Blogging Awards: Do They Work?

When WordPress first introduced a blogging award on one of its early online blogging courses, I thought it was one of the best ideas they’d come up with.

Blogging Awards – Do they work?

Not only was it a way of introducing student bloggers to each other, but also to the wider blogging community. For most of those who participated, they helped gain more followers, more ‘likes’ and more comments. 

If like me you remember ‘chain letters’, blogging awards work in much the same manner. 

Should we accept blogging awards if they come with demands?

I remember how delighted I was when I got a comment informing me that my blog had been nominated to receive an award. 

Given that I’d only been blogging for a few months, that comment produced a big smile on my face. I spent the next few hours telling everyone I knew that my blog had already been nominated for a blogging award. 

Now faced with a list of demands (as I saw it) of what I had to do if I wanted to accept the award, I duly wrote my post. This involved answering lots of questions, mentioning and linking back to the blogger who had nominated me, and nominating another 15 bloggers for the award.

Weeks after that first award post was published, I was delighted with the results it had produced. Not only had the award nomination gained my blog lots of new followers, but it had boosted my confidence in becoming a blogger. 

The whole process had been fun to do. People got to know more about me from the questions being asked. My blog stats rocketed and, most importantly of all, I was able to pass on the good fortune of the award nomination to other bloggers.

The snowball effect

Of course, more followers meant more comments. More followers also meant more awards, but these were different from the first award I’d been nominated for. 

I asked myself if bloggers were now making up their own awards and whether or not it was a good thing. 

As the award nominations came in, my writing time started to get swallowed up with writing posts and answering questions about nothing else but accepting blogging awards.

New award nominations were popping up in my email box, daily. As the whole thing snowballed, they started to become more of a problem, rather than of help to me. 

Please make no mistake about it, blogging awards are a great way to promote new bloggers and put them in touch with lots of other bloggers. They can help build up blogging communities and put you in front of brand new audiences, but they do come with a downside.

Should bloggers invent new blogging awards?  

I even went as far as to invent my own award – ‘The Mildred Awards’ which, at the time, went on to become one of my most viewed and commented-on blog posts. 

In the early days of blogging, these awards can propel both you and your blog, but be careful in allowing them to take over your blog.

Ask yourself if your readers are beginning to get fed up with reading post after post about awards you’ve been nominated for. Are the people you’re passing on the awards to getting fed up with being nominated by you all the time? 

Are you passing on awards between each other by nominating the same bloggers all the time? Does that look good? Or do you do it because you don’t want to upset anybody?  

When I started getting behind with accepting awards, I began to panic. 

What would people think if I didn’t accept their award? Would I start to lose followers because I wasn’t passing the award on? Would people stop nominating my blog for awards?

How a milestone helped.

In February 2015 (on the first anniversary of my blog) I decided it was time for my blog to go award-free. I’d seen other bloggers do the same thing, and I knew it was time for me to accept that blogging awards had done their job for me and my blog. It was time for my blog to move on. 

I wrote and published The ‘Mildred Awards’ post and made the announcement that my blog was now ‘award-free.’

I can’t tell you just how good that made me feel. I felt as if I’d taken a huge weight off my shoulders. After all, I had come to the world of blogging to write about anything I felt like writing about – not just about awards. 

However, that did not stop the award nominations from coming in. 

How to deal with bloggers who keep nominating you for awards when your blog is award-free.

Of course, I thanked people for nominating me and informed them that my blog had gone ‘award-free.’ Most were happy with my decision, but there were a few who saw it as a bit of an insult that I was not accepting their nomination. One blogger even went as far as to say that they were really disappointed that I was not taking the award and that they were unfollowing my blog!

That was a tough conversation, but I also saw that I was partly to blame. Why? Well, although I’d announced in February 2015 that my blog was now award-free, there was nothing else on my blog stating my decision. 

How could I possibly expect anyone (having not read the ‘Mildred Awards. post) to know my blog was now award-free?

You’ll see it on my widget bar to the right of this post. (Scroll down to see it). It hasn’t stopped award nominations coming in, but it has drastically cut them.

Do blogging awards work?

Yes, they do. However, I believe they have their time and place in the blogging world, and my advice is to let them go once they have done their work in establishing both you and your blog. Do you agree?

How to award bloggers without nominating them for an award. 

There are many other ways bloggers can reward each other. For example, visiting blogs and reading posts on a regular basis.

However, for me, the best award is leaving good meaningful comments on each other’s blog posts. You don’t need to do this on every single blog post you read. One good meaningful comment every once in a while is far better than no comments or lots of short comments that don’t really say much.

Instead of leaving comments such as ‘Great Post, ‘Great Tips’, ‘Great story’ or ‘Well done,’ write a few sentences saying why you thought it was a great post or such a good read.

What was it about the post that stood out for you?

What is it about the post that makes it such a ‘good post’?

Which tips did you enjoy the most, and why? Have you tried any of the tips out? Do you have any new ones you can add?

Leave a comment that gives the writer more reply options other than just being able to reply ‘Thank you.”

I believe this is one of the best awards you can give other bloggers. Do you agree? 

The kind of comments you leave on other blog posts act as an indication of who you are, what kind of blogger you are, and whether or not your blog is worth checking out and following.

Hugh W. Roberts – February 2015

Is there anything you particularly like or dislike about blogging awards? Have they worked for you? Have you ever accepted them? If not, why not? Do you get fed up with seeing award after award posts on a blog? I’d love to know your thoughts. Join in the debate by leaving your comments in the comments section.

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148 thoughts on “Blogging Awards: Do They Work?

  1. I was nominated for a couple of blog awards at my early stage of blogging. But I politely declined them because I felt I didn’t deserve them. It was too early, I thought.

    I would probably accept an offline award if I happen to get it.

    1. They were nominations, and the purposes of those awards (which are not real) are for bloggers to expand their horizons and engage with other bloggers. These nominations are fun to participate in during the first year of blogging, but they can become an overburden and cause lots of work. The fun element of them soon goes. I had great success with them initially but decided to go ‘Award Free’ after the first year as I felt they had done their job.

    1. That’s a great way of informing readers you don’t accept awards.

      During my early days of blogging, these awards helped me immensely. But I understand why you feel they are glorified chain letters. That’s what I decided for my blog to go ‘award free.’ They’d done their job, and it was time to move on.

  2. Good, useful, and interesting advice. I have often wondered what ‘award free blog’ meant – and now I know! I have never been nominated for an award, but it takes me ages to compose most articles and I already don’t visit other sites and leave comments as often as I’d like to. So the idea of entering some kind of game doesn’t appeal at all – though more followers are always welcome, of course!

    1. Participating in blog awards is a great way to get to know other bloggers and grow your follower list during the first year of your blogging journey, but after that, the appeal seems to dwindle. It can be a lot of hard work, but it pays off if you’re happy to join in with the nominating process. I had great success with it but knew when it was time to stop.

  3. This is useful and the comments are a good read too. Thanks for sharing. I’m relatively new to blogging so didn’t understand how this worked. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you. The comments can often be as good as the blog post itself. It’s one of the reasons why I always read the comments on blog posts. They often give me new ideas of what to write about.

  4. Linda told me to come here and ask for your help with my blog when I need to find new hosting or something, not sure exactly.
    Instead I read your posts.
    I don’t know what I think about awards. I think they are a nice way of recognizing someone. I don’t mind reading blog award posts, I only don’t like it, when, thinking of someone specific, there is an award post every month or so.

    I didn’t accept awards on my reasons to live blog for I felt the blog was about reasons to live and awards would take away from that. In theory I would on this blog – journey to life. I don’t usually because I haven’t in a while. A few people have tagged me but I didn’t answer and I wouldn’t want to insult people who I’m not tagging. Although when I’m writing this I’m thinking that maybe I could do it. Answer the questions and tag bloggers who I don’t know at all. Coz then it’s not an insult to anyone. I don’t really have many blogging people. There are a few people who we’ll read each others posts. I didn’t find awards helped me expand my blogging community but maybe that is just me.

    Re commenting, I only write long comments if I have what to say. And I always feel guilty for it like I’m rambling and taking away from the bloggers blog. I think if the only thing the commenter ever says is nice post it’s meaningless. If, however, you know the person reads all you write and they say on a post they like it, or send hugs, then it means something, at least, I hope it does!!! For I definitely mean a lot with my short comments and won’t comment or say something unless I really mean it.

    Love, light, and glitter to you.

    1. Thank you for coming over to my blog on the advice of Linda, Eliza.

      Nobody is under any obligation to accept the award nominations (and remember, they’re nominations, not actually awards). However, I always thank those who nominated me and tell them that my blog is now award-free. Since I put up the ‘award-free’ notification on my blog, I’ve had a lot fewer nominations coming in. During my early years of blogging, participating in the award nominations did help me increase my followers and find new blogs to follow. However, I knew the point at which I had to stop accepting nominations as they were becoming more of a problem than of any benefit to me.

      Re: leaving comments on blogs – you’re absolutely right that leaving long detailed comments are far more beneficial than leaving a comment that just says ‘great post’ or ‘nice photo.’ They don’t add any value making it almost impossible to strike up a discussion with comments like those. It’s far better just hitting the ‘like’ button than leaving worthless comments (although I now only ‘like’ a post if I’ve left a comment).

      1. Why can’t I click on the comment?? Long comments are beneficial but not always necessary.
        Do people even look at who liked their posts??? I don’t. Well, on occasion I do, but mostly not. Although, I do know some who usually ‘likes’ my posts because you see the names enough. It doesn’t really mean anything. I do ‘like’ posts, when I like them and don’t necessarily have anything to say.

        Love, light, and glitter

        1. ‘Click on the comment?’ I’m not sure what you mean by that?

          No, I never look at who has ‘liked’ one of my posts or the posts of other bloggers. And I always see the same people ‘liking’ posts across the whole blogosphere. How can they have managed to have read so many blog posts in such a short space of time and, in some cases, have left comments on all those posts too? They either have nothing else to do or are pressing ‘like’ without reading most of the posts.

        2. The former. I’d hope the former!

          I hope you are doing okay wherever you are… take care of yourself…

          Love, light, and glitter

  5. Sorry if this is a duplicate comment. WordPress is being foul with me.
    When I was new to blogging back when pterodactyls filled the skies, I very eagerly participated in blogging awards, being quite excited to receive them. “Someone likes what I’m writing!” I said excitedly.
    However, the bloom came off the rose fairly quickly.
    I had people get really nasty with me for giving them blogging awards, telling me not to annoy them with that crap. I genuinely didn’t know I was doing anything wrong and felt really hurt.
    I found receiving blogging awards to be more stressful than enjoyable. Fortunately, they don’t come up very often anymore, but if they do, I decline them politely. Honestly, there’s no reason to be nasty about it as some people are.

    1. I agree, Cara. I can’t understand why anybody would want to be nasty about being nominated for one of these awards. I always thank anybody who nominates me and polity turn down the nomination because my blog is now award-free. When I first started to blog, these nominations helped me in getting more followers and visitors to my blog. They did the work they were supposed to do. They also put many great blogs in front of me, many of whom I still follow.

      Thank you so much for leaving your thoughts on this subject and joining the debate.

  6. In my early days as a blogger I too was chuffed to be nominated for an award – it made me feel that I’d been accepted into the club as it were. But then I began to question how much value they had because they just felt more and more like those awful chain letters. So I just stopped participating.
    Last year I was contacted by a company in Germany to say I’d received an award. I have no idea why they picked me – the email didn’t say. Nor can I find any linkage between books and their business. Most odd

    1. That last award notification you received sounds very much like spam or even a phishing email. I’ve had similar, and after contacting them, they usually want some money upfront or want your bank account and passport details. Unless I’m absolutely sure of something, I now mark those types of emails as spam.

  7. Hi Hugh,
    Your interesting post reminds me of my early days of blogging when I was nominated for awards. One of them, I think the Sunshine Award, nominates bloggers from “small blogs” consisting of less than 200 followers.
    Like you, I was over the moon euphoric. I was a new blogger and receiving this kind of accolade meant the world. I did not realize there were no winners. All nominees are considered winners.
    Only that one time did I nominate people and one person, to my surprise, turned down my nomination. I’m not surprised now.
    Subsequently, I did not nominate anyone. It feels like an imposition just like I felt imposed on having to find 15 people to agree. I don’t remember it blowing up my following as you reported. Maybe it did have that effect and I never made the connection.
    It’s exciting to be nominated but it does have a downside as well, as you shared.

    1. I agree, Janice. I firmly believe that these awards have their time and place in the blogging world. They’re far more of a free marketing tool than an award themselves. However, it seems for many of us, they did exactly as they said they would on the tin.

  8. I’ll have to agree that blogger awards are a good way to push new bloggers forward, but I doubt new bloggers know how to go about getting nominated. Are there any other ways where bloggers can engage with the community as a whole and be able to push their posts forward to gain more visibility?

    1. You don’t need to be nominated to participate in these awards. As many have said in their comments, they leave nominating other bloggers to open so that anybody can join in. It’s just a case of finding those posts. However, given how many who have left comments and who leave nominating open, I’m sure new bloggers will come across a few.

      In answer to your question, yes there is. A few other ways where bloggers can engage with the community as a whole and be able to push their posts forward to gain more visibility are to participate in blogging challenges (writing or photography, and join blog link parties (where bloggers are invited to leave links to their posts). Both of these methods have always worked well for me. However, the best method is to read blog posts and leave good meaningful comments. That’s a sure way of getting noticed (but only if the comments being left add value to the post). I have a rule that I’ll only leave a comment if it’s at least two sentences long.

  9. Visiting again to say thanks so much for linking up with me at my #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 10, open March 1 to 26. All entries shared on social media if share buttons installed. I invite you to my Themed Linkup 12 for Crock Pot and Instant Pot Recipes, open February 28 to March 10 if you have any appropriate posts. Won’t you join me at my Short Story Prompt Party for fun and creativity? Open March 2 to 9. Just start typing, see what you come up with! Remember, no story is too short! The prompt is: I woke from a long nap to see…

  10. Hugh,
    I love how you have explored this love and hate relationship of blogging awards.
    It is time-consuming to take part in anything that is valuable. It is such a thrill for a new blogger to receive these nominations and awards. But after a while, like growing up, you learn better. It is already time-consuming to run a successful website. Even a bogging/writerpreneurship/content creation business. Besides all the smart work of content marketing – even if you have a team!
    When running the business full time, you may slot time to run these promotions. It drives massive traffic to your website – agreed. But you end up spreading yourself so thin. If you find balance, and it works for you, it would be an awesome way to gain more eyeballs to your content. The question is, what is the actual ROI?
    (smiling emoji!).
    Remarkable insight!
    I have scheduled this post to share and syndicate in other platforms.

    1. One of the biggest problems I encounter both here in the blogging world and in the world of social media are people who spread themselves too thinly. It’s a sure way of becoming a victim of bloggers’ burnout, Hazlo. Finding that right balance can be hard to do, plus that balance often shifts. However, anybody who finds blogging is becoming too much of a chore or too stressful needs to take a step back and make changes to the way they blog. I remember being told that to be successful on social media that I had to be active on all the various social media platforms. You can imagine just how much I was spreading myself out by doing that. Now, I concentrate on three social media accounts and have been become far more successful on them.

      Thanks so much for joining the debate, Hazlo.

  11. I’ve not seen so much of these lately; perhaps people are getting fed up with them. They do seem a little like navel-gazing, but when I was nominated and responded I found it a good way of seeing which of those bloggers I followed (and had nominated) actually read my blog.

    1. Same here, Cathy, I have seen a decline in these awards posts. I think they do the rounds and usually end up coming back into some blogging communities I follow. At the time, I had fun participating in them, but they soon lost their fun factor and became more of a chore. However, they did what they said they would do on the tin.

  12. Interesting timing of this post for me, as I have just received my 3rd bloggers award in as many weeks. While I find it flattering, and I am so pleased people read my blog and think it is ‘worthy’ of such accolades, I am now starting to feel the pressure or passing it on and of course the obligatory post that comes with it. I am currently on a year’s sabbatical and trying my best to relax and unwind, something that extra pressure in the form of ‘must do’ posts doesn’t really help with. I will think about the Award Free Blog as an option – I think it would be a huge relief for me. Have shared this post on Twitter, found you on B.O.S.S 🙂

    1. As soon as these awards become a chore or you start to feel pressured by then, I’d say that is the time to step back and think about them. You’re under no obligations at all to accept the nomination (and remember it’s not actually an award you’re getting, just a nomination). Of course, do thank the people who have nominated you, but these awards are really a marketing tool that was first created by WordPress to help new bloggers get more followers and meet other bloggers. They do have their time and place, but once the fun goes out of them, it’s time to stop accepting them and go ‘award-free.’ I guarantee that many have gone down the ‘award-free’ route before you and are still blogging. I’d recommend removing that pressure from your blogging life and to continue to do what you wanted to do when you first decided to blog.
      Good luck.

  13. Hi Hugh, I’m a relative newbie and have been nominated for a few awards, the last one I’ve just completed and will post later today. I have enjoyed them all as the questions and answers often made me smile, giggle and generally get to know fellow bloggers a bit better.

    However, I do think I’m all awarded out as 1. it’s so difficult selecting blogs to nominate – I appreciate all the blogs I read and 2. I find it difficult to keep coming up with new questions. I hope I don’t sound mean or ungrateful.

    I might need your expertise later in trying to go Award Free 🙂

    1. Not at all, Caz. These awards are actually a marketing tool (WordPress invented the very first one) with no award actually attached to them, which help new bloggers gain followers and meet fellow bloggers. They usually work well but have their time and place in the blogging world. As soon as they start becoming a chore, it’s time to move on from them. Going ‘award-free’ is easy to do, although a blogger who goes down that route should inform their readers and display an image which visitors can see. I think it only polite to do that.

  14. Dear Hugh, I read, re-read, visited and returned multiple times to read all the comments on this post. WOW, what a lively and awesome debate on this post you have.
    As always you come up with the most incredible and best posts and it always generates wonderful interaction and comments. Your post, as well as the comments, are all so useful and always get me thinking about what I do and have to do regarding my blog.
    My two cents on “How to award bloggers without nominating them for an award” As many others already mentioned: Meaningful comments are the best of all. BUT, as I run a number of options like this one where you left your link for bloggers to participate, I love to promote bloggers, and when anyone participates in these link-ups this to me is an award in itself. Thank you for your continued support.

    1. Thank you for your lovely comments about this post as well as some of my other posts, Esme.

      I think the comment section of a blog post can sometimes be just as interesting as the blog post itself.

      I’ve always enjoyed writing and publishing blog posts that get readers wanting to add their thoughts or comments. There’s nothing like a good debate. Not only do I enjoy the interaction, but I always try and go back with a response that doesn’t make me look as if I’m cutting off the person who left the comment. Of course, it does depend on the type of comment that is left. That’s why whenever I leave a comment on a blog post, I always try and leave a comment that gives the author of the post lots of options as to how they can respond. I try and keep away from leaving a response to a comment such as ‘Thank you.’ It feels like I’ve bought the conversation to an end whenever I’ve responded like that.

      1. Hugh, I totally agree with you, as a ‘thank you”, lovely post etc tells me that the commenter may not in fact read the post and its mere a way to say I was here and that’s it. I true and meaningful comment does not have to be a post in itself, but need to reflect and talk back to the poster about what they post and give insight and be helpful/. I truly look up to you as a mentor and learn a lot from your posts. As for awards, yes I have also received a hand full the beginning of the year and have not had time to respond to them due to limited time as I am still working full time and basically have an hour or two at the most in the evening and weekends to work on my blog, and I must admit that I am now in two minds. I may respond to these not done as yet, and then call it quits.

        1. Hi Esmé, thanks for your reply to my first response.

          Remember that you’re under no obligations at all to accept these nominations (and remember it’s not actually an award you’re getting, just a nomination). Of course, do thank the people who have nominated you, but these awards are really a marketing tool that was first created by WordPress to help new bloggers get more followers and meet other bloggers. They do have their time and place. If you feel under any sort of pressure to accept them, then I’d recommend you step back and have a think about whether you think participating in them would be of any benefit.

          Given that you’ve been blogging for some time and are already established as a blogger, unless you think they will be fun to do, I’d step back and use the precious time you have to write other stuff. Of course, that’s the way I look at it. You may feel completely different.

        2. Thanks Hugh. I have already committed to the last one, so I think that will be my very last one for sure. Thanks for showing me the way once again.

  15. I agree with you Hugh and I have the same sign on my blog home page (got the idea from another blogger). I did not accept the first award because it said to nominate your favorite bloggers by doing a post on your own site. First, my blog is about walking, and though I sometimes go off topic, I did not want to put the Q&A out there as a post, and also, I felt it was wrong to have to choose from the group of bloggers I follow and that follow me and say “these are my favorites” … so I wrote back the blogger and gave these as my reasons but thanked them for the nomination. I did that a few more times times, then put the sign on there, but probably I should put it higher up on my widgets. I left the awards on my home page because I felt conflicted like it was a slap in the face to ignore it. Still haven’t decided whether I should leave those award “up” if it is an “award-free zone”.

    1. I have long since deleted the award posts I wrote when I was nominated for these awards, Linda. To be honest, I can’t even remember who I nominated when I passed on some of the nominations, so I think you’d be safe in taking those awards down.

      If you’re no longer getting nominations, then leave your ‘award free’ image where it is. However, if they become a problem, that’s the sign to move the image so that visitors to your blog can see it. I have my ‘award-free’ image someway down the widget bar on my blog, but it seems to work.

      1. Thank you for suggestions as usual Hugh. I had to respond to this as I was in a quandary and didn’t want to insult anyone, but that is how I gave myself the wiggle room, but saying I didn’t want to exclude anyone from my “picks”.

  16. I stopped doing them a long time ago, Hugh. Like yourself, I was excited about them at first… They become too repetitive and meaningless after a while… Okay for newbies to become recognised though.

  17. Oh what a post. I accepted two awards early on in my blogging journey because I didn’t know better. Then I saw someone not accepting then I realised I didn’t have too.

    I think blogging awards are lovely. But I think as you say “your comments are my award”. I think awards are hard to do, select bloggers and questions. It creates a community spirit. But everyone on is a friendly bunch anyways.

    I am award free, but I think I have said no so many times no one bothers to ask…eek.. actually it is fine

    1. There is no obligation to accept any blogging award notifications, although some bloggers can become a little upset if you don’t accept the one they are offering you. However, I do recommend new bloggers to accept one or two of these awards as they usually do bring in more visitors and followers. Don’t allow them to overwhelm you, though. Once they become a chore, it’s time to stop accepting them and to move on.

  18. Spot on as usual Hugh, the whole Blogging Awards business is complicated merry-go-round often between the same group of bloggers. Like you we had so many awards in our early days and it did boost confidence as you felt like you were getting noticed and outperforming competitors. I’m not sure any of the awards gained us more followers or hits or comments though. So like you we no longer accept of get involved but I do see how important awards are to new bloggers.

    1. Sorry to hear participating in these types of awards didn’t increase visitor numbers, Jonno. I guess they won’t work for everyone, but it’s also clear (from other comments) that not everyone will participate in these types of awards. I do see a lot less of these kinds of award nomination posts now, so it could be that they’ve had their day.

      Thank you for adding to the discussion.

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