How to Start a Mommy Blog using WordPress (and Grow to a Thriving Business)
If you want to start a mom blog, you’ve come to the right place! I’m Gina Badalaty of Embracing Imperfect and I’ve been a mom blogger since 2002. While my blog has gone through many phases, I’m now a paid professional blogger for a dream client, thanks to my years of experience.
In this article, I’m going to share the right way to set up a blog to help you grow a successful blog and business!
How Much Do Mom Bloggers Make?
If you search “how much do bloggers make,” you’ll see tales of those who bring in $40,000 to over $1,000,000 a month. These bloggers have leveraged their own stories to attract the right target audience, focusing on popular topics like debt reduction rather than running a mom blog. However, if you are not looking to working 80+ hours a week to hit it that big, you can make a decent income by strategically planning your blog like a business.
What you can earn from your blog varies. Earlier this year, I was surprised to receive high-profit checks from an old post on non-toxic cookware that had affiliate links. While it’s hard to guarantee that a post will go viral, my search engine optimization (SEO) on that post allowed it to hit #1 on Google.
Even without viral posts, a small blog can bring in regular income. I only blog part-time but I’ve brought in up to $12,000 a year in affiliate and sponsored posts with my small audience. The key is developing a niche to reach my target audience.
Blog posts, however, are not the only way to make money from your blog. My blog has helped launched my writing career in parenting and health niches. By developing relationships with other mom bloggers over the years, I’ve had no trouble finding steady work whenever I need it.
Setting up a Mom Blog and Turn It Into a Business
No matter where you want to go, your blog can you get there. The key is strategic planning ahead of time to start on your best foot so you can end up where your dreams take you.
How do you get started on your blog? Let’s dig in.
Steps to setup a mom blog
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1. Prepare for the launch: Brand, audience, content
Before you start your mom blog
To set the foundation of creating a blog that attracts visitors, you need 3 critical factors:
- An appealing brand
- A way to target your audience
- Content that is on brand and appealing to your target
You might have thought I was going to say “web hosting” or “domain name,” but if you want to have a thriving career launched through your blog, you need to approach it as a business and that means building a firm foundation first.
Build your brand
In order to build your brand, you need to do some critical introspective work. This begins with learning your “why.” Simon Sinek, author of the best-selling “Start With Why,” writes,
People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.
Discovering your “why” will help you to focus on creating powerful content and building a successful business around it.
It’s time to get out paper and pen and ask yourself why you want to write a blog. To dig really deep, you need to pose the question “why” to each of your responses at least 5 times. For example, I recently used this process to rebrand. My opening statement was, “I want to blog to help moms raising autistic kids with serious challenges. From there, I kept asking “why” for each of my responses until I got to, “To show that our kids can live a purposeful and joyful life and make the world a better place.”
The beauty of this exercise is that you’ll often find that your “why” helps other people but you should also take a slightly more selfish dive into your why. What will motivate you every day to get through the challenging parts of running a successful blog business? Perhaps you want to free up income to pay off debt. Perhaps you’re interested in creating an author website to set up a platform for that book you’re writing. Or maybe you’d like to earn enough to buy a beautiful beach home.
Use this “why” exercise to dream big so that you can push through challenges to become a world-class blogger with a business that helps others while fulfilling your dreams.
Find your ideal visitor
Once you have your “why,” you can now focus on finding your ideal visitor. In this step, you’ll discover who she is and what she needs. Some basic demographics to think about include:
- Number of children / boys or girls
- Income range / education level
- Working professional, stay-at-home mom, entrepreneur?
- Where does she live: city, country, suburbs?
- Homeowner, apartment dweller?
- Pet owner? Car owner?
- Believer, atheist, agnostic?
- Special niche: crunchy mama, wants to be fit, kids with special needs, soccer mom, adopted children, etc.
My target audience includes moms who raising tweens and teens with severe autism and related disabilities. They need healthy solutions for their kids and a way to prevent burnout.
The person in your mind might be you but you need to create an “avatar” that is not you. That will make it easier to create content based on her needs, which will not change even if yours do. It’s also easier to write your posts to that person.
Plan your content with audience research
Once you’ve taken some time to understand your ideal reader, the next step is to research her needs. Your blog should provide valuable information for the avatar you created that can lead to monetization opportunities for you. You discover this by researching her pain and pleasure points.
You can use Google but a much more effective way to research is by interviewing your target audience. This has really helped focus my blog. Simply write 5 open-ended questions about your avatar’s needs. One of my questions was, “When it comes to helping your autistic child, what solutions helped?”
Your interview should only take 15-20 minutes. You can do it via email, phone, Skype – wherever your friend is comfortable. It’s best to ask people who know and trust you. I would be cautious if you want to interview people from any Facebook groups you’re in – you’ll need permission first.
This research helps you get to the heart of what problems your audience is facing so you can brainstorm content that solves them. For example, my interviews revealed that autistic kids thrive with weighted solutions. Here is an example of a title I wrote based on research: “Weighted Blankets for Autism: Our Experience with Sonna Zona.” As you can see, this article is not just dry research but a personal way to share information and recommend a tool I used to solve a common problem.
As you plan your content, consider what you personally can provide (products, services, membership, etc.) to help your avatar reduce those pain points and increase happiness.
Think “big picture” too. For example, if I write 10 posts dedicated to this topic, I can create an ebook from those posts that I can sell to readers and prospects. You don’t need a long list of topics. Just 5-10 ideas to start, with 2-3 article topics filled with personal, unique and/or expert advice.
Design and images
It’s not critical to have a logo or custom design at this stage. Use an attractive template from WordPress that fits your blog’s theme, such as one with a website design for writers who are moms. A color palette can make your brand more recognizable as you advance, but someday you might want to change your look or outsource your website development.
Get comfortable using your smartphone camera to create interesting images to share. You can also use professional images. Royalty-free images are available for low- to no-cost at reputable stock photo resources like DepositPhotos.com or Pexels.com.
Check out this list of 30 free image resources from Web Hosting Secret Revealed. NEVER use an image that you find on Google for your blog; those are protected by copyright.
Setting boundaries for your blog’s content
You should decide now what kind of boundaries to set when writing or sharing about your kids, your husband and other loved ones – including images. For example, I never blog about my family in anything other than a helpful, positive manner and I make sure all photos of my kids are very much above board (no “swimsuit” shots).
What sensitive subjects will you avoid or need to clear with family members? Illness, finances, job loss, and romance can be touchy subjects so be careful what you reveal to readers. Even if your business takes off, it’s also wise to keep your phone, address, and possibly even neighborhood secret.
2. Setting up your mom blog
There are a number of options to consider when you choose to set up your blog, such as your budget.
Where to begin: Hosting and basic functions
Start by thinking of your blog’s domain name. When I revamped my mom blog, it took a few months of brainstorming to come up with the brand, “Embracing Imperfect.” Think of a name that encapsulates your niche, your personality, and your audience’s needs.
Next, you’ll need a service to host your blog.
There are some big downsides if you want to have a “free” blog. Using a “done-for-you” service like Wix or Weebly can actually be more costly than you might think. You will be very limited in what you can do with your blog. In Wix, for example, your audience will be subject to ads and your domain name will include their name in it.
The best web hosting for authors, coaches, future business owners and anyone else who wants a mom blog is a self-hosted option using WordPress.
You can use affordable, high-quality hosting services like A2 Hosting, InMotion Hosting or SiteGround. These reliable providers cost as low as $4-$7/month and offer some of the best website hosting for writers and bloggers. They can help you set up your domain name as well for about $15-20 per year.
Chose a brand that includes “SSL certificate”. This is a security certificate necessary for security and SEO. Your domain looks like this: “https://www.yourdomain.com” instead of “http://”. Ask your web host for this option.
The WordPress editor
Once your host has set up your WordPress database and blog, go to the “sample” post that’s provided and start writing. Check out these sites for good tutorials:
- First Steps With WordPress: Advice directly from WordPress
- 18 Most Important Things to Do After Installing WordPress: You don’t have to do all of these right away, but they are all valuable to keep your blog safe and efficient.
One of the great things about WordPress is that there are thousands of plugins that help you run your blog. These are tools that you install through the Plugin menu that help you maintain and run different functions. As you grow, you’ll want to add more but take care. Too many plugins can slow your blog. These tools also need to be updated from time to time.
When you write your first post, under the “New” menu, you have two primary options: “Post” or “Page.” They are similar but function differently. Posts are for regular blog posts that can be updated, changed, and refreshed as need. Your readers can subscribe to them. Pages are static posts that rarely change, such as your “About” page, a media kit, your code of ethics, etc.
This is what the WordPress editor looks like:
Tips for writing excellent posts
Now it’s time to start your first post. Make sure that the “voice” of your post is approachable, authentic, and knowledgeable while being appropriate for your target audience and niche. Choose quality over quantity. One authoritative 2000-word post is better than four 500-word posts.
In addition, make sure your topics have a common thread. If your blog is tightly niched, all your posts will relate, but if not, try to find a theme to relate everything back to so you can link related posts in your blog. This will also help your SEO efforts.
Every post should be assigned a “category” and a “tag.” (See right side of editor image above.) Categories are short, go-to topics that you regularly cover. You should limit them to no more than 6, but 3 or 4 is even better. Mine are parenting, autism, and nontoxic living. Everything else will be a subcategory or addressed in that topic.
For example, I normally discuss my faith in my parenting posts. Categories will also default to be menu headings in WordPress.
Tags are topics that you cover less frequently. These can be longer and more keyword-focused. On my blog, “autism” is a category, while “autism solutions” is a tag. You don’t want a unique tag for every post but regular topics that you work on.
Finally, when you write, keep your paragraphs short (3-4 sentences) and weave in relevant images throughout. This way of “chunking” your data makes it easier for readers to scan. Also, use bullet points when it makes sense.
There are a few legal issues you want to consider when writing your blog. These will keep you safe as you move forward:
- Watermark your images – Whether it’s personal photos or graphics you create, a simple watermark is a quick and easy way to protect your images. Learn how to do this in Canva.
- Be GDPR compliant – This is a law that applies to anyone who subscribes to your blog from the European Union. Learn how to set this up in 10 minutes at Blogging Your Passion.
- Keep your blog safe – You’ll need a spam filter, security, and a way to back up your blog. These are covered in the “18 Things” link above.
- Never plagiarize content – If you want to quote someone’s blog, it’s good etiquette to ask first and always credit them!
3. Build your mom blog into a business
By now, you’ve already done much of the legwork required to give your blog the best chance at becoming a profitable business. Next, we’ll fit all the pieces together to help you earn a steady income.
Building your audience
How do you attract your target audience? There are several tools at your disposal that every blogger should employ to grow their audience:
Search engine optimization
At the top of the list is search engine optimization. Each and every post you write should have a unique keyword, that is, a phrase that people are searching for. You may have a phrase in mind but you must find out if people are searching for it. Free tools that can help you discover this include Google Keyword Planner (you’ll need to set up a Google account), Ubersuggest, or KW Finder (limited to a few per day).
Once you find a phrase, search Google for related questions that people have on the topic and add these to your post as well. Make sure that you are using heading tags (H1, H2) to add titles that include your keyword and place it in the post title. Repeat your keyword and variations of it in your post but make sure the writing is still sound. Use the Yoast plugin for advice on getting the best SEO results.
Make sure that your post links to:
- Authoritative sources, for example, statistics from the World Health Organization.
- Other posts you’ve written on the topic in the first paragraph.
What makes for good keyword rankings in Google changes from time to time. For an up-to-date review of how to rank well in Google, read this report from Backlinko every year. It’s important to also use your keywords in social media, especially when sharing posts!
I recommend you pick only 1 or 2 social media outlets to focus on. For me, those are Facebook and Instagram. Once on social media, take every opportunity to learn, experiment, and try new things. Be your natural self and align with your brand as authentically as possible.
Install a plugin on WordPress that allows your readers to share posts with most of the popular social platforms, even if you are not on them. You can use a plugin such as Easy Social Sharing or Social Snap that helps to connect with different networks.
Finally, be cautious with what you share and how you phrase things. It’s easy to be misinterpreted and blacklisted in today’s climate. Be honest and authentic, but respectful above all.
Your newsletter doesn’t have to be fancy, just useful information that you send your audience regularly (i.e., every 2 weeks). To get people on your email list, create a valuable free item, such a tip sheet with (“Top 10 Tips For New Parents”) and promote it on social media.
Sooner or later, almost every blogger needs to get on video. Your options here are limitless, from a brief Instagram story to 60-minute events on Facebook Live to any length on your own YouTube channel. It’s good practice to get comfortable before the camera and it will help establish your authority.
You can check out one of my Facebook Lives on how to accomplish your goals.
You need to become an authority in your niche to drive traffic. How can you do that besides social media? One key way is to build real relationships with people in related niches. You can do this in several ways:
- Guest post blogging – Pitch high-traffic blogs in your niche that match the tone of your blog. Review their submission guidelines and take a good look at their guest posts. The key to drive traffic is to ensure that you have a link inside the guest post to a relevant post of yours if allowed.
- Blogger conferences – Attending blogger conferences helps you network with bloggers and brands, plus you’ll learn up-to-date blogging skills and practices.
- Think local – Look at local venues that match your expertise, such as public TV networks, radio stations, podcasts, and events that you can market while participating in.
- Join Facebook groups dedicated to your niche – It’s rude to promote your blog in groups but you can share what you know and establish yourself as an authority. Follow or friend people you want to build real friendships with.
Monetizing Ideas for Your Mommy Blog
Successful bloggers say that you should have 7 revenue streams. With a blog, it can be as easy as these common income routes for bloggers:
Brands pay bloggers to promote and publish posts, social shares, and more. Some even purchase recipes or photos from skilled bloggers. Most bloggers start by reviewing products for free as they build their portfolio and many work with an influencer network, such as Collective Bias, once they are big enough.
2. Affiliate Marketing
When you join an affiliate program, you earn revenue for everything that you sell through your affiliate links. Amazon.com is one of the most recognizable and simplest. For bigger bloggers, networks like ShareASale and MediaVine create lucrative passive income for bloggers.
3. Creating Products To Sell
Bloggers who have an eye for design or wit create T-shirts or mugs through companies like Teespring. Others create calendars, journals, and ebooks that address their audiences’ needs, or invent something totally new!
4. Freelance Work
Use your blog, photos, and guest posts to build your portfolio. Once you have experience under your belt, you can start writing for others for pay, marketing on social media, or selling photos to stock houses. Many bloggers also become virtual assistants or web designers.
5. Teaching Courses
If you have a specific skill, teach it with videos, ebooks, and/or a support group, or use a platform like Teachable to create a course.
6. Direct Selling
Many influencers take advantage of these ready-made-business opportunities if the product directly serves their target audience. For example, a protein powder brand could work well on a fitness blog.
Many bloggers develop expertise or get certified in a field and convert their blogs into a coaching business.
As you can see, your mom blog can be more than just a place to share your thoughts on parenting. It can be the basis for a thriving career – and not just as a writer! Blogging provides a variety of entrepreneurial, freelance and other opportunities if you take the time and care to plan it just like a business.
Most Popular Mommy Bloggers
Here are a few of my personal favorites and how they earn their income:
1. Brandi Jeter
Brandi Jeter of Mama Knows It All writes about transitioning from a single mom parent to a married mother of a newborn and growing daughter. She is also a blogging coach, runs a blogging community, and has written several e-books and books.
2. Vera Sweeney and Audrey McClelland
Vera Sweeney and Audrey McClelland started out with their own blogs more than a decade ago. They became business partners and now manage Permission to Hustle, which helps people to thrive by finding a balance between work and life. Vera and Audrey still work with numerous big-name brands, host events, teach at conferences, and so much more!
3. Amiyrah Martin
Amiyrah Martin of 4 Hats & Frugal writes about enjoying family life on a budget, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. She shares how to escape debt and thrive on a tight budget. She’s such a big Star Wars fan that she’s covered numerous red carpet events and even starred in a Star Wars ad for Target.
4. Leah Segedie
Leah Segedie of Mamavation.com is an activist blogger who began by sharing her secrets to losing 100 pounds and helping moms get fit. Today, she works in the organic living movement and consults with big-name food companies and legislators to keep our kids’ food safe.
Are Mom Blogs Still Relevant Today?
There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not blogs are still relevant. They are but the nature of blogging has changed. People aren’t running to mom blogs to hear the latest about how someone is raising their child. Instead, they are seeking valuable content and fresh outlooks that help them improve their own situation. That means that your blog needs to be full of beneficial, one-of-a-kind content optimized just for your target audience.
For example, my blog targets moms who are raising autistic children and provides holistic strategies to help their kids – and themselves – thrive.
If you provide unique, custom-built content for a particular audience, you have a good chance to earn a living from your blog either directly from blogging or from a companion business.