Every month, I make money with affiliate marketing and since quitting my 9-5 to be a work-at-home mom, it’s become an even more important part of my overall business plan. If you have a blog, you too should be using affiliate marketing as a way to bolster your overall profits.
You’ve probably noticed many of my posts include a disclaimer regarding affiliate marketing and today’s post is no different – the links within may be affiliate links, which means if you click through to make an investment, I receive commission at no additional cost to you.
How to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is exactly as it appears within my disclaimer – it’s an opportunity for you to promote products or services in exchange for commission or part of the sale. You can promote these products or services through sponsored posts, ad images directly on your site, or links within content of your own creation.
When you join an affiliate program, you get a tracking link that’s completely unique to you which you’ll then put on your website. When a reader clicks through to make a purchase, you’ll earn money!
Now it of course sounds a lot easier than it actually is, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today – exactly how to make it easier on yourself to get those readers to click through and to generate nearly-passive income.
Affiliate Marketing Program Options
First, there’s the pay per lead option (PPL). Certain affiliate programs will pay you for a referred visitor, whether or not they make a monetary investment. An example here would be Share-A-Sale, an affiliate platform which pays should I refer people to use it, regardless of whether or not they actually end up using the affiliate links.
Then there’s the pay per sale option (PPS), which is of course much more common. This is when someone makes a purchase through your link and you then receive commission or part of the sale in return. An example here would be referring people to sign up for Amazon Prime.
Read the ToS
Speaking of Amazon and any other affiliate company you work with, you really want to make sure you read over their Terms of Service prior to beginning any sort of promotion. I say “speaking of Amazon” because they are understandably one of the more strict companies in terms of how you can promote. For example, with Amazon, you cannot promote directly via Pinterest or any social media platforms, for that matter. If they shut down your account for a violation, you’ll lose any and all profits.
Along those same lines, you also want to make sure you stay compliant with the Federal Trade Commission’s law on disclosure; basically you cannot put out an affiliate link without first making sure your readers know it’s an affiliate link. Hence my disclaimers being obvious and always before any links.
Mind Your Links
Lastly, in terms of rules and guidelines, make sure your affiliate links are “no-follow” so that you keep Google happy.
“Follow” links are ones often used within things like guest posts to benefit the site to which you’re linking and help them in terms of SEO. It’s essentially you supporting them on your website and saying they’re a trustworthy domain worthy of showing up in search results, which will then result in the “Google bot” following that link to that next site. So “no-follow” links are links within your post that do not directly benefit that which you’re linking to and will prevent a site crawler from leaving your page to go to theirs.
Google doesn’t like it if you’re getting paid, or potentially getting paid, and also benefiting the site that pays you. That would basically be like getting paid to say a site is trustworthy and that could get real icky, real quick.
Get Started with Affiliate Marketing
How do I decide who to become an affiliate for?
First, think about the products and services you’re always telling your friends and family about. Even if they don’t necessarily seem like they’d relate to your blog, make note of them.
Then take a look at which of your posts see the most traffic – are there already products or services in there that could be affiliate links? If not, could there be?
As you grow in your affiliate marketing journey, you’ll find it becomes easier to come up with products and services you love that you in turn want to share with your audience.
Along those lines, when working in affiliate marketing, whether you’ve been doing it for years or didn’t even know what it was prior to this article, you’ll only want to recommend products and services that you genuinely stand behind. For example, I actually had a hosting site reach out to me a few months, asking me to be an affiliate for them. Now I don’t host with them nor had I heard good things about them, but they DO pay really well and I can see how that’s a draw for some. Don’t be a part of that some. Don’t let the potential profits outweigh your morals; it’ll only damage you and your reputation in the long run.
And if you’re trying to figure out where to find companies to be affiliates for, check out ShareASale – they’re my go-to resource for almost every affiliate I’m a part of!
Another great company to check out (especially for bloggers) is Ultimate Bundles. If you’ve never heard of them, definitely take a peak at my Ultimate Bundles Review!
I’m an affiliate – Now What?
Get your links placed –
The first step is to post links within already-created posts. As I mentioned earlier, take a look at your most popular posts and see if you’re already recommending products or services that you could be an affiliate marketer for. Not sure how to find out? Simply go to Google and type in “(product/service) affiliate” – 90% of the programs I’m a part of were found by doing that.
Next, create a gift guide. Now maybe you think that wouldn’t be applicable for your niche, but you’d be surprised! Pick out a quality of your readers (or you yourself) and create a holiday-related gift guide based on that. Examples would be “Top 10 Perfect Christmas Gifts for the Graphic Designer in Your Life” or “5 Unique Gift Ideas for Bloggers” or “8 Fun Gifts for Dog-Lovers!” Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Dad is a great example of this!
Affiliate Posting Ideas
Use social media! Don’t put out affiliate links every single day, but if you’re sharing an article that contains an affiliate link, it would be wise of you to first post the article and then a few hours later, share the direct affiliate link. Stand behind the products and services you love, just don’t overdo it!
You can also write a tutorial or list. For example – Overrated Baby Items and Their Thrifty Replacements. It’s a post I know benefits my readers, but it’s also one in which I can plug affiliate links where applicable.
Lastly, write a review of what happened before/after using the product or service. Personally, I *LOVE* Tailwind as a blogger – like seriously not sure how I’d function without it. So of course I wrote a review of Tailwind and shared not only how it shaved 10 hours/week off my marketing time, but I included my referral link, which gives my readers a free month but also benefits me in terms of commission.
As I wrote earlier, I know it’s one of those “simple but not easy” sort of things. Affiliate marketing is NOT a get rich quick scheme nor does it work for everyone in terms of generating a decent return on (time) invested, but it can net you some extra cash, particularly if you’re seeking financial freedom or simply want to work from home.
Have you tried out affiliate marketing yet?
Comment below, I’d love to know!
Well said, Amber! I dabble a little bit in Affiliate Marketing. I do it more so on my business site than my hobby blog. Every little thing can help when you have blog expenses, right?
Thanks for sharing this with us!
Great suggestion. I haven’t been keeping track of my links in a spreadsheet, only have them dropped into an email folder. But a spreadsheet of my links will be more streamlined and easier to track. Thank you!
This is the best explanation of affiliate marketing that I’ve ever read. Thank you!
I don’t do affiliates, but I do like the $1000+ per month option! I was going to do it when I started but you can’t be an Amazon affiliate in Maine and that discouraged me out of the gate since it seemed like the easiest one to do. Maybe I’ll check it out when I retire and have more time and less money.
This was a great article, thank you! I’m not 100% understanding follow/ no follow links. I’m signed up with three commission companies and they all provide links/ deeplinks for me. If I use these in my blog post then they are no-follow? And if I were to share someone else’s blog post (with affiliate links) on my blog, then they would be follow links? Confused!
Correct – if you use affiliate links or sponsored links, you would do “no-follow”. If you’re linking to a site because they guest posted for you or you’re just recommending them as a fan (i.e. not being paid to say you love them) then you use “do-follow” 🙂
I am always looking for new and better tips for Affiliate! Thanks for sharing this!
You’re very welcome!