Product blogging is one of the most popular types of Blogs that new Affiliates like to try. Product blogging is when you have a blog and you review or talk about specific products for each post. Each post is normally between 350 and 1,000 words and it is all unique content. Smart product bloggers talk about specs, potential uses, benefits and flaws on the product. Once your product blog has enough authority it can definitely generate a decent amount of money for you. The problem with product blogging is that you forget about how many posts you have, links that break, coupons that expire and numerous other things. If you are stating a product blog to begin making money online, here are a few tips that I learned.
1. Don’t mention store names (Unless it is to compare prices) – Mentioning store names or blogging about a specific store can cause numerous issues for you. If the store runs out of the product and you are using the store image and links, those links and images will break and you will lose money and your conversion rates will drop. It can also increase your bounce rate and decrease your user experience when your visitors come to your site.
The next issue is if you rank for a Store Name, their URL or Trademarks or variations like Store Name + Coupons. This doesn’t add value to the merchant in many merchant’s eyes because these are customers that they may have had already, so why should they be paying commissions on them, especially if there are coupons attached, and they lose more margin just because you did a review and rank for their trademarks.
In the product bloggers mind, they are adding value by showing a legit and real review, whether it is positive or not positive. If a Merchant removes you because you are ranking for their terms, go over why your blog is valuable to them and ask for a lower commission to stay in the program because the worst thing would be to lose the income you could generate. One thing you never want to do is blast the company if you had a positive review because it decreases the trust of your blog and can get you sued. You also have to make sure that you have an FTC disclosure clearly displayed to make sure that visitors know you are being compensated for the review.
The disclosure, if your reviews are real and legit, actually hurts the merchant (in the eyes of the merchants) because it looks like they are buying or paying for reviews, even though your review is unbiased. Because of this, you should avoid doing reviews of the Merchants and their companies stick to reviews of the products they sell. This way you run much less of an issue with being kicked out of a program.
2. Don’t mention buying the product at a specific merchant – Another issue with talking about the Merchant is that Merchants go out of business, close programs or stop carrying products. When this happens you have to look through all of your posts and change out your links for stores that still carry them. If you mention the store name in the post as a place to buy the product, you have doubled your work and made it even harder to update your sites.
If the store is closed or closes its Affiliate program, you now have to change out the copy to keep your word count, readers happy and new readers coming back. By changing the copy, you may also end up damaging the way that post ranks which can effect your income. Instead, focus on the product instead of the store to buy it at because it is much easier and less risky to change a product link than it is all of your copy and merchants. One thing I found that makes this easy when a merchant closes or a product is no longer available is to build a link to a keyword search page on Amazon and land the users there. Even if the product isn’t for sale, Amazon usually has a similar product and you can still hopefully make money off of the post, unless you live in a state that Amazon removed Affiliates from.
3. Coupons – Try to avoid adding coupons into your product blog posts. Merchants’ do not like when Affiliates have expired coupons that do not work since they create a negative user experience for their customers. Also, if you are not ranking for the Merchant’s trademarks and are driving users they wouldn’t have had before. When that user (which you legitimately referred) is checking out on their site and sees the coupon code box, the user may leave and type in Merchant Name or URL + Coupons. If they click on or go to another Affiliate site and click a link or a cookie was stuffed, your sale was poached and you lose your commission to an Affiliate who is poaching sales from the coupon code box. You are now out money that you rightfully earned and a coupon poacher stole from you.
Another issue is if Merchants find outdated coupons on your blog and you have thousands of posts, it can be hard to keep up with all of them and they may begin removing you without warning you first to keep user experiences positive. By removing you they assume you’ll pull down the posts. The users won’t get back to the merchant since your links will be broken and this will be a horrible experience for your site and less of a bad one for the Merchant. This can cause you to provide a bad user experience to your readers as well as cost you money and loyalty since your links and coupons don’t work. If you do use coupons in your product blog posts, make sure you can keep track of them and replace them.
4. Use the store name as a category or tag – One thing that has helped me to easily change out links from stores that close is adding them to my categories or tags. By doing this I can keep track of every post for every store and if they close, start working with parasites, etc… I can easily find them and swap them out for another store. The category and tag alone is usually not enough to rank for their trademarks so it shouldn’t be an issue for them. You can also hide the tag cloud or a categories section so they don’t show at all depending on the blog software you are using.
5. If you use a store name to shop at, price compare them and date the post – One thing that can help to create a better user experience if the store closes or you want to use store names is to use a logo banner and list the prices of the product from that day in that store. You also want to put in a disclosure for your readers that the price is valid as of that day at that particular time and that the product or price may no longer be available when they come to the Merchants’ site. It is important to use the year as well as month and day so that the person knows how long ago your review was and doesn’t blame your site for having bad information.
6. Using social media icons and share buttons – I see a ton of product blogs that load their posts with social media icons that don’t make any sense to use. Think about who your audience and readers are and where your actual shoppers are coming from. Then use those icons that drive traffic and sales instead of trying to use the ones that don’t hoping to get random traffic from non relevant sites. Also, pay attention to which icons are being used the most by your readers, which ones are driving sales and then organize them and remove them to optimize your social media icons that way.
If you have products for consumers and a B2C audience, you may want to have Pinterest on your blog posts. If you have a B2B product, LinkedIn’s share icon may make more sense than Pinterest. Try to keep your posts clean and to the point so that you don’t clutter your design or post. If Digg, Reddit, Facebook or any other site doesn’t make sense or generate sales and traffic, don’t use them or figure out how to use them better.
Product blogging is an easy way to make money online. One of the biggest problems that new product bloggers have is that they don’t prepare their blogs for long time monetization. By making sure you are adding value to your Merchants and advertisers, keeping track of which links to which stores are in which posts and by keeping coupons, prices and stores up to date, you can help to make changing out links and keeping images live for a long time which can also help to make you more money for a longer period of time.