how to support the bloggers you love.

How to support bloggers-1Almost every time I chat with a fellow blogger or writer, the conversation inevitably turns to business and money (0r rather, the lack of money I should say). Just last week a blogging friend asked me about sidebar ads and affiliate programs, desperate to figure it out. She told me that between hosting expenses and paying someone to help her with some technical issues, it feels like she is paying to blog. And that paying to blog made her “grumpy.”

And I get that. For some people, blogging is synonymous with writing, and I think we all can agree that writing is art. It would be like asking an artist to pay money to hang their artwork in a museum so that people could marvel at it all day long. Doesn’t that seem backwards? Shouldn’t the museum pay the artist, in some form? And shouldn’t the visitors pay the museum, so the museum can support the artists?

The problem with blogging is that the internet is the museum. And we, the people at home on our computers, are the visitors. And there are no fees, ever. It’s like Free Museum Day, every day. We get to hop from blog to blog to blog to the Huffington Post back to blog to blog to blog. Everything is free, all the time. We get to read stories and find inspiration and feel connected to other people and get great ideas. FOR FREE!

Some bloggers have mastered the art of making money off their words, and to them I say, bravo! Some have landed book deals or TV shows or extravagant sponsorship opportunities and to them I say: GET IT GIRLS. More power to ya.

It’s a weird world we live in, when I take a step back and think about blogging in general. We’re all sitting at home on our laptops, pouring our hearts and souls into cyberspace, no doubt by our own desire and own accord, yet we desperately want to be paid for it.

Anyone who blogs knows how much work it is. It takes effort to set aside time to write, to empty yourself, to take pictures, to edit pictures, to resize pictures, to post links to social media, to respond to comments and e-mails and questions. I spend more time on my blog than I do on my photography business and I’ll let you guess which one brings in more money.

And I do all of that because I love this blog. I love it because I work so hard at it and because at the end of the day, I feel like this blog is a little piece of me. It’s my life story, all wrapped up into one tiny website.

Do I wish I could make money off this blog, this thing that occupies so much of my time and effort? Of course I do. Do I feel entitled to make money off this blog, because of the fact that other people are reading it regularly and often gaining something from it? Not really.

Because at the end of the day, it is my choice to blog. 

I can choose whether or not to spend my Wednesday nights at Starbucks writing or sitting at home watching TV. Sometimes I pick TV, and sometimes I pick writing. It’s my choice. Nobody forces me to write here. I don’t feel entitled to earn an income off this website because I have decided to work hard at it. I didn’t make a blog with the intention of making money; I made the blog to have a place to write. Having said that, it would be great if I could turn this work, this art, this blog of mine, into something valuable for my family. But let’s be clear: earning money from this blog is my desire, it is not my expectation.

I think a lot of my blogging friends are in similar boats—they love to write, they love to make art, they work very hard at it, and would love to make a few bucks in the process. So for them, I am sharing some tips for you, the reader.

Here are some ways to support the bloggers you love, both emotionally and financially:

1. Leave a comment. The whole point of blogging (at least how I see it) is to create community. When you leave a comment on a blog post, that is your way of saying, “I’m here! I am a part of this!” It makes the writer feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. You don’t need to leave a comment on every post—just once in a while when something resonates with you. Some of my favorite posts that I have ever written have a string of comments below them that all say some rendition of “Me too! I feel this way, too!” Those comments not only benefit me, they also benefit the other commenters. The less alone we all feel, the less crazy we all are.

2. Send them an e-mail. I have been affirmed in my writing so much from reader e-mails, it’s ridiculous. I save every single one. They go into a special folder called “Don’t Quit Blogging” and when I feel overwhelmed with this blog, or writing, or sharing my life with the internet, I just read a few of those e-mails and get over it. If you’ve been reading a blog for a long time, soaking up words that someone else has graciously dumped into the internet for free, the least you can do is take 5 minutes to e-mail them and say, “Keep going!” This is on my goal list for 2014 to do myself with a few of my favorite bloggers. I owe them at least that much for continuously blessing me with their writing.

3. Share their content. If you’re like me, chances are sometimes you read blogs on your phone. It is stupid hard to leave comments on blogs from your phone. I don’t know why, because it’s 2014, and you’d think the Masters of the Internet would have figured this out by now, but they haven’t. Do you know what’s REALLY easy to do from your phone? Like, share, retweet. As bloggers, we’re in this for the community, and at the end of the day, we want people to see our art. Wouldn’t it be sad if there was a beautiful museum filled with art and nobody ever went to visit it? When you click retweet and share, you are sending people to our museum. WE APPRECIATE THIS.

4. Buy them coffee. This is kind of a stretch, but speaking personally here, I write best in coffee shops. Coffee is expensive. Well, my coffee is expensive because I don’t even like coffee—I like the milk + chocolate + espresso + syrup concoctions that cost 3x more than coffee. It takes $5 and less than two minutes to caffeinate your favorite blogger. Send them an e-gift card, or try the Tweet A Coffee service from Starbucks.

5. Buy stuff they blog about. I don’t say this carelessly; I say it intentionally. If someone blogs about amazing running shoes (not me, I hate running), and you happen to be in the market for new running shoes, buy the shoes they recommend! If someone blogs about Christmas cards, and you know you’re going to order Christmas cards anyways, click on the link in their post and use their promo code! Bloggers receive teeny tiny commissions off those purchases, and for many of us, this is the only compensation we receive from our blogs. Personally, I abide by the 95/5 strategy: the content on this blog is 95% genuine and 5% sellout. And by sellout, I mean I’m blogging about a product that I honestly recommend, but probably wouldn’t blog about if it wasn’t for the minor financial gain. Basically, for every 20 heartfelt posts you see on this blog, you’re also going to see one about hairbrushes or Christmas cards. I try to keep it very, very minimal around here, but the truth is: those posts are the only posts that earn dollars. When you buy something that I recommend, it’s basically putting a dollar in my blog tip jar. Tips = diapers, coffee, college tuition for Everett. MY FAMILY THANKS YOU.

6. Visit their blogs before shopping on Amazon. I recently realized something dumb. All of the bloggers I love have Amazon affiliate accounts, and I shop on Amazon, A LOT. What if, instead of just going to Amazon.com and buying the stuff I want, I FIRST went to my favorite blog, clicked on one of their Amazon links, and THEN ordered my stuff? It would take an extra 5 seconds, and would throw a little bit of money their way. Not sure where to find an Amazon link on your favorite blog? Try searching for “Amazon” in their search box, browsing their old gift guides, or looking for posts where they recommend books. Once you find it, just bookmark the post, that way you can get to it easily every time you shop. ISN’T THIS SO SMART? You’re already shopping on Amazon, and by spending an extra 5 seconds to click on one extra link, you are SUPPORTING YOUR FAVORITE BLOGGER. I am totally doing this from now on.

7. Buy an ad on their blog. Have an etsy shop? A graphic design business? A blog of your own? What better place to spend your marketing dollars than supporting your favorite blogger while ALSO increasing your web traffic? This is what we call a win-win.

8. And last but certainly not least, just show up. Read the posts. Like their blog page on Facebook. If your favorite blogger writes a book someday, buy it. If your favorite blogger asks you to fill out a survey, do it. Be a participant. Engage. Read their e-book, take their e-course. Show yourself once in a while. Chances are, your favorite blogger is showing up for you even when they don’t always feel like it. The best thing you can do is simply return the favor.

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179 Responses to how to support the bloggers you love.

  1. Sammi says:

    I’m new to your blog as well, and will be following you now. This is a wonderfully-written and very thoughtful piece, and it’s incredibly relevant. The most rewarding thing about blogging for me has been that sense of supportive community; it’s not something that I really expected to happen (which makes it even better!), but it’s become far more important to me than most other aspects of blogging. I think this also brings up a good point about supporting your fellow bloggers (or artists, as this applies to any creative community, really): there is so much negativity out there — lots of it anonymous and hate-filled — that it’s important that we band together and create a supportive, safe environment of the people with whom we connect. Thank you for writing this!

    xox Sammi
    http://www.thesoubrettebrunette.blogspot.com
    Sammi´s last blog post ..Misty Blue

  2. love this post!!! I’m a relatively new blogger which I don’t particularly want to monetize -ever. My blog is about our travels as a family- documenting our moments for the kids when they’re older and for my extended family now. Of course, pushing some entry tickets my way won’t be rejected. I have been approached to try attractions and have been offered sponsorship but I’m saying no so far – wouldn’t that give them a say over what I write?

    Side bar buttons – do many bloggers purchase ads on other blogs?
    Leah – Kid Bucket List´s last blog post ..The Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout : A 200 Step Climb

  3. Karen Morley says:

    I love this soooo much. Thank you for writing it and I am DEF SHARING this on on my Facebook Page! :) xxx
    Karen Morley´s last blog post ..I just went ten rounds with Rocky Balboa

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  6. I was searching the topic of affiliate programs when I was lead to this article. I follow a handful of blogs very closely and wanted to support them by placing a link to their website in my own sidebar and couldn’t figure out how. (Actually, I still don’t know how).

    Thanks for covering this topic, taking the time to personally reach out to people who inspire you really is such a nice thing to do!

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  9. Kathleen says:

    This is so well written and I absolutely love the recommendations. I had never considered the Amazon tip, but I’ll be sure to start using it!
    Kathleen´s last blog post ..September in review, 2014

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  12. Cristina says:

    Great post! My blog has only been ‘live’ since April although I had been thinking about it for a long time. It’s been a lot of work-still a work in progress, but a great experience. I explained my reasons for starting the blog in my about page for readers. I don’t have any plans to try making money from it, although there are many other benefits. Getting comments is really uplifting. Most of my readers (the ones I know anyways) aren’t experienced blog participants, so don’t post many comments, but I have received loads of postitive feedback in other ways. The blog has helped me reconnect with some good friends, given me reasons to do and document things I like to do. I tell people it’s like having my own magazine and I can do anything I want with it. That’s how I explained it to my Mamma. The best feedback I’ve received so far is when I ran into my cousin after posting my second post, about Michelangelo’s David. He is a teacher and told me he loved the post and he used it in Renaissance history class. That was cool! Ciao, Cristina
    Cristina´s last blog post ..Un Giorno a Roma

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  14. Tara Porter says:

    I just followed onto this link from Galadarling’s Website. I was looking through her old posts to get a bit of inspiration and to see if there were any blogs out there she’d recommend. One of the links sent me to this post and I’m so glad! I’m just starting out in blogging myself and it really resonates with me when you talk about blogging being an opportunity to write, and writing a form of art. I’ve just saved your website in my ‘good blogs’ tool bar thing. Look forward to reading more :) From taraporka :)
    Tara Porter´s last blog post ..Why Studying English Literature is Important

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  16. Karyn Jane says:

    Hi Ashlee! This is a really great post.

    I’m a travel blogger, and the pressure to monetize travel blogs is pretty intense, considering the fact that the more money we earn from blogging the longer we can travel (and therefore, the more material we have to blog about!) Everybody has this romantic idea of being able to travel the world supported only by their writing, but the truth is that it takes a lot of hard work over many years to do that.

    With that in mind, every teeny little thing that people do to help their favourite bloggers earn another dollar is REALLY appreciated. And they are so simple too. For example, buying products they recommend or going to Amazon through their links.

    Thanks again for this post.
    Karyn Jane´s last blog post ..Staying Cool At Kula Eco Park

  17. Love this list! Comments are super appreciated it and so are shares, but if they want to buy me coffee I’ll gladly accept. :P
    Michelle @ In Libris Veritas´s last blog post ..Blitz: Frost by Kate Avery Ellison (Excerpt & Giveaway)

  18. Julie S. says:

    This is so awesome! YES to everything you said. We do this as a hobby and want to be appreciated as such. A great way to show appreciation is to interact with the blog :)
    Julie S.´s last blog post ..Chat Between Chapters: Do you own tons of books that you have never read?

  19. AmaIng! Thanks for articulating what a lot of bloggers are feeling. I do this as a hobby. I expect to pay for my hobbies. All of them. Sure, income would be nice, but I’d rather just enjoy the reading and writing.

    Thanks for the Amazon reminder. I’m addicted to my Amazon app, but now I’ll take the time to use another blogger’s Amazon link.
    Leila @ LeilaReads´s last blog post ..The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes

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  21. Kristen says:

    Just read this for the first time today (I’m new here!) and LOVED it! Thank you for putting so precisely and eloquently what so many people want to, but fail, to say!
    Kristen´s last blog post ..Indian Chicken Biryani

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  25. This is an excellent post with a lot of great advice. This whole blogging community is such a wonderful place! I love writing but I love reading too, there is such a comforting feeling that comes from reading someones thoughts and knowing you are not alone with yours. Thank you for sharing!
    Heather Audrey Lapier´s last blog post ..Happy Friday

  26. Joy says:

    I’m definitely sharing this! THANK YOU so much for writing what A LOT of us need to say to our friends, family = supporters. :-)
    Joy´s last blog post ..Clean Up to Blog Better

  27. Sarah says:

    Wonderful post and in some ways I feel you may have just written the “Bloggers Community Credo”. Your advise and information is easy to understand and can be implemented for any blogger no matter how many years of expertise they have. Wonderful post!
    Sarah´s last blog post ..Tex Mex Turkey Chili

  28. Kimber says:

    Yes, yes, and yes. :)
    Kimber´s last blog post ..Rhinestone Jesus – Book Review and Giveaway

  29. Jennie says:

    Great post! I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts over the past several months, and I followed your advice today and bought a few items on Amazon using one of your hyperlinks. Hope you get a little dough as my thank you for sharing your heart with all of us! Best, Jennie
    Jennie´s last blog post ..How Do You Find the Time?

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  32. Caitlin says:

    This post was so so helpful thanks!! I’ve been reading Coffee and Crumbs for a few months now and I think someone from my church Discovery in Davis CA recommended your blog a long time ago but I’m just now checking it out and I am so glad I am :). I’ve always wondered how to give back to my favorite bloggers and not just be a consumer. I will absolutely be putting those tips into practice.

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  34. Hello! I just started following your blog after being a Coffee and Crumbs reader for quite awhile (just submitted my first writing piece to you guys, too!!!). I am so enjoying your writing and it’s making me feel hopeful that maybe I can too venture into the world of published writing so thank you. But the main thing is – your writing makes me laugh and I love to laugh.

    Prita

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