Think about your group of friends for a minute. Are any of them moms? Do any of them have a blog where they talk about the pitfalls, products, services and challenges that go along with being a mom or parent? Chances are you do, because right now there are an estimated 3.9 million people that identify themselves as "mommy bloggers" in the United States alone, according to research released last year by Scarborough Research.
While many mothers blog as a hobby, others pursue the activity as a business, one that can pay off in the form of advertising revenue, exclusive access to consumer products and goods and even an invitation to the White House. But just like starting any small business the questions range from: is the pay-off worth it, how much time/effort will it take, and what kind of monetary investment needs to be made up front?
There’s a common misconception that blogging - either around the topic of parenting or otherwise - is “easy.” Simply set up the blog, start writing and the people will come. Unfortunately in the very crowded and hyper competitive blogosphere, it’s not like Field of Dreams. Building an audience takes an incredible amount of work, as does producing meaningful content (posts) over the course of days, weeks and months. Factor in leveraging social networks in order to promote a blog (as well as build an audience) and all of a sudden it IS a full-time job. The allure is obvious; blogging is something that’s become incredibly simple to set up and do yourself over the past decade. There are multiple software platforms that give the ability to design a site in minutes, the domain hosting costs are negligible and setting up social media networks is free. Conceivably, anyone can start up a blog in as little as one day. The truth is many do, which is why there are millions of inactive blogs out there on the internet.
While it seems simple to “start one up” the bottom line is that much like many small business ventures, very few blogs (including mommy blogs) actually succeed on a grand scale.
Consider some facts about mommy blogging and blogging in general:
- The average mommy blogger is 37 years old and 89% of mommy bloggers have kids between the ages of 2 and 11
- Of the 3.9 million mom bloggers, only 13% of them primarily write about parenting and 9% about family updates. That means mom bloggers are vastly more likely to write about topics other than being a mom.
- According to a 2010 Technorati survey about the state of the blogosphere, 48% of bloggers receive fewer than 1,000 unique visitors per month, and just 2% receive more than 100,000 visitors per month.
- The majority of bloggers are not reporting any income from their blogs (64%)
- Overall, 18% of bloggers reported a non-salary income from their blog in 2010, and the mean income reported was $9,985.
As a group, mommy bloggers have tremendous power and reach, but that is mostly being capitalized on by big brands, not by the moms themselves. The very popular BlogHer Conference was recently held last August, where 4,000 bloggers (the vast majority of which were women) gathered in New York City to learn, network and collect samples and swag from sponsors. BlogHer is a network of bloggers that was founded seven years ago. Today, the 3,000 bloggers in their network receive 40 million unique pageviews per month, making them the top concentration of female bloggers on the Web. But, according to a story in The Atlantic, even the majority of bloggers in this popular network don’t make significant money, with one blogger joking she barely makes enough per month to buy two enchiladas.
So while they have tremendous power and influence as a whole, only a select few are truly at the top of the mountain. (you can see the corresponding infographic from H&R Block to see who some of the "top" mommy bloggers are)
However, some mom bloggers are working hard and succeeding, even if it’s on a smaller scale. Isra Hashmi is based in Cambridge and runs her own blog called “The Frugalette.” She started it 18 months ago and averages between $500 and $1,000 per month in income, with 45,000 hits per month to her site. She says the commitment is “huge” and that networking/promoting the blog takes up the bulk of her time. “It is a business and since social media moves fast you have to be on all the time," Hashmi said. "The networks are always changing, there's always a new hot platform to be part of. So although the main platform is the blog, the ways to spread the word about your blog takes up the most time. Creating and writing content is 10%, networking and marketing is 90%.”
She also says that in order to reap the benefits, it has to be a full-time gig. “If you want it to be a successful stream of income, it's a full-time job,” Hashmi continued. “Blogging is first about passion and building content and a network, it's next about business. If you don't have amazing content and a substantial readership, there is no business. Like any small business, you have to have a product that customers want, and for bloggers it's their content.”
Have you thought about starting a blog as a business, either as a mom, dad or along another topic? Do you think that blogging qualifies as a full-time small business venture?
The author is solely responsible for the content.
Jason Keith has been working for and with small businesses in the New England area for more than 10 years, specifically small, micro businesses. Born and raised in Massachusetts and a former journalist, he provides a unique perspective on the issues facing small businesses locally and nationally.To reach him directly email email@example.com.
This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here are the author's alone.