12.24.2011

How to support bloggers

blogger tip jar next to laptop — Lisa Clarke


Want to make your favorite bloggers happy? There are many ways you can support your must-read bloggers and show you value their writing that won't cost you a penny. There are other ways that cost you some money but are cents well spent.

Is this a self-serving post? Well, as much as I appreciate any support for little ol' me, I also use the techniques below to support my own favorite bloggers! I hope this can be a resource for all of us to spread the love around to the writers we admire.

I'll also include three linkies for anyone who's interested in linking up or supporting those who do:
  • One for blogs on Kindle
  • One for blogger-run businesses
  • One for affiliate links from relevant bloggers
Read on for the linkies and more information!

Comment

This is probably the most important way to show you care — and one of the most natural. If you read a post that resonates with you, say so! If you have a follow-up question, ask it. If you have a different perspective to offer, do so gently. If you have advice to share, most bloggers will appreciate it. There are commenting challenges, such as at Adventures in Mommyhood and IComLeavWe, which makes it fun to join the crowd in commenting. But even apart from those, you can make it your own little mission to spread some comment bliss. Writers love to know there are readers out there.

Email

Even more direct than a comment, sending a note of encouragement and appreciation can mean so much to a blogger.

Promote blogs on your blog

If you have a website, put other bloggers' buttons in your sidebar or on a special page. Add their URLs to your blogroll.

Connect

Follow your favorite bloggers on Facebook, Networked Blogs, Google Friend Connect, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Flickr … wherever you are that they are, too. Interact with them on the sites that are meaningful to you. This is beneficial for you in that you get to build more connections with the writers you like, and it makes your beloved bloggers feel the warmth of your presence.

Social media-ify posts

Pass around the posts you enjoy. Share them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, etc. — whatever will get some more eyes on the article. (This can help build your own community of like-minded folk as well!)

Link back

Write posts building off what someone wrote that interested you. Participate in link-love pursuits like blogging carnivals. Share relevant articles in a link round-up like Sunday Surf. If a subject comes up in a post and you know someone else who wrote about it, link away. Bloggers always appreciate good linkage!

Link up

If bloggers offer a linky for Wordless Wednesday, giveaways, or bloghops, join in! Fill up those linkies and make a blogger feel popular.

Click on their ads

Only if you're interested, of course, but if you see an interesting ad in their sidebar or in their feed, click through and check it out. Those clicks are being tracked by someone, and it can help boost their revenue (as with Adsense) or their reputation with the advertiser.

Review their blogs or products — with Kindle linky!

If bloggers have products online (like a poetry book) or have
their blogs on Kindle, a lovely thing to do is write a nice review (if you like it and it's in a reviewable place). This goes for Etsy and eBay sellers as well, or even places like Yelp or Facebook place reviews if it's a local business. It can take a little time to write something up, but it makes a big difference in alerting other people to what you love about this blog or its related products, and it gives a huge boost to the blogger you're reviewing.

Is your blog on Kindle? I'm making my way through reviewing the blogs I love, and I'm sure others would like to do the same. Link up if you have a blog on Kindle. Put the link directly to your Kindle blog page. (I reserve the right to delete from the linky blogs that would not be of interest to my readers here or at Hobo Mama.)




Become an affiliate

If your favorite bloggers have an affiliate program for something they sell, sign up! Post a button in your sidebar for the product, and include your affiliate link when you write about the item (and you should write about it if you like it!).

Enter their giveaways

As with linkies, bloggers appreciate multiple entries for giveaways they're hosting — and they want their sponsors to feel the love, too. Check out the prizes bloggers you know are offering, and take a minute or two to enter ones you're interested in.


These next ideas require money to participate, but it can still be worth it and not mean a lot (or, in some cases, anything) extra out of your pocket. Read on:

Subscribe to blogs through Kindle

If you have a Kindle and want to keep up with your blogs conveniently, paying 99 cents for a blog will subscribe you, and a portion of that will go back to the blogger you like.

Pay to visit

There are a couple sites that let you "tip" the writers you enjoy. I found out about Kachingle because someone's graciously been Kachingling me. (Who it is is anonymous to me, so thank you, whoever you are!) Basically, it's an online tipping service. You put $5 a month into a blog-reading kitty, and then you divide that $5 among the sites you visit. You can read more about it on Kachingle, add your site if you're interested, and pay in $5 a month if you want to start giving some much-appreciated micropayments back to others. Flattr is a similar version based in Europe that speaks in Euros if that's more comfortable for you.

Donate

Some bloggers have donation buttons set up, through PayPal or other means. If you're willing to give a tip directly, send some money their way. Another idea to support bloggers is by sending them gifts. Sometimes a blogger will put up a book list or other sort of gift registry, but even if they don't, gift certificates or small gifts that show you care are always welcome.

Purchase a blogger's products — with business linky!

Many bloggers are also entrepreneurs in other ways, running their own shops (on Etsy, eBay, Hyena Cart, or their own websites) or selling other products and services (ebooks, patterns, mp3s, courses, podcasts, coaching, etc.). If you're in the market for a product they offer, why not buy directly from them? I did some of my Christmas and baby gift shopping through sellers I know — you get a custom present that way with a personal touch.

If you have an online small business or a product for sale you'd like your readers to support, link up below. (As with the other linkies, I reserve the right to delete listings that are irrelevant to my readers. I'm requiring an email address in case I need to contact you about your entry.) You'll want to include your blog name so people know whom they're supporting, if it's not obvious. If your shop name isn't descriptive, I recommend listing also a little bit of info about what a shopper might find there, to make it easier for people to see at a glance which stores to visit for a particular need. An example: "Hobo Mama - Hobo Depot — walking sticks."



Advertise

If you're one of the businesses featured above, perhaps you'd like to advertise your wares! Many bloggers offer advertising space, and you're almost sure to find rates that fit your budget. If you can't afford any money going out, consider offering to sponsor a giveaway — one product for review, and one as a prize. And, bloggers, another way to support blogging businesspeople is to offer to host giveaways by them!

Buy through affiliate links — with affiliate linky!

Finally, if you're shopping for something online, consider purchasing through a blogger's affiliate link. Nearly all of us shop at Amazon at some time or another, for instance, and many bloggers have Amazon affiliate links. If you buy an item after clicking on a blogger's link, a (minuscule but appreciated) portion of that sale goes from Amazon to the blogger. You're not out anything more by going this route, because the price is the same as if you went directly to the site. To make it easier to find bloggers' affiliate links, I'm offering a linky below for us to click on when we're in the mood to buy something online.

If you are a blogger and want to enter an affiliate link, please read these simple instructions:
  1. Please enter your blog name AND the affiliate link name, such as "Hobo Mama - Amazon." If it's an unfamiliar site or product, you can include more information, such as "Hobo Mama - Hobo Depot - walking sticks."
  2. Feel free to enter multiple times for multiple affiliate links (e.g., Amazon, cloth diaper stores, eBay, books you're promoting, etc.). But please don't enter more than one link from a single store for yourself. In other words, you can enter an Amazon link if someone else has (please do), but don't enter a link for books at Amazon, then one for music at Amazon, then one for car parts at Amazon … you get the picture.
  3. I don't get a whole lot of spam on this blog, but I'm requiring a name and email address to (hopefully) cut down on any spammers of this linky. I apologize for the inconvenience to you legitimate folk.
  4. If you need help editing any entries for any linky, just let me know.
  5. Again, I reserve the right to delete listings that are irrelevant or offensive.

Link up!



What are other ways you support bloggers? What are your favorite ways to give bloggy love? What are your favorite ways to receive it?

When I went looking for a photo to illustrate this post,
I found the amazing top one on Flickr by Lisa Clarke,
who incidentally has her own post on the subject!
That's where I found out about Flattr.
If you know any other services like that, let me know.
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