One of the most important decisions any small business owner will have to make when building a new website, particularly one that offers services to local clientele, is whether or not to add outbound links to the site. Of course, not all outbound links are equal. Some can make you money.
There are two schools of thought concerning affiliate links. One school of thought says they are exit holes. You don’t want your site visitors to leave your website so you shouldn’t give them exit holes. The problem with this school of thought is that some visitors are going to leave no matter what. No need to hold them hostage.
That leads me to the second school of thought, which is this: Since some of your visitors are going to leave anyway, why not make money on them when they do?
And that’s the basis for using affiliate links on your small business website.
I leave it up to you to decide whether you should do that or not. If you do, here are a few things to keep in mind about your affiliate link offerings.
- Use them sparingly – Too much can be a big turnoff. You really want your business and your services to be the focus of your website, so if you do use affiliate links, make sure you do it sparingly.
- Use products that are related to your site’s services – Don’t just choose any affiliate products. Make sure the products you promote are related to the services you offer.
- Make your web design attractive – You don’t want your website looking like an affiliate product bookshelf. Make it look like a small business website and place your affiliate links, widgets, etc. in a strategic location on your web pages where they won’t detract from your main content. You don’t want every visitor leaving through your affiliate links so make sure they don’t receive too much attention.
Affiliate links can serve as an additional source of income for your small business website, but if they make you more money than the services you offer, then either your service sales pages aren’t written well enough to close the sale or your affiliate links are too prominent. Time to make a change.