As the site grows and takes up more and more of my time, cost recovery has come into sharper focus. The challenge is doing this while maintaining my reputation as an unconflicted blogger. Ultimately, I decided the best way forward is via affiliate programs. Read on to see how they work and how you may be affected:
- A product or service I mention in a blog post is hyperlinked in a special way that identifies to the merchant that you have clicked through specifically from my site.
- If you then complete a purchase through the link on my site, I may get paid a small commission.
- Regardless of this potential revenue, you will never pay above and beyond what you would otherwise pay in visiting the affiliated merchant via other means, including visiting their site directly.
For example, say I’m talking about a hotel and mention the fact that I booked it via hotels.com or agoda.com (affiliate links!). You then click through that link out of curiosity and some time down the track, actually make a booking. I may earn a commission based off of this. The cost you pay would have been the same had you surfed to Agoda/Hotels.com’s website directly. This is just like how word of mouth – with a referral – works in real life.
At the moment, I am affiliated with three main partners: the aforementioned Agoda (via the Viglink network) & Hotels.com (via CJ.com), as well as Klook. You’ll know you’re clicking through to an affiliated link if you see certain strings in the hyperlink: ‘redirect.viglink’ (for Agoda), ‘jdoqocy’/’anrdoezrs’/’tkqlhce’ (for hotels.com) or a ‘?aid=7672’ at the end of any Klook hyperlink.
Why am I not affiliated (at the moment) with any other brand? Simple: I don’t use them personally, so why would I recommend them to you, my readers? Should be obvious, but transparency is never just for transparency’s sake.
What about my reputation for being a completely non-conflicted food blogger?
I’m glad you asked! Funnily enough, the problem is actually a non-problem. Restaurants do not run affiliate programs and the abovementioned partners have nothing to do with driving traffic to specific restaurants. In other words, my main competency is unaffected, while my travel recommendations are affiliated. As an example, I may include an affiliate link for a booking site that allows you to book a specific restaurant, but that would be a partnership between me and the booking platform, not the restaurant. Similarly, I may be talking about a restaurant in Paris as part of a travel series on France, but any affiliate links would be about hotels and other activities you can do while in Paris.