The website and blog is growing – at a crazy rate. The last two weeks have brought double the visitors per week as the previous fortnight and it’s a trend that keeps repeating since the turn of the year.
As with all things, this means in time the upkeep grows – whether that’s hosting, email and domain costs or simply my time. This has gone from a site to share my story and musings to potentially a much greater thing. A platform I can use to raise awareness for those with autoimmune disorders, collate information, support and advice and create a community (the latter has already started to happen with the amazing regulars I have commenting on my posts, Instagram photos etc.).
Recently I was presented with an opportunity to partner and join an affiliate program. This would allow me to bring offers and discounts of related products (such as mobility aids, pain relief gels, footwear) that might be of interest to my readers. Everybody on YouTube, Twitch streamers, Instagram etc. are using ads and commision to pay the bills and as long as it’s clearly signposted as a sponsored ad, review or affiliate link then everybody wins, don’t they?
Yet, for some reason, as a disability and personal health blogger, I feel guilty. I can still raise awareness whilst covering my costs can’t I? Still do good work in the arthritis community and share my story whilst keeping the lights on? The millions around the world who are doing this on digital platforms say yes and there’s no issue with it, yet I’m putting pressure and guilt on myself over this next step.
It feels inevitable given the current rate of growth in order for me to take this project to the next level but it also feels like a minefield – to research partners and products thoroughly personally (rather than generic ads) as I couldn’t live with myself if one of my followers bought something substandard via a link my site (it’s for this reason I won’t entertain generic ads from un-partnered sources). I also worry that it will affect my credibility as a writer.
Maybe my heart’s too much into the raising awareness element of this to go down the path of monetising the site but I hope there’s a happy medium – where I can bring genuinely interesting, related products to my readers and fresh content that also helps me pay the bills as this thing continues to grow.
I’d be interested to know the thoughts of my followers and fellow bloggers in the comments whilst I’m at this crossroads.