Guest Blog, Linking, and Reviews Philosophy

Blue Shutters

I am not opposed to writing a paid review, participating in an affiliate marketing program, or paying for a guest blog article, I simply have not found something that I feel is a good fit for Blue Shutters Web Design. On my posts, you will see the following note at the bottom of each post (including this one):

NOTE: I am not being paid for my mentions of people, articles, products, or books I used above nor do I receive referral compensation. The links I provide are for your convenience only.

Below I provide a bit more detail about my philosophy for guest blogs, linking, and reviews.

  Guest Blogs  

I would like to state upfront I have no problem with guest blogs on my site or on other sites. I have been planning on creating a series of guest blogs for May highlighting small businesses that are local to me and began working on that plan before we all went into sequester and pretty much everything came to a standstill. I have asked other businesses or business owners if they would like to submit a blog. I am not paying those businesses for their participation, I am simply providing a platform for their piece and offering links on my site and Facebook page to their business' site and Facebook page.

Additionally, I have had help writing a previous post or two and note them on those blog pieces and did not pay for that assistance. What I did do was participate in a college communications class where the assignment for the students was to write a blog piece for a business, the students were not required to pick my business, they had a few businesses that were willing to participate.

Recently, received the email below (with some information redacted):


My name is Claudia and I’m an account manager at CompanyNameRedacted I found your site recently on the web and was impressed by its layout and content I feel that it could be suitable for my client.

We are interested in publishing an article (which I can supply) on your website, The article will have a link to my client's site in it. The link must be do follow and we can't have any disclaimers\advertising tags.

Let me know if this is something you offer, and if so, what do you charge for it?

you charge for it?

Best Regards,

Claudia ------

Account Manager


There were three issues that I had with the above email:

  1. The first thing that stuck out at me was that the email stated: " we can't have any disclaimers\advertising tags" and that is not something I can support. I don't believe it is a good policy, when I post guest blogs I will at the very minimum have a disclaimer that this is a guest blog, secondly, if I am paid to post then I will certainly disclose that.
  2. The second thing that struck me as odd, I searched for the company listed in the email and their site is not secure. That sets off a bit of a warning sign for me. Additionally, as I checked out their site it didn't seem very well built out for a company that by their own information states "We offer over 13 years of combined experience". They do list some employee names and what they do but they do not list anyone that would be in the 'Link Building and Digital PR' section.
  3. The repeated question "what do you charge for it?" and "you charge for it?" and the phrasing just seems off in some way that didn't make me feel comfortable.

I did not respond to that request and deleted the email.

  Linking Policy  

To write my blog posts I do research and try to gather well written and trusted sources to include in my posts. I also try to take the best pieces of each and provide a cliff notes version of the research I do so that you don't have to replicate my efforts, saving you time while providing you quality information.

In each of my blog posts I do provide links back to the resources I reference to provide credit to those that I quote and allow you the reader to take a deeper look at something if it intrigues you and you would like more information. Those links are one that I find in the research process, I have never been asked to include a link on my site until now. The email is below with names removed.

I wanted to follow up on my previous email and make sure you had a chance to check it out.

Our experts created a guide that aims to help children become financially literate adults. We also provide benchmarks, games and other educational resources for different grade levels.

The World Is In A Tizzy

Here is the link to our guide:

Please let me know if you can add our guide as an additional resource.

Best, Mary Redacted

I have obviously added the link (I was not offered nor have I received compensation for the link). I do not want to provide the link without noting some of the issues that surprised me and gave me some concern, even though I feel overall it has value and worth reviewing.

  • I am disappointed that some of the links in the resources guide were to non-secure sites. There was one site that was linked to twice for different resources, one of the links was to a secure site and one was not.
    • The sites listed in the resources guide may or may not require you to create an account, but in my opinion, it simply doesn't look good for a site that is talking about teaching financial literacy to have links to sites that are not secure.
  • I am disappointed that the apps they reference in the resources section are linked only to the iTunes store and they completely neglect the Android market. I only checked a few of the apps but they are available in the Play store as well.

That is not to say that the whole thing is not worth your time, because I do think there is value to the site. The things that I did like:

  • They have two major age groups they are targeting; grades 6-8 and grades 9-12.
  • For each age group they cover 6 topics; Earning Income, Buying Goods and Services, Saving, Using Credit, Financial Investing, Protecting and Insuring

Overall, the site helped me think about how to teach financial literacy to my kids because it is an overwhelming topic as a whole but I find having it broken down certainly makes it a lot less daunting. It is a great jumping-off point for parents so you don't have to try and figure it all out on your own, but do use caution when using the non-secure sites, if you have to create an account to play be aware that any personal information that you provide is not sent on a secure connection.

Because of this request, I will be modifying my disclaimer slightly to indicate that some links may have been sent to me and not ones that used in my research process and I am not paid to provide links unless otherwise disclosed as a paid link.

  Review Policy  

I also write reviews of books and products/services that I use and provide links to the product, and in the case of books, I do provide a link to the Amazon listing. I am not paid for any of the links I provide, nor am I currently in any type of affiliate marketing program so I do not receive any type of payment or commission for anything that is purchased through my links.

The links are to products, services, or books, that I use and have read. For some of the products, they do have "refer a friend" type programs in which I can earn money or credits for the service and I would be happy to participate. However, someone would have to contact me directly and say that they would like me to refer them to the service and I would be happy to do so, but that is the readers' prerogative to do so. I am under the assumption that people are not going to take that step they will simply purchase the product on their own if they find it compelling, which is perfectly fine, I have no expectations gaining any type of compensation.

If I were paid for a review I would disclose that information, the same way I would disclose if I were paid for a blog post or link to appear on my site.

Comments can be left on my Facebook page.

NOTE: I am not being paid for my mentions of people, articles, products, or books I used above nor do I receive referral compensation. The links I provide are for your convenience only.

Unless otherwise indicated I sourced the links provided while researching a post. Links that I provide at the request of another person/business will be noted, and if I am paid to provide a link I will disclose that information on the post in which it is applicable. All opinions are mine, regardless of whether or not I am compensated, and are not in any way influenced by the requesting party.

DISCLAIMER: This advice is general in nature and not to be taken as personal professional advice. This blog does not provide legal advice if you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

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Categories: Blue Shutters