Bloggers frequently review products and services on their blogs. It is a great way to share your own good and bad experiences with a particular product.
Reviews are also a great source of income for a blog. A large percentage of the income that my blogs have generated have come from the income that was generated from reviews.
A review offers value to the reader. When you publish a high quality review you show exactly what a product or service can do. This increases the chance of someone purchasing the item based on your recommendation (and decreases it if you tell readers to avoid it).
Like all bloggers, I get contacted by potential advertisers every week asking for me to review products and services on this blog. My response to all advertisers is simple: If you want me to review your product or service, you need to pay for the privilege.
In this article I would like to explain why I strongly believe all blogs should be charging companies for reviews.
1. To Discourage Time Wasters
I have been having a discussion recently with fellow blogger Joe Fylan about the problems associated with time wasting clients and advertisers. Time wasters can eat up a lot of your time and reduce your productivity.
As someone who runs a blog that is updated frequently, I get requests every week asking me to review their product or service. Sadly, the vast majority of people want something for nothing. Many developers expect me to spend hours writing a promotional article for them and get nothing in return.
Perhaps this expectation of me spending my time writing for them comes from writing is not valued by some people. Sometimes I turn things around and say that I will be happy to spend hours writing a review free of charge if they will spend hours coding a plugin or designing a new website for me. It will not surprise you that no developer has ever taken me up on my offer.
All companies who are interested in a review on my blog are directed to my review information page. That page explains the benefits of a review and displays a table with different review plans they can order.
Most people keep trying to plead for a free review, however if someone does not want to purchase a review I say “Thank you and good luck”. My time is precious so I do not want to spend more time going back and fourth with someone who will never order a review.
2. To Compensate You for Your Time
What is your time worth?
Do you have so much free time that you can spend hours writing reviews free of charge?
When a blogger sits down and examines how much time they can devote to blogging every week, they soon realise how precious their time is.
Companies do not care about how little time you have. All they want is someone to market their product and increase exposure of their brand.
It never surprises me how tight companies are when it comes to paying for reviews. There are companies with millions who charge customers hundreds of dollars to use their services, but say that they do not have any advertising budget.
One of the ways that companies try and persuade me to do a review for them is to offer their product free of charge. They promise one year of service for an online service that I have no specific use for.
It's good to get something free of charge, but getting access to free services does not pay the bills.
Obviously, if you are going to use a service and want to review it for your readers, you will welcome free access to the service. However, on most occasions companies are offering you access to something you do not need.
3. To Provide a Stable Source of Income
Getting paid for writing reviews can generate a stable source of income for you and your blog. An active blog can bring in thousands of dollars in advertising revenue from reviews.
Another great way of generating income for your blog is affiliate marketing. I have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from affiliate marketing and continue to use affiliate links on my blogs.
Many companies will ask you to promote their product or service using their affiliate program instead of paying you for a review.
Is it wise to do this?
In general, I would say no.
Affiliate income can be extremely volatile. Some months you will make a lot of money, other months you will not.
There is no guarantee that companies will pay you for the money you have earned either. If you do not meet the minimum payment threshold, you will not be paid. A bigger problem is the fact that many companies close their affiliate program after just a year or two and your account may be closed without warning.
My advice is to create a list of products and services who have a reliable affiliate program that is known for treating affiliates well. Focus your attention for affiliate marketing on those programs.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of companies who contact you for a free review will not have an established affiliate program. Their program will be new and untested. This increases the chance of you generating commissions which never getting paid.
That is why I charge for reviews. It is simply too risky to spend so much of your time reviewing products for companies when there is no guarantee they will pay affiliates.
The point of this article was to hit home how valuable your time is to you. Do not spend your time pushing someone else's project forward if it does not help your own.
You will be pleasantly surprised at how many advertisers are willing to pay for reviews on your blog. I have no doubt that if you start charging for reviews on your blog, you will start generating a good income from it.
I have stressed throughout this article that you should always charge for reviews. Like all rules, this rule can be broken.
If an advertiser provides a product that you want to review for your readers, you should review it. Likewise, if an advertiser recommends their affiliate program and it has a solid reputation, you could potentially earn a lot more money by using their affiliate link instead of charging for a review. Over time you will start developing a sixth sense as to which affiliate programs will convert well and which will not.
On the whole, I believe that it is better to charge for reviews. Doing this will eliminate time wasters and generate income for your website without the risks associated with affiliate marketing.
Do you charge for reviews on your blog? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this in the comment area.
Thanks for reading.
Featured Image Credit: David Trawin