Lotus runs Mommy to Max blog, where she personal stories that come with motherhood, extensive guides and honest product reviews.
Revenue of $5,000/mo
Email list size of 250
Founded in 2014
Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?
Hi! My name is Lotus and I run Mommy to Max blog.
I live in New York with my husband and my two children – Max (4 years old) and Alexa (2 years old). I started as a baby product review blog, featuring unique, high-quality products that I use and love. Over time, I also published a few guides on topics that I researched extensively (e.g., non-toxic play mats, non-toxic toys, organic formulas, etc.) which have become some of my most popular posts. Of course, I also enjoy sharing the personal stories that come with motherhood.
My audience is likely comprised of thoughtful parents who put a lot of care into parenting. Who will go online to research baby products. Who value quality baby products over cost. And who strive to make the best possible choices for their children, given their circumstances. Basically, I write to people who are probably a lot like me.
What motivated you to get started with the blog?
I have always been a research junkie. But, after I became a mom, this trait went into overdrive. I spent countless hours researching every single baby product I intended to buy. I would read articles, forums, Amazon reviews, blog reviews – basically every resource I could find – to determine which items were the “best.” A lot of the products that appealed to me were not the more mainstream products but, oftentimes, were lesser known.
During this time, I also uncovered a lot of baby product review blogs that I felt were written without care and merely for the affiliate links or because it was a sponsored post. I wanted to be able to share the great products that I came across and feature them using a genuine voice. I vowed that I would never write a review for the sake of making money and every single product I review are items I’ve personally used.
What is the revenue model for the blog?
My main revenue model is through affiliate links.
Amazon is a favorite because of the sheer variety of products that they sell. However, since I’ve started with them, they have cut the commission percentage a couple of times. As a result, I don’t think it’s a good idea to rely solely on Amazon.
I also work closely with several companies where I am a direct affiliate. And this is where I put my entrepreneur hat on: A few of my product guides have put me in a position where I am a top influencer for that product. Once my ability to produce sales is established with a company, I have often been able to negotiate better commissions with the company.
I started my blog back in October 2014. The first month I reported my income, in December 2014, I made $26.46. Now, I’m proud to say, that it averages $5,000/mo.
What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?
Most of my traffic is organic, from search engines.
I’ve found that by simply writing high-quality, thorough posts, I have been able to achieve high search engine rankings. Initially, it was a happy coincidence that I featured unique products or topics that were not previously mentioned by many bloggers. (There is something to be said about first-comer advantage.) Now, I consciously try to focus my guides and reviews on products that aren’t prominently featured elsewhere.
I’ve also tried to grow my traffic through Pinterest and I’ll still pin the occasional post. But it’s important to recognize your weaknesses and I’m neither good at creating Pinterest graphics nor pinning on a schedule (even though I tried Tailwind) so now I just focus on writing a great quality posts.
How have you grown the email list?
My e-mail subscriber list is paltry, at ~250 subscribers. E-mail subscribers aren’t something I’ve put a lot of focus into. Over time, it’s grown organically via a sidebar widget and through giveaways.
Subscribers are sent an e-mail every time I publish a post. I’ve found that subscribers that come via giveaways often unsubscribe after awhile so it’s not really the best way to achieve readers who genuinely care about your content.
How do you write great content that performs well?
I believe that my posts do well because I write in my natural voice but I also try to be as informative and detailed as possible. I like to use headlines that I would type into a Google search bar. My favorite superlative is “best” when I feature a product because that’s something I would naturally search for.
My review/product guide posts take a significant amount of time to write. As an example, my product guide posts typically take 3-5 full days of research, planning, writing, and editing. Even after I publish my post, I will still spend many additional hours to make sure the information is up to date.'Don’t write something for the sake of making money. If you write about something well enough, the money will come naturally.'Click To Tweet
Some of my top posts have been updated over a hundred times. None of my reviews are final and I will often go back to edit them based on new information.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome with your blog? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
My biggest challenge is probably coming up with content to write about. I didn’t start my blog with the intention of making money so I never write posts just for the sake of it. My posts come when I feel a need to share something. Be it a great product or a personal story.
I have had an incredible amount of people tell me that they purchased products based off of my recommendations. So it is very important to me that I am selective about what I review. As such, there’s really only so many products that I’ve personally used that I can write about it.
I didn’t have any expectations when I started my blog so I can honestly say that I am happy with where I am today and I wouldn’t do anything differently.
What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?
Figure out what your niche is. Early on, I knew my niche is well-informed parents who are looking for high-quality baby products while being mindful of toxicity issues. It’s a very specific niche but it describes me to a T and is something I have been able to blog about for the past three years.
Focus on quality over quantity. I think my blog is an excellent example of how you can make a solid affiliate income, even without a ton of traffic or e-mail subscribers.
Don’t write something for the sake of making money. If you write about something well enough, the money will come naturally.
Finally, don’t start blogging expecting to make any money at all. It takes time, effort, and dedication and it is certainly not easy money.
Where can we go to learn more?
Head over to Mommy to Max blog!