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8 Useful Tips for Building Your Mommy Blog Into a Business

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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, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. There is some really good and solid advice here – nice job Vered!

  2. amirulcyber says:

    thanks darren for such a useful info.Thanks again.

  3. Jess says:

    thanks for the post…
    Wow..I’m always in awe of mummy bloggers…how do they find the time…
    I am thinking about starting a personal blog soon, so I found this really useful
    It’s so true what you say, about mummy (and women) bloggers being very powerful for big corporations. For example, I did studies about women in the media, and much research suggests that women are in control of household expenditure, yet it has taken advertisers and marketers so long to recognise this fact, as for so long they make sexist ads that don’t appeal to women at all.
    For example, I have a beading site, and one ad came on recently advertising jewellery. The picture was of a woman in a bikini, but you only really saw her bottom half. The ad said, “want to see more”. Seriously, I was fuming…my site targets predominantly women, and these marketers were obviously ignorant males (or silly females) with no idea about their target female audience. I have seen some very clever ads that appeal to women- the women’s secret marketing caimpaign is a good one. Glamour is fine, but out right, objectification is just passe.
    Anyway I’m off the point…
    Thanks Vered…for the inspiration too

    jess

  4. blogversary says:

    I wholeheartedly agree that even mommy bloggers can benefit from Problogger and honing their blog for their audience.

  5. Kim says:

    Great advice! It seems like I could easily work 12 hours/day, mostly because it’s so much fun and there’s always something new to try, but you’re right about still having a life to live and a family to take care of! It does seem like it’s always a balance between keeping the site’s quality up and focusing on what generates income!

  6. Genlisae says:

    Ouch!

    This bit just hit home for me: “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.”

    I have just realized that I have spent the past week obsessing over layout and colours and content for a new blog I am starting and most conversations with my daughter have been of the “Mom can I …” “Uh huh, Mom is working kiddo” variety. (banging head on keyboard)

    Thank you for the wonderful, informative post and thank you also for the reality check! You have a new subscriber, right after I go read my daughter a bed time story, set up movie night for this weekend and generally get caught back up with her again!

  7. Linda Abbit says:

    So happy to see you here, Vered!

    Even though I’m not a Mommyblogger in the strict sense (perhaps a family blogger?), proudly saying your blog is a business, does apply to me as well. I realize from your post that I’ve been wimpy about this in real life as I’ve recently unveiled my blog to my offline friends. Will have to work on this point inside my head first and then direct it outwards to the real world. Thanks for the awakening.

  8. Way to go, Vered!

    What a great place to do a guest post about mommy blogs since Darren has a new son. Like many individuals with small children, it’s finding the balance between blogging and home life that’s so crucial. You nailed it because you do it so well.

  9. Al at 7P says:

    Hi Vered – this is a great post, and definitely not restricted to mommy bloggers.

  10. gout says:

    thanks for 8 useful tips…

  11. Suzie says:

    Great tips. It gives me lots of stuff to think about

  12. MizFit says:

    reads.
    nods.
    realizes it all is kinda applicable to her healthfitness blog as well.

    THANKS!

  13. bizztra says:

    Very informative tips…

  14. Very timely advice. The Urbane Lion had a great discussion last night over where we want to take our business..yes, we are developing a business, and what we need to do to get there. The conversation that lasted the longest, was on how to put balance into our lives. We both work full time outside of the house, we have the daily household chores to attend to, we are doing home renovations, I am training for a half marathon, and the Lion has the Little Lion par time. Whew! AND we LOVE to blog. It has meant some very late nights, which are okay occassionally, but not as a habit. We are slowly figuring out how to make it all work, and not drain ourselves.

  15. Elaine Bloch says:

    This is a very nice post for blogging mommas like us, Vered. Thanks for the tips.

  16. Vered says:

    Thank you everyone for your comments. I’m glad you found my article useful. We all need to find our balance, since we all know very well how addictive blogging can be.

  17. Amy says:

    Great advice. I have been blogging inconsistently for the last 3 years but I am ready to do it for real now. This is very helpful!

  18. Wouldn’t you know it — just when I wished I had advice from you on how you made your blog so great, you’ve already written an article about it. Thanks, Vered!

  19. Atniz says:

    It is trend of earning money online for mummy’s way through paid post networks line payperpost, sponsoredreview, etc. The only problem is they can’t really make huge money from these network unless wait for at least 3 months to get the page rank update.

    Once we gained the page rank, the limit of paid posts is almost impossible and earning more than $300 each week just from paid posts. But, it will all go back to zero as soon as google penalty the site with page rank 0.

    So, personally I think all bloggers network like payperpost, sponsoredreview, etc need to allow their bloggers to do nofollow post for paid posts because if they get paid for doing the paid post with dofollow backlink to the advertiser, this is exactly against pagerank policy.

    Another important note is that all blogger that want to monetize their site, need to study well on page rank TOS, when to use dofollow and when to use nofollow. The awareness of this three issues is very important to continuously make money from doing paid posts and enjoy the benefits of earning more than $300/week without losing page rank.

    Also, we need to create this awareness to the advertisers who should know the buying and selling page rank juices is illegal.

  20. nicole says:

    Thanks for such an informative post. I have just begun my blogging journey, and actually never even knew much about it, but I am definitely hooked…and making money at it wouldn’t be bad, not at all! Thanks again.

  21. Laura says:

    Thank you for sincerely wanting to help other bloggers. I was definitely helped by your article. I struggle with the second on your list. When doling out parenting advice or complaints, I tend to be rather offensive and have therefore kept my blog anonymous just to have the freedom to write what I want.

    Thank you for your tip about problogger. I immediately subscribed.

  22. This was a very insightful post. We are really trying to monetize our blog as well as using it as a business tool. We just change over from a completely static site to a combination static and blog sight and it seems to be working but it is easy to work 12 hr days on your blog ….

    Mike and Peggy Linton
    http://www.mikelinton.com
    http://www.talktopeggy.com

  23. This is the best source I have found for a newer mommblogger like me. Thanks so much! Ellen

  24. BrocanteHome says:

    Ooooh this struck a chord…

    I recently introduced a paid membership aspect to my blog and all hell broke loose. While most of my readers where supportive and absolutely respected my right to monetise something that is fast becoming the way I make my living, there were a number of commenters (none of whom were regulars) that were vehement in their disgust. How dare I even consider it they cried! Who did I think I was! Wasn’t it bad enough that the site already ran ads?? Was I greedy? Didn’t I understand the concept of free internet for everyone??

    Hell’s bells it was awful… and I almost fell into the trap of apologising for wanting to make a living….

    So I’m making number seven my mantra. Thank you.

  25. Lisa says:

    Extremely useful information! Thanks! It’s nice to be able to make money with something you love to do and this article outlines ideas and steps for doing that – will have to put those ideas into action! Thanks again!

  26. krissy knox says:

    I like what you said about not apologizing for making money with your blog.

    I was reading a blog a few hours ago, on which the blog owner / author actually apologized for running ads and trying to make money from her blog! I could tell it was a blog this young lady was putting a lot of time into — it was very useful, interesting, well written, and had that special something many blogs don’t. Yet the blog author was apologizing for making money from the blog. I was stunned!

    After she apologized she went on to explain why she was monetizing. It was because she “needed to.” She needed the money bc she had been off work bc of cancer treatment. She went on to explain that she wasn’t being selfish, but only wanted to make some money so she could buy a laptop to write her blog and do other important things.

    Again, I was stunned. Why the need to apologize, then expose the personal details of her life? And finally — why the need to give an explanation of where the money was to be used, as if there were something wrong for wanting to earn money — for any reason, for that matter?

    Finally, before her statement ended on the matter, she even stated, almost apologetically, that the ads would remain, but that we didn’t have to click on them if we didn’t want to! It was our choice.

    I think one of the problems is the way wealth, the wealthy, entrepreneurship, capitalism, free enterprise, etc.is viewed today. In America it’s getting more and more popular to apologize if you want to make money. Money is necessary to live, and you can’t even give it away to help others, if you don’t earn it yourself. Money isn’t something evil, something to be looked down upon, as we’re beginning to be taught by a lot of people in America… It’s what you do with it that counts… Do you use it to help yourself and others to live life well? Then stop apologizing!

    krissy :)
    http://www.twitter.com/iamkrissy

  27. LorDi says:

    Great Advice. I would love to post on some of the bigger blog sites, but was not sure how to start. Thanks for the advice.

    LorDi
    Where in the World is Deerwood Drive?
    http://www.loridipatri.blogspot.com

  28. bethany says:

    excellent tips! thank you so much. i just launched my mommy blog site about two weeks ago. i still have some work and tweaking to do, but im very excited and always had the intention of trying to make money thru this venue. i didnt know people actually feel guilty about doing that. i saw a woman on tv recently who said she is making around $40,000 a month thru her mommy blog and her husband quit his job to help run it. i thought , why not me? i have alot to say and i think i say it well. i’ve been doing a few things you have suggested and i need to work on other stuff but pace myself like you said really hit home. thanks for reminding me that my kids need to come first thru all of this.