Affiliate links, and my thoughts on them
When I started out blogging, I made myself a promise not to advertise anything on my blog. I decided this mainly because I wanted to avoid clutter, as well as possibly annoying my readers with ads, but most of all I wanted my blog focussed on content. My blog is a hobby and somehow the thought of making money from it just felt weird to me. However, as the title already states, I changed my mind on the use of affiliate links.
Deciding to become an affiliate only took (almost) three years, but my perspective on it changed a before that already. When looking at other blogs I often encountered affiliate links to the Book Depository, Book Outlet, or Amazon, and they never really disturbed me (unless they were animated). They don’t distract from the content, and even more so, I sometimes clicked on those links when I read a really good review that persuaded me to buy a certain book. But even though my perspective on ads shifted, I kept not wanting to incorporate them on my own blog.
Somehow the idea of making money out of my blog seemed weird to me. And that’s all there was to it. It seemed icky to me. I mean, I get to read books pre-publication and in return I write an honest review about it. That seemed payment enough to me. I get to read and review books, something I absolutely doing immensely. What more could I want?
That’s a good question: what do I want?
So I pondered on this for a while. And I got to thinking about the purpose of my reviews. What is it that I want to achieve with my reviews? Obviously, I want to share my excitement about a book, and in addition I want to persuade my reader to read it as well. So I want to persuade my readers to buy a book… Wouldn’t direct links to where they could buy it be handy then?
Yes it would be handy. And is it truly so bad that if you advertise for a certain store (and get people to buy books) to make a little money out of it? No it isn’t. Actually, that would be really welcome, because even though I probably wouldn’t earn much, it could maybe help paying for my blogging expenses (I currently pay for them out of my own pocket), or it could pay for my book-buying-addiction.
I’m going to see where this’ll go
Having come to that solution, I didn’t really see any reason why I shouldn’t incorporate affiliate links on my blog and in my posts. So, I joined the Book Depository Affiliate program, as well as bol.com‘s affiliate program (a webstore in the Netherlands, meant to target my Dutch readers). I’m not expecting much, but I’ve started with a banner in my sitebar, and I’ll start incorporating them in my reviews.
And, please (I’m begging you) if any of you find the banners, or links annoying, please tell me! I’ll remove them immediately, because in the end I want you to feel at home when you visit my blog (not annoyed by ads!).