Update: Here's a 2010 list of "saving money bloggers' to watch:
The list includes Heather Hernandez who appeared on the Tyra Banks show to highlight her extremely popular blog Freebies4Mom. She has over 50,000 subscribers [that's not a typo!]
Update: Here's what Kari Henley said in the Jan 2011 Huffington Post article Mommy Bloggers are going to rule the world:
Mommy bloggers totally rock. They are unapologetic about their dual role of raising children and having a professional life. Many of these women came with their babies in arms, and no one cared because they are bad-ass experts in SEO optimization, personal branding, sponsor ambassadorship and networking. It was shockingly refreshing -- and for me, a mother of four, it was like a coming home. -
Original article with some updates:
In 2008 ProBlogger predicted that
"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.
BloggingWithSuccess draws some interesting Mommy Bloggers. Many are, in their own words, "desperately seeking" our tutorial for creating a scroll box for friends to "grab buttons." As a group, these "mommies" can teach the rest of us some important lessons about blogging.
Who Are Mommy Bloggers?
According to Technorati's recent state of the blogosphere report, about 33% of all bloggers are women. Although being parents is the primary link among Mommy/Daddy bloggers, the owners, content, design and reasons for blogging couldn't be more varied. Some blog to build up a home business, interact with others, share parenting skills, chronicle their child's early years or write creatively. Many are not interested in the money-making aspects and are overly satisfied to use the free Blogger platform. Boy, to not have to worry about SEO!
Basically, Mommy Bloggers are a demographic of well-informed and socially connected women, many of whom are expert at networking. Companies see them as a resource for endorsing/advertising their products by offering free gifts for their readers.
Contrary to some stereotypes and misconceptions,
"These bloggers are educated, creative and take blogging seriously. "The creativity and writing chops some of them bring to the table would put some Ivy Leaguers to shame." Mashable.com
Lessons to Learn
Here's what I've learned from that particular genre of bloggers that can be applied to blogs in other niches like ours.
Play Well with Others
Mommy Bloggers develop a loyal community of friends and supporters. They share parenting stories/advice/photos and extend lots of reciprocity. They consistently comment on each others' blogs (some average 30 comments per post); freely grab buttons to display ( Grab My Button, Promote My Blog); proudly show off GoogleFriends and other blogrolls.
They also share knowledge and take pride in their accomplishments, passing along details in blog posts, discussion boards and Twitter. As Andrea of CreativeJunkie said in her guest post about working the social net:
"As a “mommy blogger” I’ve joined The Mom Blogs and Mom Bloggers Club and TwitterMoms. As a humorist, I’ve registered for The Humor Bloggers. As a blogger wanting to improve her blogging skills, I joined BlogCatalog.
Show Your Personality
Amanda at GaribaySoup displays her button image above and says:
"This blog is a place for me to put these ideas in words, talk about my family, talk about my faith and hopefully bring a smile to your face.
Update: Amanda is no longer blogging at Garibay Soup. So let's hear from Roland of CouponProBlog:
"My name is Roland (picture coming soon, I promise!). I’m a 24 year old male (yes I said male!), fresh out of college and I run Coupon Pro by myself from my bedroom, my living room, my backyard, at Starbucks, in a parked car, while having breakfast/lunch/dinner, while at the gym or on Vacation.
Mommy Bloggers know how to express themselves and let the true person show in their writing styles. Within 10 minutes visitors should know what the author is all about. Many in the blogging tips niche rely on scattered bits of information unfolded over (hidden in) pages of posts.
Blogs with names like "Putting the fun in dysfunctional" set the tone for their content. Many don't have "about me" pages, just the typical Blogger widget in the sidebar. They use colorful language, plenty of images and humor to tell sometimes troubling stories from the past or hopeful sagas from the present. Personality can be a deciding factor when making friends and fans.
Create a Unique Playground
Many Mom blogs are decorated, happy places with a feeling of consistency and uniqueness, like a home. They carry on traditions like Friday "fragging," and link roundups, with lots of milk and cookies in the form of contests and giveaways. Many Mom blogs give their readers a warm, comfortable and lively visit. No wonder there is such active dialogue — it's like visiting the neighbors or having a video chat with a friend.
Some might call many of the blog designs "cluttered," but no one's complaining. Well, maybe I have cringed at a few double sidebars with dozens of buttons/icons of different sizes!
Get It Done
Mommy Bloggers who have tackled the grab-button tutorial are professed "non-geeks," but show no fear in trying. Passion for blogging drives them to put their heads down and do what it takes. Those who have problems work it out within an hour before I can respond or continue the dialogue until it's done. They hang in there!
I collaborated with Amber of Comeherelittlebug on a solution for bloggers on WP.com. Pulling the wool over WP's eyes ,we found the solution for displaying the scroll box, getting around the "no html" limitation. Update: Amber has not posted recently...
Those who host on Blogger often hire designers or barter with friends for small touches like the grab-button design itself or decorative backgrounds. Believe me, the full page backgrounds and custom icons make a huge difference on Blogger. The blog owners feel it adds value, so they either do it themselves with image software or find someone who offers it for free or for a small fee. They are not afraid to ask for help in areas where they don't have the expertise or inclination.
Applying Lessons to Blogging Tips Niche
- Find blogger friends to play well with.
Some of us act as if we are competing with other bloggers in our niche. We need to remember that 1) other bloggers are not the ones who click ads, and 2) readers enjoy learning from many blogs. Pick a few blogs to comment on each week and ask them to do the same if you're in a similar growing stage. I did this with another person on Blogspot and he's gone so far as to nudge me when a post is long overdue.
- Get personal with your readers.
Even if you write a tutorial, add some humor and personal experiences. In my blogspot blog I mention "pitfalls'"I've found when using tutorials. Also use familiar terms like "trust me, just copy and paste." Don't be afraid to use your blogger's voice and let people see not just the words but something about who you are. Pretend you are talking to just one reader in a fireside chat — it works in public speaking!
- Make your blog a comfortable playground for learning.
Your internet presence may need to be professional and authoritative in your niche, but it can still be personalized. Show your pretty face above the fold, or below each post. I mean the photo where you look approachable. Even if you use a free template, there are easy ways to brand your blog. Leave no doubt as to who lives/does business in that blog "house."
- Prioritize and tackle goals until done.
Pick a goal and use all available resources to make it happen. You may feel stranded in unfamiliar territory, but ask questions. Above all else, try something until you see progress or find a better path to success. At Blogging With Success we answer questions and give strategies that have worked for us and other experienced bloggers. Use the examples in our case studies of success stories and planning strategies.
I'm anxious to hear what you think of these lessons and if you have others to share. Do leave a comment and start the dialogue. Who are the up and coming 'mommy bloggers' ? What social networks do they use?