This article is probably going to seem far too self-serving. Yet I’m willing to recklessly plow ahead regardless. Yesterday, while I was talking to Kevin Boling on “Calling for Truth” we received a call from a reader of this site who asked an interesting question. He wanted to know how he, as someone who reads the blog, can serve as an encouragement to me. I thought it was a timely question because I’d been thinking about writing about that very thing, though focusing less on myself and more on bloggers in general. So I hope you’ll bear with me today as I address this. If you can take these suggestions and apply them to your other favorite bloggers, we’ll all be happy.
Bloggers, or at least the bloggers who have sites that convey valuable information, put in a lot of work for very little tangible reward. It’s the nature of blogging, I guess. While I’ve heard that the big-name bloggers—the one whose sites drawn tens or hundreds of thousands of visitors each day—can make a handsome living doing what they do, I’ve also heard that even they make next to nothing. I actually tend to believe this. The blogosphere, at least in my experience, hasn’t found a way of generating a lot of income. Lots of people place advertisements on their sites, either banners or Google AdWords, but these tend, at least in most cases, to generate very little revenue. Many, like me, tend to link to Amazon through an affiliate link when they mention a book or other bit of merchandise and see a few referrals come in this way—referrals that eventually lead to Amazon sending a gift certificate. It is a small reward, but a reward nonetheless. But on the whole blogging isn’t going to make anyone rich. Quite the opposite, in fact!
Thankfully most bloggers don’t blog for the financial benefits. Christian bloggers in particular blog for the higher ideal of furthering their own faith and serving the church. As they do this, they can always use a bit of encouragement. This is geared primarily towards Christian bloggers, though most is applicable more widely. Let me provide just a few ways you can be an encouragement to bloggers.
Leave a Comment. This is likely the easiest thing you can do but it can be very encouraging, especially for people whose blogs do not receive a great deal of traffic. Simply leave a comment, noting that you read and enjoyed the article. If you feel there was a problem with the article, leave a comment and the reason you disagreed. Simply knowing that an article is being read can be a real blessing to a blogger.
Send a Note of Encouragement. Short of leaving a comment, this is probably the easiest thing you can do. Simply find the person’s email address or contact form and send them a brief note, mentioning that you enjoy reading their blog (and perhaps why you enjoy the blog) and encourage them to continue seeking the Lord.
Pray for Them. I find that the greatest source of encouragement is to know that people are praying for me. Of course it is always a blessing to know that others are holding us up before the throne of God, but I think in the case of blogging is also stands as validation that the person’s efforts are sufficiently significant that they are worth praying for. So pray for them and drop them a note to let them know you’re doing so.
Tell Someone Else About the Site. When you find a site that you enjoy and that has been a source of encouragement to you, tell other people about it. While most bloggers will say (and, in most cases, truly mean) that they do not much care how many people read their site, it is an encouragement to see more people gravitate to a blog. So tell your friends!
Shop at Amazon Through an Affiliate Link. As I said, many bloggers are part of Amazon’s affiliate program. This means that we receive a commission (of about 6 or 7%) on any item you purchase after clicking one of our links. So if a blogger posts a link to a product on Amazon and you click on the link and then purchase the product, the blogger will receive as reward a small percentage of that amount. Also, the blogger will receive a similar percentage of anything else you purchase at Amazon during that session. This is unlikely to generate much revenue, but even a gift certificate that allows the blogger to purchase a couple of books per month is a nice little bonus. So when you are thinking of shopping at Amazon, find an affiliate and enter Amazon through that person’s link. Many people even place an Amazon search box directly on their site. If you search through that box the blogger will receive credit for anything you purchase. This is a simple but effective way of sending some support to a blogger. And best of all, Amazon foots the bill!
Look for Amazon Wishlists. Many bloggers maintain an Amazon wishlist. This is simply a list of products from Amazon they would like to own. You’ll often see a link to this list from a blog or you can even visit the Wishlist section at Amazon and search by name or email address. You can then send a small gift anonymously or with a small note of encouragement.
And that’s all I have for now. Again, I trust you’ll take these in the spirit I intend them, not as a plug for you to do anything for me, but as an encouragement to take notice of the people whose blogs you enjoy and to serve as an encouragement to them.