Everyone hates spam. It wastes time. It wastes energy. It wastes space in your inbox. The very worst spam can even compromise your computer, bank account, or social media. That's why it pains me to see a lot of fashion bloggers turning to spam themselves. When you're new to the blogging scene, it can be hard to tell what's okay and what's not. After all, you're learning a lot just from watching what others are doing, and if other people are spamming, then spam can start to seem normal to you too. However, spam is absolutely not the way to go, and spamming others can definitely harm your blog for the long-term.
So how can you tell if you're becoming a spammer? Well, do you do one of these three things?
- You leave your url in the comments section of other blogs. In fact, you can't make a comment without copying and pasting your URL at the end. That's spam. Most blogs allow you to enter your name and website URL as you're posting a comment, and that's really all you need. If someone's interested in what you have to say, they'll click through that link and check out your blog. However, putting your url at the end of the comment immediately makes the comment seem disingenuous (i.e. less genuine) and like you're just interested in just getting a backlink as opposed to actually engaging with the site (this is especially true if your comment is just “Great blog!” followed by your link). And just in case you've read somewhere that leaving your url in the comments section of dozens of blogs will improve your SEO…it won't. Most links in a blogger's comment section are “nofollow,” which means your site gets no SEO benefit from it. You're better off only commenting on the blogs you're genuinely interested in, and even then, only if you have something to say.
- You send e-mails to random bloggers asking them to link exchange with you. Don't do that. I'm serious. The days of reciprocal link exchanges as a quick and easy way to get ahead in the search engines are long over. Not only that, but the average well-established blogger will simply not want to exchange links with you. There's just nothing in it for them. Even worse, if your link profile starts to look artificial from too many link exchanges, Google will actually devalue your website in the search engines…the exact opposite of what you want to happen! If you're wanting backlinks that stand the test of time and actually lead to more visitors and better SEO, consider doing guest posts for bloggers you like. You'll reach a new audience, get organic backlinks (search engines love those), and be helping another blogger out.
- You tweet at random bloggers asking them to promote your giveaway and/or you leave your url on other bloggers Facebook pages. Unless you've been invited to promote yourself, don't. Other bloggers are not a means to an end for your competition, your Facebook page, or your page views. No one likes feeling used. No one likes being 1 of 100 other people you sent an identical tweet or Facebook status update to. No one likes it when your very first interaction with them is to ask for a favor. Personally, I automatically block people who send spammy tweets to me, and I ban people who leave spam on my Facebook page. I also know I'm not the only blogger who does so. Don't ruin your chances of building a relationship with a blogger or brand by making your first very contact with them a spammy one.
When I've told other bloggers they're actually spamming, their first reaction is usually a defensive one. “But aren't bloggers supposed to help each other out?” many of them say. “I just want to spread the word about my awesome blog/giveaway/article!” Yes, bloggers should want to help each other out, and yes, maybe you do have an awesome blog. But the way you approach people matters. Focus on relationship building first; make sure that first interaction is always a positive one. E-mail bloggers you enjoy just to say you like what you're doing. Retweet an article from a blogger to you like to your own followers. Do those things without asking for a favor or expecting reciprocation. Why? Because when you show a genuine interest in other people (as opposed to just seeing them as a way to boost your own blog), people will show a genuine interest in you.
At the end of day, all spammers have one thing in common: they want quick and easy results. Spam is just a numbers game; if you post your url to a 100 blogs, at least a few of the people who see it will click on you. But it's not scalable, and it doesn't foster the kind of goodwill you need to make it as a fashion blogger. Remember that nobody likes a spammer. At best, you simply look unprofessional; at worst, you'll end potential relationships before they even start. It may take more time and more energy to do things the right way, but it's the only way to get long-term results.
What do you think of spammers? Have you ever spammed before? Let's get a conversation going in the comments.
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