Recent changes have meant that I’ve had a bit more time to think about the ways and means I run my personal projects, and how I go about setting up things in the future, particularly when it comes to monetising them.
Affiliate links are a big part of monetising websites, and you may see more appearing on my sites in the future. It’s part of my attempts to balance the costs of running my websites (financial, time) and hopefully providing value to you, but I wanted to outline a simple rule I’ll be using whenever I use an affiliate link.
I’ll only ever recommend something via an affiliate link if it’s something I’ve tried or used on a regular basis and can honestly recommend without hesitation. The simple reason is that this (and all my sites) are built on the idea of providing valuable and trustworthy information, and I wouldn’t do anything to change that.
For instance, for the majority of affiliate linking, I rely on Skimlinks to automate most referrals – for the likes of Amazon etc. They cover around 12,000 affiliate merchants, and their WordPress plugin works for both blogs and RSS feeds etc. It means in general, I don’t have to think about whether there’s an affiliate scheme for a site, and I can concentrate on just recommending great links.
Occasionally, I will link to something specifically, and it tends to be something I really rate. For instance, when it comes to professional WordPress themes, I really like and trust Studiopress, and I’ve been using their themes on sites like OnlineRaceDriver for a while. I’m actually in the process of planning when to upgrade my sites to their new Genesis framework, as soon as I can find some time…
Or when it comes to search tools, I’ve used SEOmoz for ages now. Their free tools are useful to start with (and their Firefox plugin saves loads of time), but their paid tools are really good and save loads of time and effort when you’re doing SEO work. And the bulk of SEO work is really about time and effort!
And don’t think this means I’d recommend an affiliate link over a better and free alternative, for instance, Google Analytics. If I do, please do call me on it and let me know – it might just be something I wasn’t aware of, and as I build up a shared list of recommendations, I want to make sure it’s as valuable as possible…