Thursday, September 24, 2009

ON BLOGGING ~ Look At Me...

Welcome to our weekly BlogAnon meeting where we confess a particular blogging sin and turn to you for support, suggestions and that blogging bond so we know we're not all alone. Don't be shy. Read along and let us know if you identify with us this week.

We all promote something on our blogs. Some of you promote books you've written, or crafts that you make. Some promote the support of favorite causes and some promote the word of God. There are photography catalogues and blog designs for sale. And then there is the underlying promotion of ourselves as people, our corner of the world and the desire to have others come and share in it with us. When there's not a particular product or physical item to sell, some of us sell ourselves and our blogs to others willing to pay for our time. No - I don't mean Call Girls - I mean sponsored or paid posts. Or a review in exchange for a free sample - books, furniture, clothing, toys, etc.

We refuse to monetize The Bumbles Blog and have someone else's agenda dictate what we talk about. We want to keep it the way you found it, without ads on the sidebar mixed in with our personal widgets. And we don't want to sneak in sponsored posts passed off as something we really wanted to share with you. We think that might be a turnoff for those looking for a simple, albeit clumsy, reprise from the harsh world wide web hawking and demanding things left and right.

However, (there's always a however isn't there?) we do like to make a buck when we can. Molly went out and found places to write content she wanted to write outside of our personal blog and get paid for it. It means we can avoid the temptations of selling stuff here. But it also means she promotes those other posts here. We try to mix those links in with our everyday posts and not force them on anyone. We try not to be blatant and we try not to beg. What we're trying to say is that we're trying to be polite, humble Bumbles and we feel guilty for plugging these paid posts. But if you don't let people know what you're up to, expect not to be discovered.

So we struggle with the right balance. We don't want to hit you over the head with it week after week so that you start to become disinterested out of annoyance. But we don't want to be so subtle that no one realizes there's more to explore. You don't come here for ads about content elsewhere. But maybe you might be interested in following us outside of our home. So when we participate in a meme and offer a link to an outside post by Molly or just come right out and ask you to go have a look, we appreciate those of you who do. But we don't ever want anyone to feel obligated because we aren't pushy people. Maybe that's not the best marketing strategy, but it's what we've decided works for us and our goal.

Since we're putting it all out there, might as well share the current links. Visit, skip over, roll your eyes or beam with pride on our behalf. No worries.

  • Best Photos Spots for New England Fall Foliage
  • 10 Easy Ways to Save Money on Attractions & Events

  • Was that totally crass to do? Now we feel bad about it. Should we? What do you promote on your blog? How do you go about it? Upfront or subtle? Do you struggle with methods you employ or take pride in putting it all out there? What has been most effective for you? How often do you promote? Have you ever gotten feedback? Have you ever changed your mind? Don't be afraid to share - your blogger thoughts are safe with us.


    Matty said...

    Since I just started blogging two months ago, I don't promote anything beyond my own little world. I'm still learning how to blog and do the little technical things that go with it, let alone getting involved in outside ventures. I am blog-nically challenged.

    But I don't blame you guys for promoting your other ventures. If and when I get to that point, I'm sure I'd be interested in doing that too. I think that you should do what you want, and not worry about what others think. There are so-called blogging rules of etiquette that many people have posted about. I don't agree with some of them. It's your what you want with it.

    I did visit both of your other links and they are well worth my time.

    Go Phillies/Red Sox!

    kayerj said...

    *clap, clap, clap, clap*

    I think that's what comes next at an ANON meeting. I actually keep track of your attractions. You have seen some fun sights, and I enjoy your write ups. (but I feel a little silly commenting because nobody else has)

    I'm headed back to my place to see what I'm promoting--

    I think (I really do) I'm in it for the social end of it. My world is pretty small and it's fun to be able to glimpse into so many lives from so many places. I never once in my life dreamed that I'd have daily conversations and look at pictures from the life of a wonderful woman in Belgium, or Israel, or Melbourne, or Halifax, or New Orleans, or even Boston--and what do you know? I am. And I find it invigorating.

    I am even more surprised to find that they are interested in me--and my mundane life. I have exchanged e-mails, cards and gifts in the past few months. It's like when I was a kid and had pen pals.

    Can I be in it to un-isolate myself? I hope it's not self aggrandizement?

    thought provoking session at "The Joy of Confession" today.

    Have I said, I love your brilliant mind and out of the ordinary posts?

    Sandy Nawrot said...

    At the very minimum, we are all promoters of ourselves, if we are bloggers. There are those that take it a little bit further, and there are some that rub our noses in it, however.

    You are not one of the nose rubbers. I love seeing what you are up to outside of this blog, and I'm not the least bit offended by being asked to take a look. If I have time, I will. If I am rushing around, I don't.

    There are those blogs, however, that are plastered with ads, and I think that is tacky. I've been told that unless you are a blog with huge traffic (as in HUGE, bigger than anything I follow)those ads make you very little money. So why cheapen yourself?

    I will admit (since that is the what we do here) that I did a post on office furniture, in return for an office chair. I researched the company on BBB, I evaluated their website, and interacted with their customer service people. If they hadn't been up to snuff, I would not have posted the review. But it was a bit of pimping.

    The Bumbles said...

    Matty = There are such things as blogger etiquette but as you mention, everyone has a different opinion about them. And doing what you want is excellent advice to remember. We just don't want to drive away all these wonderful people we've worked so hard to meet and befriend over the last year. We appreciate it when someone give us an FYI - your auto music is really loud and irritating, or your background color is too dark and we can't read what you're posting, or you are linking elsewhere way too often ;0)

    Kaye = Thanks for following along! You should never feel silly about commenting - you have lots of interesting things to say. Andy puts links to my paid posts up on his Facebook page and lots of our friends and relatives will go read the post and then come back and comment about it on Facebook. Well, I don't read his Facebook page and half the time he forgets to tell me all the nice things people have to say. So if they would only just comment on the post itself, then I'd be sure to know what they thought. And I agree, meeting people across the globe is invigorating. And by the way, what you promote is your family - which seems to have a lot of values to be proud of.

    Sandy = I get overwhelmed with busy sidebars. We were guilty of this ourselves initially. After a few months I had someone new to us take a look at the site and provide their input as part of the Build A Better Blog program. That's when I learned that clutter - be it from ads, widgets or photos - can be distracting enough on a first impression that people decide to go elsewhere. I follow many bloggers who monetize and some do it better than others. Some seem to make some money too which is great. I'm always interested to find out how people approach things. Such as swapping free schwag for a review post - I consider that a more subtle way to promote something that provides a benefit to the blogger. There's no shame in any of it as far as I'm concerned. But like Matty said, do what you want. If I'm just writing something to make a buck and otherwise could care less, I'll probably end up resenting it and that's no way for a Bumble to blog.

    Anonymous said...

    I promote my crazy. I'm not proud of the crazy but it's part of me and I talk openly about it. I also talk football and wii :)

    Thanks for your support, it means a lot to me.

    Patty Reiser said...

    I do not think it "crass" at all Andy & Molly to mention and link to the posts Molly writes for others.

    As for me, I do have affiliate links on my blog, but it is only ones I would personally use and recommend to friends. I try to keep it realavant to my blog.

    Wishing you both a scent-sational weekend!
    Patty Reiser

    The Bumbles said...

    Julie = You are one of the best promoters I know. I think it is because you are so open and up-front about it. Plus you are enthusiastic and funny so that always helps.

    Patty = Keeping it relevant is key to me I think. That is usually what turns me off about promoting on other places - when it has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the site or is representative of the author's personality that I have come to know. That's when I start to feel used. So good advice. If we're promoting something that fits who we are, chances are it will feel natural on our blog.

    Susan said...

    Hmmmm, thought-provoking! I tried adding those blogger-sponsored ads for about a minute, but it gave me an icky feeling, so I took them right down. But it doesn't offend me when other people do it, I just don't click on any of them.

    I do have a couple of links on my sidebar for my son and DIL's websites. One is for party supplies for kids' birthday parties, and the other is her (mostly) medical de-bunking site. They asked me to do it and I didn't see much harm in it. I don't know that anyone who visits my blog has ever clicked on either one of them, so.....

    I do have to say that blogs with tons of widgets and ads are kind of distracting. In fact, my own has been bothering me lately, so I think I'm going to take my measly collection of award widgets off there. I don't ever tag anyone anyway, so I feel sort of guilty for displaying them.

    Susan said...

    Oh, BTW, I looked at both of your links, and I LOVE them! In fact, I'm going to put the LifeSnips one on my blogroll. Great idea!

    Anonymous said...

    I like it when you tell us other places where you've had your say. I always click over and enjoy your writing, Molly.

    The Bumbles said...

    Susan = I think that "icky feeling" is a good guide for blogging. If something makes you feel that way, it's probably because it bothers you more than you'd like and therefore should do the opposite. And thanks for visiting the links.

    Stacy = You are very sweet, glad you enjoy them.