Turning Diapers into Dollars
Heather Armstrong has a great business. It allows her to spend her whole working day at home with her family. She can watch her kids grow up. She doesn’t have to drop off her new baby at day care. And yet she’s making more than she ever could at pretty much any full-time job.
What does Armstrong do?
Armstrong is a pioneer of a very unique way of making money online: mommy blogging. It’s a trend that’s been going on for years. Moms making full-time livings and then some, working just part-time – if that – writing about, well, being moms.
Turns out that fellow moms love to read about what other moms are going through. These readers want tips and advice they can apply to their own lives. And more important for the money side of this business, they actively seek out recommendations for products for babies, kids, and their families.
Armstrong has about 100,000 daily visitors to her site: dooce.com. She didn’t spend any money on advertising to get them. She simply wrote in her blog regularly and people found there way there through Google searches and when other blogs linked to Armstrong’s site.
All that web traffic can translate into big time online revenue: $30,000 to $50,000 a month from her primary business alone.
Yes, Armstrong makes money simply by writing about what’s going on in her daily life. In this case, her family life as a wife and mom. Her struggles with motherhood. The products she uses to make her life as a homemaker easier.
I’ll explain exactly how in just a moment.
The best part about it this “business” is that it allows you to take something you are doing already (being a parent) and turn it into a profit center.
By the way, these days this niche has expanded to include daddy bloggers too. More and more dads are, if not stay-at-home dads, taking a greater interest in raising their kids, being more hands-on than previous generations. And like moms, they want to feel like they are part of a community.
But, of course, they don’t get the women’s point of view on the mommy blogs. That’s where the daddy blogs, which bring a “masculine,” irreverent perspective, come in.
How to Get Started
Sorry to say, but there is a very strict qualification for this business. You have to be a parent! You don’t have to have a toddler or a baby. You don’t have to be a brand new mom or dad. It could even be a step-son or daughter. As long as you have a kid – you’re in.
There is plenty of room for niches like parents of teenagers, with kids in preschool, stay-at-home moms and dads, working moms and dads, large families, one-child families… whatever situation you are in, you can bet there are other families out there that will find a sense of community in reading your blog.
Then you just set up a blog. If you’ve never blogged before, don’t worry. It’s easy. Think of it as a combination of writing a journal and an email. You don’t have to know anything about setting up a website. It’s all thanks to the blogging software and online tools available today.
You can get started totally free with Blogger, a service that allows you to start blogging within minutes. Just go to Blogger.com and sign up and customize your blog with the “look and feel” you want.
You also have to choose a name. It will go at the top of your blog and be in the web address. (All Blogger blogs use this format: YOURNAME.blogspot.com.)
Make your name fun and attention-grabbing. Cincinnati Stay At Home Mom is boring. Red Hot Mama is more like it.
You’ll find that posting to your blog will be very easy. You simply type in the online form, adding pictures or video if you want. Then you hit a button and voila – you’re online.
You can even write several posts and set them to go out weeks apart – which comes in very handy for busy moms and dads.
What to Write About
You may not consider yourself a writer. But that’s the great thing about a blog. You don’t have to be anywhere near a professional writer to be a blogger, especially a mommy or daddy blogger.
Your readers don’t want polished and perfect. They want honest, real, and raw. They want you, warts and all.
All you have to do is be honest and be willing to share what’s really going on in your life as a parent. Your followers will be fellow parents. They’ll be looking for tips and tricks. And they’ll be looking to make sure that other parents (you) are going through the same things they are.
So you write about anything related to your life as a parent: tummy aches, fears about vaccinations, the trials and tribulations of getting into a good preschool, trips to the emergency room for playground accidents, that sort of thing.
Don’t be boring. Be funny and interesting. And if I haven’t said it enough, be real.
Check out some of the mommy and daddy blogs in the resources section to get an idea of what I mean.
How You Make Money
You’re writing about topics and themes that millions of people in the U.S. and worldwide are interested in and actively searching for more information about.
That means you’ll attract plenty of free web traffic through search engines and other blogs and websites will link to your blog. All those people who find your site will become faithful followers.
To get that sort of traffic you will have to write regularly. I would suggest twice a week at first. Once you get used to that, ramp it up to four to five times a week. You don’t have to write a novel every time. Around 500 words is fine.
Mentioning your blog on your Facebook page will also give you a big boost in web traffic. Be sure to tell your network of friends to spread the word to their friends.
Once you have that following, you monetize it.
Your first step is to start posting ads on your site. You can start with Google AdSense text ads and Amazon banner ads. It’s easy to drop in these ads using the Blogger system. Ads that are related to your content, stuff like baby products, will be automatically inserted on your blog and updated regularly.
You’ll make a few cents every time somebody clicks on one of the ads in the case of AdSense. You won’t make a ton of money with these ads, but it’s a nice steady income stream.
With Amazon ads you get a commission (up to 15%) for every sale you make when somebody clicks on the ad on your site and goes on to buy the product from Amazon. Depending on the product that could be anything from a few bucks to close to a hundred.
Once you become more established you can sell ad space on your blog to advertisers through ad networks like Blogads. That can be a huge moneymaker later on. But right now there is another way to generate serious income with your blog.
You simply write about certain parenting-related products in a post and link to an online retailer selling it using a special link that is unique to you. Just like with your Amazon ads, with this affiliate link you get a commission every time somebody buys a product at a website you send them to.
The reason it works so well is that by “advertising” a product in a post, you get the opportunity to write all about your experiences with the product and get your readers excited about it. They’re much more likely to buy.
You could do product reviews or tell stories about using a product. For example, say there is a really cool baby carrier. It doesn’t hurt your back, the baby is happy when he or she is in it (which makes mom and dad happy), and it’s very affordable.
Write a post about all that. You can bet your readers have been looking for a baby carrier that does all that… and they’ll buy it based on your recommendation – and you’ll get a cut every time they do.
Now, let me caution you, you don’t want to be salesy at all. As with all your posts, be honest and real. Don’t promote products you don’t believe in. And you might even disclose to your readers that you get a commission from every sale (some readers might like you so much they’ll buy just for that reason!)
There are a ton of affiliate networks out there for almost every brand name retailer and manufacturer. Commission Junction is a major one. You can bet you’ll be able to promote pretty much any product you want as an affiliate. And as an affiliate you don’t have to worry about fulfillment, processing payments, or customer service. The retailer takes care of all that.
Start Blogging Today
You can realistically start your mommy or daddy blog in less than an hour.
- Go to Blogger.com and set up your blog.
- Go to Amazon.com and sign up as an affiliate – they call it their Associate program (https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/.) And then go to Google (www.google.com/adsense) and sign up to be an AdSense publisher.
With both programs they’ll give you step by step instructions for including those ads on your blog. It’s super easy. And once it’s set up once you never have to touch it again. They manage everything for you.
- Start writing! Find inspiration in your daily life as a parent. Blog twice a week to start. Once you get warmed up, commit to four to five times a week.
- Once you’ve been writing for a couple of months start mixing in promotional blog posts in which you mention affiliate products. Remember – don’t be salesy!
- Start cashing in from your part-time blog.
Here are a few online tools to help you get started with your mommy (or daddy) blog, as well as some affiliate networks you should join. Plus, I’ve thrown in some examples of some widely-read blogs out there right now. They’ll be a great source of inspiration for your own blog.
Free blogging software – www.blogger.com
Google AdSense – www.google.com/adsense
Amazon Associates program – https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/
Commission Junction (products from brand name manufacturers and retailers) – www.cj.com
Clickbank (information products) – www.clickbank.com