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Isn’t It Lovely: Understanding Blog Awards

You’ve probably seen these blog awards on your travels through the blogosphere. What are they, how do you get them, and what do they mean?

As you explore the blogging community, you’ve probably seen bloggers whose sidebars are filled with awards. Maybe you’ve even gotten one of these yourself:

award collage

There are dozens of awards circulating in the blogosphere. Where do they come from? How do you get one? What’s the point? Today, we demystify the world of blog awards with our award FAQ.

Who creates these awards?

There are vote-based programs like the Bloggies, but most of the awards that you get directly from other bloggers, like the “Sunshine Award” or “Versatile Blogger Award,” are created, maintained, and handed out by bloggers. That is, bloggers began them as a way to recognize other bloggers, and the community perpetuates them by continuing to hand them out.

Unlike the automated notifications and trophies you may sometimes receive when you see a spike in traffic or get a certain number of likes, these awards don’t come from WordPress.com — they come from you.

What do they represent?

The best of all possible awards? Maybe.

The best of all possible awards? Maybe.

At their foundation, they’re a way to recognize and support blogs beyond following, commenting, or liking. When someone gives you an award, it’s their way of saying, “Your blog is so wonderful that everyone should read it!”

Some awards also have more specific criteria. For example, the Liebster Award and One Lovely Blog Awards are for new blogs and/or those with fewer than 200 followers, and are meant to motivate newcomers to the blogging community. The WordPress Family Award is for other blogs built on WordPress, and the Versatile Blog Award recognizes bloggers who post on unique subjects.

Most awards have standard explanations and instructions; the blogger who gives you the award will likely have posted these on their blog for you to see.

Is there a nomination or voting process?

Not really, no. You’ll often see bloggers posting about awards and “nominating” other bloggers, but in this case “nominating” means the same thing as “giving” — there’s no real nomination process, and no voting at all. If another blogger wants to give you an award, they simply post about it.

How do I know if I’ve received an award?

Awards are announced via a blog post; the person giving you the award will publish a post listing all the bloggers they’re “nominating,” often with a short description of the nominated blogs and what’s great about them. You’ll typically find out in one of two ways:

  • Pingbacks. If you have pingbacks enabled on your blog and the nominating blogger links directly to one of your posts, you’ll get a pingback. Pingbacks appear with your comments, and look like this:
pingback
  • A comment. Often, the nominating blogger will visit your blog and leave a comment on one of your posts or pages letting you know about the nomination.

Rarely, you won’t get a notification at all, but may notice that you’re getting increased blog traffic from a particular site. You can track this in the “referrers” section of your stats.

Do the awards have requirements?

Most awards ask you to do one of three things (some require two; some, all three):

  • Tell readers something about yourself. Often, awards require that you post a certain number of facts about yourself, or that you respond to a set of questions.
  • Pass the award along to other bloggers. Some specify a number; others are open-ended.
  • Display an award badge on your blog. You can put the badge in a widget in a sidebar or footer.

Bloggers will typically do the first two in the same post. Jim’s post lists seven facts about himself and nominates seven other bloggers, one of whom is Sally. Sally then posts on her own blog, listing seven facts about herself and nominating seven other blogs, one of whom is Vito. Vito then posts on his own blog, and so it goes — like a virtual chain letter.

How do I add an award badge to my blog?

You can display an award badge with either a text or an image widget. Often, the nominating blog will pass along the code needed for a text widget, and you can just copy and paste it into a widget of your own. Otherwise, you can save the badge image to your computer (right-click on the image and select “Save Image” from the options that appear), upload it to your blog’s media library, and insert it into an image widget.

Do I have to accept an award if I’m nominated?

Nope! These are all voluntary programs. There are many bloggers who prefer not to accept awards, either because they don’t want to add the badge to their blog or don’t want to publish a post about it.

If you’ve been nominated but would rather not participate, you can simply ignore the nomination. I don’t participate in award programs on my personal blogs, and a polite “I appreciate the recognition, but I don’t participate in blog awards” has never met with a bad response. (And that way, the person nominating me can choose to nominate another, more receptive blogger instead.)

Are there benefits to awards? Downsides?

Awards do a few good things. First, they introduce your blog to new readers — since the person nominating you is personally recommending your blog, their readers are likely to check you out. They also create incoming links to your site, which is something sites like Google look at when calculating your search engine ranking.

There can be cons as well: you might not want the other blog linking to you (and Google rankings also look at things like link quality, so you might be concerned that the link isn’t actually helping you). An award post might be out of place on your blog, especially if you blog with a specific focus. It’s also easy to let awards run amok; blogs with endless sidebars of award badges and constant award posts can look like little bloggy award-factories.

Still, for many bloggers, the perks outweigh the downsides. Most of us just want to know that someone else is paying attention, and being nominated for an award is solid proof of that.

Can I make up my own award?

Sure! There’s no guarantee that your award will start making the rounds, but you can certainly create an award or badge of your own to highlight bloggers you love. And you never know; the award you create could become the next Liebster!

Any other questions? Let us know.

 

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    1. They all have their own “rules” these are generally listed when you visit the link, often these are questions you are asked to answer, then you nominate X number of blogs yourself and ask questions of them, and so on and so forth

      Liked by 3 people

  1. I appreciate the principle behind blog awards and I have accepted a few in the past. However, I recently made the decision not to accept them, because I’m not keen on the ‘chain letter’ aspect. I blogged about it (Blog awards: to accept or not to accept?) and judging from the comments I received on that post, there are other bloggers who feel the same way. It’s always nice to be recognized and I’m grateful for people who nominate me, but I have a few reasons why I choose not to accept them.

    Liked by 15 people

    1. For sure, there are many bloggers who decline to be a part of them. They do spread a lot of goodwill and are really motivating for some, though, which is why I like the polite decline, rather than just ignoring them. I don’t have to participate, but I support the warm fuzzies.

      Liked by 6 people

    2. I agree completely. Back in the early days of the Internet, ‘awards’ were all the rage for business websites. I (as a website designer at the time) refused them all, and got a lot of flak as a result — mainly from my friends, who couldn’t understand why I would refuse an ‘award’. But at the end of the day you have to ask yourself what the purpose of these awards are… to me, they are mostly about ego-boosting, self-aggrandisement, and self-promotion. To me, the Internet is more than that.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Two months after I created My blog page, I was nominated for six blog awards. Though I am grateful and flattered with the recognition I am yet to accept any one of them. I let them know my appreciation by thanking them personally of course. One of the reasons why I am a bit apprehensive accepting awards is the tedious process of receiving one. Like mentioned above, it resembles a virtual chain letter. Another thing is I don’t want to add badge to my blog nor publish a post about it because it doesn’t fit with the overall look of my page and what my blog is all about. I am truly grateful though for the attention. To those who nominated me, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Whilst it is very nice to receive a reward, that someone out there thought that your blog was worthy enough to get an accolade I am not so sure about them.

    I have had notifications of a post to read that someone has nominated my for X award, the name of the award giver unfamiliar, there was a reason for that, the reason is that this person has never previously interacted with me anywhere on my blog before, so how can I be worthy of this award? How can they possibly know what my blog is like, surely awards should be over a period of time, like the word cup is given to the best international team after winning a series of matches.

    Also the awards are saturated, how many of us have had the “you have been nominated for X award” only the read the “rules” and at the end you are asked to forward this on to 15 other bloggers you think are worthy.

    If you do do this, how many of you painstakingly go through all of your blogs looking for ones that meet the criteria, or do you just choose 15 random blogs that are your favourites at the time?

    And then what if all the 15 you choose then choose their 15, and they all do it and so on.

    15×15=225
    x15=3375
    x15=50625

    It doesn’t take long before it gets silly.

    This is why you see award free blogs, it is not because these people are ungrateful or bad, it is because they know that the award process is flawed and whilst a nice gesture doesn’t actually really mean that much.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. It’s true; that’s why you’ll sometimes see “outbreaks” of an award — suddenly, every other blog you visit has the same one. But I do think that for what they are, which is more of a virtual high-five than anything deeply substantive, they can be a nice gesture, especially those aimed at encouraging very new bloggers. For many, that first recognition means the difference between quitting and continuing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. i agree that it is nice, I remember when i got my first one and I was over the moon thinking “wow someone likes what i write”.

        As time goes on and you see them flung around willy nilly then they become a bit flat really.

        I think if it was just a case of here is an award for what you have achieved that us fantastic, it is the pass it on to loads of other people that dilutes the effect.

        Like

  4. I wondered what on earth these were when I first joined WordPress. Good little summary!

    I’ve been a bit slack at responding to a few I’ve been nominated for recently and that’s mainly due to the time it takes to find blogs I like to nominate that haven’t already been inundated with awards. I at least try and get round to thanking the people that nominate me for anything because it is nice to be thought of for these things.

    I’m aware not everyone likes awards and completely understand that (I’m not entirely sure about them myself) but it can been a bit of encouragement for new bloggers to keep going and know that people are reading/enjoying their work.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve often seen people nominate fewer than the award actually “requires.” As long as it’s done in good faith, I don’t think anyone is going to revoke your award if you nominate 3 fewer blogs that it asks for 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I felt like it was a chain letter too. Not that I don’t think my posts making penis jokes doesn’t deserve the “One Lovely Blog” award, but eh, I’ll keep the ego in check by not accepting it.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. They mean nothing because there’s no merit based criteria. Awards have to have standards not just be passing around a popularity cup and getting each other drunk on unearned praise. Most of the conditions are really just personal questions not about the blog. And the chain letter component. Honestly there’s a couple of really dreadful blogs that get awards all the time (nominated by each other) and I swear they just made them up. It’s kind of like pre teens setting up cliques and having 10 syllable passwords.

      WordPress already acknowledges blogs via freshly pressed and I don’t even think the standard of that is consistently high.

      Comments and viewing stats encourage new bloggers. Awards are just ego-bait.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Thank you so much for this great explanation! I got one of these “awards” shortly after I started my blog, and I had no idea what it was for or what to do with it! I wish I would have had this explanation then, it certainly would have been helpful. Oh well, now I know.
    Thanks again,
    Becky

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for covering this! I have been nominated for 3 different types of blog award so far and i have yet to respond because i do see them as a little chain lettery. I do appreciate the idea and i know people like them but i’m not yet ready to blog stuff that might turn my readers off! The idea of thanking the nominator and explaining why you don’t participate is better than ignoring them for sure 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think wordpress needs to deal with bloggers editing comments. Not approving or labelling spam I have no problem with but several bloggers will edit comments to say the opposite of what was written (intended to ridicule or to paint it as though they have “turned” the person’s opinion). It is completely contrary to the spirit of wordpress and there’s not very good reporting or redress. One of the worst at this is a multi-awarded blogger so perhaps such behaviour should disqualify you from awards?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. They have total control to post rhe comment or not. You could even have “edited by” stamped on the bottom so that its displayed it wasnt the commenter who made the comment in that form. Failing to do so allows you to change my comment into an abusive one and then ridicule and report me, or to change it into a comment about something else entirely. Free speech doesnt mean you can impersonate me. So why can you change my comments?

        Like

      2. Nephila has raised a roundabout but salient point.

        “Free speech doesnt mean you can impersonate me. So why can you change my comments?”

        Can a blog award be changed? Sure, no specific choice by the awarder or the awardeee is impeded by doing so or not. Although it is not necessarily “what” is meant by but “how” do you mean “change?” I don’t think Nephila so much meant change, as perhap she meant manipulation here. Beat me and make me write bad checks if I’m unforgiveable wrong.

        The difference between change and manipulation is like what seperates the words discreet and discrete. GOOGLE the definitions
        in case you wonder.

        Part of my blog, since I “changed” it to one geared toward being a photography one, is being able to imitate (as similarly as possible) other local photographers. I do not know Nephila, neither has an invitation been extended to visit her blog, nor have I took any initiative (invited or not) to visit. Therefore, why would I even want to imitate her? Does anyone care or would it matter to a blog-award recipient or an aspiring one in the slightest?

        No, first amendment free speech doesn’t mean I can impersonate without bar-hold Nephilla or any stranger I’ve determined beforehand (or not) at getting to know. However, neither does it prohibit imitating (as the best form of flattery or in manner of parody) you or the next person, should I have such unrestrained choice.

        Are blog awards subject to context and interpretation? You bet! Seems that might wind up more a reason not to accept one.
        The main idea is to encourage another blogger’s proliferation, not to squelch their overall creativity through possible perceived censorship. “Warm fuzzies” as mentioned earlier by Michelle W.
        Long live blog awards, but I certainly do not desire to be awarded any in particularly.

        Like

      3. The first amendment is only relevant in the US. WordPress blogs are published wherever they are read (yes there are court decisions). You dont have to read my blog to know that youre making my comment say the opposite to what i wrote. Why do that unless you’re being a bully? There is no other reason.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. “The first amendment is only relevant in the US.”

        You are correct.

        Maybe what is missing here is an explanation. Please tell us of how I or anyone here are manipulating what comments you’ve made, as being perceived not as you intended?

        How?

        Like

      5. I didnt say you did. I said the WordPress site allows it and i have seen it misused many times against myself and i suspect many cases against others. It is not a necessary feature, it is quite sufficient to have the ability to allow or not allow a comment. It should never be necessary to amend one.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. “……it is quite sufficient to have the ability to allow or not allow a comment. It should never be necessary to amend one.”

        Especially if such are kept short and sweet.

        Still you’ve made me curious. Do you moderate all your blog and comments or only the part of your blogging that you produced? Does anything (contributed material wise) go with you or do you rely upon any editing or content regulation? Should everyone have the tools available to moderate (emphasis on moderate) or be limited to strictly approving or denying (which WordPress already provides) comment (which puts WP in a catch-22, cause it might suggest widely general censorship to both the commentor and the entity a comment is or isn’t relative about.)

        Note to Michelle W. – should consider a 101 course just upon this topic alone. Just saying…..

        Nephila, do you enjoy the comedy of George Carlin but wouldn’t subject your own 5 year old child (not presuming anything here about anyone) to questionble F’bombs and other poopie words? Are you as guarded with whoever you tell “not to be hating also?”

        So many questions and neither enough time or patience. Looking forward to your response Nephila. Good luck if you’re looking to capture a blog award out there. Apologies to those of us offended for lengthening the thread and veering off the main topic.

        Like

      7. I think blog awards are completely worthless and i certainly wouldnt want one! I fail to see the point of the rest of the comment as it misses my point entirely. Should Michelle be allowed to edit my comment to say i lurrrve blog awards and want 10 of them? Because rhats whats being done out there with current wordpress tools. And i for one think it amounts to shameless bullying.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Anyway Michelle, it’s something I think the Daily Post should address. How to deal with bloggers who edit comments to say the opposite or something far removed from your meaning. It’s a form of blogging aggression and WP needs to address it. It’s just nonsense to say they need to have control, they have control, they can decline the comment. This is a much more insidious way to bully people than that which is why they do it. If you wrote a daily post about it and actually looked at how it’s done you would see how difficult it is to get the record corrected. And I hope you would see how unfair and bully-aiding that is. You asked for suggestions, that’s mine. Why don’t you do a daily post on it?

        Liked by 1 person

      9. 😳 Wow! I didn’t even know that was possible. I would never edit a comment on my blog. I would delete spam, but never edit an authentic comment. I would respond to it if necessary, but I would never change it. As a writer, I would never want anyone to change my words, even if they are spelled incorrectly. Your thoughts are your thoughts. I would not disrespect them by changing them, because I would not want that done to me. I would think that the WordPress posting software would automatically indicate who the post was edited by, and include the original post, like it does on Facebook. I’m surprised that WordPress software is not capable of this. Freedom of speech is one thing, you should be allowed to post whatever you want to post, and comment however you want to comment. It’s up to the blog host to decide whether your comment should stay or go, but it’s a disservice to the blogging community if someone can just change what you say without being held accountable. The risk you take for commenting on someone else’s blog should only be that it’s either responded to, good or bad, or deleted. The risk should not be that your opinions can actually be changed without your permission, or without indication that it was not you who changed them. If this is a truth, then in all honor, it should be corrected.

        Like

      10. I edit comments.

        Unobjectionably, where someone has mistyped and posts a correction I will edit the original comment. But, where someone simply repeats themself, contradicting me and boring me, I have edited comments to mock them. I tend to make clear I am doing that- eg., “Boring rubbish from — deleted. What is left? Behold!” with nothing else in the comment.

        I don’t like when people do it to me, of course, so tend to avoid their blogs. And if that blog has lots of awards, so what?

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Why misrepresent the person? Thats rude if nothing else. Why not just not approve the comment or let it stand for criticism on its merits? Would you like to be misquoted? Would you like to have your comment faked to appear to say the opposite? And if it was done would you want the record straight or are you okay with bullying? Are you okay with bullies trumpeting awards too? Its extremely disapponting that Michelle has missed the point.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Oh, Nephila! I clicked on your blog to leave a friendly comment, because I would far rather have friendly, chatty relations with other bloggers, and found it was private. The address is ragesarcasmvitriol.com, and I find those can be uncomfortable, a false energy, a burn like a cheap whisky in the throat which do not keep me warm when I am in them. I wish you could find another blogger as a blogging buddy, to enjoy commenting with.

        Like

      13. I am sorry you feel you have to nake fun of my blog name without reading the blog or why its called that (hint: its not my statement). It is private for good reasons unrelated to wordpress. It is an infidelity blog and i doubt you would find it a chatty experience.

        Like

  7. Awards are a lovely way of showing appreciation and acceptance for one another’s blogs. I do not do the award challenges but am always grateful when someone thinks of me for a nomination and am sure to thank them for the thought. I sometimes find that bloggers are too quick to explain that they don’t do awards (which I understand) rather than just thanking the blogger for thinking of them for the nomination. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I feel kinda mean if I ignore the award. But, they are a bit like blog versions of chain letters. I’ve really tried to buckle down over the last year and stay on-topic with the stuff I post. So, these days, I generally will quietly acknowledge the receipt of the award notification, and instead of “participating” find a post from the nominating blogger to mention and link to instead. Most of them pose questions aimed at “let’s get to know you” but I feel like I’ve kinda got that covered with my About pages …

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I got two, the “liebster award” and the “premios dardo”. It was a nice surprise for me to receive them, being this a very recent blog. It has only 5 months now. Hope you visit ot and enjoy the posts as well. It’s about my travel experiencies in different cities.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think the only issue I have with the awards are when they are “awarded” completely out of context, e.g. by someone that isn’t a reader, or posted on some part of your site and it doesn’t connect with where its posted.

    The chain mail aspect bugs me, too, but if you look at from a recognition perspective, I don’t think they’re so bad. I’ve never noticed them to boost traffic, but maybe I’ve just been unlucky 🙂

    Like

  11. I noticed some with intrusive, personal questions which I did not like. But I blog about anything which takes my fancy, so blogs I like was just another topic, grist to my mill. I like cross-pollinating. There is no obligation in these things- do just as much with them as you want to, and enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I found handy creating a page to mention the awards received and redistribute them. That way, I do not do a post, but simply add the new award (with the answers and new nominees) on the top of the same page, that can be found on the top menu of the blog.
    I also decided not to show them on the sidebar, but for blogs that have less pictures and links on the bar, I always find it nice to see awards there.
    Thanks for the nice post!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Thank you! I was flattered-at-first by a small shower of kudos and attention from various Bloggers who wanted to hop on my ride…your insights to downsides benefits – speak volumes. Merci!

    Like

  14. Thanks for addressing this officially: while I objected to the chain aspect of blog awards at first, I definitely saw a rise in my blog’s traffic right after I accepted an award or two. I also found new bloggers to follow through checking out the other nominees. I decided not to accept the same award for the same blog more than once, partly because I didn’t have 11 (or 15) new blogs to recommend. Accepting is very time-consuming, which is another reason I decided not to accept the same award multiple times.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “I definitely saw a rise in my blog’s traffic right after I accepted an award or two. I also found new bloggers to follow through checking out the other nominees.”

      In this concept , accepting awards can be view as positive. If it works for you, why not?

      Liked by 4 people

  15. I thought they were cute at first until I started seeing them everywhere. Then I felt like people were only nominating others to keep the “chain letter” going. I have received a few and I was flattered but politely declined because I just didn’t feel like there was much meaning behind them and I felt that they posting about them made my blog feel less…..mature I guess. Like something that belonged more on Tumblr than WordPress. I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying that lol

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I’m on the fence about this. I’m not against the concept of awards but it seems they are so freely handed out that they don’t mean anything. It’s a blogger’s version of the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality.

    My biggest objection is the expectation that the award be passed along. It turns what is supposed to be an honor into a glorified chain letter or Facebook-esque tradition of vanity where everyone is so full of themselves that they take turns “liking” and telling each other how wonderful they are. Meh.

    I guess with this post I’ve disqualified myself from ever getting an award, It’s nice to be recognized, but I don’t need or want it so bad that I’ll go along with a scheme of self absorption as a condition of holding the honor.

    Liked by 3 people