Stephanie Lowry

www.sicmama.com 

What is your blog/web site niche?

My niche covers mostly parenthood, helping moms stay sane in the chaos, though we also cover marriage, creative financing, news, home and have a few sections for humor. Let’s face it, parenthood is chaotic and we need to keep laughing, keep our heads up and stay strong. This is why we felt covering all bases of a parent’s life would benefit them more than just sticking to one subject.

What is your goal for your blog/website?

We aim to be every Mom and Dad’s new #1 Parenting Resource. SIC Mama strives to help them find answers to their most common and maybe not so common questions and concerns in one spot. We really want to help parents find balance across the board and stay healthy, happy, and in good spirits.

How long did it take you from the time you decided to start a blog or website to launch?

I’d have to say from the moment the thought crossed my mind until launch it had to be several months. It took me some time to commit to a concept that I knew would take time from being with my family. I want to say it was around two months after I considered starting this blog that I realized it didn’t necessarily have to take me from my children and spouse. I could include them in it and make this a complete family adventure! From the moment we actually got serious and began our journey into the blogging world, it took around three months, A lot goes into it and I am a plan a head kind of person, so I planned out content for a year in advance!

Was it harder or easier than you expected?

Much, much harder than I had realized. A lot of people don’t fully understand all that goes into building a site from nothing, planning and creating content, designing, campaigning, and oh my the tech side of it was the absolute most difficult for me. That being said, learning new things was and still remains to be exciting to me.

What was your proudest moment or biggest accomplishment along the way and why?

I would love to say the expected and tell you it was some design concept or post, or learning a bit of code but what truly was my proudest moment and I’d say biggest accomplishment was getting the whole family in on it and seeing how it encouraged my 9 year old son to begin writing. He got so into writing that I made a special day out of it for him to get a personalized journal and notepad along with colored pencils for his illustrations and he is now creating his very own short stories and got one of his poems published in a children’s poetry book!

Tell us about a specific moment when you wanted to pull your hair out or throw the towel in. Did you ever consider giving up, even for a moment?

Oh dear, there were many! These moments usually surrounded the technical side of starting a blog. I am not what you’d call “tech savvy”. At times, I didn’t see the end is sight, I felt as if I would never be able to accomplish the actual build and design of the site itself.

What was the biggest technical challenge you faced in launching your web site and how did you overcome it?

I’d say the biggest technical challenge faced was working around my very limited theme. I fell head over heels for this specific theme, and it turned out to be a design/build nightmare. It was not well documented, heavily coded and changes to it were even more difficult because of it. I had a lot of help getting around all the tricky coding stuff by John Chandler of www.hightechbranding.com. He was amazing and figured a way around it all and stuck with me to the very end pulling a lot of all-nighters with me and even saving my caboose when the site accidentally went live and showed a previous unfinished version all while he was at a doctor’s appointment!

What new tools did you have to learn?

Just about every tool I used was new to me. Even social media was something I never used prior to this venture. I actually began using social media a couple of months prior to launch so I would have a handle on things. Some tools to mention that I had to learn that were very user friendly, and simple for a newbie were Canva, PicMonkey, Pixlr and well WordPress itself!

Favorite tools or resources that you recommend to others just starting out?

Canva, PicMonkey, Pixlr, Word Swag, Quotes Creator, Desygner and let’s not forget to keep track of spending with the Wave app!

What was something you learned about yourself in the process?

What a great question. I’d have to say I learned that you really do have the capability of learning and doing anything you set your mind to. As long as you have patience and perseverance you will succeed!

What do you wish you would have known before you started?

Hmm, for one thing, not to pick a theme and pay for it before you really have a grasp on how you picture your site and know what content areas you will be showcasing. I paid for a very nice theme because it looked pretty, problem is, the way I ended up going it did not look so pretty and really didn’t suit my needs so I switched and ended up finding my perfect theme for FREE!

What advice would you give someone just starting now?

Take it slow, and for the love of yourself, please take breaks. Learn to walk away when you’re feeling overwhelmed and come back refreshed and motivated. Also, lose the perfectionism, this one was hard for me, I over think every little detail and you know where I ended up… unfinished! Forced to throw up some dummy posts as coming soon in a couple of categories I just could not get to in time. Finished, is better than perfect! Another great tip is joining as many blogging support groups as you can! They are a phenomenal resource and support system.

How did being a part of the Blogging with a Smile community help you?

Blogging with a Smile helped me get through a lot of bumps in the road. Anytime I felt stuck or couldn’t figure something out, this group was there to lift me up and point me in the right direction. Chantel Arnett, is always full of amazingly helpful resources and willing to help at any time. There were times being a part of this group actually kept me from pulling my hair out and walking away from this venture all together. Thank you so much Blogging with a Smile!