4 Lessons Learned from Mommy Bloggers

From the Archives: Nov 11, 2009
A few years ago professional bloggers predicted "Mom blogs are poised to become the next big “It” when it comes to the internet.. " Well they're right on target! Add the increasingly popular coupon blogs and you have a mega hit. Some bloggers mentioned in the original post are no longer in the niche but many more (including 'Dads') have climbed in.

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?

mommy-blogger

photo credit: Businessweek.com

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

cj-grab-button

Andrea's Grab Button

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.

Grab my button

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

image by Petra

Comforts of home.

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

flickr-hanginthere

Hang in there!

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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."
  4. 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?

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kari-henley/mommy-bloggers-are-going-_b_815886.html

Comments

  1. Great post! I know I’ve learned A LOT from mommy bloggers in the short time that I’ve been blogging.

  2. Thanks so much for the mention, Shirley!

    Never thought, within less than 2 years of blogging, I would be where I’am today.

  3. I couldn’t agree more with your blogging tips. Great site.

  4. I have been a blogger for 5 years and I have to tell you that mom bloggers rule!

    I started out blogging about merchandise I created for sale and found people that were highly competitive and some that were downright nasty.

    When I focused on the mom blogs, sharing my own experiences as a mom to kids who are now in their 20s I found a grateful, supporting, loving community that blew me away. It makes the term “blogger buddy” have a whole new meaning.

    Love your list of things to learn as I have learned them all myself and am trying to apply them to new blogs.

    Kudos on the great article!

    • Welcome to the playground, Teresa!
      I appreciate your insightful comments. Thanks for the compliment.

  5. Thanks for the mention, Shirley! Blogging has been an amazing way for me to “be my own boss” and I love it a little too much (I always want to work overtime, lol). Happy blogging everyone!

    • Hi there!
      It’s obvious you love what you do. ‘Being your own boss’ takes drive and passion. You have an ample amount of both! and let’s not forget professionalism, and oh yeah, understanding family!! You’re now a role model on many levels. I know you will catch up to the other Heather (Armstrong).

  6. Personally, I think it’s really not a surprise why there are a lot of successful mommy bloggers out there. It’s because of the dedication and the whole parenting experiences that they have that makes them really reliable to their readers. I for one read parenting blogs from mommy bloggers who really has a lot to share about parenting their kids or troubled teenagers. I find their blogs really entertaining and you can definitely feel the emotions they share on their blogs. If only some of these mom bloggers would be interested in making money out of these blogs, I’m sure they’d be rich right now. Lol!
    Thanks for the tips as well…

    • Welcome Wendy,
      I agree. Some of the most entertaining (and frank) dialogue can be found on mommy blogs! Many don’t want to use ads/product placements for fear their readers see them as ‘sell-outs’. I just read an article in the NY Times about a blogger who started a simple journal, started talking about her boss, got fired and now makes around a million per year on the blog. A blogging rock star. Her husband quit his job and is now her manager (sound familiar?). Monetizing your blog is indeed an art.
      Read more here:
      Heather Armstrong, Queen of the Mommy Bloggers

  7. Thank you for sharing your expertise to help bloggers.

    Hello from Brazil!

  8. Go mommy bloggers! They sure are being targeted by advertising companies because even if they don’t know anything about SEO, they develop a community that’s really interested in what they have to say and that’s just through the content they’re writing.

  9. SBA, great observation! My wife is a mommy blogger as is my cousin. My wife, since having 3 kids, isn’t as devoted to her blog as she used to be, but my cousin (who also has 3 but they’re older now) is massively committed to it. :) I have learned a lot about blogging from her! :)

  10. I am a mom blogger and I think we play so well together because fellow mom/dad bloggers are the only people who can truly understand why we care so much about our website and our readers. My husband supports the fact that I enjoy and spend a lot of time and energy on my blog, but he does not understand why it means so much to me. When I set deadlines for myself and create routines that result in certain expectations from my readers, my hubby doesn’t understand the pressure I put on myself. He often points out that I don’t HAVE to do anything because it is not a job. However, I respect my readers and work really hard to write creative posts and inform them of the quality and usefulness of many fun and unique products. As a mom I always find it helpful to know if a product I want to purchase for my family is worth my time and money before I open my wallet! I work hard to find new and exciting products to host giveaways and be a resource for my readers. I also value their feedback and comments. I learn from them and enjoy their insight!
    I also want to mention how nice it is to develop relationships with certain companies and PR people. I love being a preferred blogger for certain companies, because you get to work with the same people multiple times. It is interesting how many great relationships I have developed with people I have never met face to face!

    • Angela, how nice to run across your cyber-footprint again! Having worked with you I’m aware of and admire your dedication. Similar to you and others I learn so much when finding out if a Blogger and WordPress feature/solution is ‘worth it’. Hence I also feel compelled to share the information. Lately I’ve not been organized or motivated enough — can’t really blame it on a lower reader feedback than what’s typical in your niche. Sort of which comes first, the chicken or the egg? It helps to have a spouse who understands at least some of it. lol

      Speaking of never meeting face-to-face I have clients I’ve worked with for years, but only spoke with on the phone if at all! It’s the nature of blogging, freelancing and social network!

      Thank you for sharing your insights.

  11. Well I can definitely vouch for the Mommys and their love of buttons in the sidebar. When I built my first computer last summer I gave my old PC to my Mom. At first, she didn't want anything to do with it. Now you can't drag her away from it. She didn't believe that she could work with a computer or do things like email or blogging, but now she has a very successful blog (olddigger.blogspot.com) and she can email with her eyes shut.

    She also loves buttons in the sidebars and has many women blogging friends who share her interests. In my experience you should never underestimate the power and determination of Moms. They are a force to be reckoned with :)

    • Strange how parents are now getting the"'kids" hand-me-downs! LOL People who don't work with computers/email tend to shy away from learning, but once they do, like your Mom, you can't pry them away! Most Moms have that 'stick with it' mentality — otherwise they'd give up on us pretty quickly…

  12. This is a great article for beginners like me. Thank you for sharing your expertise to help bloggers

    • Hi Susan. Don't be shy if you have any questions drop us a contact message. Thanks for visiting. I see you're open to PR reviews. I visited a mommy blogger site that displayed a "PR ok" button — interesting that businesses would look for that…

  13. You are a lady!!! I didn't know that. Well I see many mom blogger doing good as a blogger. I can't imagine how tough is their schedule. Concentrating both at home and on blog is a difficult task.

    I guess it becomes more difficult if they have a child(I guess you know what I mean).

  14. This is great article sister. I love to learn from others. Reading their stories always inspire me :)

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Always nice to have you drop by. Good to see you're still active at BlogCatalog, asking for our latest posts! Thanks for your input.

  15. What I've found with most mommy bloggers is that they focus on community, which becomes very powerful SEO through their naturally developed networks of quality keyword rich text links to one another. Think this crowd has a lot to teach the rest of us if we pay attention. Cheers!

  16. Thanks for the help!

  17. I'm one of those "desperately seeking" button tutorial Mommies. I just happened into that "niche" and I love it!

    PS Thanks for your work and advice here. I really appreciate this site as a way to improve my site and my writing.

  18. imho mommy bloggers are about the best there are out there as far as staying focused on their niche. hence, why many are so successful.

    • Thanks for stopping by. Since your niche is SEO, do the more “successful” mom bloggers optimize or rely primarily on community?

  19. Thumbs Up to all Mommy bloggers out there, grt post with outstanding tips thanks for sharing … Grt post

  20. w00t! What an insightful and informative article. You rock, lady and so do the mommy bloggers.

  21. Great article.

    And thanks for the mention, I'm flattered! =)

    • Thanks. You're worth the mention! Now that I have you in my spider web, I encourage you to get a favicon and gravatar image — given the creative header you have it should be easy to snip a 32 x 32 square to

      <a>Brand Your Blog With A Favicon . Read more about Gravatars.

  22. Excellent article, I like the way you write inspirational articles. I agree with you, I have some mom blogger friends and they are really dedicated towards their blog .

  23. YAY! I got some love lol. That sure was a couple days of hair pulling, but well worth the solution in the end.

  24. That's true and quite interesting. I am a mom blogger.

    • Thanks for stopping by. I love the beach scene in your blog's header. The tagline could use more contrast for visibility (consider using text images instead of plain text since the background is a picture; you can then use a shadow around the text to make it stand out).

      I see you believe in supporting friends — a separate blogroll page with lots of buttons and the longest sidebar 'wenches list' (rss blogroll) I've ever seen…

      • Thank you for sharing these tips with me on how to get my blog to stand out a bit more. I'll go fiddle with it and see what I can do. I'm learning html and etc as I go along, so sometimes it takes me awhile.

        Thanks for visiting too! I do appreciate it.

        I do have a long wench list. lol It keeps me updated with friends and hopefully they get exposure too.

        You have very good information here. Thanks for your dedication.

  25. Nice article about mommy bloggers.

    I like the way you have shown what we can learn from them, I totally agree with your comments!

  26. I still consider myself a mommy blogger … basically, I blog about what I know. I think that's why my readers connect with me … because I've "been there, done that" myself and I know from where I speak.

    I think a lot of us would love to be Dooce or Pioneer Woman or have at least a fraction of their success. But really … the internet is huge and I think there's enough room for all of us.

    • CJ, you're a tough one to pigeon-hole (mainly because you won't stand for it!). In another life you could be a Blogging geek (stop blushing), a diva web designer with a long list of customers (and even more teenage web developers), or a rock star (with some lip-syncing) . I admire your ability to get me and others to enjoy reading your articles. It's not easy to smile read about eyebrow threading.

  27. I am a mommy who was blogging in another niche… I stumbled into the mommy pack about 6 months ago, and have now joined them. It is way more fun, than my old niche & the lessons I learned in my old niche, give me a nice jumping point. I was so sick of blogging, now it is fun again.

    • Welcome, I'm glad you can blog and have fun! When it becomes more like a 'duty' then it squashes creativity. I'm sure your readers will respond and you'll be free to pass on your knowledge of many subjects. Just use those categories wisely.. lol

  28. Great article. Making sure that you create your own brand identity is critical. There are so many mommy bloggers out there trying to be the next Heather (dooce.com), you have to differentiate yourself. If your unique personality doesn't shine through, then you're just like everyone else.

    • Gabe, thanks for your thoughts on branding. Bloggers need to let their humanity, creativity and uniqueness show. Why else would people want to spend their time talking or listening to you.

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  1. [...] A big thank you to Shirley from Blogging with Success for sharing!  Read It Here.  [...]

  2. [...] be a looong project. After my previous post about learning how to blog, I did a little research. Blogging with success lists ‘Mommy bloggers’ as  poised to take over the blogging community. 33% of all [...]

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