Is Knowledge about Culture Really Necessary When Learning a Foreign Language?

It’s no secret we are living in tough times where the perception of culture and authenticity is constantly changing and not always for the best. I believe it to be important to remind ourselves and our children that different is not always bad and culture is something that should be embraced rather than scrutinized and rejected. 

If you’re anything like me, you challenge your children to learn new things, meet new people and explore new cultures… regardless of the outcome.

Here an article from the people at that explores language and culture.

The answer to this question is always going to be a big, fat YES. Whoever says or insists that culture is not an important and crucial factor when learning a foreign language, is completely and utterly wrong. First, trying to separate the two is going to be rather difficult, since they are linked in so many ways that is practically impossible to learn a language without taking into consideration the traditions, common sayings, proverbs, ways to address a person correctly and the cultural influence behind it. Second, learning about the country, its history, traditions, government and geography allows you to enrich the learning process and have a more meaningful context when speaking this newly acquired language. We could list a million reasons culture is connected to the language and we are probably going to do so in this article.

Each language carries with it all the history and culture of the area that it originated in. The political, social and economic conditions of the country will always influence its vocabulary and the different meanings of its words. For example, Spanish, being the official language in more than 20 countries, has such a rich vocabulary that most of its words have different meanings depending on the region where you are. Let us take, as an example, the word “apretar.” In Chile, the verb means to make someone keep their obligation; in Argentina and Uruguay, it means to kiss passionately; in Venezuela, it means to tighten –a screw, for example-; and in Mexico, used as an adjective, it means to have more money than others. You can call a thong “zunga” in many South American countries, but in Colombia, you would be calling someone a prostitute. In Japan, if you are not familiar with their –complicated- honorific speech, you could easily screw up a business negotiation. Starting to understand the importance of culture when learning a new language, are we?

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) has concluded that through the study of other languages, students gain knowledge and understanding of the cultures that use that language. The fact that teachers are being conscious about having their students learn both the language and the culture behind it is just another piece of evidence that supports the big, fat yes we used to answer the main question in this article. A student will never truly master a foreign language unless they also master the cultural context that it implies.

How can foreign language learners acquire this magnificent knowledge?  Well, the best way to both learn a new language and its culture is to go to the country per se, but we all know not everybody can afford to do that. However, this would be the ideal scenario. Going to London, Australia or the US to learn English; learning Mandarin in Hong Kong; Spanish in Mexico, Buenos Aires or Madrid; Japanese in Tokyo; and Italian in beautiful Tuscany. Another option is to try finding a native speaker to teach you. He or she will probably have a good insight on what the cultural context is like in their country of origin. You can also try doing your own research or even finding friends who speak the language online, this way, you can also practice –free of charge- whenever you like! The Internet is a wonderful multicultural and multilingual world; do not hesitate to give it a shot.


Your job search starts here:  ArgentinaAustralia | AustriaBahrain | Belgium | Brazil | Canada | Chile | China | Colombia | Costa Rica | Czech RepublicDenmark | Ecuador | Egypt | Finland | France | Germany | Greece | Hong Kong |  Hungary | IndiaIndonesia | Ireland | Italy | Israel | Japan | KazakhstanKuwait  | LuxembourgMalaysia | MexicoMorocco  | Netherlands | New Zealand | NigeriaNorway | Oman | Panama | Peru | Philippines | Poland | Portugal | Puerto Rico | Qatar | Romania | Russia | Saudi ArabiaSingapore | South AfricaSouth Korea | Spain | Sweden | SwitzerlandTaiwan | Thailand | Turkey | UK | Ukraine | United Arab EmiratesUruguay | USA | VenezuelaVietnam 


Vanessa Fardi / NEUVOO

Online Content Specialist

All the content produced by neuvoo is protected by copyright, therefore, any omission of the content’s origin or of its author at the time of its publication on the Internet will be considered a violation of the aforementioned rights, including its unauthorized use in any digital source.


Encouragement for Moms Who Lose The

I lost my temper last month with my daughter, Adeline.

I mean lost. my. temper.

It was about 6:45 am and she was fussing about breakfast. It wasn’t hot enough, she didn’t like it, she wasn’t hungry.

You know the drill, right?


Then she somehow tripped while carrying a glass of orange juice (when she shouldn’t have been up from the table) and the glass went flying. Juice was everywhere. The table, carpet, couch — everywhere.

It was at this point that the straw broke the camel’s proverbial back, and I lost it. I yelled and stormed about all the things.

And then, I caught myself. What was I doing? Why was I acting like this? I humbly kneeled down beside Adeline, so I could look her right in the eyes and apologized.


She hugged me tightly and told me she loved me so much. It was very gracious, considering my behavior. I love that little girl, and am grateful for the lessons she and my other kids teach me every day.

I want to be a mom who doesn’t get filled with rage and flies off the handle.

I want to model compassion not frustration. 

I want to be a mom who doesn’t lose her temper.

In my life, my tone and my temper have gotten the best of me more times that I can count. As a mom, I find that my kids bring out not only my best, but my worst.


And while sometimes I think I have gotten better, it only takes a morning like that one to remind me that I have a long way to go.

If this story sounds familiar, I want you to know you are not alone. 


My dear friend, cheerleader to moms around the world Lisa-Jo Baker and I talk often about the challenges of motherhood. And today, she is launching an inspiring online workshop for moms called The Temper Toolkit. It is exactly the thing I’ve needed to successfully navigate those feelings that can sometimes make me boil over — and even prevent them from happening in the first place.

The Temper Toolkit is a collection of practical strategies, honest stories, and Biblical resources from one mom to another to help you take control of your temper BEFORE you lose it.

The Temper Toolkit includes:

  • 7 teaching videos with downloadable audio (so you can listen anytime)
  • Graphic takeaways from each lesson beautifully designed as phone lock screens, computer wallpapers or a print so you can choose which format is best to help you take the lessons with you on the go
  • 5 bonus videos including how to talk to your husband and how to talk to your kids about your journey with temper

The Temper Toolkit provides useful tricks for profound life change. Moms today don’t need to feel guilty. Instead, we need the right tools to get through the hard and messy journey of motherhood.

In this workshop, you’ll be reminded:

  • That you’re not a bad mom
  • That a good God is using your kids to transform you into His image
  • That temper is not an incurable disease, but a treatable condition

Affordably priced at $29, this series is worth every penny. I was so encouraged by Lisa-Jo’s wisdom. Plus, if you are one of the first 50 to sign up for the course, you’ll get Lisa-Jo’s best-selling book Surprised By Motherhood, for free. The Temper Toolkit also has a 30-day, money back guarantee, so if you find it wasn’t what you needed, you can get your money back, no questions asked.


Every mom I know should get the Temper Toolkit. It’s full of inspiration and reminders that we are not alone on the challenging, beautiful journey of motherhood.

Your family deserves this. And so do you.

Get your Temper Toolkit today.


Disclosure: I’m delighted to be an affiliate for Temper Toolkit, but I would have written about it regardless because I think it is an excellent resource for moms and I adore Lisa-Jo. 

Treat Yourself And Help Women Around The World

This month, I had the spontaneous idea to do a Secret Valentine at my office. I think it is important to find ways to serve your colleagues, and this seemed like a fun activity to build morale and have a little fun at the same time.

Tomorrow will be the big reveal, and I am so excited to surprise and delight my Valentine with something I think she will really enjoy.

I’ll also be bringing cupcakes to leave in the kitchen for anyone to enjoy and a little gift for my office bestie and roommate, Courtney.

Courtney’s gift is thanks to Fair Trade Friday, a monthly subscription service which empowers women in 25 countries with jobs and support Mercy House maternity homes in Kenya. Literally, 100% of the proceeds support thousands of women and their children around the world. It’s such a cool subscription club.

Fair Trade Friday has three options:
Earring of the Month, which is $12.99 a month

Bracelet of the Month, which is $13.99 a month

Fair Trade Friday box, which includes 3-4 surprise items (think stylish accessories, organic soap, coffee, etc) for $32.99 a month.

Shipping is included and you can cancel anytime.

The founder of Fair Trade Friday, Kristen Welch sent me the February box to sample and I was so delighted by the contents. It included Fair Trade chocolate, a sweet brass bowl with “love” stamped in it, a set of three bracelets to give away for Valentine’s Day (or anytime), and a leather “taco” to keep your earbuds organized.

I especially loved the Valentine set. I am giving one to Courtney and then Adeline addressed the other two cards for her teachers. SO sweet!

I have sampled A LOT of subscription boxes over the years and I found Fair Trade Friday’s box to be on point for the price and the products. The fact that you purchase is literally changing lives for others around the world is pretty amazing too.

Fair Trade products are often more expensive because they pay their workers FAIR wages. Fair Trade Friday was established by the founders to help  people — and not to get rich. Here’s an example from their site:

Let’s use one of our bags for example. They come from India. The company is Fair Trade certified, which guarantees the artisans were treated and paid fairly. By purchasing the bag (which will be an item in a club box with your Fair Trade Friday membership), you are supporting the oppressed people of India, including widows, disabled, anyone seen as unemployable or invaluable. The price of the product boils down to the wage earned by the artisan, the necessary materials, and shipping. That’s it. No one in the middle is taking a cut.

It’s really amazing and beautiful. I encourage you to check out this service. Maybe you are looking for a thoughtful gift to send to a friend out of state or simply want to use your money in a way that will make a difference. I just signed up for the Earring of the Month option and can’t wait to get my first order in March.



Repost from an amazing mom blog that I think everyone should read!!!

Hi I’m Suzi, I’m a mom just like you.


I’m a blogging mom and have two little ones under three. I want to show youhow to start a mom blog while raising a family. My time saving and productivity tips will make your life easier and help you run a successful blog!

I launched this blog three weeks before the birth of my second daughter and in less than a year I was making over $6,000 per month


Find a topic you are passionate about or something you want to learn more about. Blogging can be a way to share your knowledge or share your journey! Here’s help to choose an awesome blog niche and name!


Decide what will make you unique. Many moms never start a blog because they fear there are already too many blogs. If you allow your unique personality to shine through you will grow a following. Just like people have multiple friends, they also follow multiple blogs.



Have a long term goal for starting a blog as a mom. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to contribute to the family finances? Do you want to make a bit of side income? Do you want to help your husband work less hours? Where do you want to be in 5 years. Starting and running a successful blog takes effort, make sure you know your long term mission.


Because there are so many blogs out there,  you do need to create a professional looking blog. With today’s technology this is super easy. And my step by step blogging course for moms walks you through it. You do not need to pay hundreds of dollars for a professional blog, I will teach you how to do it yourself!



Decide one 2 or 3 social media platforms maximum to grow your blog’s following. Do not overexert yourself trying to be on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, SEO, Twitter etc. Take one platform at a time and grow your following there. I love Pinterest for passive income!


Build your email list from day one. Decide on an amazing freebie that is completely focused on your reader. A checklist, a how to guide, or a printable are all great ideas! If you help your reader solve a problem, they will gladly join your email list. These subscribers will become your future customers, treat them with lots of love!


Blogging is a great way to network and connect with other amazing mom bloggers on the internet. Share ideas, build friendships and help each other grow your blog. I recently did a collaboration with a fellow mom blogger and together we published this amazing ebook on how to make money with affiliate marketing!


There are five main ways to make money with a mom blog. You can sell products, services, do sponsored posts, have ads on your blog, or use affiliate marketing. Use multiple methods to make money with your blog and do not rely on just one money making method. I’ve personally had amazing success with my products and affiliate marketing. In less than a year I grew my blog to over $6,000 a month!


You don’t have to publish a blog post every single day. That is putting too much pressure on yourself and it’s unreasonable as a new blogger. Start with once every two weeks, then once a week, and slowly get into a consistent rhythm. And if you miss a week you can always post a quick video, image or Facebook post letting your readers know you’re uber busy. Allowing yourself to be real on your blog will attract more loyal followers.


When you are first learning how to start a mom blog you can become overwhelmed very quickly. That is why I highly recommend going through a step by step course to save you hours of anxiety and overwhelm. You can also use my super easy trick of prioritizing your life so you can focus on the right things!


Ultimately, it’s not up to any one person to make you a successful blogger. It is up to you. All the power and drive lies within yourself. If you consistently focus on the right things, if you stay positive and continue to learn, you too can make thousands per month online. You can do this, you just have to be willing to put in the hard work.

I’m your online mommy friend teaching you how to start a mom blog.

I studied Industrial Engineering and was in the corporate world for a few years implementing Lean Six Sigma. When my first daughter was born, I became a stay at home mom.

Because of my technical background and my lack of cooking skills, I wanted to share with other moms how they can start a mom blog too without worrying that they are not techy enough or do not have enough time.

I want to be your go-to technical mom friend that you can email anytime asking for help on your blog or even if you just need to vent about the struggles of motherhood.

I am here for you!


A Freelancer’s Salary: How much should you charge?

To all mothers working from home, here’s a guide to charging your work as a freelancer by


Every day, less and less jobs are requiring being bound to an office or a schedule and freelancing is where the magic happens. The freelancer or entrepreneur is a person who follows a professional path on his own, going against the “office type” paradigms and establishing a personal work process. Now that we have an idea of what we are, the usual question arises: how much should I charge for my work?

Most of the times, this dilemma supposes an internal struggle since we do not want to overcharge or appear greedy. This is a concept that must be forgotten if you want your business to prosper. As the Joker says in “The Dark Knight”: “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.”

If you want to develop a trustworthy brand and be a self-sufficient professional, we recommend you have a clear view of the different prices of your work. There are many factors that can influence the cost, as well as other things that you need to take into consideration:

  • Do your research on how much your competition is charging. You can add or take off up to 20% of that price, depending on your level of experience. This way, you can establish a range of prices to start out.
  • You need to know the exact amount of your monthly expenses. You can establish the minimum amount you need to make to cover them each month and then raise your prices when your business starts growing.
  • If you work with suppliers, you need to make sure you know their fees in advance. When establishing the prices for your work, you need to make sure to cover those expenses. It may also help to explore the market until you find the supplier that has the right prices and quality.
  • Always be prepared to be asked for a discount. Clients will always try to get a discount or a percentage of the price off. Never take off more than 10%.
  • Ask for a percentage of the price up front. This way, your client will be interested in the project and will not disappear mid process without a trace.
  • If you are just starting out and have a client who you believe has a lot of potential, but cannot quite afford your services, you can always propose some kind of exchange or settle for an amount that might work for both parties. Remember that establishing connections with your clients is key when starting a business.

Give your clients something to compare you with. It is always good to explain exactly your product or service is about and what makes you different from the competition.

Keep in mind that every case is different. You might want to start with a more limited client base, charging at an accessible price and as you gain more experience and win your clients’ trust, you will be able to adjust your prices.

Your job search starts here: ArgentinaAustralia | AustriaBahrain | Belgium | Brazil | Canada | Chile | China | Colombia | Costa Rica | Czech RepublicDenmark | Ecuador | Egypt | Finland | France | Germany | Greece | Hong Kong |  Hungary | IndiaIndonesia | Ireland | Italy | Israel | Japan | KazakhstanKuwait  | LuxembourgMalaysia | MexicoMorocco  | Netherlands | New Zealand | NigeriaNorway | Oman | Panama | Peru | Philippines | Poland | Portugal | Puerto Rico | Qatar | Romania | Russia | Saudi ArabiaSingapore | South AfricaSouth Korea | Spain | Sweden | SwitzerlandTaiwan | Thailand | Turkey | UK | Ukraine | United Arab EmiratesUruguay | USA | VenezuelaVietnam


Tibay Vargas / NEUVOO

Strategic Alliance Coordinator for PR




Twenty-five years ago today, I was getting ready to have my first baby.

For two weeks, I’d been walking around Portland, 80% effaced and 4cm. No one seemed bothered by my 5’7 frame, waddling around the mall, trying to kickstart labor.No one seemed worried that I was a ticking pregnant time bomb, about to embark on a journey I felt utterly unprepared to take.

After all, everyone in my family knew I could not keep houseplants alive—and here I was, about to be responsible for another living human being.

My anxiety reached a boiling point when I was in my 38th week of pregnancy. Jay and I had just finished our last childbirth education class. You know—the one where they tell you that if you breathe right it won’t hurt. That one.

Our last class was over. We were as ready as we were going to be.

Bring it.

One by one, the women got up to leave, passing Nola on the way to the door. Nola was our childbirth educator. She hugged the sweet mamas and kissed their tummies as they left. She high-fived the dads and walked them to the door of her home. We liked Nola. We knew her from church, and the past few weeks had given me confidence that she was someone I could be real with. I waited until there was no one left in the room before I made eye contact with her.

When she sat down next to me, I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I began to cry as I stared at my ridiculously oversized belly. “I’m afraid! I can’t do this!” I sobbed. Nola’s eyes were soft and comforting. “You are going to be fine,” she said quietly. “Your body was made for this.” Of course, she had no idea that the process of childbirth was not what I was afraid of.

My fears were much farther reaching. They threatened our future as a family and robbed me of peace. My father’s profound disappointment in who I was had shaped how I saw myself: destined to fail.

I felt weak. I feared I could not be the kind of mom I wanted to be. I feared I was destined to give my child the same upbringing I had. I feared I would lose my temper, even to the point of injuring this precious one I carried in me. I feared my baby would grow to fear me as I feared my father. I was almost desperate for someone else to be this baby’s mom.

The words just kept coming. I could not stop sobbing. There it was. My weakness was exposed, out there for everyone to see. Out in front of the curtain. And then—it happened.

God met me. There, in my weakness, He met me.

Nola laid her hands on my belly and looked softly at me. Her heart seemed to ache with mine.

“Oh Heidi!” she said. “Don’t you know who you are? You are NEW! God has made you new! You are a new creation and your baby is the beginning of the healing that is coming if you will let God in to the deep places in your heart. Do you trust Him? Do you believe it?”

I wanted to believe it. I was desperate for God. I cried out to Him, aware that something inside of me was beginning to break free. In that moment, when I let just one other person see the woman behind the curtain, God began a healing in my life that still continues today. Many years have passed since that moment, but I know my life took a turn that evening. I didn’t understand what Nola meant then but I knew I needed to cling to Jesus. If I was going to be strong, I needed to accept my weakness as opportunity to find God’s strength. I needed that strength to invade my heart, to comfort and heal me.

Are you there?  Desperate to name your weakness so God can meet you in it? He’s waiting.



So what is discernment and how do we help our children be discerning? Spurgeon once said that

“Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.”


Part of being discerning is asking God for wisdom when it comes to choosing the battles we engage in. So how can we know the difference between a battle and a war? What’s worth fighting over? How do you choose your battles carefully?

I wish I had a formula that I could write here for you. Honestly? It would sell more books! We would rather be told how to do something exactly right than take the time to listen for that “still small voice” most of the time. The truth is a lot harder than that. The truth is that the only way to know is walk in humble relationship with God.

When it comes to our children, mothers need to be tight with the Lord. Every day, we need nothing short of divine wisdom to help us navigate the rough waters of the culture. We need wisdom to discern a foolish action of a child from a rebellious one.One is childish, the other is sinful. One is a skirmish, the other leads to war.

Wise moms recognize their need for discernment, and they know where to find it.Discernment is not something we have apart from God; it is something we acquire as we walk closely with Him. If you’re in a struggle with one of your children, it’s time to get on your knees and ask God for wisdom and perspective for that child. God knows exactly what’s going on. He can give you the wisdom you need.

Instead of facing all the challenges and changes of motherhood on our own, we have the Creator Himself walking alongside us. Want to know what battles are worth fighting? Ask Him.


Guest post: Working from Home: Heaven or Hell?

Article from.

1Working from home has become the latest trend and we are talking globally here. Every day, more and more companies are allowing their employees to work from home at least once or twice a week. And even more companies are looking to outsource, looking for employees who can work from home and, sometimes, from a different country. We can see these “work from home” job offers increasing every single day on the different job boards and people are really starting to get into this new groove because, let’s face it, staying at home has to be better than going to the office every day. However, this is not true for everyone. Working from home has its pros and cons, but, in the end, it depends on each person.

Let’s begin listing some of the pros: no commuting, that alone should convince you to stay home, no traffic, no public transportation, no people on top of you during rush hour, just bliss while you walk from your room to the office space; flexibility of hours and in managing that time, most of these jobs do not necessarily have a rigid schedule you need to follow, so you are able to manage your own time, especially if you are a freelancer; less stress, since most people working from home are their own bosses, or their bosses are nowhere near them, stress can be reduced to a minimum; less distractions hence more productivity, no useless meetings, no coworkers telling you about their 13 cats or children, no running around the whole office looking for a photocopier that actually works, no wasting time with small talk, just you and your family; more family time, since you are already at home, there is a really good chance you can spend more time with your family, or your dogs, while working from home, you just need to be organized and know how to manage your time in a productive way.

2Even though you are now probably ready to pack up your desk and go home, you need to know that working from home also has its disadvantages: isolation, even though some people prefer being alone, others would rather have some company during the day, but if you have a family, this is not really a problem; distractions, we might have more distractions in an office, but that does not mean there are not any at home, browsing social media becomes your biggest enemy while working from home; separating work from home, this is probably one of the worst disadvantages of working from home, you need to be able to organize your day in a way you get to spend enough time working and enough time with your family or friends, try to have a separate space for working, do not stay in your bedroom, find a good nook in the house to do so; working endlessly, since you have no one controlling your hours but yourself, you might feel the need to work at all times, that is why you need to be very organized with your time and prioritizing your responsibilities.

Now you are ready to consider your options and decide whether you are a good candidate to work from home or not. Welcome to the future!

Your job search starts here:  ArgentinaAustralia | AustriaBahrain | Belgium | Brazil | Canada | Chile | China | Colombia | Costa Rica | Czech RepublicDenmark | Ecuador | Egypt | Finland | France | Germany | Greece | Hong Kong |  Hungary | IndiaIndonesia | Ireland | Italy | Israel | Japan | KazakhstanKuwait  | LuxembourgMalaysia | MexicoMorocco  | Netherlands | New Zealand | NigeriaNorway | Oman | Panama | Peru | Philippines | Poland | Portugal | Puerto Rico | Qatar | Romania | Russia | Saudi ArabiaSingapore | South AfricaSouth Korea | Spain | Sweden | SwitzerlandTaiwan | Thailand | Turkey | UK | Ukraine | United Arab EmiratesUruguay | USA | VenezuelaVietnam


Vanessa Fardi / NEUVOO

Team Leader US/CA/LATAM



Is Blogging Really A Way For Women To Earn A Living?

Is Blogging Really A Way For Women To Earn A Living?


In between folding laundry and cleaning up after her children, a mom receives $5,000 to blog about an iPhone application for seven days. Another woman earns twice as much as her husband’s $35,000 annual salary by hosting several one-hour “Twitter parties” each week. Yet another female blogger has received, over the past year, all-expense paid vacations to Hawaii, Aruba, and Florida, as well as four new cameras, a camcorder, computer, and so many DVDs, food and cleaning products that she lost count.

Are these female bloggers the minority or the status quo? It’s nearly impossible to know.

There are 18.9 million women who write blogs, according to the Pew Research Center, and while these women chat openly about their lives online, discussions regarding how much merchandise or money they generate from these blogs remain noticeably unaddressed. Bloggers must legally tell their readers that they received a free toaster in exchange for a product review, per FTC government regulations, but they don’t have to disclose how much they charge for the banner ad, or how many views they need in order to attract that banner advertiser. As a result, women bloggers zealously guard this information from readers and other bloggers.

“I recently did an article with Babble where they wanted my numbers, like how many unique views I receive a month and my total readership,” says NYCityMama’s Carol Cain. “I was really open with them since I thought it would be a good point of reference [to other bloggers]. I know I would have liked to know [this information] when I was just starting out. But as soon as [the article] was published online, I asked [Babble] to retract the information. Nearly all of the comments said I was lying or fudging the numbers. It was hurting my credibility. [Women bloggers] have this sense that Brand XYZ only has a couple thousand dollars to spend and [sponsorships] are only given to so many bloggers. They want to protect their portion of the pie.”

Women bloggers neither dispel or confirm this perception that they swing toward the financial extreme — either earning six figures or nothing from their efforts — and this helps to muddle a more accurate financial analysis. It should be noted that among the 16 million men bloggers, per Pew Research Center statistics, many men also earn money from their online efforts, but they, collectively, haven’t been as aggressive or profitable as their women counterparts in generating financial support from brands.

Despite the desire for secrecy, based on conversations with brand executives, marketing analysts, and women bloggers, it’s possible to paint a clearer portrait of the financial implications associated with female blogging. For one, the term woman blogger is a misnomer. These women are active in all forms of social media, including Twitter, video, and podcasting, says SheSpeak’s Julie Wohlberg.

Also, in order to maximize their financial potential, women need to concentrate on one or two topics, and it’s more profitable to blog about travel and parenthood than knitting or stamp collecting. “Mom and tech/business bloggers get a lot of attention as revenue-generators, but food, entertainment, do-it-yourself, and fashion are hugely valuable verticals as well. There are even purely personal storytelling bloggers who are turning their way with words into a livelihood. Women who blog are the new Oprahs, Marthas and Ermas,” says BlogHer’s Elisa Camahort Page.

“You can break it down like this,” says BSM Media’s Maria Bailey and author of Power Moms. “There’s the top 10% who make six figures, who write books, and have deals with the Food Network. Then there’s the bottom 20% who are only doing it for the love and not making anything.”

This leaves 70% of women bloggers — some 13.2 million — who blog for some modicum of profit. While no two bloggers are alike, they all receive money from similar opportunities. And free merchandise in exchange for a blog review is often considered the gateway towards serious monetization. Nearly all women who “professionalize” their blogs initially start off by reviewing products and services. Although many argue that free merchandise shouldn’t be counted as revenue, notwithstanding the FTC’s stance, the majority of women bloggers receive at least $250 in free products each month.

There’s even a growing industry of online resources and one-day blogger events to teach women how to properly ask for products. “It’s almost gotten to be a full-time job just to handle these inquiries from women seeking our products. I’m getting hundreds of requests each week,” says CoAction Public Relation’s Samantha Shuman who represents several kitchen and housewares brands. “You almost can tell who went to a pitch class since you get the same blanket text over and over again.”  Similarly, appliance brand Hamilton Beach receives between six and 12 inquiries a week from women bloggers seeking free products, and eco-friendly detergent brand Ecover handles 20 requests a week.

Brands generally review a woman’s blog and check to see if she is active on Twitter, but they don’t require millions, or even thousands, of visitors. In fact, brand executives and women bloggers say the going rate for a $300 kitchen product is 500 monthly views; an all-expense trip to Hawaii requires at least 20,000 monthly views.

Overall, unless these emails are littered with spelling or grammar errors, brands ship women bloggers their desired samples. “You never know who they might be tomorrow. I have emailed with someone who had 1,000 followers and the next month, she is up to 17,000. Everyone is a potential consumer, even if they are just seeking us out to get free products,” says Shuman.

Online advertisements are another money-making opportunity for bloggers. Pay-per-click affiliate networks largely benefit those with at least 300,000 monthly visitors. These programs, such as Google Adsense, Panthera, and Amazon, enable bloggers to receive a percentage of the revenue whenever a visitor clicks-through a featured advertisement. They can earn bloggers between $100-$200 a month, though money-saving blogs that enable visitors to download coupons can earn $400-$600 a month, according to advertising executives.

Traditional online advertisements are more profitable for mid-tier or up-and-coming bloggers. Those with around 60,000 monthly views earn $10-$20 a month from an affiliate network, but are able to command $200 a month for an advertisement posted on the side of the page and $500 a month for the leaderboard space, according to blogger media kits.

And then there’s Twitter. The going rate for a blogger to host a Twitter party — in which a host invites followers to tweet about a product for one hour — is $750-$5,000, which varies depending on the number of participants and media impressions. Nearly all women bloggers who earn money off their blogs have hosted at least one Twitter party, though these events are swiftly becoming concentrated among a few “experts,” say advertising executives. The reasoning is that many bloggers feel they are too overtly “selling” products and will offend their loyal followers. Nonetheless, as they generally require only three hours of prep time, these events are extremely profitable, say women bloggers who host these gatherings.

Now that some women bloggers are receiving significant compensation, the overarching issue is to deliver results that meet with financial expectations. NYCityMama’s Cain realizes that in exchange for a free trip to Maui, the tourism board is likely to expect her to go beyond the blog and write about that trip at other sites and in magazine articles.

As of now, however, brands are evaluating bloggers on a very generous curve. “Return-on-investment is a hard measurement in this space.  It’s difficult to trace a blog post back to a brick and mortar purchase at one of our retail partners. That said, while we are not specifically measuring it, we are looking at impressions and more importantly awareness and sentiment of our products and brands in this channel,” says Hamilton Beach’s Mary Beth Brault.

Ultimately, women bloggers compare themselves to freelance journalists, both in what they provide and their financial opportunities. “Blogging is no different from any other industry, in that the largest sums are earned by a relatively small number. That being said, during these tough economic times, the ability for so many women to earn income and contribute significantly to their household’s income cannot be dismissed. Whether they’re using the money earned to pay rent or simply engage in a little discretionary spending, that economic contribution is critical to them, and part of what will drive a general economic recovery too,” says Camahort Page.


Can Mommy Bloggers Still Make a Living?

Heather Armstrong’s Dooce once drew millions of readers. Her blog’s semi-retirement speaks to the challenges of earning money as an individual blogger today.

Josh Hallett / Flickr
The success story of was once blogger lore, told and re-told in playgroups and Meetups—anywhere hyper-verbal people with WordPress accounts gathered. “It happened for that Dooce lady,” they would say. “It could happen for your blog, too.”

Dooce has its origin in the late 1990s, when a young lapsed Mormon named Heather Armstrong taught herself HTML code and moved to Los Angeles. She got a job in web design and began blogging about her life on her personal site,

The site’s name evolved out of her friends’ AOL Instant-Messenger slang for dude, or its more incredulous cousin, “doooood!” About a year later, Armstrong was fired for writing about her co-workers on the site—an experience that, for a good portion of the ‘aughts, came known as “getting dooced.” She eloped with her now ex-husband, Jon, moved to Salt Lake City, and eventually started blogging full time again.

In candid, irreverent detail, Armstrong documented the births and childhoods of her two daughters, Leta and Marlo. By 2005, she was making so much money on ads that Jon quit his job to run the business side of the site. By 2011, she had 100,000 daily visitors, and The New York Times dubbed her “The Queen of the Mommy Bloggers.”


Earlier this year, Armstrong began posting less frequently. In April, she explainedthat she had been working on some outside projects, and they’ve “provided a much needed distraction from … a dangerous level of exhaustion and dissatisfaction.”

Dooce, for years a guiding light for moms and bloggers and mommy bloggers, was, if not totally going away, at least entering the Internet version of semi-retirement. Jason Kottke, one of the first well-known bloggers, put it even more grimly. “Dooce is dead, long live Dooce,” he said in a post. “The short window of time in which individuals could support themselves by blogging is closing rapidly.”

Since then, Armstrong has posted just a handful of times per month—a dramatic slowdown for her—and turned her attention to speaking and consulting instead. She hasn’t pulled the plug on the blog entirely, in part because,“I still have a few contracts that I need to see to completion,” she explained. It’s in part these “contracts” that were Armstrong’s problem.

Like most other revenue-generating websites, Dooce for years made money on banner ads—those boxes that hawk products and sit alongside the posts that are supposed to be a site’s main event. In the good old days, these ads were very successful. The first banner ad, for AT&T, ran on a site called HotWired in 1994. Of the people who saw it, 78 percent clicked on it, said Susan Bidel, a senior analyst at Forrester research.


It’s not just that web readers are getting more judicious about where they click. People are increasingly absorbing the web through smartphones, where banner ads don’t look good. On the social web, readers are more likely to see ads that appear within their Facebook and Twitter streams rather than on individual article pages.

In recent years, banner ads have been usurped by the “native ad,” sometimes called sponsored content. These often look like regular articles but are paid for by companies. Sometimes the sponsor’s logo is the only sign of their investment. Other times the entire post hints at the sponsor’s product—like this quiz about bathroom graffiti by Scrubbing Bubbles. These ads attract more attention than banners, so advertisers pay more for them. BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s research service, suggests that spending on native ads will reach $7.9 billion this year, up from $4.7 billion in 2013.

Even though Armstrong was covering pediatricians’ appointments and bedtime stories, the native-ad boom hit her as much as it affected news sites. At most news organizations, The Atlantic included, marketing departments, not editorial staff, produce sponsored content, which looks different from the journalistic content and is explicitly labeled. But that wasn’t the case for a small, intimate outfit like Armstrong’s blog—she was both the journalist and copywriter.

At first, readers bristled at the juxtaposition of her “real life” stories with promotional pieces paid for by companies. “My readers see sponsored content and they want to close the browser immediately,” she said. “The problem is I have to give my readers what they want, I have to give the brand what they want, and I have to be authentic to who I am. And combining all three of those needs is so so so exhausting that I was having panic attacks routinely.”

Over the years, advertisers increasingly wanted Armstrong to post photos of her family using their products. But if Leta and Marlo didn’t want to do that activity that particular day, Armstrong felt tempted to pressure them to do it anyway so she could fulfill her advertiser obligations.

“I had a deadline, and it was like if ‘I don’t meet this deadline … I gotta pay rent y’all!’” she said. Native ads might work better for independent fashion or travel bloggers, she thinks—people who aren’t struggling with the ethical and emotional implications of monetizing parenthood.

So are mommy bloggers doomed? Must they choose between scraping by on what’s left of the banner-ad market, on one hand, and enlisting their children in staged sponsored-content outings, on the other? Bidel says it’s too soon to ring the banner ad’s death knell for small bloggers. She knows of many stay-at-home moms who blog in their free time and use their sites to bring in side income.

The key, she says, is to manage expectations. “If you can generate enough content to attract a good enough audience by working all by yourself, and you’ll be happy with an income of $50,000 a year, you’ll be fine,” Bidel says. If you’re like Armstrong, who at one point had a husband, assistant, and two kids relying on Dooce for money, maybe not.

These days, Armstrong says she wouldn’t recommend blogging for money. The popular aphorism advises, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Armstrong did what she loved, so she never stopped working.

“I wrote a blog because it was fun, and I loved doing it,” she said. “Then it became my job and I hated it. You never want to get to the point where you’re like ‘Ugh I have to go do that thing that I love? Ughhhh.’”