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Recommendations On Recommending Products & Services On Your Website

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by David Garland in David's Blog

Recommendations On Recommending Products & Services On Your WebsiteSay the title of this post 10 times quickly. Anyway, a couple of quick recommendations on, um, recommending things.

I have a page on called RISE Recommends. On this page is a list of cool products, services, etc. that I recommend to you.

I’m a big fan of this page (not just on my site, but other sites that do something similar) and HIGHLY recommend you set up one as well for your site.


  • I enjoy recommending awesome people creating useful things.
  • I enjoy sharing things YOU will find awesome and useful.
  • And hey, since some are affiliates, I make an extra dollar or two (which TRUST me adds up over time).

If you share an enjoyment of those things, give a recommendations page a try.

A few tips from experience and experimenting with this for the last few years:

1. A simple, easy-to-read, understand and click page seems to work better and get the point across more than something super fancy with shiny bells and whistles.

I know this because mine used to be really fancy with long recommendations, complicated categories and lots of clicks you had to go through. Once I changed it to a very simple format, the proof is in the pudding (hint: the page has become MUCH more popular).

2. A simple disclosure is critical.

If you have affiliate links make sure to mention that you have affiliate links (for folks new to this, affiliates simply mean if you click your link and someone buys the product you get a small bounty or a pony or something). Why? For one, it is never a good idea to be slimy. Two, if you have built up trust, people don’t mind giving you a commission…but if you dupe them they will. For example, I have a friend’s site who has affiliate links for a variety of cool technology products. When I buy something, I often go this site and click the affiliate links on purpose because I WANT HIM TO GET THE COMMISSION!

Here is my little disclosure on the RISE Recommends page: Note: Some of the products and services below are affiliate links which means if you purchase them, I get a small commission. And I’ve also worked out deals on some of them as well just for RISE viewers (YOU!). You can rest assured I only promote things to you that I really think are fantastical (and I protect you like a mother bear!)

3. It is VITAL to choose products you know, like and/or trust from people you know, like and/or trust that will help your audience/community.

A few common mistakes I see here are people recommending EVERYTHING under the sun or (even worse) recommending products and services for another reason other than they rock and would help the reader. For example, choosing a product just because it gives you a high commission…but it actually sucks. Realize these recommendations are a reflection of you and your trust with your audience/community/readers/viewers/whatever-ers. Violate it at your own peril. This doesn’t mean that occasionally you might have an oops situation (people are forgiving if it is a genuine OOPS), but it does mean you are the DJ and you get to decide the music and with that selection comes responsibility.

Examples (and yes, some of these are affiliate links, haha), I recommend Feedblitz, Ecamm Call Recorder and Wistia because I use all three cool products on this site. I recommend my attorney because he is my attorney and he is awesome. I recommend the Mobile Marketing Kit from my sponsor HubSpot because I trust the heck out of them and they create excellent, helpful stuff (that is why they are a sponsor of the show!). I recommend Free Agent Academy because the man behind it, Kevin Miller, is a rock star and I trust him to take care of you guys.

4. It is more than OK to recommend things outside your normal niche or topic.

For example, I recommend Jet Set Body because I’m currently finishing it and it is the best fitness program ever and I WANT to tell other people about it. And I recommend Holy Sh*T: Delicious Recipes To Keep You Fit and Protein Shakes & Snacks because I eat this food every day from these books and it has rocked my world (and I trust the author like my mama bear). Don’t be afraid to step out of your normal zone.

5. It takes time.

If you expect to put up a recommendations page and then expect the bling, bling to be rolling in as you go outside and play in the park, it doesn’t quite work like that. I see it more as a long term thing that evolves with you and your site. It might make you a few cents a month at the beginning (or less!), but over time those cents might turn into dollars, then perhaps hundreds and then who knows. It is never too early to start even if your website has three viewers: You, your Grandmama and Freckles your cat.

My final recommendation on recommending. Pick three or five things that fit the criteria, get started and have some fun.

What has been your experience with recommendations?

Oh and Meegan in the comments recommended that I link up Rise Recommends once again.

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  1. Adarsh Menon says:

    Good stuff.  For new people setting up such pages, I suggest you create some rules (I’m a big fan of rules!) for what kinds of products you’re going to recommend.  Perhaps you’re only going to recommend products you’ve used before.  Or maybe you’ll only recommend products in your niche.  This will help the issue of recommending every product under the sun that you see on some sites.

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      That’s an interesting idea, Adarsh. Oh you and your rules!

  2. Kevin Miller says:

    I’m just honored to be included here brother, and great wisdom I’ll use on the ‘recommends’ page of our new site, so thanks for the counsel. You have folk’s trust, the greatest commodity. So I trust who you list here. Like good ole’ Paul Harvey, can’t beat an endorsement from someone you trust, eh?

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      You rock, Kevin. Duh.

  3. Meegan says:

    Always love when you give us the finer details of what works for you. Much thanks! Hey, you should put a link to the David recommends at the bottom of the article too, cause maybe not everyone will scroll back up to the top to find it and why not get peeps clicking there now?!
    Also, do you have any recommends re inexpensive, ok, cheap design service that rocks? 🙂

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Meegan – My absolute pleasure. Will add that right now. Great idea!

      1. Meeganhill says:

        Cracked me up when I saw how you wrote it. 🙂

  4. Funny you mentioned about “wanting people to get a commission”…I like to do that too.  Sometimes, when I see something I want…I’ll get somebody else to grab an affiliate link so I can buy through them.  Give…give…give.


    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Giving = Wins.

  5. Troy Pesola says:


    It was great to find this post.  I had created a “recommends” page, then removed it from the menu.  It just wasn’t getting used.   I’m wondering if I should put it under “about”, then like Meegan mentioned place a link to it at the bottom posts as well.Any thoughts?  -Troy

    BTW, you’ve inspired me to start doing interviews.  I’m still trying to coordinate the first one.  It should be FUN!  Thanks!

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Troy – I think the more places (without being annoying of course) can’t hurt.

      That’s awesome. Good luck!!

      1. Troy Pesola says:

        David,  I did it… I posted about the interview project.

        So now I’m searching for more people to interview for pre-season snow sports training.   Any suggestions, let me know. the nervousness set in.   Nope, shake it off!

  6. Ivan Bickett says:

    I just listened to a great podcast about this (being affliate links) this morning by Justin Lukasavige here:

    And I’m really glad you posted this. I’ve discovered that I need to hear something 3 or 4 times before I act. This makes 3, so the recommend page is going on my new site once it’s launched (contacted someone today to build it for me). So thanks, David, for inspiring me to act on yet another small step towards my dreamed for success.

    You rock! Keep bringing to the world your fluff-free-awesomeness! One day I hope to repay you for all the great things I’ve learned from you and your interviewees.

    Maybe I’ll take you out to coffee??? HAHAHAHAHA (I heard a good rant by you on that the other day!)

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Great to hear! Keep rockin’ it!

  7. Jason Ulsrud says:

    As my site has grown in my niche, I’m getting more and more people asking me what I use, or who I use.  So adding a RockStar Recommends page to my site is on the hit list for this week or next.

    Thanks brother…

    1. David Siteman Garland says:


  8. Payton_vege says:

    Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

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