I was talking to an older relative the other day who didn’t grow up with blogs and social media. She asked me about my blog and readers and it surprised me when she said she reads my blog. I’ve never once seen a comment on my actual blog or social media from her. Over the course of the conversation, she revealed that she didn’t know much about blogging and how it all works and had no idea that even a small gesture of support can go a long way. So here’s how you, the reader, can support blogs you love — most of the time without spending a single cent.
I feel like the inner workings of a blog are shrouded in mystery. How do people make money? What goes on behind the scenes? I’ve talked about what goes into creating a blog post here, for those of you interested.
How do people find the time to blog, how do they manage to do certain things so well, to earn money, work with brands, grow huge followings, and have such great engagement. We all blog for different reasons and come at it with our own ways of doing things, but one thing is the same. Without the support of our readers, bloggers wouldn’t be here. We would be writing into a void where no one saw us and none of it would count for anything.
Many people start their blogs for a specific purpose. I started my site in 2012 as a way to document my time abroad and process all the new sights and experiences I was having. I wanted to find like-minded people and have an outlet for everything that comes with settling into a new life abroad. I wasn’t sure where it would take me or if I’d even stick with it, but after a short time, I realized that I loved blogging and the community I’d built. I’m still at it over 7 years later and blogging is my favorite hobby. It’s a welcome escape from the stress of work and life in general.
Oui In France has always been a hobby — albeit one I try to run on the more professional side at this point that does generate a small amount of revenue — that I work on in my spare time. The money I do earn on ads and from occasionally working with brands goes toward operating costs. I blog because I love it. Otherwise, the down sides of blogging wouldn’t be worth it at 7+ years in. But what I bring to the blog is only half the picture. As I said, it wouldn’t be anything without everyone on the receiving side, my readers.
I think sometimes readers assume that a small gesture of support doesn’t really matter or they’ve never really thought about supporting a blogger. Why? What does supporting a blogger mean? They don’t even realize how they can support a blogger. Readers may even assume that because the blogger seems established or gets enough shares from other people that their support doesn’t count for much. Or because a blog is “just” a hobby blog, that they don’t need their readers’ support. But that’s not true!
The truth of it is this: I depend on my readers’ support to keep me going. Without you, there would be no Oui In France. So thank you for being here!
Nothing just happens on blogs without consistent, dedicated effort and the support of people like you. Little things like a click, share, or comment DO matter. Really! If supporting people and getting support in return isn’t important to you, then feel free to stop reading now. But if you are one of my readers who enjoys what I do and aren’t really sure how to support this blog and others that you love or why it’s important, keep on reading.Nothing magically happens on blogs without consistent, dedicated effort and the support of our readers. Here's how to support bloggers you love for FREE and why it's important! Click To Tweet
Here’s why showing your support matters:
First and foremost blogs are not free to run, both in terms of cost and time. And I’m not talking about $20/month in upkeep and an hour here and there. What is free for the readers, though, is the content on Oui in France. As a blog grows, the blogger has substantial costs each month to keep their blogs running. Between hosting, domain renewal, newsletter subscription fees, photo subscriptions, SEO services, equipment costs, etc., costs add up and it would probably surprise you to know how much I spend on all things Oui In France each year.
Showing your support via clicks and engagement (more on that below) affects our bottom line. More page views=more growth and opportunities. Also, stats matter to brands, so if a blogger has an engaged readership, it can only help in the long run.
Money aside, blogging is a time-intensive endeavor. It’s something I love and is wholly worth the time I put in, but even blogging as a hobby can be a pretty significant part-time job, in terms of hours. From the writing of the actual content on the blog, to formatting, to editing, to photography, managing social media, replying to emails, and so much more, a lot goes into producing content and maintaining a site. And don’t even get me started on the time that goes into YouTube and social media.
The bottom line is that maintaining a site takes dedication and loads of time. It depends on the week, but on average I spend about 15-20 hours/week on Oui In France and its social channels. On top of my day job.
It validates that what we’re doing matters. When I receive an email or see a comment from a reader who says something I’ve written has spoken to her or helped her in some way, it makes my day. Without those comments, I’d never know about any of you out here. If things I’ve gone through and experienced can help someone else, it’s the best feeling in the world when someone tells me about it.
Showing your support also helps my community to grow. Sharing is caring, right? If you like something, maybe a friend will see it and like it as well. That momentum snowballs and helps us to get our work seen.
It’s a boost and motivates us. We’re all human and sometimes a virtual nudge of support can make all the difference in terms of motivation and drive. That encouragement matters so much more than people think. Especially on bad days. We work incredibly hard on our blogs, so the support does matter. I’m a real person who runs a one-woman show, so yes, your support is seen and does matter.
Let’s get into the specific things you can do to show bloggers your support.
Here’s how you can support bloggers you love for free:
-Subscribe to their newsletter. Many bloggers send out a newsletter periodically that has updates, links, recent posts, and more. You can sign up for mine via the box at the bottom of this post or the box in the sidebar (if you’re on desktop). I won’t spam you. Promise.
-Follow the blog on social media. Stats count and metrics from social media let brands and tourism boards know if a blogger has a community and that they have influence over their audience. If you enjoy a blogger’s content, follow them on all of their social networks. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here. Be sure to click the bell so you’re notified when I have a new video. Plus Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
-Stay abreast of recent posts by using a feed reader like Bloglovin’ so you don’t miss anything. It’s an organized way to follow all the blogs you love and see the new posts in one central feed. You can follow Oui In France here.
-***Engage with their content both on the blog and social media.*** This one is huge and probably the most important. If you like a post, show it! Leave a blog comment. Share the link with your network. Email it to a friend. Just don’t close out of something you enjoyed never to return again. Blogging can be very one-way if the blogger is publishing content into a vacuum where no one replies. Get a conversation going, ask questions, share feedback. Use the comment box if you have something to say! It shows you’re a part of my community.
If you’re a blogger yourself, consider linking to content you love wherever it would be relevant to do so and share other bloggers’ posts on your social networks. We’re stronger together.
Sometimes my readers email me with a general comment after reading a post and I always encourage them to post the comments on the actual blog because it might be useful to someone else. This is how a community grows and how a blog gets seen. It also lets the blogger know that a particular topic is of interest, so this feedback is really useful.
-Share their offerings. Many bloggers have courses, books, an online shop (mine is here), and more. Even if you’re not in the market for something, maybe others in your network are, so if you think a blogger’s offering is worth a look, share it!
-Talk about their content (both online and offline). If there was a post that really spoke to you or that you think others might find helpful, tell someone! Go old fashioned and talk about the site or blog post in person with people you know.
A note on sponsored content:
Indulge me here for a quick aside. If you read blogs, especially those who are full time, you’ve probably read sponsored content.
Sponsored content gets a bad rap in the blogging community. If you aren’t familiar with it, simply put, sponsored content is when a brand compensates a blogger for writing about them. I do a handful of posts like this each year and it’s important for readers to support this type of content along with non-sponsored content.
So why do readers tend to not like sponsored posts? Maybe it’s because people don’t like being sold to or maybe it’s because historically bloggers have taken on collaborations that aren’t authentic or a good fit for their blog, so the result is terrible content. Or the post is poorly written or rushed and comes across like an ad. But when done well, sponsored content can be a win-win for everyone.
Think about it. We’re shown ads all day long. There are commercial breaks on TV shows, ads in magazines, billboards on the highway and at bus stations. I think every blogger has to strike her own balance with sponsored content, but keep my point above in mind about blogs costing money to run. And the fact that content for you, the reader, is free of charge. Sponsored content brings in the revenue that allows a blogger to continue writing other content you love.
A sponsored partnership done well should seamlessly fit with the other content on the site, so if it’s of interest, engage with it just like any other post. It’s important to us and this is especially so for bloggers who blog full time and depend on the income to support their families. If readers don’t engage much with sponsored content just for the sake of it being sponsored, well, I think that’s silly. I’ve enjoyed so many sponsored posts on blogs over the years and learned about companies and products I never otherwise would have come across.
Once readers understand what goes into a running a blog, my hope is that they’d be more open to engaging with sponsored content. When a partnership is authentic and makes sense for both the blogger and brand, and it’s disclosed, then there’s no issue.
On the other hand, I think sponsored posts can be problematic when:
1) A blogger isn’t transparent and doesn’t mark sponsored content as such. It leaves the reader not sure who to trust, especially when it’s clear the content was paid.
2) A blogger partners with a brand who isn’t a good fit so the content isn’t authentic at all, doesn’t fit with the site, or not even written by the blogger. Or rushed and poorly done.
3) It’s spammy paid content from digital marketers who just want backlinks, with zero value to the reader.
Anyway, just my 2 cents.
Here are some great posts explaining more about sponsored content that I think are important to read in case anyone else is interested and wants to learn more:
Aside is now officially over. 😉
Now, if you do have a little money to spend…
If you want to show your support with your wallet:
–Use bloggers’ affiliate links when buying a product. If a blogger is part of an affiliate program, it means that they earn a commission (usually a few cents but it adds up!) on the products you buy at no additional cost to you.
–Consider buying from companies your favorite bloggers work with on sponsored collaborations. If the blogger works with brands/services that seem interesting to you, check them out! This goes without saying, but I only work with brands I truly love and decline 90% of the opportunities that come my way. If I’m recommending a brand or service to you, it means something to me and is worth checking out. Your support helps keep Oui In France running.
–Buy a Ko-Fi! This is a simple and inexpensive way to make a direct donation and show a blogger some love in the form of a virtual coffee, priced at $3 each. You choose how many Ko-Fi cups you want to a buy a blogger and they receive the support via Paypal. I have a discreet Ko-Fi link on my contact page if you’d like to show your support.
-If a blogger sells a product, service, or course, consider showing your support by buying something. In my case, I have a Oui In France shop that sells Francophile goods that I designed. Things like mugs, tees, and tote bags make excellent holiday gifts. 😉
So there you have it, my thoughts on how to support your favorite bloggers!