I read a blog post recently that said something along the lines of “the number one best way to grow your blog is to sponsor other blogs.”
I’ve mulled over that statement in my mind for a while, thinking about how that statement is true – to an extent. But I can’t get it out of my head that the statement is slightly misleading, and even dangerous.
Let’s talk about what no one ever wants to talk about, shall we?
Sponsoring blogs is expensive!
Sponsoring blogs takes money, and sponsoring blogs with a large and loyal following takes a lot of money. In most cases bloggers do not guarantee the results of their sponsorship opportunities. So while it’s true that we are making an investment, we are also taking a financial risk.
What’s the risk?
The risk is that the financial investment may not generate the growth that you want to see. It may or may not result in higher pageviews. It may or may not result in more followers. It may or may not result in more interaction.
Please understand my heart when I say this: most people don’t take financial risks in their hobbies. Unless their hobby is playing the lottery.
What I mean is this: if you are blogging as a hobby rather than as a business, please, please, consider how much money you’re able to spend on your hobby. And don’t go over your set budget.
And whether you’re blogging for pleasure, or blogging for business, keep in mind that most financial advisors warn against taking financial risks before you’ve taken the time to save, pay off debt, and practice the discipline of giving.
This is why I think the statement above is dangerous. New bloggers, as well as experienced bloggers will see a statement like that and they’ll put lock, stock, and barrel into advertising on their favorite blog. Thirty days later they may or may not see any reward for their time, effort, and financial investment.
Reasons why sponsoring blogs is not the best way to grow your blog.
- The majority of blog advertising spots are primarily dedicated to side-bar buttons.
Sidebar ads are great, they really are. But there are a few things that we tend to forget when it comes to deciding when and where to sponsor. First, sidebar ads are sort of like billboards. And when a blog has a lot of sidebar ads, it’s sort of like driving down the interstate and passing billboard after billboard after billboard. After a while we just ignore them, don’t we? Yeah, that’s how sidebar ads work too.Second, let’s think for a minute about how many readers actually view our blogs. Not all that many, when you think about it. I have right at 1,000 subscribers via RSS and e-mail. If each of them was clicking over to my blog every day, I’d have a minimum of 30K pageviews every month.
But I don’t have that many pageviews every month. Why is that? One of the reasons is because many of my readers never click on my website. They read my posts in their e-mail, or in their reader of choice, never clicking over to my blog. And that’s okay – I’m just glad they’re reading!
If all I offered my sponsors was sidebar advertising, it would be a waste of their money to advertise with me. Because a very large percentage of my followers, though very loyal, don’t click through to ARD.
- We get sucked into “cheap” advertising, and forget our target audience.
We see it all the time on twitter and facebook. Bloggers announcing flash sales for large percentages off of their advertising packages. And just like that, we’ve forked over a few dollars and our button is up on their blog.The thought never enters our minds that advertising on that blog does not, in any tangible or meaningful way, grow our blog.
Why? Because so often our brand and their brand aren’t really all that compatible. Not to say that the two brands are opposed to each other. Not at all. But we must keep in mind that their readers are following them for a reason – and often times it’s a very specific reason. So if our blogs don’t fit the overall idea behind their blog, it doesn’t matter how cheap their advertising packages are – it’s money that could be wisely spent somewhere else.
- Some bloggers put all of their hopes and dreams for growth into advertising.
Advertising is important. But it is not the be all and end all to building a growing, thriving online life.
Growing a blog is like building a house.
Let’s look at growing a blog sort of like building a house.
First we must start with building plans. In blogging, our blogs’ purpose and vision serve as the building plans for our blog. Without a purpose and/or vision, our blogs cannot continue to grow.
Next we must lay a foundation. There are a few exceptions, but in general, the foundation of our blogs must be our writing.
After the foundation is laid it’s time to start putting up the framework. The frameworks of our blogs are the relationships that we build. Building relationships happens by responding to e-mails and comments, engaging on social media, and connecting with other bloggers on their blogs.
Finally, it’s time to put on the finishing touches. The things like doors and windows, and a roof. That’s about where blog advertising comes in. It’s not an after-thought, and in fact it is very important to the success of the blog. But it’s not the first thing on the to-do list.
What about you? What do you think is the best way to grow a successful blog? I’d love for you to share and engage each other. Some of you have already shared your thoughts on facebook – thank you!
Blogging Q & A with Oh My! Tookies
ARD: Is your family supportive of your blog/business? How do you use your blog/business to bless your family and strengthen the family relationship?
OM!T: we are a small family business! we feed off each others gifts and we work as a team with one goal in mind…keeping everything handmade…and the reason we started our blog is so that we could have an outlet to focus on the gifts of ‘others’ who bless our business!