Perhaps your biggest concern when considering monetizing your blog is that you may lose readers.
There are many great blogs out there that successfully integrate affiliate programs with their writing. In most cases if done well, your readers won’t be bothered by the occasional affiliate link. I wrote 6 Reasons Bloggers Become Affiliates to help them understand our motivations. Still, sometimes it is poorly done, and the great blog turns into a digital billboard with ads everywhere. Here’s how NOT to let that happen.
1. Create solid original content regularly. You can’t expect readers to buy anything from you or even click on one link if you don’t have readers to begin with. Your affiliate accounts should add to what you’re already doing. They should not be all that you’re doing.
2. Don’t accept every review that comes your way. Reviews are a great way to get products “for free”, but when a blogger begins doing reviews frequently, it can turn readers off rather than adding value to your content.
3. Promote that which you know. Your genuine, personal experience with a product is what makes your recommendation valuable.
4. Don’t use ads that flash, move, or rotate. Nothing says spam like flashing advertisements.
5. Keep your community close by responding to comments and emails as soon as possible. Turn your readers into a friendly community and they will also convert to sales. Friends will buy from friends.
6. Issue a retraction if you discover one of the products you recommended has turned out to be a dud. Your readers will respect you and appreciate your honesty.
7. Don’t sacrifice your reputation for sales. If you know a certain book or product isn’t worthwhile, by all means don’t promote it! This comes back to # 3.