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Five Reasons Why Mom Blogs Are the Blogs to Watch

The following post exploring the rise of Mom Blogs is by Michelle Mitchell from Scribbit.

In the Wall Street Journal’s April 10th issue Sue Shellenbarger interviewed Heather Armstrong (known to millions of fascinated fans as Dooce) and a gasp of surprise went up from print media around the country (even my hometown paper The Anchorage Daily News picked the article up off the AP wire).

But I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing surprising about Dooce’s super-stardom and in fact not only is it to be expected but other mom blogs are following in her wake. Mom blogs are poised to become the next big “It” when it comes to the internet–they’re gathering power like no other blogging niche and will only get bigger and better. Here’s why:

1. Moms can blog at home

You don’t need a PhD, an office or a small business loan to start up a blog and this especially appeals to mothers who are looking for ways to bring in extra income while they’re at home with their children. It’s a job that they can do while the kids are napping or away at school and allows women like me who have left the work force to raise a family to feel part of the tech age–always a benefit when your days are filled with diapers, dishes and drool.

Mom bloggers don’t have to leave their day jobs and they don’t have to make enough money to live off of–all they need is a little extra to pay for soccer lessons or a family vacation.

2. Moms need the sociality of the net

I couldn’t possibly count the number of days that I’ve spent without the live interaction of another adult (except maybe the clerk at the grocery store). Women want–no we crave and demand–social interaction and for those of us whose office is our home the internet and blogging opens up a new world of friendship, debate, learning and conversation. No longer do we have to pretend to hold conversations with Steve on Blues Clues just to talk to another adult, now we can blog. Women need to read about other moms’ struggles and disasters–it’s how we feel that maybe our own traumas aren’t so bad–and there are more and more moms daily that are discovering how the world of mom blogs helps them feel connected to other women.

3. Moms have a wealth of material to use

Tech blogs are just about technology, celebrity blogs are strictly about celebs but a mom blog could focus on parenting, protecting the environment, politics, crafts, food, homeschooling, gardening, household products, design, travel or just funny stories.

They’re usually written with an emotion and personality which connects with readers in ways that other niches often can’t and they speak about subjects that naturally carry strong emotions: home, family, marriage, children, the environment–all of which encourage dedicated readers. A blog about the latest techy gadget, while interesting, doesn’t carry the emotional weight that a post about home and family does. While other bloggers may sneer over moms posting stories about life with little ones and the oddities of every day life there have been plenty of writers from Erma Bombeck to Dave Barry to Jerry Seinfeld that have built careers on noticing life’s quirks and inconsistencies and mom blogs are cashing in on this.

4. Moms are record keepers

Blog means “web-log” and most blogs are started as online journals. Moms naturally tend to be the record keepers for their families whether it’s a newsletter, scrapbook or photo album and more and more women are turning to blogs as an easy way to keep their family’s diary. Staying in touch with Grandma, recording a child’s growth, these are the reasons women are turning to blogs and even though 99% of them will never see traffic outside of their family those who blog read other blogs. And who are they going to read? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not TechCrunch.

5. Mom blogs wield economic power

In Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point he writes of the importance of mavens–those who are trusted for their opinions and who pass along information on what products, services and ideas are the best–and mom blogs are the maven nesting grounds. Moms want to know which products work and which don’t; they want to give an opinion on what’s worked for them and share their experiences with others and advertisers are just beginning to discover this advertising pot of gold.

Because women are generally the buyers for their homes in everything from clothing to food to minivans mom blogs talk about things that can be bought and sold, products that can be promoted and services that most households need. Proctor and Gamble, Sony or General Electric can throw up their logos on PerezHilton and that might make them look rather hip but if they can get Dooce to say she liked their stuff that’s when the sales start rolling in. You’ve heard “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”? Well she who does the shopping then blogs about it rules the net.

Mom blogs are growing and it’s not going to be too long before Dooce stops being an anomaly in the blogosphere and becomes the matriarch of mom blogs everywhere.

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, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Joe Boomer says:

    Interesting, I never thought about this. All all this time, I have been ignoring mom blogs and it turns out they can be very useful!

  2. makes me think my wife should be blogging now that she just had our first baby!

  3. It’s amazing how much purchasing power the average mom has. Women control most of what comes in and out of the home as far as food, hygiene, and more. The mommy bloggers have grown substantially over the past few years, and I think they are finally learning to expand their blogs to other subjects other than just being a mom… which is also adding fuel to this “mommy blog” fire.

    Great post Michelle!

  4. noemi says:

    Cheers to Mom Bloggers. Setting aside the commercial value of mom blogs, it can benefit not only moms but children who want to understand their moms. I often get comments from daughters/sons thanking me for my thoughts.

  5. MrCooker says:

    Not often do I read mom blogs, but the few times I do, I quite enjoy them. Keep on blogging Moms!

  6. Cecelia says:

    This article is right on the money (so to speak). I hope this is good news for my blog!

  7. Trula says:

    Oooooh that’s good to know! My very first blog was a mom blog, and my first books about various aspects of my mothering experience :0

  8. Great insight!

    I know my mom made most of the buying decisions and would frequently get advice from other moms.

  9. Erica says:

    I would just like to say,
    http://thepioneerwoman.com .
    Not your traditional ‘mom blog’, but somehow (through her writing and photography and giveaways) she has generated this incredible following.

  10. patricia says:

    I agree that Mom blogging has great potential due to all the factors you mention however I don’t think Dooce will stop being an anomaly any time soon. Her blog’s uber popularity has as much to do with the extraordinary style (photography, design) and unique voice as the subject matter. Mom blogs will most likely become the next big “it” and there’ll be some good ones, but there won’t be many (any) Docces.

    I feel that if Heather Armstrong were blogging about almost any subject out there, she’d still be a superstar. She’s got a unique combination of talents and skills that make her the perfect blogger.

  11. I’ve watched the explosion in mom blogs (and blogging in general) since I began my blog in 2004–without even realizing what I was getting into.

    Michelle hits it on the mark when she talks about mom’s blogging with emotion. And the best writing is based in passion. I’m so glad to see the recognition this genre is gaining. We (women and moms) still have a long way to go but the progress we’ve made so far is simply amazing.

  12. Lori says:

    When I first started blogging, I didn’t want to be associated as a “mommy blogger” but now I am proud to be. In fact, I have moved away from certain areas in the blogosphere and have begun networking with the WOMEN!

    Great post..I’ve always been a fan of yours Michelle.

  13. Craig Taylor says:

    As a regular Dooce.com reader, I have to make a very important point. Heather is an incredible writer. With her wit and writing style, she could easily be writing a nationally syndicated column in mainstream newspapers (if she isn’t already). She is funnier than most “lifestyle” columnists, she is edgy enough and pisses just enough people off to keep a loyal fan base of those who “get” her humour, and she is active in the blogging community. It takes effort and real talent to get to the level of Dooce.com. Of course the beauty of blogging is that everyone has an equal chance to show off their talent.

  14. CK says:

    I appreciate this post! The few times I’ve posted a comment here, I referred to my little blog world, when in reality my little blog world has a niche. I’m a mom blogger.

  15. Frugal Dad says:

    I would add to that – most “mom” blogs I read have authors who write in excellent conversational tones. This is usually why their blogs are so wildly popular, and I’ve tried to apply the same lessons in my blogging from a “frugal dad’s” perspective.

    If anyone ever wanted to take a lesson on building readership, providing outstanding product reviews, and grass-roots marketing I would advise them to go find one of the top “mom” blogs and take notes!

  16. Craig Taylor says:

    I just reread my comment, and it sounds bit negative towards Mom bloggers. I didn’t mean it that way. It was meant more as a compliment to Heather. I just think that mainstream media often uses the term “blogger” negatively, and doesn’t give enough bloggers credit as real writers. (I, for one, am not even worthy of being called a blogger, let alone a writer.)

  17. anneglamore says:

    Yep– the term “mommyblogger” used to bug me, but I’m over it now. You can find it all, from moms who use blogs just to record day-to-day activities, moms with a special interest (infertility, autism, knitting, coupons), moms who have a political point of view, and so much more.

    I cover the gamut with 3 boys – books, food, blood, and trying to find the humor in the days where a kid falls off the counter AND knocks the ant farm off in the process, and the result is frighteningly large ants wading in a puddle of your son’s blood on the floor.

    But my sex talk for boys is probably my most popular post. I’m about to have to give it again.
    (“It’s Natural But It’s Rated “R”)

  18. Rich Miller says:

    In the Christian blogosphere, there are a significant number of popular “Mom blogs,” including quite a few by moms who home school their kids. These blogs seem to network and cross-link pretty effectively.

  19. David Cheong says:

    Well, last week, my wife already started to read Mom’s blog, stuff which related on how to be a good mommy :) hinting something here, Darren’s blog will be the first to know.

  20. OK THIS IS WEIRD!

    My wife comes up to me LAST NIGHT…
    “Honey I want to start a blog.” Crazy!!!

    Now we just have to pick a domain.

    This is going to be fun.

  21. Rick says:

    I was thinking about this recently after reading an article on purchasing decisions in the family and there is no doubt in my mind that “mom blogs” will be a force to contend with – and rightly so. They will tend to be more outspoken about the products they support and I would trust their opinion more than “pitch page” any day.

  22. Thanks for your input on this–I’ve been blogging seriously for a couple years now and love the momblogging community–and I would add that momblogs don’t necessarily refer strictly to bloggers who are moms. There are plenty of women without children joining the team as well.

    If you want to know more about women blogging consider Blogher conference which is being held July 18-21 in San Francisco. I’ll be speaking and looking forward to meeting some of the amazing women bloggers I admire so much.

  23. Rhea says:

    OH, all right. I’ll have the kid already.

  24. Erica says:

    Excellent article, although I’ve come to expect nothing less from Michelle, I’ve been an avid reader of Scribbit for over two years now!

  25. You crack me up–who knew Rhea that this post could have such long lasting effect? :)

  26. Mom blogs are fun! There’s are also lots of librarians who blog. And then of course there are the librarian who are also moms that blog! :)

  27. Mom blogs are fun! There’s also lots of librarians who blog. And then of course there are the librarians, who are also moms that blog! :)

  28. Amy Bowllan says:

    I agree with your post – even though I am a working mom. And along these same lines, I am running a series on homeschoolers
    http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog/620000062.html#530025653

  29. Power to the Moms! After Steak ‘n Shake refused to serve me, I went home and blogged about it. It definitely got their attention and we’ll see what the outcome is– hopefully accessible drive-thrus as a result.

  30. I just had a similar experience with Frigidaire/Electrolux and have seen interesting results from my rants against their poor service.

  31. SpaceAgeSage says:

    I just visited DOOCE blog for the first time via the link in the post. It is refreshingly honest and funny. I can see why Mom Blogs are on the rise. I think I will let my nieces who are moms know about Mom Blogging because the kid-rearing stories my nieces tell are nothing short of shoot-milk-out-of-the-nose hilarious.

  32. Killer Picke says:

    Yeah Mommycast.com seems to be a pretty huge site and they constantly have content

  33. madsow says:

    I have read some great stuff in some of the “mom” blogs. As a blogging dad, I enjoy seeing the different perspective, just as I hope people reading my blog enjoy my perspective.

    Honestly, it seems like almost all of the frugal type blogs I read are authored by mommy. It seems there isn’t a whole log of frugal blogging daddies. Not all men hate cooking, cleaning and like sports. Ack, did I just say that !

  34. merlotmom says:

    Thank you, Michelle. I started a momblog in January and was a bit embarrassed by it (with everyone except other bloggers of course). I don’t know anyone else with a blog so I was all alone until I made new blogger friends. I now have a community of friends and can’t wait to meet many of them at BlogHer this summer! Not to mention it’s been a ton of fun. You got the momblog description and raison d’etre just right. There’s a lot of great moms out there with plenty of info and advice to share. I wish blogs were around when my kids were babies. I look forward to many other great mom blogs out there – success to us all!

  35. Andrea says:

    Yep, I’ve been a mommy blogger for along time. I wish I’d started when my oldest children were little as it’s easier to keep a record.
    So there are huge benefits for the mom writing it as well.

  36. Dave Atkins says:

    I’m surprised by some of this–my wife is at home with our 3 kids (3.5, 2, and 2 mo) and I don’t see how a mom of very young children would have time to blog. I’ve tried to blog with a baby on my lap or a toddler in the room and it does not work. My two year old turns my computer off and the baby becomes unhappy when held with one hand. Our kids stopped taking naps before they were 2 years old, so there is no break between 8am and 8pm. As for social interaction, we have playgroups and classes and such going on each day–the number of adults we interact with has increased 100-fold since having kids. We are pretty tech savvy–my wife instant messages me from her laptop downstairs. And I can twitter with a baby in one hand and cell phone in the other. But blogging is something to do at 3am when we should be sleeping.

  37. Wow, Michelle! You were one of the first bloggers I followed regularly two years ago and here you are on ProBlogger! I love it! I’ve been blogging for as long, but didn’t find my groove until last summer. Thanks for the continued encouragement.

  38. Oh, and Dave…as a mother of three may I suggest you are in the highest demand season there is. My youngest is now six and there’s no way I could have done it when the youngest was two months. And they weren’t as closely spaced as yours! If your wife is blogging, she needs to get her feet massaged (and sip tea, I might add) at the same time.

  39. Oh, and Dave…as a mother of three may I suggest you are in the highest demand season there is. My youngest is now six and there’s no way I could have done it when she was two months. And they weren’t as closely spaced as yours! If your wife is blogging, she needs to get her feet massaged (and sip tea, I might add) at the same time.

  40. Yes, to add to what Dave and Tea Party Girl are saying I should add that my children are old enough to allow me time for blogging. I spend at least four or five hours a day blogging but all of my children are in school. That time issue is one that gets raised frequently among mom blogs so your question is certainly valid.

  41. Way to go, Michelle at Scribbit!! She is on my Google Reader and on my blogroll. I love reading her insightful blog.

  42. I write a mom blog. You should definitely not ignore us. :)

  43. Mrs. Organic says:

    Michelle – I’m glad to know you’ve had some response from the Frigidaire post (hope they made good on it).

    Mom blogs are a geat social outlet; I especially love reading women who can put a humorous spin on things. There are some women out there (dooce included) with an amazing gift for capturing life and sharing it with us.

  44. H.E.Eigler says:

    I was a blogger before becoming a mom, but now, everything revolves around baby. So it was inevitable that I changed my bloggy tune and started a ‘mom blog’. I completely agree that it is a fantastic way for us mommies to connect with each other.

    To all the other mom bloggers….a poop post will get you lots of hits. My blog is only a few months old and my poop post got about 20 comments. Who knew.

    http://maternalspark.blogspot.com

  45. Lightening says:

    I have been blogging for over a year now and only recently heard about Dooce. In all honesty, it didn’t really grab me. But I guess that’s the great thing about blogging – there are plenty to CHOOSE from. However, I also think this is the biggest struggle in the “mommy blogging” niche. SO much COMPETITION for readers. I don’t actually class my blog as a “Mommy” blog (or mummy here in Australia) because I don’t actually talk about my kids all that often. It’s more a “personal” blog and because I’m a mum, it happens to cover motherhood as well as a gamut of other topics.

    I do think those “mommy bloggers” who have been around from the start have a better chance at high popularity because there just wasn’t as much competition when they began. Then again, there possibly weren’t as many readers either???

    I would LOVE to earn a part-time income from blogging (for all the reasons you’ve stated here) but it certainly is a HARD SLOG!!!!

    Great article Michelle and thanks for publishing it Darren.

  46. I agree with this post and the power of the mom blogs – I participated in a “blog party” a couple months ago that was mainly mom blogs (it was open to female bloggers, you didn’t have to be a mom but most were) and there were well over 2,000 participants. I actually increased my rss readership during that time and my blog isn’t a mom blog.

    Just goes to show that the gadget, gizmo, and techy blogs don’t rule the blogosphere. ;) ….but I’ll bet there are some moms out there blogging about those topics, too!

  47. It’s going to be fascinating to watch the niche evolve, this next six months or so. And you can bet a whole lot of analysts will be charting how/where the marketing money gets distributed online, when we roll up to the next holiday gift frenzy season.

    Fascinating, the blogosphere: yesterday’s term of derision — ‘mommy blogger’ — has a whole different ring to it in 2008, doesn’t it?

    I see the sector dividing naturally into two main types of ‘mom blogs’ from here on in:
    (1) those that nickel-and-dime themselves to death-by-no-readers with PPP posts, one step above reading the classified ads; and
    (2) those that develop into unique ‘personality blogs’ engaged in conversation with their readers — with their success built on the model of a magazine columnist, or television talk-show host, or the funny clever caring if slightly madcap neighbour whom everyone wants to have for a best friend.

  48. Christine says:

    When I started my blog in December 2006, I had no idea that I was also entering into an amazing community. It is so wonderful to be a part of this movement that empowers mommies (and daddies!) on so many levels.

    Wonderful article!

  49. Becky says:

    Excellent points. I saw the article in WSJ (and tweeted it), and I was familiar with not only Dooce but the other blogs listed.

  50. Syn says:

    I just started blogging seriously three months ago and finding I like it. I should’ve done this a long time ago!! As a mom with four kids, I can do this around dirty diapers, homework, burning dinner, and bathtime!

    Syn
    http://www.lifeofsyn.com
    http://www.stepfamilysanctuary.com
    http://www.everythingohio.net