Income Earning

The Dangers of Affiliate Links

Placing affiliate links in your blog to earn a little extra cash (or even a lot of extra cash!) is tempting, but it can have some very nasty effects and worst of all search engines might punish you.

On their own, they are generally  ‘safe’

One or two affiliate links in a blog of a thousand pages isn’t going to cause any real  stress to anyone. However, most website owner don’t stop there and some will go to the extent of dozens of links on every  page, plus many more in the global navigation.

Then the problems begin

In order to then drive traffic to the affiliate sites, the affiliate then starts to take part in dubious practices, such as:

  • forcing through clicks that the visitor didn’t want to make
  • stealing / copying / spinning content to fill the site and make it look up-to-date
  • partaking in link farms for Search Engine Optimisation

Lost focus

The danger with writing a blog for an income rather than just because you want to be writing to a blog is that you get distracted by trying to earn an income. I’ve already written about how I accidentally destroyed my blogs with paid content so I know what I’m talking about here!

But this monetary focus means that you focus solely on where and how you can earn cash. Quality of posts drops, they even become off topic, and the “value” of the site fails.

That’s what can be so wrong

So that’s what can go so wrong with a site with a lot of affiliate links. This means that a site with a lot of affiliate links can be seen as lower quality, which is why a Google Penalty could occur.

For example, this blogger freely admits that his site’s ranking took a huge nose dive after adding hundreds of Amazon affiliate links, but it quickly resumed it’s place once the links were removed.

What’s the answer?

Hiding the links isn’t the answer. Hiding anything from search engines can result in a penalty, but then I’m not against making sure that the links are distanced from search engines.

The real answer is to stick to the basics. Run your blog because you want to run it and add odd affiliate links here and there, but keep the number at a reasonable level.

And don’t forget that you should also disclose all affiliate links!

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Installing Google Adsense To WordPress

A lot has changed since I last started a blog from scratch and I have to say this is one area in which a huge change has happened, much to a blogger’s benefit.

In previous blogs I’ve had to go to

  • the Adsense Website,
  • define what the advert is going to look like,
  • grab the code
  • edit the WordPress theme to put the snippets of code in the correct places
  • test the site to see if the advert looks right and appears where I wanted it

Very difficult really.

The Modern Day Installing Google Adsense To WordPress

These days installing Google Adsense to a WordPress site is so much easier! Let’s even take a step back on the above list. First, simply go to the Adsense website and if you haven’t already done so then you need to sign up for an account.

Now, within your WordPress Admin, go to Plugins and search for “Google Adsense”. Yes, there’s now a simple to use plugin. Follow the prompts to install that.

Activate the new plugin then hit Settings. It will lead you through a quick verification and then you are almost done.

Final step – click Manage Adds on the Settings page. This will analyse your website and work out where Adsense blocks could be fitted and suggest 3 places and relevant sizes of adverts. Don’t agree with one of Google’s choices? Simple click the + icon where one is shown (these are other suggestions) and then either accept the default size and shape or choose your own.

You will get an error message because you now have 4 (or more?) Adsense blocks on the page. Just click the X on those blocks you are happy to do away with until you are back down to just the allowed three adsense blocks.

And that’s it!

And that really is it! Job is done. If you browse your site you will see the adsense blocks displaying. If you change your theme then you will need to have the site analysed again and once more decide where to place the adds, but it is very easy to do.

Now all that you need to do is to make sure that you are posting high quality useful content and drawing in those readers. Some of them will be interested in the adverts and that’s when you start to turn the blog into a profit.

Unfortunately it’s not always that simple in actual fact. I later realised that the format hadn’t carried across to every page. The home page was fine, inner pages were using the default. You just need to check all pages in your blog.

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