DoFollow and Affiliate links: A Discussion

What I’m about to type will probably mean very little to readers who do not also have blogs. If you’re in that category, feel free to skip down to the next section. 🙂

When I started blogging two years ago one of the things I did was make this a DoFollow blog. That’s not standard in the blogosphere; instead it’s something that I made the effort to implement. Basically, if someone comments here, and search engine bots will follow the link back to their site. Links back and forth to sites help with search engine rankings. Because that was abused by spammers most blogs are set to something called NoFollow on comment links.

I chose to go DoFollow because I wanted to encourage a community of readers and I thought that DoFollow would be a great way to give something back. After a lot of pondering and consideration I’ve decided to remove the DoFollow attribute. I won’t bore you with all the ins and outs of it, but ultimately I don’t believe that it’s doing what I intended, which was to build a community of people who can encourage one another in their parenting.

So. How’s about we try something new? If you take a look at the comment form, you’ll see that I’ve enabled CommentLuv, which is a utility that will go and get the last post from the web site you enter in the form. Other commenters will see “(your name)’s last blog post…”. If your title looks interesting, someone may click over to read and voila! New friends!!

**UPDATE dated December, 2014: Because of changes made in the Google ranking algorithm, nearly ALL links on this blog are being changed to nofollow. Between the consistent emails requesting link removal and the penalty Google assessed directly, it’s just not worth it. Links are welcome, but they won’t pass pagerank any more.

***My non-blog-owner friends may begin reading here***

The other thing I want to mention is affiliate links. I haven’t discussed the advertising here in a while; it’s important that I’m clear with everyone about that. Short story: owning a web site has some costs. It’s possible to earn a few dollars with ads, which is why they’re on the site. Some readers are offended by ads and links. I was a bit apprehensive about it when I first started reading blogs, but then I read an observation that really got my attention. I’m perfectly willing to pay for a book or a magazine to read someone’s writing. Why should a web site author be any different?

The great thing about ads is that you can ignore them and any web site using them is still free.

Many of the ads you see are affiliate ads. This means that IF you click on them and IF you purchase something from that advertiser then the blogger gets a percentage of the sale. There is no extra cost to you…the advertiser shares their profits with the blogger. This does involve a tracking cookie placed on your computer so the advertiser knows who to credit with the sale. If you happen to like a blogger a lot, and you want to buy something advertised on their site, go ahead and click that ad! You’re helping the blogger at no cost to yourself besides the cookie which will expire in a matter of hours or days on its own.

If you don’t want to click on the ads, then don’t. Simple as that.

I use affiliate ads here on Earnest Parenting. I also participate in affiliate programs sometimes. The WeSeed post that I put up a few weeks ago was submitted to a contest in which I could have won $500. I didn’t win, but I still think WeSeed is a great program and plan to use it with the boys to learn about the stock market. As I mentioned at the time, the contest was open to anyone who chose to enter.

There will be times when I review items because I like them and want to tell you about them. I will strive to be clear about when I’m using affiliate links and when I’m just raving about something I like.

Honesty is very important to me; that’s why I wanted to go over all this info with you. I do have a Disclosure policy that covers the same issue in semi-legalese if you’re interested.

Okay! Are we good? Was I clear enough? Swing back around tomorrow for a non-affiliate product review and Friday for a contest where you (yes, you!) can win a prize.

Earnest Parenting: helping explain dofollow and affiliate links to parents.

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7 Responses to “DoFollow and Affiliate links: A Discussion”

  1. Hi Amy,
    So you have wriiten something related to SEO.
    Good post anyway andits true spammers are a real headche to all.


  2. Sherry says:

    Very well written Amy! I would love to chat with you on the phone sometime and pick your brain about what you’ve learned about blogging since you started. If you have any suggestions for me I’d love to hear them!

    Sherry’s last blog post..A Mentoring Heart

  3. Amy says:

    Neo, thanks! And yes, spammers can waste a lot of time. I don’t know if the change had an effect or if it’s just happenstance but the spammers have left me alone all day. 🙂 I’m enjoying the silence while it lasts.

    Sherry, thanks! We’ll definitely talk sometime. I’ll e-mail ya.

  4. I agree with what you said. Readers or visitors can just ignore the ad. It’s not like the ad is forcing the readers to buy from them.

    Thanks for supporting Do Follow blogs. 🙂

  5. Hi Amy, It’s good thing that you follow do follow blogs but some user does not appreciate it. I must say spammers do certain things that probably spin our heads. Good thing you post something related with SEO.

  6. Lucy says:

    When I started my website there was no do follow option. Where is this option so you can set it up?

    I too dont understand why people get so upset about ads. Unless your site is covered and distracting what is the big deal? Im new to blogging so maybe this is something I will come to understand.


  7. Amy says:

    Postcard mailing, ummmm I stopped being DoFollow. ahem. I guess that makes me a little unsupportive. 🙂 I’m happy with the results so far though.

    Nissan, spam has dropped by about 90% since I made the change. It’s nice to be left alone by the bots for a while.

    Lucy, if you have WordPress you just get a DoFollow plugin and install it in your plugins area. Voila! All comments are dofollow from there. When I wanted to stop being dofollow I simply disabled the plugin and all new comments are now in the default nofollow format. This means that search engines don’t follow the comment links back to your site.

    Links in a main post are usually dofollow though. Hope that helps.

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