Okay, after dying to take some outdoor snaps, I remembered a little hidden place I found while running, I packed my camera in my bag, folded my tripod up and off I went. I can’t say these photos came out exactly how I wanted, mainly because most of them were me holding my dress down because of the wind. But I went out of my comfort zone and tried, which is the main thing, right?
My housemate was not impressed that I’d wandered down a secluded path to take pictures of myself with an expensive camera – oops.
She also said ‘it’s a bit of an odd things to do’.
OK, let’s get to the good stuff.
When to say NO to blog sponsors.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been hanging out a lot in twitter chats and I’ve even started co-hosting my very own. One thing that has become evident to me as the amount of bloggers lacking information about blog sponsorship and their legal responsibilities. Be it a paid review, a review of a free product, a paid post or a guest post.
That, tied in with the fact that I’ve received about 10 e-mails in the past two weeks form companies asking if they could ‘guest post’ on my blog, I thought I should share some of the things I’ve learnt in the past year. And the mistakes I’ve made.
I’ve been blogging for a little over a year, and I am sure that there are still some things that I’ve to learn – but I didn’t have a clue about some of these things I am about to talk about until seeing a vague comment/tweet about it and then researching.
I’m sure there is a lot more for me to learn – so if there is ANYTHING that you think I may have missed, please reply in the comments or e-mail me so I can add it. Or if there is anything I am incorrect about – let me know so I can edit this post.
When SHOULD you say no?
So, you’ve been blogging for a few months and you’ve seen a few more established bloggers review free make-up, host a give-away, show off some new shoes. You open you’re e-mail and there is an e-mail from a company, website or brand wanting to work with you.
It’s the first time this has happened, you’re excited to be noticed and you’ll pretty much do anything to get that free bracelet, that $10 or whatever they may be offering.
Stop. And think.
The world is a HORRIBLE place ladies and gentlemen. People do take advantage of naive new bloggers. And they will. Because we’re not professionals, we’ve not had training, most of us are just winging it and very few of us know what we’re doing when we first start out.
Here’s some of the ways in which websites have, or almost have, taken advantage of me.
One of the first websites I worked with offered me a free piece of jewellery, I was able to select any piece of jewellery of my choice from their large collection. But first, I had to make a post introducing the website to my followers. In this post, I had to include certain words – such as ‘cheap ladies dresses‘ and ‘mens shirts‘ with a link to that section of their website in those keywords.
After I had made my post, I would get my piece of jewellery and then I could post it on my blog, along with another review with a new set of keywords and then choose my second piece. This would continue for a year and I could get one piece of jewellery FOR FREE every single month.
Yippeee! This is great.
It got even better when I was contacted by another website to do the same thing! 24 free pieces of jewellery in a year? Sign me up!!!!
I’m not going to name and shame these websites – I know I am an adult and I should have done my research about this type of sponsorship. But truth is, I was so caught up in it all, and excited about it that it didn’t even occur to me that the websites in question probably didn’t even give a shit (yes, I swore) about my tiny little blog. Or my followers. Or me. Sadface.
All they wanted was a link that will increase their PageRank.
This is how it works :
I could pay tonnes and tonnes of sites and blogs to write a post and link my blog address under the word ‘UK lifestyle blog’. The means that when anyone Googled ‘UK lifestyle blog’ – my blog would come up higher in the search engine because more people had linked to it. Which means more traffic for me! Winner.
But google does not like this – as it means that anyone could pay and get their site on the first page, even if it isn’t the best quality. This damages Googles reputation as it is giving it’s users utter toff, as well as not being fair to those sites that deserve it.
If Google finds out that you are being paid, or getting compensation for anchor text links, YOU could be penalised. Your blog could lose page rank or not be included in searches all together. You can read more here.
I fell for this, I am not proud of it. I have since gone back and taken the links out of the 3 or 4 posts that I did before realising that something was wrong and I’ve ceased to work with the websites.
If anyone ever asks you to link certain words to their site in exchange for money or an item, SAY NO.
It is a violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and it looks spammy to your readers! I cringe to think back to my posts, and to those that knew what was going on – I wish somebody would have told me so I could have rectified the situation there and then, instead of finding out months later.
#tips 1:When you write a product review, you need to add two “do-follow: anchor text links about example(or example.com)and product names in this review article
We are always on the lookout for professional, high class sites to further promote our clients and when I came across your blog skinnedcartree.com. I was very impressed with the fan following that you have established.
I would like to submit an article as a guest author for your consideration and should you be open to the idea, I am also open to make suitable contribution, befitting to high standard of services that your blog offers to larger audience. All I ask in return is a dofollow link or two in the article body that will be relevant to your audience and the article.
The first quote is from an e-mail I received a few months ago. The website wanted to send me a small nail varnish in exchange for a review. This is when I first learnt about do-follow links. I had never heard of them before so I Googled it and read all about do-follow, and no-follow links. When and when to use them, how some companies paid for them, etc etc. The same as paying for anchor text links, this is also black hat SEO and a violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines.
The second quote is from an e-mail I received a few days ago. Clearly the ‘guest author’ is only after one thing – to improve their SEO. I have been getting tonnes of guest post offers lately, I don’t know if they are more common or it is because my blog is growing a bit – but do not let these type of e-mails make you think that they are doing a massive favour.
They don’t care about my blog. They don’t care about yours. They just want a link.
If you’re confused about nofollow and do follow links, then there is something I wrote on the forums about it:
Nofollow vs Dofollow links
Basically, if you have a lot of links to your website or blog, the higher the ‘page rank’ and the higher it will come up in a search engine. This means that if a company wants to get more traffic/sales, they want to be higher on a search engine for the products they sell or their niches.
Some companies/sites will pay other sites, or bloggers, to put their link on their site or in a post to build more back links, this, in turn, gives them a higher page rank and improves their SEO. Google doesn’t like this because it could mean a site that isn’t very good or has poor content will rank higher than a site that ‘deserves’ to be higher, so to speak. Having rubbish sites come up higher in searches could ruin Googles reputation. Therefore, a company that is found out by Google to be buying links can have their rank stripped, or their site removed from the database. As can the site/blogger who is advertising the paid for links.
This is why it is important to nofollow links to website that have sent you a product or payment for a review. It’s very easy to do this, here is how:
Just click the ‘add=nofollow’ box when you add a link in blogger.
If you don’t use blogger, you can use this code instead:
<a href=”http://linkexample.com” rel=”nofollow”>Your anchor text here.</a>
Making a link nofollow allows you to add a link that your readers can click on to view a site/product, without the creating a back link to improve a sites PR/SEO.
Not disclosing a paid/sponsored post.
Some websites or companies may ask you not to disclose to your audience that you were paid for a post, or were given some form of compensation.
This is because your readers may/can/will expect you to be a bit bias in a review or post in which you have been compensated for.
Not only is it the moral thing to do to give your readers the ‘bigger picture’, but it’s the law to disclose when you have been paid or have been given an item for review purposes.
Say no if a company wants you no to disclose this information.
I hope y’all found this information useful.
Have you had any similar experiences? Have you feel for any of these?
Why you should get paid for your blog posts.
How to run a blog competition.
How to Write a Blog Pitch.