wish I’d known when I started blogging that I need to use search engine friendly permalinks, or that it’s best to be on my own domain rather than Blogger/Typepad, etc” – mostly things that can be learned through just a bit of research, really. It seems overwhelming at first, but it becomes much easier when you just jump into it and try things. I have a local installation of WordPress on my Mac, where I can mess around with templates and coding to my hearts content without breaking the blog (PHP coding was new to me when I started the blog, although I’d done a fair amount of web design in xHtml and CSS), which is a huge help if you want to make your own templates or mess around a lot with pre-made templates.

Q. You use quite a few different methods to monetize your blog. What have you found to be the most successful ways to bring in money to your blog?

Well, the number one money maker for me is obviously my products, which are heavily promoted on my blog. Google AdSense does fairly well, but I’m having more and more trouble filtering out all the competing ads as I branch out into graduation cards, engagement and wedding cards, etc. so I’m looking for another option where I can have more control over the ads that are displayed. Text Link Ads & BlogHer Ads continue to perform well on this blog, Amazon referrals do well around Christmas time or any time I’m writing about toys or other products such as that when I put them in as text links, but not as ad blocks.

Q. What is the best way you have found to bring traffic to your blog?

Good search engine optimization, including creating a sitemap, using custom meta tags & search engine friendly permalinks, using keywords in post titles. Above all, writing good, relevant content to which others link and enjoy reading, which then ranks higher in the search engines. Carnivals & relevant memes are a great way to get started and to meet other people in your blogging niche as well.

Q. Is there any other advice you would like to tell people looking to start a blog?

It’s a commitment, I see a lot of people who slack off and don’t keep up with posting or anything. I try to always have posts written ahead as I do get busy, I don’t have time to write every day. If I can set aside a block of time once a week to write the posts for the next week, it really helps a lot.

Q. One last question, If you weren’t blogging, what would you be doing?

Well, I tend to get a little stir-crazy if I’m not doing ten things at once, so I’d probably be running another type of website, managing a forum, or doing more contract work (which I already do a bit when I’m feeling bored…). It’s very important for me to keep the little one here with me, so I’d definitely be doing something where I can stay at home or bring him along.

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2 Responses to “Interview with Mama Duck”

  1. Wendy Piersall :: eMom on May 1st, 2007 9:12 am

    How is it that every time you mention my blog, Lisa, that you seem to make me look like a superhero on someone else’s site?! HUGS! šŸ™‚

  2. Mama Duck on May 2nd, 2007 6:45 am

    Ha! I just enjoy reading your blog and think it is a great resource for others as well. Plus, I can live vicariously through you, as if I had the time I’d have a blog on the same topic as yours, it’s quite interesting to me and I love the topic. Alas, life happens to get in the way of my many projects, but I have to have something for when I get bored, right? šŸ˜‰