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Boost Traffic and Trust by Giving Back

This is a guest post by Joshua Noerr of JoshuaNoerr.com.

It’s clear that social media, specifically blogging, is about so much more than making money. Sure, we all want to be compensated for our time and our talents, but if the only goal was to make money, blogging would certainly not be our first choice.

If you’ve been reading ProBlogger for any length of time, the message will be clear to you: blogging is not a get-rich-quick kind of deal. There are certainly a few stars that rose to prominence quickly, but they’re the exception, not the rule.

The truth is, blogging for dollars is a slow process that requires many different factors to click into place before it produces a dependable income. One of those key factors is trust. The bottom line here is that your readers absolutely must trust you in order to buy from you, or to subscribe to your feed or newsletter.

I remember reading a book on sales a few years ago that said, essentially, “The prospect does not have to like you, he or she just has to trust you.” I don’t know about you, but I can’t recall any time I’ve said, “Wow, I don’t like that guy, but I sure do trust him.” Likability and trustworthiness have a tendency to go hand in hand.

Give back to build trust

Giving selflessly is a very powerful way to build the trust that you need to boost your repeat visitor levels, and your traffic overall. I’m going to share with you a way to do exactly that, but first I want you to consider something.

Have you ever noticed that most large corporations have either a foundation established in their name, or a department that handles charitable giving on behalf of the company? Think about that. I could name ten corporations that do just that off the top of my head. Consider why they do it. If you answered “to build trust,” you’re right!

What I’m proposing is that you donate a small portion of your online real estate to a good cause.

I know that the thought of giving even a small portion of your sidebar to charity may seem painful at first. For many, that means less space for direct advertising or AdSense promotion. It might even mean removing a featured affiliate product.

What I promise you is that the trust you get in return, while impossible to place a dollar value on, will be worth it. The good that you do in the world will become a part of your legacy.

Get started giving

Head over to FirstGiving.com. This website sets up free donation pages for thousands of charities and non-profits. After you set up your giving page, you’ll be able to create a widget that displays the amount of money you’re trying to raise, the organization you’re supporting, and how far you’ve progressed in your fundraising.

Place this widget somewhere on your blog. Now, you’re almost done, but there’s still one more step.

I suggest that you announce what you’re doing, which charity or cause you’re supporting, and why you’re supporting them (if you would like to see an example, take a look at my post asking for help to cure multiple sclerosis).

Writing this post is key, because it’s highly likely that it will be Stumbled, Dugg, and Tweeted, drawing attention to the cause, as well as your blog.

I also recommend that you choose a charity that’s near and dear to your heart. I decided to support the MS Fund because I have a wonderful friend who struggles with the disease. I can’t wait for the day when this disease no longer affects so many people. I’m sure you have a similar story, and I encourage you to share it with your readers.

Can blogging change the world?

Blogging has already changed the world in so many ways. It has changed the way news is reported, the speed at which information travels, and the way we get that information.

But I believe it can do much more than that. I truly believe that with so many wonderful, giving people out there in the blogosphere, blogging will change the world for the better in the years to come.

Please share your thoughts in the comments. What other ways can we give back and make the world a better place through blogging? Is there an organization that fits perfectly into your niche that you would like to support?

Joshua Noerr is a former competitive fighter turned blogger. He owns, or is partnered in, several blogs in different niches including personal development and fly fishing. He has one simple mission that drives all of his blogs: to change the world.

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Comments

  1. What a great idea to draw attention to particular causes!

    I vocally support the SPCA on my site but this is another great way to help showcase what you’re really passionate about…and want to support in the future. Thanks for the headsup!

  2. Kacem Jlidi says:

    I defenetly can agree no more about the importance of giving back to build trust and strenghen the relationship/network.
    Thanks for the inspiration, you’re really making a positive change in this world!
    P.S. would appreiate similar articles regarding this subject (strenghening the network and building trust) Thanks!

  3. That’s a great post Joshua. I really liked the idea of charity. I don’t think losing few dollars for a wonderful feeling is bad. We are building trust and helping others too. This is win to win situation for all. Thanks for this wonderful idea. I would surely share it with others. :)

  4. Michelle says:

    My blog is dedicated to discussing social issues and ways to give back….but I love this idea because it gives me a way to take it up a notch! I think what it does is take a blogger past being the “preacher”, telling others how to do something or why to do something, and makes them become the “doer”, putting their words into action. I currently try to participate in at least one non-profit event per month and write a post-event article. But I love the idea of a running widget showing I am not only hitting the pavement to walk for causes, but I am taking some of my own money and donating to causes as well. It truly does take both – financial support plus personal action – to really make a difference in the community. Ideas are swirling in my head! Thank you for this great post!

  5. dotCOMreport says:

    Great post Joshua; when we give back, we are actually giving to ourselves. Thanks!

  6. Rusty says:

    Good advice, I first heard it suggested in the article below and it has proven a great way to receive by giving.

    http://www.dailyblogtips.com/how-to-change-the-world-with-your-blog-3-ideas/

  7. David Guion says:

    One of my blogs is explicitly Christian, and giving back to God is a core Christian principle. Thanks for so clearly explaining how I can give back right on my blogs. I have four of them, and I don’t suppose I have to put the same charity on all four.

  8. I think that adding something on your blog that can benefit a charity or a cause is a very noble thing to do. Apart from building trust…it’s just a really nice and selfless thing to do. I had never really considered it, but I definitely will now. I don’t know what charity to support, but I will look at the reference that is listed in the post. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I’m sorry but this is a boneheaded post. It’s played out too. There are enough do-gooders and cause marketing players out there. “Giving selflessly is a very powerful way to build the trust that you need to boost your repeat visitor levels, and your traffic overall.” You just described philanthropy as a traffic building tactic. I need a shower. Come on big companies have foundations because they have cash and bodies to support it and are all about building the brand not landing the next client.

  10. Well written!

    You had me sold on FirstGiving.com by the time I read the link. Your logical and coherent argument for the value in building trust and one concrete way to do so, which involves giving back, is extremely compelling.

    Thanks!

  11. David Robert Hogg says:

    I hope readers of this post adopt a charity close to their heart and do their best to change the world and make it a better place to live.

    Good luck to everyone moved and inspired by this post.

  12. Excellent idea. Over the past few weeks I’ve been turning my wheels trying to think of a way that I can give through my online presence, even if only a small amount or by way of advertising for someone else.

    Not only is this a great idea, but it’s a way to find small organizations to promote. My personal causes are addiction, homelessness, and hunger. Some day I hope that people will fund raise for addiction like they do breast cancer. Addiction, a medical disease, kills more people than most of those well funded diseases combined, but is ignored like a plague. So, you’re right, it’s going to take blogging to change the world. Education is in these words.

    Thanks again!

  13. What a great idea for business reasons and personal ones. Never even thought of it before. Gonna do it. Thank you for spelling out the steps because I would not have a clue otherwise.

  14. Too many guest posts these days.

  15. Ramona says:

    I do belive we should give back to the society because we want to, not as another trick to increase blog popularity. It’s true that this also helps the blog, but the main reason should be more “humane” ;)

  16. This can be a good idea, if it feels inspired to you. Sometimes, though, I think the giving is as simple as one connection with one other person. One post that makes one difference to one person. One ripple can go so very far.

  17. Sleepless says:

    Sorry, but is this not kind of selfish?

    Displaying a widget for a charity is certainly great but it does not cost you anything. Bloggers doing it somehow reduce their income but they do not give money. This sounds like “look at me, I’m doing something good, so please now like me”.

    I prefer to invest more of my time to help fellow bloggers or readers. You can help products from your niche that are starting with discount or free advertisement. I also like to invite new bloggers to post on my blog to help them start their blogs.

    One thing I would however consider is to support a charity related to the niche I’m blogging in, if I can find one. This is easy for some of my blogs, but for my blog about blogging, I’m not sure.

    Do you know any charity supporting bloggers?

  18. Kristy says:

    Blogging is a great way to raise awareness about an issue! On my site, I’m connecting a group of bloggers to blog together on Dec 6 to raise awareness about violence against women (more info: http://www.weeman.ca/p/one-wee-voice.html) It’s been really exciting connecting with people over a meaningful cause. Adding a donation link would be great, too. I hadn’t thought of that, so thanks for the idea!

  19. Amy says:

    I am stunned by some of these comments. The point I think Joshua was trying to make is that you can help yourself — and help others at the same time. Is there any possible harm in that? While ‘charity’ may imply that you get nothing in return…what if you are doing something you were going to do anyway (blogging) but simply create a charitable component as well. A dollar is a dollar to those who need it.

    I’m with you Joshua. From the beginning, the ParmFarm has featured ‘Give A Listen’ — interviews that are fundraisers for the guest’s non-profit of choice. It’s a win-win. Who could argue with that.

    Amy Parmenter

  20. I think tis is a wonderful idea, especially around the holidays!

  21. Hi Joshua,
    I agree with @Amy’s response to some of your distractors – blogging and raising awareness is a “win-win” for both the blogger, and the nonprofit. But also for the audience, which gets to learn a bit more about the blogger (always a good thing to connect personally) and the cause (or nonprofit organization). It can boost traffic for the nonprofit organization, which is also a great outcome.

    I loved @Kristy’s experience of getting a group of bloggers together to blog for a cause – that is the concept behind Blog Action Day every October and it really does raise awareness.

    Thanks so much for choosing to use FirstGiving as your online fundraising platform. We know you’re going to meet your goal of $10,000 towards a cure for MS! If you have any questions, or we can be of any assistance, let us know. Meanwhile, we’ll be here rooting for you!

    Debra Askanase
    Community Engagement Manager
    FirstGiving
    @firstgiving, @askdebra

  22. Amy,

    my point was not to say that giving is bad, and you’re right that to some point a dollar is a dollar.

    But I prefer to give with the idea in mind to help the charity I’m giving to. I don’t want to give only because it is in my own interest and building my image.

  23. Joshua Noerr says:

    @sleepless

    The only charity I know of that supports bloggers is Adsense ; )

    Seriously though, I understand your concern. All I am saying is this type of outreach is a win win win for you, and the cause you support, and your readers.

  24. what a truly great idea and I would say that the more bloggers who take this advice the better..opened my mind for sure and I will dif try and ad a charity box to my site

  25. Marcie Hill says:

    This is right on time because I was actually considering this for next year. Thanks!

  26. A.Sands says:

    Wonderful Idea. Raising money for a great cause and generating traffic to your blog at the same time. I am new to blogging and your site is a great source for information. Thanks.

  27. My blog is first and foremost about helping people avoiding mental, emotional and physical distress. I have been thru this and want to help others avoid it or navigate thru it. Eventually I would like to make some money, and create some of my own support products, but if I never do, I am still giving in the way I feel called to do.
    I would love to be able to support myself from my blog eventually, but my first calling is to help people.
    I am hoping that if I can keep this in balance, all else will work out in the end.
    Bernice
    http://livingthebalancedlife.com/2010/think-of-someone-other-than-yourself/

  28. Michigan denying firing Rich Rodriguez. What the hell is going on in Ann Arbor?? Quit playin games with my heart. GOBlue