Did you sabotage your blog from making money with giveaways and reviews?

I’ve done a million posts about giveaways and reviews for Bloggers, but one thing I never actually wrote about was the fact that going from a quality content site to a giveaway and review site could potentially cost you a ton of money in the long run.  Once you build a following that is there for your content about parenting, cooking, DIY projects, etc… everyone wants access to your readers.  These are people that come to almost every post, trust your opinions and actually follow your advice.  The trust that you have built is what branding is about and can drive sales because they know that if you are recommending something it is probably a good product.  Unfortunately that is when the advertisers, PR agencies and giveaway companies start to try to get a hold of you the most.  Although it is tempting to take their giveaways and it can cause a spike in traffic, it could not only start to cost you your SEO by creating a bad SEO neighborhood, but it could cause you to no longer be able to monetize your sites through multiple channels.  Here are a few things to think about if you are starting to get calls and emails from people wanting you to do a giveaway and why you may want to be careful.

Keeping high quality traffic can help monetize your blog

Traffic quality.  The most valuable thing and hardest thing for a Blogger or website owner to build is quality and relevant, repeat traffic.  If all of your traffic is going to one or two pages because they rank well in a search engine or on a social media site, but not coming back for each new post, you don’t have a loyal following.  For those of you who can get repeat traffic to come for every post, not just giveaways or to a specific post, you have what everyone wants, a trusted following.  When your posts go from providing quality advice that helps people to giveaways and product reviews, you are no longer feeding your readers what they want and they start to leave.

If it is a giveaway/review site and people are coming in for the giveaway, your traffic might be growing and on every post, but the quality is usually very low, doesn’t shop and only wants free things.  When your advertisers stop seeing the click throughs that generate revenue, have a high bounce rate, stop seeing what does click through your links turn into sales and when your affiliate links stop generating sales, you have now begun to kill your readership because you went from giving them high quality content and are feeding them free giveaways and not advice.  It isn’t bad to do a giveaway or review every once in a while, but you need to make sure that the main content is focused around what your readers originally came for.  If your loyal readers stop coming because they get tired of giveaways and reviews, you don’t have time to respond because you have a ton of incentivized comments, etc…, you now need to start over, rebrand your site and hope that the random reviews and giveaways haven’t hurt the quality of your site for the search engines.  You might have been able to produce a ton of Affiliate sales in the past, but if you’ve killed off your quality traffic with giveaway and review traffic, when the affiliate sales die, the advertisers will start to pull as well.

Reviews are fine, but don’t let the quality or relevance to your readers drop

Reviews to build a higher quality audience and help generate revenue.  If you know specific types of products generate a lot of interest and can generate sales, stick to those types of products.  You also want to get the buyer demographics from the PR firm or company doing the giveaway to make sure it matches your readers.  By keeping reviews targeted and tying in how it can benefit them with demonstrating them, you help to give your readers the content they always came for and you are able to not attract the lower quality giveaway traffic that only wants to win something for free.  Using a video instead of just posting content or pictures is also a great way to add trust and show how the product can benefit your readers.  Even if you love the product, remember that if it isn’t relevant to your readers and doesn’t generate interest, you may not want to do the review since it won’t be relevant and can cause people to get annoyed and leave your site.

Ask for sales and traffic reports and compare them to your SEO

Know how your audience reacts.  It might be scary to ask for traffic and sales reports from your advertisers, especially if you didn’t get many click throughs, but by knowing what your audience reacts to you can better pick and choose what products they will like and then do the review or use Affiliate links after buying the product to generate revenue.  One thing you’ll want to think about and compare are the keywords and social media sites that are driving traffic in as well.  If you let the post sit for a while and then get your report, you may be ranking in the search engines or had a pin that went crazy on Pinterest.  This is something that could easily skew your numbers and drive relevant traffic but may not happen on other posts.

The important thing to remember about blogging is that once you have a loyal following, you need to keep feeding them content that they will want to read.  If you change over to giveaways and reviews instead of information and things that will benefit them, you could drive them off.  You could also build a following that looks great, but may cause you to lose your loyal following and also no longer be able to make as much with Affiliate links, Advertisers and other channels of revenue.

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