How many blog buttons do you have in your sidebar? Not the kind of buttons that do up your fave Zara cardy, or the eye-covering ones that creeped me out in Coraline. I’m talking about those little clickable adverts that so many bloggers have.
You did know that they’re adverts, right? The ones from brands, I mean – not buttons that link to other blogs, or your own blog content. Brands have come up with all sorts of ingenuous ways to get you to slap a free advert for them on your website – and not just ads to get their their logo seen; buttons provide an easy click-through to their site, boosting their SEO in the process. Double bubble.
Some button campaigns from brands include:
- An award – e.g blogger of the week, of the year, etc
- A brand ambassador of sorts – “I’m a Next Blogger” “I’m an ASOS Insider” and so on
- An attendance stamp – “I attended the so and so conference” or “I’ll be going to so and so, are you?”
- A digital agency – “I’m a Joe’s Blogger” for example
- A competition – “I’ve entered the such and such competition”
- A magazine or digital site – “I’m part of the Mumsnet blogger network”
Let’s be clear, these are adverts for a brand or company that you are willingly placing on your blog. It’s a massive liberty, and every time I’m offered or ‘awarded’ a button I politely turn it down. It’s one thing for brands to entice you to put a free ad on your site (one that helps potential customers easily click through to their own site, no less), but often they are done in sneaky ways to make you feel like you have achieved something as a blogger, or that you’re part of an elite gang. I detest dynamics that make bloggers feel they should be grateful to do unpaid work (no matter how seemingly trivial) to boost a brand’s profits.
Don’t be fooled in to thinking brand buttons make you look more important or PR friendly, they just make you look more compliant to other brands. However, something visual that links to details of you winning a genuine award, or a campaign you have with a brand are handy self-promoting things. And of course, what you decide to stick on any part of your blog is your own choice, it’s your bit of the interwebs and you’re free to champion and promote whichever brands you want. Just don’t feel like it’s another one of those things as a blogger that you ‘should’ be doing.
It could also be argued that there’s some positives for you in having brand buttons:
- You can see who else is in ‘your tribe’ – maybe it’s useful for you to see who else is a Joe’s Blogger, for example, and you can connect over it.
- It can help you feel more confident – sure that button for a conference or meetup is just an ad to sell more tickets, but it could make you feel less nervous about going if you see other bloggers with the same button. A non-button way to do this is to follow conference hashtags on Twitter and see who’s going.
- You’re boosting your traffic – if your button links to Bloglovin or somewhere that promotes your posts, it’s still a free ad for them, but it has potential to give you something back.