November 10, 2007

Hollywood Flakes Interview

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Hollywood Flakes, Happy Birthday to you!

Okay, I actually forgot my birthday and this is two days late. On November 9, 2005, this blog was born. It was a slimy, whiny little thing with a misshapen head but Spike (yes, that's my husband's name now) and I saw potential. The blog had to go through many awkward rites of passage. The post begging for comments, the post where I discovered stat counters. The post where I discovered it was fun to write about the crazy stuff that goes on in my head. Slowly but surely, the blog took on its warped form. Now two years later I have a hard time remembering that I created the blog and not the other way around. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting an interview I did today for a website. Enjoy.

Your Name: Hollywood

Please give us a description of your blog: A humor blog about the unexpected laughs in parenting, wonky product reviews, unlikely bits of tenderness, and cautionary tales about hickeys.

What do you do for a living? Is this your job, a hobby, etc.? This is a hardcore hobby. I'm a mother to 2 young daughters and work from home in Los Angeles as an apartment manager. My lawyer husband brings home the real bacon. I got a gig as a food critic a few months ago but it hasn't panned out yet. I have aspirations of fully supporting my family from the blog someday. I also dream of owning matching pink ponies that can sing "Kumbaya" and having Matt Damon clean my house every Saturday in his skivvies. Everybody's got to have a dream, right?

Why did you start blogging about this topic? It's what I know. And because if I don't try and put myself in the third person once a day and analyze what's actually going on in my life, I get really crabby. Parenting is way too intense not to be able to escape from occasionally by impartial commentary. The blog started out covering a bunch of different topics but my readers reacted really positively to the humorous stuff so I've honed in more on that.

How long have you been working on this blog? Since November 2005. I don't think the blog has left my mind since then. I think about it as I fall asleep at night, I think up posts while I'm bathing my kids, I scribble down notes on the back of receipts for things to write about, it's taken over my mind. And for some reason I still think that's a good thing.

How many visitors does your blog get per day? I'm currently getting about 1,000 unique visitors a day. From what I can tell, about 300 of those are people who regularly read my blog and the rest unwittingly stumbled here by Google searches. I've published over 500 posts so there is quite a bit of searchable content that pulls people in from search engines. Some of them stay around, but most just pass through. I have to brag though, I wrote a hot post about Halloween in October that got me over 65,000 visitors to my blog last month. That was pretty exciting.

Does your blog have an income? Which ways have worked, which haven't? How successful has it been? I began experimenting with ads this year. The BlogHer ads are incredible. I made over $700 from their one ad unit alone last month. I also go back and forth with Google's AdSense Ads but really they look pretty tacky and pay almost nothing so who knows if they'll stay. I really want to get FM ads on the site but haven't been approved by them yet. So yes, I really want the blog to produce a steady income. Who wouldn't? Additionally, I get free products in the mail to review. Because of the BlogHer ads, I can't receive anything that's more than $40 in value, but honestly, I enjoy reviewing paper towels just as much as mp3 players. Maybe even more.

What kind of person would be interested in this type of blog? I think the main base of my readers is the young, stay-at-home mom. A good percent of my posts are centered on my experiences as a parent and I think I connect well with that group. Also as a Mormon, I'm in the Mormon blog circuit. But it's not primarily a parenting blog, it's a humor blog so I have white collar professionals and singles who read my stuff as well. They say, you can't please 'em all, but I try anyway. I try to avoid profanity, vulgarity and inappropriate subject matter so it's a classier crowd that hangs out here. I like it that way.

About how much time do you spend blogging per day? Anywhere from 10 minutes to 4 hours. Some of my posts get written in minutes, others require hours of research and preparation. I like to do videos every once and a while and that can take a whole evening to edit and publish. I love writing more than anything so it's a wonderful way for me to spend an evening or enjoy my children's naptime.

What advice do you have for other bloggers trying to succeed? People starting out their blogs often tell me, "I don't have anything interesting to say," or "my life isn't very exciting." Guess what, most of us live very mundane, predictable lives. I go to bed a bunch of days in the same outfit I woke up in. The key to making your life exciting is looking at what you have and digging into it. Maybe you think nobody wants to hear about your parenting tips but I promise you that if you write honestly about your feelings and experiences, the millions of other people out there who are doing the same thing will connect with you. But readers can smell dishonesty a mile off. Some of my posts are forced - either I wasn't in the mood to write or I didn't really know what I was talking about. And readers can tell. Learn to be honest with yourself and overcome insecurities about looking foolish. We're all foolish, it can bring people together.

What are your favorite blogs? I always love to visit the peaceful oasis of Rachel's alpaca farm at Pasture Musings. And Tracy M at Dandelion Mama is just cozy. Another blog I'm developing a serious crush on is Sue's Navel Gazing at its Finest. She's only been blogging since June 2007 but has a awesome sense of humor and has quickly developed a great following. Here's one of her posts I've recently gone nuts over. Admittedly, I don't read as many blogs as I would like. I try and give my kids some of my time during the day!

18 comments:

Colleen said...

You know you've hit the big leagues when people start interviewing you.

Anonymous said...

You would read that post 10 times?

Just kidding. I'm just jealous.

HF 4 Ever!!

Sue said...

Oh. my. gosh. I'm so flattered. Because I'm both a dork AND a fangirl. Thank you for the awesome and kind comments. See everyone? Blogstalking DOES pay off! ;>

Sue said...

Also, the stuff about your stats and ads was fascinating. I've always wondered about that stuff but NOBODY WILL TALK ABOUT IT.

Hollywood said...

They actually didn't ask to interview me, I just submitted it to their database and they'll review and rank my blog.

And Anon, I admit, this particular post isn't read-10-times worthy, but it's National Blog Posting Month and I didn't have any idea of stuff to post today. You guys may get a few sub-par posts this months because of my commitment to post every day!

Sue, the ads stuff is really weird because even on the ads websites it's almost impossible to figure out how much you would make if you run their ads. You just have to stick them on your site for a while and see what happens. Google is TERRIBLE! I get about a 10th from them that I get from Blogher.

FoxyJ said...

I don't know if this is too personal a question, but is that a typo? 700 dollars in one month from ads? That's more than I make at my job every month. Maybe I need to sign up for BlogHer.

Hollywood said...

No typo. $700 is certainly not going to be what I usually make but because I got all those visitors from my Halloween post and had 65,000 visitors in October, it worked out that way. This month I'll probably make something more like $200. I'm going to start trying to do more "Googleable" posts though after seeing how well that one did!

Amy said...

Wow! $700 bucks! I've really got to fax in my BlogHer signature thingy. On their calculator, I'll probably end up making about $200. That's awesome!

Good idea on the googleable posts!

Jill Davis Doughtie said...

Happy blogoversary!

Marilee said...

Happy Birthday, HollywoodFlakes!

Torchness said...

I bet I'm one of those non-mormon white collar professional singles.

Sounds so... niftily grown up. I will take my bow... NOW!

compulsive writer said...

Happy Blog Birthday to you!

gwen said...

stop stalking me

Hollywood said...

If this is Gwen Stefani (the only Gwen I know and stalk) then I have to let you know, the stalking will not end anytime soon. And yes, I know what you are wearing right now.

Melissa Miller said...

What does unique visitors mean? I saw that on my counter report, but I have no clue what it means....

Rachelle said...

You are so weet!
I can't believe you love my blog... *weeping*
Seriously, thanks a million Hollywood, you're the greatest!
**smooches**
Rachelle

Rachelle said...

Oy, SWEET, SWEET, not WEET!!!!!
*bangs head on keyboard*

Sarah said...

Awe, our blogs almost share the same birthday! Mine's is Nov 10, 2007. So yours is over 2 yrs old and mine is not even 2 weeks. I do not anticipate or even really aspire to achieving your level of bloging success, but then again you're "Hollywood" and I'm a Family Practice doc. Hollywood definitely sounds more flashy and exciting!