Can a “Mom Blog” Make Money?

By Mike Haaren

Nov. 22, 2011

We’re often asked if it’s possible to make money with a mom blog. With unemployment grinding on, and the economy as stagnant as a pool in the Dismal Swamp, many moms – even those currently working – are wondering how to generate extra income. Could a blog be the solution?

As usual, the answer is, “It depends.”

“EX-MORMON MOM TELLS ALL”
One of the best-known examples of a wildly successful mom blogger is Heather Armstrong, aka Dooce. Estimates of her annual income from blogging, product endorsements and related activities range as high as $1 million.

According to a February New York Times piece, “Queen of the Mommy Bloggers,” Dooce’s website generates $50,000 per month or more. Forbes has rated her among the most influential women in media.

In an incident that made Armstrong a folk hero to shrugged-off customers everywhere, when Armstrong’s expensive Maytag washing machine broke down and she ended up in customer-service purgatory, she finally mentioned her one million followers on Twitter. Reportedly, the customer service agent and her supervisor blew her off anyway.

So she began to tweet about her experience, urging her attentive readers “never to buy a Maytag.”

Slumbering businesses were startled awake. Within hours, she said, appliance stores began to contact her to make things right. Another manufacturer offered her a free machine, which she reportedly donated to a women’s shelter.

But that’s the success-is-sweet stage. Armstrong had to pay some pretty big dues to get there. Depression, severe anxiety, unemployment, fall-outs with family (over blog posts critical of the Mormon Church, which Armstrong left)…. It was a long haul to the six-bedroom home she lives in now in Salt Lake City, with a state-of-the-art home office.

Armstrong’s popularity is also due in large part to her having bared her heart and her personal life in her blog. While this approach can definitely make compelling reading – one blogger, Penelope Trunk of Brazen Careerist, ignited a firestorm of controversy by tweeting that she was in a board meeting, having a miscarriage – it’s not for everyone. Spouses, children, siblings, extended family – all can be caught up, with or without their consent, in the turmoil of a relative’s blog.

FLIP SIDE – MOST BLOGS DON’T MAKE MONEY
While other mom bloggers such as Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman (thePioneerWoman.com), also bring in six-figure incomes or more per year, these examples are definitely the exception. According to Technorati, which publishes detailed figures on the blogosphere, 53% of self-employed bloggers didn’t earn any money from their blogs last year.

Plus, there’s the writing. Top bloggers make many posts a day. And these aren’t offhand ad libs, but messages that carry distinct value for their readers. How often, you ask? The top 100 bloggers make over 20 posts per day, Technorati says. That’s real work.

But these caveats are meant to inform, not stop you. If you feel passionate about your experience as a mom, if you feel the urge to share, if you can turn a phrase or an image and you don’t mind marketing, then by all means go for it. WordPress or Blogger can have you online in minutes, and ad services like Google AdSense (google.com/adsense) can have ads on your blog in a matter of hours.

And did we mention the best part of all? You can work from home.