Sarah Auerswald Interview: Trellis Case Study

sarah auerswald headshot

By now you may have heard us mention our WordPress theme framework Trellis a time or two, but we just can’t help it! With our Trellis open beta program coming soon, we’re just really excited!

But what gets us even more excited — always — is seeing the ways our Mediavine publishers find success for themselves and their websites with any of our products, like Create or Grow.me.

So today, we’re thrilled to welcome Sarah Auerswald of MomsLA to the Mediavine Blog to share another Trellis case study with us.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and your everyday life.

I moved to Los Angeles to work in the movie industry, fell in love with the place and the man who became my husband and have been here for 30 years. We live not too far from Venice Beach, although we don’t get there as often as we should for being this close.

Our two sons are both seniors right now — one in college and one in high school.

When I became a Mom I wanted to work a more flexible job, and thank goodness someone invented the Internet and blogging because after working on a few other business ideas before that, I found the right fit for me and my family.

When I’m not working, I love to learn about how other people run businesses, so I spend a fair amount of time doing that. I have been known to over-volunteer and was PTA President at my kids’ schools for way too many years. I founded and help run a local Chamber of Commerce because I think it’s great to support local businesses.

My hobbies include sewing, watching food shows on Netflix, trying to get my 17-year-old to talk to me and, prior to 2020, I spent a lot of time talking to humans in person. I hope to do that again someday.

sarah auerswald headshot original

How long have you been blogging? How did you get started blogging?

I started blogging regularly in 2008 with my baby site MarVistaMom.com which is all about my neighborhood where I’ve lived for 24 years. (And is still going, FYI.) I was inspired to start by a friend who had started one while she was traveling. She opened my eyes to the possibilities and I was hooked.

Once I got my feet wet doing that site, I was asked to join a group site — the LA Moms Blog — which was part of a network of sites all across the country managed by Silicon Valley Moms Group, and it was off to the races. Mom Bloggers were HOT and we got a lot of perks.

They ceased operations of the group suddenly in 2010, and my partner and I decided on the spur of the moment to form a new Mom Blogger group for Los Angeles on our own. MomsLA was born. But just like before, we had to figure out what people really wanted, sometimes the hard way. We have published over 2000 blog posts over the years, but it turned out that most of them were essays about motherhood that, by 2015, were no longer resonating with readers. Parents in LA wanted lists of summer camps, things to do with kids this weekend, where to get kids’ haircuts, or where the best playgrounds are, and other super-practical information — at least, that’s what they wanted from MomsLA — so we’ve adapted our content to fit.

How long have you had Trellis?

Since June 2020.

What theme/website setup did you have before Trellis?

A custom child theme built by our coder.

Was it difficult to switch to Trellis?

I am going to answer sheepishly here because we had the white glove service from Mediavine, so it was a breeze! I will say that there was more hold-up on our end, with my coder and I trying to make sure some of her customizations could still work once the transition was made.

But, sheepishness aside, I felt it went very smoothly. And every question I had was answered right away by the support team. That was great!

What would you tell anyone who is moving to Trellis to help them have a smooth transition?

Get your ducks in a row ahead of time. Do a plugin audit. If you don’t need any, get rid of them. And maybe hold off on publishing content for the couple of days prior to the switch.

Be sure you have site backups, and maybe go so far as to have backups of the last 10 posts in a Google doc or on your computer just in case.

Try not to have anything scheduled for publishing at a later date. Leave them all as drafts.

And keep trellis@mediavine.com ready in your address book!

What improvement have you seen in your pagespeed with Trellis?

Our pagespeed scores doubled immediately, going from 43 to 96. That was amazing! I will say a recent check has us not quite at that high point, so I need to dig in and find the reason.

Do you think Trellis has helped with your SEO? If so, how?

The pagespeed alone has had to have made a huge difference, but the font size and page layout is also important and they are so beautiful and easy to read now.

momsla family travel page

What excited you most about being part of the Trellis beta?

I really wanted to get in on the ground floor of the new theme for pagespeed improvements and ad optimization — and honestly, I’d forgotten I’d even applied (it had been so long)! So when I got the email saying we were in, I was thrilled!

Another big reason I wanted in was the site needed a facelift (we do live in Los Angeles, after all), and the Trellis theme gave us that. It’s so pretty!

Clean lines, legible fonts and I love the homepage with the circular elements for featured images. Even though I know not as many people actually go to the homepage, I still love it!

Would you recommend Trellis to other bloggers? Why or why not?

Yes! It has been an overall positive experience for us — pagespeed improvements, ad optimization and for us, a pretty, new site.

What is your favorite feature of Trellis? What do you like about the Bamboo theme?

Pagespeed! (And it’s pretty!)

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