Bloggers swapping ‘buttons’


In a blogging world filled with mommy bloggers, fashionistas and at-home chefs, one simple skill comes in handy for all types of bloggers: trading.

Regardless of a blog’s theme, whether it be cooking or showing pictures of your child dressed up in different outfits, trading “buttons” and making money on blogging is trending fast in the cyber world. Bloggers have started to “swap sponsors,” meaning they pay to advertise their website on other blogs through small pictures — usually of themselves, called buttons — that link back to their own website. Instead of being paid to host sponsors and vice versa, in some cases bloggers trade buttons for free advertising.

Ashley Sloan, a recent BYU graduate from Fort Collins, Colo., runs her lifestyle blog, “Sloanbook,” and recently started swapping sponsors. Sloan has been running her blog since 2009, and writes to document her and her husband’s life to look back on memories and keep an online journal. Through swapping sponsors, Sloan has received free advertising, services and products, including photoshoots and blog designs.

“I think the advantage of having sponsors is that I can help other businesses grow and promote their products, which is something I like to do as a business and marketing student, and getting perks,” Sloan said. “However, if you only want perks or money then you are not blogging for the right reasons, and will not have very good content.”

Megan Robinson, also a BYU graduate, is a popular mommy-blogger who documents her life with her husband and son on her website, “Here’s To You Mrs. Robinson.” Robinson has been blogging for four years, but did not start truly becoming interested in blogging until this past summer. Robinson said she has two main objectives for her blog, which are to keep a record of her family and to reach out and encourage other women in the blogging community.

Robinson began doing sponsor swaps a few months ago after being contacted by other bloggers. Being flattered, Robinson agreed and thought it would be a good way to break through as a writer in the blogging community. Robinson does not charge for sponsor space, but has found other ways to make money from her blog by joining advertising networks like BlogHer and SocialSpark. Robinson said she believes swap sponsors have several advantages, even if one doesn’t make money from them.

“You get to know a great community and network of women with like-minded interests and goals, and they quickly become your close friends,” Robinson said. “That is something that I have greatly enjoyed in working with my sponsors and I think it is honestly priceless, the relationships that I have made through my sponsorships.”

Elisabeth Gringeri, 21, a junior from New Hampshire studying international relations, began her blog “La Vita e Bella” over a year ago, and has documented her life and journey from being single to the time she got married this past summer, to her life as a present newlywed.

“It has to start small,” Gringeri said. “People start reading because they want to see wedding pictures, or hear newlywed updates, but then when I’m posting about my beliefs, or politics, or inspiration, they keep reading.”

Gringeri said she is just in the swapping stage of sponsors, and has not made any money yet. However, she did receive $40 worth of scrapbooking software in exchange for advertising the software on her blog.

“I love the software and now use it all the time,” Gringeri said. “It was exciting to have something tangible that I could tell people I’d gotten from blogging.”

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