While most moms who blog have an audience that extends to their extended family, a few manage to make a living from blogging about their lives (and the lives of their children).
Heather Armstrong is dubbed "Queen of the Mommy Bloggers" in a New York Times Magazine article by Motherlode blogger Lisa Belkin that explores the world of mom blogging and how it has evolved over the years. According to the article, Armstrong's site, Dooce.com, which she started in February 2001, brings in $30,000 to $50,000 in revenue per month! You may also know her from paid appearances on HGTV, which are a result of her blog.
So, 10 years in, the financial state of her blogging empire is sound; but what about the state of her family? As Heather’s husband, Jon Armstrong, describes the birth of their second daughter in terms of blog readership – “I mean, Marlo was good for business” -- one can't help but wonder how it affects family dynamics when children are key contributors to the household income (albeit indirectly, and without their consent).
Belkin explores the double-edged sword of advertising on mommy blogs. From Google ads to contracting with companies like BlogHer (which actively seek advertising for blogs), there are many ways to make money on a site. The article states, "It is a question that hovers over all personal blogs — if they are based on trust, do you violate that trust by introducing commerce? Readers of personal blogs return again and again for the connection, the feeling they really know the writer — and ads can break the ‘we’re all friends here’ mood."
Moms who blog for cash have other challenges to consider. One, of course, is source material -- the kids. How do you sustain a blog when your kids either stop providing as much fodder, or request that you not include them in your online tales? Another challenge is determining how much and what to share about your life, without upsetting the people in it. Husband, parents and friends may object to being cast as supporting characters – whether comic or villainous – in the story of your life.
What do you think of the issues raised in the article? Are mommy blogs a great opportunity for moms to stay home with their kids while bringing in extra income, or does the blogging conflict with the mommying? Does blogging benefit families by allowing moms to gain a sense of connection with other moms, or does it harm kids by invading their privacy? What do you think the impact of mommy blogs will be on the first generation of blogged-about kids? Have your say in the comments