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8 Useful Tips for Building Your Mommy Blog Into a Business

Posted By Darren Rowse 1st of August 2008 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments


Today Vered DeLeeuw from MomGrind suggests ways for turning a mommy blog into a business. These tips are not limited to mommy blogs: they can be applied to personal blogs in general. Image by KellyandApril.

MomGrind is a personal blog. It chronicles my thoughts and struggles. It is where I share a laugh with my readers, ask for their advice, post an occasional feminist rant, and wonder about the meaning of it all.

MomGrind is also a business.

Unlike marketing and business blogs, or even self-improvement and productivity blogs, mommy blogs are highly personal. They tell the story of an individual, the story of a family. “Making your blog more personal” is typically not an issue for mommy bloggers. It happens naturally.

When you talk with mommy bloggers, many of them will tell you that they are not blogging for money. Blogging is an outlet for their daily struggles and frustrations. They blog to document the joys and the frustrations that come with raising children. But mommy bloggers are powerful. They have the power to help big corporations reach an important audience. The big companies know it. Do the moms know it?

If you author a mom blog – or any other personal blog – and would like to turn your blog into a business and earn money doing something that you love, these tips will help you get started:

1. Acknowledge that your blog is a business

This is a crucial first step. Start taking yourself seriously and others will take you seriously too. If you have an opportunity to use direct advertising on your blog, go for it, and sell it for what it’s really worth: don’t leave money on the table. If a company emails you with questions, charge a consulting fee for answering them. Queen of Spain received a consulting fee of $6000 from Disney “for what essentially amounted to a few emails, a survey, and a meeting”. Needless to say, you should set up a Paypal account.

2. Decide how much you are willing to share with your readers

It’s impossible to write a post about mommy blogs without mentioning the queen of mommy blogging, Heather Armstrong. Ms. Armstrong has a very particular style that includes great writing, frequent use of profanity, lots of personal charm, and the ability to make fun of herself and her husband. Her definition of privacy is lax – she readily shares highly private family moments with her readers.

But does one have to use profanity or expose her family affairs on the Internet in order to turn her blog into a lucrative business? I don’t have the answer to this question, although I will venture a guess that if you want to REALLY make it as a mommy blogger, you must be willing to share A LOT. This is a very personal choice, of course. Define your limits, and once you have – be ready to defend them, to others and to yourself.

3. Subscribe to ProBlogger

I am a subscriber and a regular reader. Sure, the posts here are geared toward professional bloggers. But many of them are very relevant to me. For example, Darren’s recent post on 21 Ways To Make Your Blog Sticky was very helpful in improving MomGrind. I implemented several of Darren’s suggestions, including highlighting my best content and creating an engaging “About” page.

4. Educate yourself about advertising

You need to determine when to start using ads on your blog; where to place them to optimize revenue; how many ads to display; and how to handle direct advertising.

5. Start networking

If you want to earn decent money from your blog, you need to have enough daily unique visitors and page views to attract direct advertisers. Even if your content is great, this kind of traffic to your blog will not happen without networking.

A good place to start is visiting other blogs and making comments on them. You should also approach bloggers who run blogs that are approximately the size of your blog or bigger, and offer to write guest posts for them. This will expose you to new readers, and some of them will end up as new subscribers.

Perhaps one of the most important things you can do to build a community around your blog, is to participate in social media sites. Many prominent mommy bloggers, including Dooce, Sweetney and Her Bad Mother, use Twitter.

6. Keep writing about things that are interesting to you

While you should keep your growing audience in mind to some extent, it’s important that you stay true to yourself. Writing content that evokes emotions in your readers (Her Bad Mother excels at that), or content that has a high entertainment value (Dooce is highly entertaining), is fine. In fact, it’s more than fine. Don’t worry about other blogs providing information and advice. You are giving your readers something that is just as valuable: you are making other moms feel like they’re not alone, and in many cases, you are making them laugh.

7. Never apologize for those ad checks

Making money or wanting to make money from your blog is your prerogative. Get over the “good girl” mentality and be proud of your talent, of your networking abilities, of the wonderful, thriving business that you have started from scratch and are building with your own hands. I enjoyed reading another prominent mommy blogger – Don Mills Diva’s – recent post “Show Me The Money”. Don Mills Diva does NOT apologize for aspiring to make money from her blog. I couldn’t agree with her more.

8. Pace yourself

Creating a successful blog takes a lot of work. If you want to do this for the long haul and avoid burnout, it’s important to slow down. Darren recently said that it’s very easy to work 12 hours per day on a blog, if you don’t set limits. My advice: don’t. This is true for every blogger, and it’s especially true for you, because you have children to take care of and to enjoy. Don’t allow the Internet to rob you of enjoying the fleeting moments of your kids’ childhood.

Photo credit: R. Motti (link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/motti/298650667/)

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Awesome tips for the home-based mommy blogger! The part about “pace yourself” is absolute truth. Thanks! — Maria Reyes-McDavis

  2. Scott McIntyre says: 08/01/2008 at 12:11 am

    Excellent tips, Vered, and you know what you are talking about!

    I know that there are many bloggers in the same position as you who are finding a niche within which to carve out a profitable business.

    The medium of the blog can be very conducive to being run as a home-based business and which can be juggled by moms- and dads – alike.

    I wish you every success with your continuing endeavors.

  3. Love number 7. I see it all the time and I always tell them. Get over it! It’s your blog, own it and work it how you want.

    Great post.

  4. I came into my blog with every intention of turning it into a business. I started with ads right away, focused on networking and traffic. I put a lot of time into it – sure it is still new and needs some improvement but yesterday I got a $200 sponsor. Whee! So it can be done, and it can bring some money into your family while you are at home with your kids.

    I highly recommend joining the Mom Bloggers Club for networking with some incredible bloggers. Find me there and “add me” just search members for Maternal Spark.

  5. My wife has been writing a couple of mom blogs for over a year now. She enjoys the community but hasn’t really been able to make much money from it. I think it’s just a lack of steady traffic.

  6. I think the first step is most important, unless you acknowledge that your are blogging for money you cant achieve your Goals.

  7. Great tips Vered,

    There is nothing wrong with making money from your blog any more than this something wrong with making money from writing a book. There is only something wrong if you are not giving your audience your best. If you give something your best time and energy, then there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t expect a return.

  8. These definitely go way beyond mommy blogging! Vered makes a great point that community building and promoting yourself (and earning from your work) are not mutually exclusive. Love it.

  9. Nice article and can be used for any blog where you are looking to turn it into a business :o)

  10. Thank you very much for this. I have just started my Mommy Blog and it launched yesterday…still with work to do, but I’m getting there. Your timing could not be better!

  11. Nice tips Vered, this article is perfect for many of the mommy bloggers i work with, and the many people i know who want to take the plunge. In addition, it has tips that are useful to all bloggers.

  12. This is a great post! Mommy bloggers sometimes feel guilty for wanting a busines from the blog, but why? We pour or hearts into our work, just like any other field.

    A mommyblog is an excellent way to both work and stay home with your children. I am in Darren’s Problogger room on Friendfeed & because of his inspiration, started a mommy blogger friendfeed room to share tips, tweets and links.

    I feel it is important to support other mommy bloggers.The internet is big enough for us all!

    Again, great post.

    Allison Worthington

  13. Best part:

    Get over the “good girl” mentality and be proud of your talent, of your networking abilities, of the wonderful, thriving business that you have started from scratch and are building with your own hands.

    So true!

  14. Very Useful tips… Thanks Vered and Darren…

  15. Great post! In talking to many mom and dad bloggers, I find that treating your blog like a business is one way that these bloggers feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment. It also helps them feel more well-rounded, and if they make some money, then they feel a sense of pride for contributing financially to the family above and beyond their current income or savings provided. Blogging for personal satisfaction is great too, but I don’t anyone should apologize for trying to turn their blog into a business. Thanks for sharing this!

  16. I agree with number 7 and struggle with number 8. I disagree with number 2. I don’t believe a sucessful mommy blogger has to share A LOT to be successful. I share but I don’t share a lot. I draw a line b/c frankly, the internet can freak me out. My business is online and I’m still honest that not everyone online is good or honest.

    Great post and good references to some excellent blogs that have really helped mommy blogger come further.

  17. Number one is so important. When you stop treating your blog as a hobby and start to treat it as a proper business, you free up so many opportunities that weren’t there before.

  18. Monica says: 08/01/2008 at 1:02 am

    Great post!
    I’m working on launching my first blog, which I hope I can also turn into a sucessful mini-business…and although it is not a “mommy blog” this post was still super inspirational!

  19. You always have to realize that your blog is a business. You have to ask him like a business person when talking to others on the Internet. Many people would not like to read a blog coming from a person that acts unprofessional. I know I like the feeling that when I come to a blog that it is a business giving me a wealth of information.

  20. Great post and tips on how to help mommy bloggers. Will try to apply the tips you have stated to my blog.

  21. Wow, this is a wonderfully written post. Great tips! I think it’s just awesome the opportunity blogging provides for stay at home moms. And I am all about showing me the money. :)

  22. Great post, Vered!

    I subscribed to Darren’s Problogger a few years ago and this blog has changed my family’s life. I have a book niche blog and with souring gas prices people have been buying more books on line. I know for a fact had i not used the tools i have learned here I wouldn’t have the traffic I have. I wouldn’t have sustained when my other blog buddies shut their blogs down. I, too have guest blogged here and believe in point # 1. Mom Bloggers this is a business. It is a fun, creative, smart business and not be ashamed of it. Social networking expands your brand. It really does. I earned $1600 this month. Could not believe it. I have spent it all on back to school. doctor appointments and a new Blackberry, but I am so thankful. You and all the other guest bloggers being kind enough to share is priceless.

  23. Excellent tips — especially about being a good girl. So many women feel ashamed for asking for fees that recognize their skills and experience.

    Coincidentally, my post from today is about working from home with a baby. By this, I mean how you can set up your home and structure your time: http://www.consultantjournal.com/blog/working-at-home-with-a-baby

  24. Hey Vered, great post! I’ve not been visiting many mommy blogs so I must thank you for introducing me some. It’s interesting that they are achieving a lot of success, just blogging about everyday stuff.

    Also, it’s nice that you are encouraging mommies not to be apologizing for wanting to monetize their sites. I may be biased but I’m also of the opinion: why not?

    Thanks for sharing,

  25. I’m glad you like these tips.

    I usually stay away from giving advice, but I feel very strongly about this issue.

    As I said in my post, even if you are not a mommy blogger, many of these tips still apply to you, especially if you have a personal blog.

    We work hard on our blogs. They ARE a business and we should be proud of that.


  26. Vered, I was just thinking “But you just said in your last post that you’re not going to give advice!” Then I read your comment above. I hope you don’t feel that you’re not qualified to give advice, because you’ve just disproved that with this post.

  27. I just ask you to give me some advice on how you managed your blog on your last post and here you go with this stuff here are problogger…This is why your blog is exploding. You are always relevant!

    Thanks for the tips!

  28. I’ve heard some recent criticism around daily blog reads from commenters unhappy their favorite bloggers made a living (or at least a PT living) from blogging. Since when was it taboo to make money from publishing original content? Magazines, newspapers, and authors have been doing it for decades.

    Blogging is still a relatively new media model, and making money from blogging even more fresh. It will take some time for others to realize the full potential of blogging as a source of income, and fully appreciate it. Vered, I enjoyed your post, and you perspective as a “mommy blogger.” Congratulations on your success.

  29. It’s true that it’s easy for mom bloggers to feel bad about trying to act like a business. I’ve even had people scold me for it. Apparently I’m supposed to do it all for the love of it.

    Sorry folks, it’s a business. If I don’t make money I can’t do it. Worse, I’d have to work outside the home, which is something I really don’t want to do!

  30. Thanks, Vered and Darren, for reiterating that the blog is a business. Sometimes it can be hard for writers and artists to think in those terms, because we are so focused on creating the work and not thinking in terms of using it to sustain themselves (i.e., selling) so that they can create more.

    And of course, some writers, like me, are a little shy about selling ourselves and our writing.

  31. @ Stephanie: you’re making a good point. For many moms, the income that they make online means that they don’t need to work outside their home. So if this is something that you want to do (stay home), an online business or a blog can support this choice.

  32. I love this post! I am delighted to run out and share this with all of my many Mommy friends and others for that matter both online and off!

    For Moms who want to stay at home and raise their kids and make a living, and love what they do this is a MUST read!!!!

    Thanks again,

  33. Way to go, Vered!

    Your post is so timely for me. While One Bag Nation is not – at least at the moment – a business enterprise, I’m working on a new blog (a mommy blog in fact) that I’m very much approaching as a business.

    One Bag Nation is a personal blog, but my new blog will be even more so, and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how much to share. Still working that out.

    I think the tip I’ll need to repeat to myself most often is getting over the “good girl” mentality . . . there’s no place for that kind of thinking in a successful business!

  34. I just lived out your suggestions. I heard of your guest spot from MomAdvice on twitter. Now I’m going to subscribe to Problogger and do a little work on my blog. Of course, only after I change a diaper, wipe the dog’s muddy paws, pick out the cheese stick smeared into the living room rug, and finally grab myself some lunch!

  35. Vered,
    Man, and just when I thought you were going to slow down you jump on over to Problogger. Ha!
    @Frugal Dad – Here, here. Why shouldn’t we make money off of our great content? You’re right, magazines do it, and there is no shame in paying yourself.
    @Vered – Yes, I also agree with Darren about the ABOUT page. I’ve got to polish mine a little more. I really like the fact that we can learn from eachother. It is like a big community school. Unfortunately, what you mentioned about blogging taking up a great deal of your time is also true. You have to find balance or you’ll suffer burnout.

  36. Excellent advice across the board. I found the consulting fee particularly interesting.

    You know your stuff.

  37. I think of blogs as magazines, so whatever topic you write about, including mommy blogs of course, advertisements (including affiliate links to products you know would help your target audience) are not only a source of income but also a service to your readers. When I read a magazine on a topic I enjoy I always look through the advertisements to see if there’s anything there to improve my quality of life. Great article Vered!

  38. That’s so Important to tell the truth and shame the enemy.
    Thanks Darren, once again this is great content. Why some
    want to pretend being marketers of something that they
    have understanding about is beyond me. From what fills the
    heart the mouth speaks. Therefore the question is, what
    saturates our hearts. Be Blessed always…Peace!

  39. Vered…Excellent suggestions!

  40. In number 5 you suggested “offer to write guest posts” – I could use some guest posts about parenting from some mommy bloggers – how do I find them? (Still waiting to be a mom here so I’m not so familiar with the mommy blogger community)

  41. @ Trisha: I find that Twitter is a great place to communicate with bloggers – you could try sending out a tweet and asking mommy bloggers if they would be interested in writing a guest post for you. You will need to be ready to explain why appearing on your blog would be useful to them.

  42. I’ve been hesitant to monetize my mommy blog for fear of being viewed as unauthentic.

    That being said, you speak the truth, Vered. We should not undervalue our good writing, top-notch networking skills, and hours devoted to building our blogs (okay, those kudos belong to my husband).

    Before having my son, I constantly contemplated what it was I was supposed to do with life. I was distraught at not having a “thing” I was good at. When I became a mom, that changed. Mothering is my “thing.” I’m not perfect at it by any means, but I thrive on being with my son. I love teaching him and watching him grow. Blogging about my life as a mom is an extension of that “thing.” It’s hard work (yes, work!), but the end result is, well, something to write home about.


  43. Like you said, treating it like a ‘proper business’ is the key. Many women treat it like a hobby…But when you are putting in so many hours, you should be adequately compensated…

  44. Vered-
    Congrats on another great guest post! I definitely agree with tip #8. Pacing ourselves helps us be more realistic in terms of our goals. And successful blogs aren’t created overnight. Can’t wait to see more amazing posts from you! :-)

  45. Joy Fillman says: 08/01/2008 at 5:54 am

    I do not yet have a blog or website, but am doing the necessary research. I appreciate all the information I can get. I am currently sorting through my role as a mother now that my children are just off to college, realizing the learning curve as a mother is never over, but understanding that somehow I gained wisdom and an increased sense of humor through pain, elation, trial and error that I would like to share. I also would like to generate an income to pay college tuitions and really hadn’t realized that was possible. So…thank you all of you mommy bloggers!

  46. Excellent post! This advice is also true for any type of business. Although hard work is a must and that you will occasionaly go over your limits, don’t let it happen too often. Take a moment to reflect on your priorities. Also, like you said, don’t sell yourself short. If people are coming to you it is because they know your worth. Do not prostitute yourself.

  47. Thanks – the timing is fabulous on this. I just got an emailed request for data that I didn’t feel comfortable giving out for free to someone who isn’t paying me a dime for it. This let me know that I have every right to say “thanks, but that’s not information I give out for free.” :)

  48. @GeekMommy: that’s a fabulous example of being asked to give something for free that you can charge for.

  49. Nice post. I think everyone can make a business out of a blog. It’s just a matter of taking action.

  50. This is a really useful post, may I quote you in my next post?

    Good stuff!

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