We have another Cape Town Blogger interview for you.
This time it is Jana Engelbrecht with her website www.moomie.co.za. Learn what she does.
· Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am the creator of the www.moomie.co.za, an online parenting network for prospective parents, pregnant women and mothers. I’m also a mother of two and a work-from-home freelance journalist. Although we are not a blog in itself, we are proud to say that some of Cape Town’s finest bloggers are members of our forum.
· Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working on your blog?
The most amazing thing about our forum are the people on it. I always say it’s the girls on Moomie who make it such a safe, comfortable place to share your thoughts. We have very strong and opinionated women on there, which makes for some interesting reading. We have had several Moomie meets across the country where the women also meet in person. A lot of these women became good friends in “real life”. I’ve met quite a few of the ladies from Cape Town myself and have built long-lasting friendships with several women after “meeting” them on the forum.
· What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog?
I do editing and writing for magazines. I’m also constantly studying and am currently doing a BA in Languages and Literature. Other than that I enjoy the chaos that comes with being the mother of a toddler and a newborn baby!
· How do you keep coming up with material/content for your blog?
The girls do this all by themselves. J I have nothing to do with what gets written. As a mom, there are dozens of questions running through your head every day. Sometimes you just want to talk to someone who is in the same situation as you are. That’s what an online forum is for. Subjects which were “taboo” a few years ago, are now being discussed freely. Post-natal depression, struggling with a newborn, raising a challenging toddler, are now subjects women can discuss without feeling they are being judged. They are never alone, whatever their situation is.
· Where do you go for news and information online?
Google, google, google. I also read News24. You can become sucked into the negativity about our country very easily. I want to have positive experiences. I only read stories that make me go: “whaaat?”.
· What’s your strategy with your blog in general?
Moomie was an idea I had when I was on maternity leave with my first child. I had no idea what I wanted to accomplish with it and I never knew it would become so big. Myself and a few other forum members belonged to another forum but it crashed at that stage. I wanted some place for all of us to reconnect, to continue keeping in touch. My goal with Moomie is now to provide a platform for women to talk freely, to not feel judged, to get advice, sympathy, friendship. When I read what some of the girls write about what Moomie means to them, my heart warms.
Our stategy for this year is to continue growing our membership and focus on keeping that steady. I have quite a few plans for what’s to come. My head is constantly spinning with new ideas. Some work, some don’t. I never want the site to stagnate.
· What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?
Our users have grown from only a few hundred a month to averaging 11 500 unique visitors a month. This was mostly down to word of mouth. We have a Facebook page and Twitter account. I will be spending a bit more time on social networking this year.
However, in the beginning, I would notice someone writing something about Moomie on their Facebook status. I was –and still is-so proud when I see that. It has now become a regular occurence, with girls mentioning Moomie in their statuses. Whether it is a meeting/get-together coming up, something someone said or when they befriended someone on there – it’s great to read!
· What was the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?
Finding a good host! A good host plays such an important part in running a successful online forum. Especially since we are dealing with hundreds of hormonal women who are passionate about the site and get irritated if the site is off-line. We went through teething problems the first year but now we are with a fantastic host. We also have a fantastic web technician/designer/developer, Matt, who keeps things running smoothly. Without good web support you can’t improve on the service you deliver.
· Everyone has a favorite/least favorite post. Name yours and why?
I love reading birth stories. Each birth is so magical and precious. Every woman goes through a birth differently and it is so encouring and empowing to read some of these stories. There are sometimes discussions that gets out of hand but we try to keep an eye on those. Myself and the other moderators, Julie and Rikki, tend to stay on the sidelines. We only step in when it’s really necessary.
· Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?
I read blogs when I am feeding my two-month-old baby boy. It’s my “me-time”. Especially for a 2am feeding, I need good reading material. The ones I have bookmarked include Dooce, Reluctant Mom, Raising Men, Jou ma se blêrrieblog, There’s a Lionheart in our Bath Tub, Crappy Pictures and Miss Preggy.
Each of these bloggers is really honest and hold nothing back. You can feel the emotion when you read it and sometimes they make you laugh. You start “following” their lives and it feels as if I know them personally. I think honesty and an ability to expose yourself in a way, is what makes good blogging.
A big thank you from Cape Town Active to Jana for this interview. Please check out her site http://www.moomie.co.za now.