An home inspector associate of mine stopped by this spot over the weekend, and he sent me an e-mail about “my store”. He thought it was an interesting idea. I realized that in my efforts to lay bare my tactics, I had not dealt with this aspect of my site’s development.
Starbucks has a strange fit into my life. I would read books about the cafe culture and the art scene which lived in it during the turn of the last century. I would have loved to be at one of Frank Wedekind’s performances. It is just that I felt paying so much for a cup of coffee was too much. My wife on the other hand, has always been a devotee. What finally one me over was the concept of the “third place”. This has been documented in several works, so I will not go into details (you can read the book for yourself). The vision was to create a third place for people to go and enjoy, that would be a location to be at which is not your home or work.
With that thought on mind, I wanted to create more than just a site that dealt with the aspects of home inspection alone. I wanted a place where users could hang out to find different information about their home ( a third place for on your internet travels when dealing with your home). With these difficult times for the real estate industry, I was also looking for a way to generate a few dollars to help with marketing expenses. I am not going to kid myself; no program is going to replace my income, but it may help with some of my costs.
I decided that an affiliate program may not be a bad idea, so I went to the master of affiliate programs, Amazon.com. You can see one example of the program on this page. One reason for me to choose Amazon is that I make purchases there, so I trust them. While reading through their programs, I saw the “astore” option. At first, I was not interested. I was just hoping to promote a book or two. However, the idea of the third place took hold. I doubt that anyone will actually purchase an item through my astore, but I considered the perception that this part of the site could create. As my site evolves, I could create an environment about all aspects of their home. Now, I cannot be all things to all people, but maybe specifically to people in the process of buying or selling their home, my blog could become their third place. That thought is now driving my desires for the site.
About the affiliate program, I have only pleasant experiences to write about the set up. Amazon has made it quite simple to become involved, and the steps to adding scrpts to the site like the one above, or creating the astore, were extremely simple. The astore took about ten minutes to create. I did not go as far as I could have in its design. I wanted one basic category, and I did not go into developing more pages (you can have up to four). You do have to be approved by Amazon, and this did not take too long. I imagine that some could turn this into a nice revenue stream with some effort. My focus was the perception though, but I do hope for a bit to develop in the revenue stream category.
Having an over all concept behind your blog can help with finding visitors. The posts which detail my site’s evolution do not fit my overall theme though. You should still be able to divert from the concept, but whether you are writing to promote your business or to create an online diary, you may wish to think about what kind of environment you have set out before your reader.