I get a lot of questions from readers about how they can help support my business… If they comment on my blog posts, does it help me out in any way? If they click on one of my links and then click around, does it still count? If they comment too much on my Facebook Page, do they look like stalkers? (LOL!)
After fielding several of those types of questions in the comment section, I started thinking about writing this post, but I always chickened out because it feels so self-serving… as if posting pictures of myself all over the interwebs isn’t self-serving enough!
Finally I decided to ask you all outright if you would like a post like this, and quite a few of you said that you would, so here we are!
First of all, if you don’t understand how a blog generates income, read this post: How Do You Make Money On Your Blog. If that information is new to you, today’s post will make a lot more sense if you read that first.
In today’s post, I’ll explain how things work on my end and share ways you can help support your favorite bloggers if you are of a mind to do so. And this is not just about buying through my links, either.
In fact, the reason I wanted to write this post is because there are sooo many other ways you can support what we bloggers do, and those are actually the ones I had in mind when I mentioned wanting to write this post.
I realized during my reader survey that there are a lot of aspects of social media that the average person doesn’t understand. After being in this space for 12 years, I assume that everyone has an intimate knowledge of how all the social media networks work and when changes are made that affect those of us in the business, but when I read through the comments on my reader survey, I realized how much I take for granted.
Plus I also get quite a few questions about how the affiliate links work so I want to answer those too. But first, let’s talk about the other ways you can support the bloggers you enjoy.
First of all, just by being showing up, by logging on and reading, you are supporting us.
Every time a website is loaded — whether it be a page, a post, the home page, or a comment — is counted as a “page view.” Most bloggers use an analytics software that tracks those page views, and those numbers help us out in two ways.
- For one thing, ad networks pay based on page views. Every time a page is loaded, the ads are seen, and we get paid accordingly. It’s pennies per page view, but it adds up.
- We also report those page views to brands when we’re negotiating sponsored posts and broader campaigns, and the more page views we have, the more we can charge for sponsored posts.
So even if you never comment or never buy a thing from our links, your presence supports what we do and helps us be able to continue producing content on a regular basis.
To be honest, as long as there are comments coming in, I’ll be blogging even if I don’t make a dime. I just wouldn’t be able to put the amount of time into it that I currently do, but I loved blogging long before it was my job, and I have to believe I’d still be blogging as a hobby even if I had a different job. There are lots of bloggers who blog as a side gig or a hobby simply because it’s fun.
A second way you can support your favorite bloggers is by commenting — both on the blog as well as on Facebook and Instagram.
I’ve had some people say they’re afraid to comment too much for fear of looking like a stalker. (That still makes me giggle.)
You couldn’t be more wrong about that!
It’s the comments that got me hooked on blogging, and the community I’ve cultivated here that keeps me blogging. I love the conversations in the comments, I love hearing from you guys, and I love to see you interacting with one another too.
Besides the fact that I simply enjoy the conversation, comments also help me out by showing potential sponsors that I have a vibrant community of engaged readers and participants that want to know about the products and services I enjoy and trust. In fact, comments on sponsored posts are doubly helpful because it makes the sponsors happy to see people talking about their product or service.
And then there are the social media networks — specifically Facebook and Instagram — which are operated by algorithms. Likes and comments (and shares) on those platforms indicate that my accounts are healthy and active and that my followers want to see more of my content. Basically, Facebook and Instagram will show my content to more people if they see people engaging with it.
If you’ve noticed that someone you follow on Facebook or Instagram is not showing up in your feed, it is because you haven’t engaged enough with their content.
So yes, please. Feel free to comment and like and share away!
I realize that some people don’t like to comment and like posts on Facebook because of privacy issues, and that’s fine too. But please don’t ever feel that you are commenting too much. As long as your comments are relevant and kind, I welcome them!
FACEBOOK TIP: To see my posts in your feed without a lot of liking and commenting, be sure that you are following my page and have notifications turned on. Here’s how:
Bloggers share their content on the social media networks for several reasons. Primarily, I use them to engage more with you guys, but I also hope that more people will find my blog through those networks. And also, brands pay for campaigns based on follower counts and engagement, which is why a lot of bloggers have taken to various shady practices to buy followers. It’s hard to compete with that, but I am committed to growing my channels organically, even if it is slow at times.
A third way you can support the bloggers you enjoy is by pinning their content to Pinterest. (Find my Pinterest account HERE.)
Again, the goal here is for more people to find my blog and join our community.
I realize it probably sounds like I’m obsessed with growing my blog and social media channels, as if you aren’t enough, and I don’t want you to feel like that at all. In this industry, you’re either growing or you’re dying. There is no middle ground.
People are always coming and going, and I get that. My content may resonate for a time, and then it gets old, or you get busy, or go back to work, or start your own blog… I’ve seen that happen SO any times. Very few stick around for years and years, so if I’m not always bringing in new readers, my blog will eventually wither and die.
So yes, we always have to be finding ways to grow, and every time we get used to how one social media network works, it will change and we have to adjust. It’s kind of frustrating at times, but it’s also fun because things are always changing, and I never get bored.
Finally, subscribing to receive our email newsletters also helps support the work we do…
but only if you’re going to open and read them. Again, numbers matter, but what is most valuable is an engaged community. And I honestly don’t want anyone signing up for my emails if they don’t truly want to open and read them. The last thing I want to do is clutter your inbox with more emails you won’t read.
That said, I do try to make my emails a little extra for those who like the personal touch. I share a little more about what’s going on in my life at the moment, and it’s the best way to be alerted about new posts. If you don’t get my emails and you would like to, you can SIGN UP HERE. I have a daily option (more personal) and a weekly option (digest format.)
Now I’ll answer some of the questions I’ve had about how affiliate links work.
There is a lot of snark out there about fashion blogging and even some resentment about how we make money off of affiliate links, so I always want to be totally up front with you guys about how this works, and then you can decide for yourself if you want to support me in that way or not.
Also, I sometimes get comments that seem almost apologetic that they don’t shop through my affiliate links, and no one should feel obligated to do that or bad about it if they don’t.
I mean, if you do, that is awesome, and thank you, but that’s only a part of how I generate income from this blog.
However, it is a large part, and I’m always grateful when you do choose to shop through my links.
If you’re unsure how that all works, basically look at me as your free personal shopper. I use affiliate links when I link to products, and they have a code attached to them so brands can tell how many times people click on my links and buy something. They reward the blogger with a small commission for each purchase, which in part goes towards purchasing new clothes to give all of you fresh content daily (at no additional expense to you).
Some frequently asked questions about affiliate links:
#1. If I click your link, click around on the website, and buy something else, do you still get credit?
I do unless you click an affiliate link from another blogger to the same site after mine, and then that one will override mine. The computer does not remember whose link you clicked on and credit that blogger with that purchase, so the last click trumps all.
#2. If I click on your affiliate link and buy something else, do you get credit?
Yes, I do. When you click through an affiliate link, the blogger earns a small commission on your entire purchase, not just on the item she linked to.
#3. If I click on your link and come back and purchase that item at a later date, do you get credit?
Maybe… That depends on the “cookie” — basically how long the affiliate ID is stored on your browser. Every affiliate program has a different timeframe, so the sooner you make a purchase after clicking on a link, the better for the blogger.
Also, cookies only work in the browser you’re using when you click. For example, if you click on a link in Firefox, add an item to your cart, and then log into the same website in Chrome later in the day and check out, it doesn’t recognize that original cookie so there is no affiliate commission generated.
Also, if you shop through the app on your phone (for instance, Amazon, Target, or Nordstrom all have mobile apps) then I don’t get credit. There is also some debate about how long cookies last from a link in an Instagram Story. Supposedly they only count if the purchase is made immediately, so the best way to assure that your favorite blogger gets credit is to shop from her blog.
Ultimately, you should just shop normally, as you typically would, and if it benefits me or the blogger you’re reading, awesome. If not, that’s just the way it is. This should all happen organically.
Please know, I share all of this NOT because I’m asking you to always come to my site before making a purchase. I certainly would never expect you to do that! But some of you have asked how it works, so I wanted to explain. I don’t want anyone to ever feel duped or taken advantage of, so hopefully this helps unveil some of the mysteries behind this industry.
And if you DO want to make sure to shop through my links, I created a Quick Links section on my sidebar. If there’s a store you’d like me to add to that list, let me know.
At the end of the day, I’m here to provide a service to you and hopefully make your life a little easier. If you shop through my links, that’s awesome, but comments, page views, and sharing my posts also helps my business.
I hope I covered everything. If you think of any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. I realize that I take a lot for granted when I’m talking about this subject so I may have left out some important information along the way.
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photo credit: Alison Cornell