Making the Most Of Affiliate Links

Making the Most Of Affiliate Links

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated for purchases you make through them. 

Over the past few weeks, I’ve written several posts about affiliate marketing. Today, let’s talk about how to really make the most of the time and effort spent on affiliate links. Many bloggers fail to make any money off of affiliate marketing, but there are ways to maximize the opportunity.

Affiliate Marketing Definition

You see the term all the time, but what is it?  Basically, affiliate marketing, also known as affiliate advertising,  is the promotion of products and services in exchange for a commission. As an affiliate marketer, your goal is to push traffic in direction of a merchant’s website.  You earn commission whenever someone makes a purchase through the affiliate link on your site.  The amount of commission varies depending on which program you join.

How do Affiliate Links Work?

Each time you use an affiliate link inside a blog or social media post, there is a tracking cookie that is stored in the user’s browser to track sales. Merchant program their cookies to track a user’s purchase activity for different lengths of time.  For example, I may have a link with Candy Club that tracks a user’s activity for 30 days, while Cricut may track for 45. It all depends on the merchant. This information is disclosed to you up front when you apply to a specific affiliate’s program.

Driving Traffic to Merchants

The key to driving traffic to your affiliate merchants is by producing quality content. Writing quality blog posts, along with dropping in an affiliate link if there’s a product or service that relates to your post, will show your readers you are truly supporting what you write, and will prevent readers from thinking that all you are trying to do is sell something. Once you stop writing genuinely, you will lose credibility, and your subscribers won’t be far behind.

Ways to Share Affiliate Links

There are so many creative ways to share affiliate links.  Just because you are sharing them on your site doesn’t mean anyone is going to click on them and buy them. Here are several ways to creatively and effectively include affiliate links into your blog posts.

  • Banner Ads:  Banner ads are easy affiliate links to include on your blog. Simply paste the html code into your post and you’ve got a nice visual creative linked directly to your affiliate’s product. I usually use banner ads in addition to regular text links in my blog posts.
  • Tutorial posts:  Find products you want to promote, then write a post showing your users step-by-step instructions on how to use that product.
  • Persuasive posts:  Write a post comparing several products, persuading your readers to choose your affiliate’s products over a competitor product.
  • Product reviews:  Product reviews are one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to affiliate products. I wrote a review about Candy Club last week, and have already seen income from that post.  The key to product reviews is to only review products you would (and do) actually use. Readers can spot a fake a mile away. Again, the key is to be genuine about what you post.
  • Social Media: Social media is a great way to share affiliate links.  Most of the sales I have made have come from clicks originated from my social media posts.

Becoming an Affiliate

There are many different affiliate programs out there.  Here’s a list of popular ones:

When you log on to ShareASale or any other affiliate network, you get to see a grand list of all of the merchants that have signed up to participate in that network’s affiliate marketing program. Each merchant will set its own terms, conditions, and commission rates. It is your responsibility as an affiliate to read the fine print before you sign up for any program.

Once you have signed up for a program and the merchant has approved you, you now have access to all of that merchant’s coupons, discounts, banners, text links, and datafeed files. How you promote these links is totally up to you, but there are some guidelines set by the FTC that you must follow:

Disclosing Affiliate Links on Your Blog

The FTC requires bloggers promoting affiliate links to disclose this relationship to its readers. What does that mean?  Let’s explore in depth:

You’ve most likely been in a situation where you’ve had to sign a legal document.  A good example of this is when you buy a home. The seller is required to disclose certain conditions by law to you as the buyer so that you can make an educated decision.  It’s the same concept with disclosing affiliate links. Because we are making a commission off of a reader’s purchase through those links, we have to tell our readers this information so that they know. Consider it the “fine print” of your blog post.

The FTC’s purpose in requiring this disclosure is to continue to protect consumers when making online purchases. Consumers have the right to understand what they are buying.  It’s a good thing. If I were buying a car, I’d want the dealer to tell me if the car I’m buying has ever been in an accident.  If they didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t be able to make the best educated decision because I’m being left in the dark about the condition of the car.

Bottom line:  Always, always, always include a clear disclosure in every post that contains affiliate links or banners.  Don’t link to a separate disclosure page on your blog, don’t put it within the body of the post, and definitely don’t put it at the bottom of the post. None of these methods are acceptable.  While you can have a separate disclosure page for your blog, it is not sufficient for the FTC. You must disclose affiliate links BEFORE the first link appears on your post. If you haven’t been disclosing, go back to old posts and add it. The FTC can fine you for violating this rule. Don’t take that risk!

Being Genuine Is The Key

Over everything you do to promote affiliate links, being genuine is the absolute best way of all to gain your readers’ trust in a product. I make it a practice of only recommending products I believe in and would/do use myself. Don’t waste your time just trying to make a quick buck by throwing up any affiliate links.  If you promote high-quality products and services you find useful, chances are, your rate of return will be much greater.

Some of the affiliate products I love and recommend you join include:

Over to You

How have you succeeded with affiliate links?  Was this post helpful in your quest to earning affiliate income?

Candy Club Subscription Box Review

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. I received a free box of Candy Club candy in response to my review of this product. All opinions are my own. 

I’ve had the awesome opportunity several times over the last year to review the craze that is the subscription box. I’ve received the SWEETEST subscription box of them all today, and boy am I excited to share this review with you!

Today, I’m reviewing Candy Club. Candy Club is a monthly subscription box service that delivers 2-3 lbs of delicious premium candies right to your mailbox. They select and deliver the most delicious candies from all over the world.  You have the option of either letting Candy Club automatically select which candies you receive, or you can customize your own box.  I chose to customize my own box.

 

Candy Club Subscription Box Review

How it works

Candy Club, like other subscription boxes, gives you several plan options to choose from when you go to their website (www.candyclub.com).  Their 3-step process makes it very easy to get your very own candy on its way to your mailbox.

First, choose the plan that you want. You can choose from the month-to-month plan ($27.99 + shipping), the 6-month plan ($22.99 + shipping), or the 12-month plan ($19.99 + shipping), but you can cancel at any time. For the purpose of reviewing this product, Candy Club offered me the one-time option at no cost.

Second, take the candy quiz.  Of all the quizzes I ever took in high school and college, this, by far, is the SWEETEST quiz I’ve ever taken.  All you have to do is answer a few basic questions about your preferred types of candies, and Candy Club assembles your candies for you. How cool is that? There is an option to add on additional candies (for an additional fee) if you’d like. I did not do that for this review.  Once you’ve taken the quiz and Candy Club has assembled your candies, you then have the option to swap out candies if you don’t like some of the selections it has made for you.

The third step is to simply ENJOY YOUR CANDY! My family helped me with the taste testing of my candy box last night. I ordered the Fini Assorted Jellies, the Fini Sour Filled Watermelon Bricks, and the Albanese Tuxedo Almonds.

Candy Club Subscription Box Review

Candy Club Subscription Box Review

Candy Club Subscription Box Review

My Personal Opinion

I LOVE Candy Club!  The opportunity to get wonderful, delicious, premium candies delivered to your doorstep each month is such a great idea!  I can really tell the difference in the freshness of Candy Club’s candy versus the candy available in most stores today.

In being completely honest with you all, I believe the prices are a little on the high side, but are not unreasonable because you always get what you pay for, and you are definitely getting high-quality, deliciously-tasting candy from Candy Club!

I didn’t have a bad-tasting candy in any of the 3 jars I received.  My favorite?  The Fini Sour Filled Watermelon Bricks!  I’ve always been a lover of sour candies, and these really hit the spot.  In fact, I’ve eaten half the jar while typing up this review.  I just couldn’t put them down!

The Candy Club Subscription Box is a wonderful gift for any occasion.  Who hates candy, right?! With their range of plan options, you are sure to find the option that fits your needs very quickly.

Here are a few of the great deals Candy Club is offering right now.  Be sure to use the links below so that the deal can be applied to your order:

Click here: 50% off Plus Free Shipping on the World’s Best Candy!!

Click here: $10 off Your First Order

How to Decorate a Shared Bedroom for Opposite Sex Siblings

There is nothing more enjoyable than decorating a room for your own child. However, when your children are opposite sex siblings, this activity usually turns into quite a challenging one. However, there’s no reason to be worried since we’ve prepared a list of some very useful advice on how to decorate their room so that they both love it.

Go for gender-neutral colors

The best way to start this endeavor is by choosing the right color for your children’s room. Since you cannot go for traditional boy’s or girl’s colors, we advise you to opt for a gender-neutral color palette which includes grey, yellow, black and white. This way, both your son and your daughter will be content and happy to spend time in their shared room. Furthermore, you can opt for a combination of colors such as orange and blue, so that each of them gets the color they like. Although, neutral colors can be a bit dull, don’t worry, you can always make the space brighter with colorful furniture and other accessories.

Same beds, but different colors

Siblings usually like having the same things; so, in order to avoid quarrels over whose bed is nicer, buy them the same one. However, let them choose their own pillows and sheets. This way, you’ll include them in the process of decoration and allow them to have their personal space which best suits their preferences and allows them to express their own personality. And, since children usually choose colorful ones, these sheets will serve as a great accessory and add some life to the neutrally colored walls.

Buy them some shared furniture as well

Aside from buying them the same beds, desks and wardrobes, go for some shared furniture as well. This way, you’ll teach them to share their possessions instead of selfishly keeping them only for themselves. For example, you can opt for something interesting like a teepee by Cattywampus. We guarantee that they will both love it, since this piece of furniture will truly stir their imagination and they’ll be eager to spend time playing together.

Personal corners

Teaching your children to share what they have with others is very important as we have already mentioned, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t allow them to personalize their own corners in the room. So, even though the whole room cannot be decorated according to their likings, their corners can, and this is why they shouldn’t be forgotten when planning how to decorate your children’s room. For example, you can have two different kids rugs in their favorite colors which will mark the borders of their personal spaces. Each of these corners can be decorated the way they like it and equipped with their favorite toys.

Choose the right accessory

Children adore colorful accessories and according to them any amount of it is never too much. So, not only will you make their room look more interesting, but they will be absolutely thrilled by it as well. First of all, you should consider buying colorful drapes which will add some drama to the entire decor. Just make sure that they’re thick enough, so that you can simulate the night time, when you want them have an afternoon nap. Furthermore, you can bring in floor mats in the shape of their favorite cartoon and video games characters in bright colors. Finally, let your children hang posters and their drawings on a bulletin board which is specifically dedicated to this purpose. It will truly personalize the whole room.

As you can see, decorating a shared room for opposite sex siblings is not that hard after all. You just need to ensure that everybody gets something they like and teach them how to share what they have.

How to Write a Stellar About Me Page for Your Blog

How to Write a Stellar About Me Page for Your Blog

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

One of the most viewed pages on your blog will be your “About Me” page.  As your following and readership grows, so will the number of people who want to know the super-cool mastermind behind the blog!  It’s very important as a blogger to engage your readers and help them truly care about you.  If they don’t care about you, they won’t care about what you have to say or offer.

Your “About Me” page is the most important page on your blog. Not only does it do the job of introducing you to the world, but it is key in providing vital information about what you can offer to your readers and why they should stay around and click (and hopefully subscribe!).  Get your “About Me” page wrong, and you can be sure to drive AWAY traffic to other sites instead of retaining that traffic.

Today’s post is all about setting your “About Me” page up for success. While I don’t believe it will ever get up to a perfectionist level, there are things that can be done to it to make it ASTONISHING and WONDERFUL!  So, let’s talk about what you should and should not include on your “About Me” page.  While there is no one-size-meets-all formula to creating a stellar “About Me” page, there is information that you should include without a doubt.

Your Bio

Who are you? How did you get to where you are today? Share your goals and values.  Let your readers see the real you. Being yourself is key to gaining your readers’ trust and confidence that by reading what you have to say, they can find value.

Talk about the parts of you that make you a unique blogger. You don’t have to give a chronological explanation of everything you’ve gone through in your life, but do include those skills, experiences, and successes that make you an expert in your niche.

Include a Photo

While you may already have your photo in a sidebar, you should also include another photo on your “About Me” page. By all means, do NOT include a photo that would embarrass you, your family, or your readers. Make sure you are dressed professionally/appropriately for your blog’s niche. If you’re offering professional services, don’t show up in shorts and a t-shirt. Wear a suit.  Get the point?

Describe your blog content

So now that we know about YOU as an individual, we want to know what your blog is about, and why we should spend our valuable time on YOUR page vs the millions of other pages out there. Draw us in to what makes your content special, valuable, and time-worthy. If you haven’t figured it out yet, this page needs to SHINE!

Show how you can help your readers

Your readers may have landed on your site because they did a search for specific information. This is your opportunity to clearly explain what you can do for them to help them meet their needs.  As a parenting blogger, I try to provide valuable information to new parents or those who are seeking new ways of doing things. By providing new perspectives and ideas, we can draw our readers in for wanting more. Don’t just recycle information most people have heard before. Create new, exhilarating content that your readers will remember, love, and share with others!

Provide examples of how you have helped others

Above we talked about the importance of telling your readers how you can help them. Now’s your chance to talk about your success stories! Do you have a portfolio or project? Share it! Provide specific examples, numbers, data, and photos. This lets your readers see tangible results they can expect from you as well.  Walk the walk if you are going to talk the talk!

Your contact information

This may seem dumb and/or obvious, but don’t forget to include the best ways to contact you for more information. I’m not saying you have to include every single social media account URL.  The best way to provide contact information is through a separate “Contact Me” link. Check out my contact page as an example.  I have a simple contact form as well as my social media account links.

Recent/Popular Posts

Never miss an opportunity to show off your best work. Create a list (3-5) linking to your highest performing posts. Show your readers what they have to look forward to by subscribing to your blog.

Now what?

You’ve followed my suggestions above and put together a stellar “About Me” page. Now what? Continue to update it. Don’t let it sit unedited. Update your information as you grow as a writer, and as your readers’ needs change. Refresh the popular/recent post links and look for opportunities to update your photo.

Share with me!

What’s on YOURAbout Me” page?  Do you have more ideas for a stellar “About Me” page? Share in the comments below!

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links
Save 10-20% on select Majestic Cool Base and Flex Base jerseys + Free Shipping on Orders over $50 at MLBShop.com through 3/17

Have you ever wondered how all of these other bloggers are becoming so successful with affiliate marketing? If so, this is the post for you. Affiliate marketing can seem so overwhelming at times, but it doesn’t have to be.  I’ve put together a detailed guide on how to sign up with ShareASale so that you too can be on your way to success.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

To keep it simple, affiliate marketing is when bloggers like you or me sign up to promote a merchant’s products and services in exchange for a commission.  When I place a merchant’s links within my blog post (or use banner ads), I get commission when a reader clicks on the link and that click leads to a purchase.

There are all kinds of merchants available for promotion. The good thing is that there are so many merchants that we have the ability to only sign up for programs that interest us.  As a daddy blogger, I look for merchants that sell products related to my niche.  I never promote or recommend products I don’t believe in or use.

Why Would I Want To Spend Time On This?

Affiliate marketing allows bloggers and site owners to earn income based on their sales performance with their merchants. While starting off can be a little slow before you start seeing income roll in, it’s a great method to earn extra passive income.

I won’t lie to you today about the work needed to succeed in affiliate marketing. It takes a lot of time to craft blog posts in such a way to make your readers not feel like you are just trying to sell them something. Trust me, the first time they feel that way, it’ll be the last time they visit your site.

Hopefully, you started blogging because you are passionate about something. You want to share that passion with others. From time to time, you have products or services to recommend your readers that will be a value for them.  This is where affiliate marketing is at its best. By blending in the links with your blog posts, you can make your readers feel like you are truly offering a product or service to them that will better their lives.

Throwing up banner ads like there is no tomorrow, or putting a million affiliate links all over a blog post may eventually lead to sales, but it won’t lead to reader loyalty. Be smart about when and where you place the links.

I didn’t receive my first commission until November of 2016.  I spent months perfecting the best ways to introduce those products to my readers. I will say that persistence pays off with affiliate marketing – just like anything else in life.

How Do I Join An Affiliate Marketing Program?

Joining affiliate marketing programs is easy.  The first step is to choose which affiliate marketing site you want to use. You don’t have to narrow it down to just one, but for the purpose of this post, I’m going to talk about ShareASale’s Affiliate Marketing Program (see my recent review of ShareASale).  

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

Once you have signed up to be an affiliate with ShareASale (join here using my referral link), you can select from thousands of merchants and apply with the click of a button. Most of the merchants manually review applications and usually respond within a few days. Some of them automatically approve you. Aside from a few occasions, you should receive approval for every program for which you apply. Don’t be surprised, or discouraged, though, if you do get declined from a program. Many programs have minimum guidelines you have to meet for them to accept you, but these are few and far between.

In ShareASale, click on the Merchants tab and then Search For Merchants

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

The Merchant Search will allow you to search for merchants based on popularity, age, sales volume, etc.  You can either type in a keyword into the search field, or click on any of the links.  I like to look at the Top 100 PowerRank on occasion and see if any of those high performers fit my blog’s niche.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

I performed a search for Major League Baseball because opening day is a few weeks away and I wanted to see if there were any affiliate programs with great deals on merchandise to coincide with opening day.  When I hit search, I get a list of 41 affiliate programs associated with Major League Baseball.  The list tells me if the merchant is in the Top 100 PowerRank, when they were activated on ShareASale, their merchant ID, commission structure, and more details about the program.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

I’m interested in joining MLBShop.com’s affiliate program, so I clicked on the link to the left that takes me to their program’s affiliate application.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

A pop-up box will appear with the merchant’s affiliate program agreement. READ THIS!  It is important information you will need to know in order to remain an active affiliate for this merchant’s program.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

Once you’ve read the program agreement, you will need to click the radio button that confirms you agree to the merchant’s agreement and then hit Join This Program. This particular merchant also requires that I agree to release my email and phone number as a part of the program application.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

Once you have submitted your information, you will get another pop-up that tells you your current approval status.  Most of the time, it will say Pending.  If an affiliate automatically approves you, it’ll say Approved in green.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

Once a merchant has approved you as an affiliate, you get access to promotional tools you can use to promote the merchant’s products in your blog posts, social media, or email campaigns. Promotional tools include banners, coupons, or promo codes. Adding links is as easy as copying the special tracking URL assigned to you and pasting them into your blog post.

Let’s take a look at one of my existing merchants that I promote – NFLShop.com.  I really love this particular merchant’s program because they almost always have great deals and coupons to offer readers.

Once I’ve opened up the program from my dashboard, I see several tabs across the top of the page – Text Links, Banners, Deals/Coupons, Datafeed Products, Product Showcase, Make-A-Page, and Create Custom Link.  Not all merchants will have the same tabs at the top.  It all depends on what they have chosen to offer to their affiliates.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

Text links

This is the tab the site defaults to when you open up the merchant in your dashboard. It is just what it says. As you can see, I get the text link’s individual ID, the description of the text link, its category, a preview of what the link will say, when it was modified, and a link to get the html code.As I look through the list, I try to find a link that fits within the blog post I’m writing. For this example, let’s say I am writing a post about Eddie Lacy. He’s been in the news lately so I want to talk about it with my readers.  I see that NFLShop.com has a 2017 NFL Free Agent Class Seattle Seahawks Nike Game Jersey.  You can either do what I just did – add the link to custom text, or use the html link and plug it into your html editor in your blogging platform (for me, that’s WordPress) to have the link automatically show up.  You can do it either way. I love this because it allows me to be creative in how I promote this product to my readers.

The custom link that I copied and pasted as a hyperlink inside my custom text is the link that will record any clicks, and more importantly, sales, that have been generated by readers who have clicked them. This is why it’s very important you copy and paste EXACTLY how they appear on the merchant’s site. You don’t want to lose any potential sales!  Here’s what the actual hyperlink looks like when you copy it from the merchant’s page. Don’t ever paste this link by itself in a blog post. It looks unprofessional.  Always, always, always embed the URL inside custom text!

http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=983219&U=1350177&M=52555&urllink” rel=”nofollow”=

When you click on Get HTML Code, you’ll open up both links. If you are familiar with HTML code (you really don’t need to know much more about it other than how to copy and paste it into WordPress), choose the first code in the top box.  Note: If you want to add your ShareASale hyperlink to custom text, this is NOT the code to use for that. The key to knowing whether or not it’s a hyperlink is to look to see if there is http:// in front of it.  Notice how the first code starts with “<a href=.”  This will let you know that it’s html code and you should copy and paste it into the html editor of your blogging platform.  I did NOT choose this option. I chose the 2nd option, which is the hyperlink version I showed you above.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

Banners

Banners are good visuals to use in addition to text links. I like to put some of my affiliate banners in my blog’s sidebar, and if a banner corresponds to a blog post I’ve written, I’ll stick a banner either at the top, middle, or bottom of my post to draw my readers’ eyes to it.  Banners work the same way as text links, in that you have to copy and paste the code into your html editor to get them to appear on your site. NFLShop.com has 302 banners available for me to choose from. Left-click on the banner that you want and it’ll take you to the same code as before. So easy!

Deals/Coupons

Some merchants offer deals/coupons to their customers, while others do not. As we can see from our tabs, there are 8 current deals/coupons offered by NFLShop.com.  When we click on this tab, it takes you to the detail list. It’s important, above all, to look at the start and end times of the coupon.  We definitely do not want to offer our readers a coupon that has expired!  We see that this merchant has some that never end, and some that have an expiration date. These links work almost exactly like our text and banner links work.  I like to offer these coupons to my social media followers a lot of times, so I’ll customize my message about the coupon and then provide them with the tracking link they click on to get the deal.  You can also use custom text inside your blog posts and embed the tracking link as a hyperlink behind the text.  Again, make sure you copy and paste the code exactly as it appears.

Datafeed Products

Whoa! There are 86,992 data feed products for NFLShop.com. What in the world is this? And do you need to be concerned with it?  Data feeds are files provided by your merchant to help you better promote and sell their products.  (IMPORTANT!).  We all want our content to show up at the top of search engine results, right?  Well, data feeds are there for that purpose. Data feed files are changed over into individual products which contain descriptions about those products, links for the images, visitor links, pricing, etc.  What does this mean for you and me?  We will take this information and build individual web pages for these products, or even combine them all into each page.  We want to use data feed products if they are available because they will help give our site more search engine exposure.

Product Showcase

The next tab over is the Product Showcase tab. Product Showcases are dynamic creative that show product results for a search term or category. Whenever a search is performed, it provides real-time results and will differ each time the creative is viewed. ShareASale allows you to create a showcase either for a single merchant, a group of merchants, or for all of your merchants.  I haven’t really played around with this feature yet, as I almost always use the links within my blog post to refer readers to products that may interest them. But, this feature is there, and may be worth checking out.

Make-A-Page

Make-A-Page is a feature that allows you the ability to easily find relevant products and create pages for them. You can either search by keyword, or select from the category list.

Create Custom Link

If you want to create a custom link for a product, ShareASale gives you a tool that allows you to do just that. Again, I just use the URLs provided in the text/banner tabs, but if you want to create your own you can do that as well with this feature

Tracking Your Activity

Now that we have a good idea of some of the tools merchants can provide you to promote their products, how do we know when someone has clicked on one of our links?  And, how do we know if that click led to a sale?

ShareASale’s Reports tab at the top left corner of your dashboard is the place to go to get your individualized stats. Let’s take a look at what it has to offer.

If I hover my mouse over Reports, it’ll give me a lot of options to choose from:

Activity details

This report tells you your sales history.  You can filter down to a certain time period, or view all transactions.  You can also drill down to a specific merchant, transactions, paid date, etc.  I like this page because it tells me when a link or banner was clicked, what the total sale amount was, and what my commission was.

Merchant Timespan

If I want to see my commission totals for a specific merchant, or all merchants, within a specific time frame, I can do that with this report.

Today At A Glance

I check this report daily, sometimes hourly, if I’ve pushed posts out with affiliate links recently.  It tells me if there have been any clicks on those links, who the merchant was, my status with the merchant (approved), any commission that I may have earned from that click, unique and raw hits, sales, manual credits, conversions, reversals, and earnings per click.

Traffic Report

This report is useful if I want to see my traffic levels for my merchants. Again, I can filter down to a time frame, individual or all merchants, and sort by several categories. I usually sort by Unique Hits, then high to low. This tells me which of my merchants get the most traffic, which is useful because I can focus on them more to try to drive in more sales.

Download CSV

If you want to download your transactions to a .csv file, you can do that with this feature.

Payment Summary

Shows any recent payments that ShareASale has made to you.  In your account settings, you have the option to set a payment trigger. I chose $50. Whenever my commissions reach at least $50, it’ll automatically perform an ACH Direct Deposit to my bank account.  Go to your account settings to adjust the trigger level and method of deposit.

Merchant Status

I love this report because it gives you a run-down of your merchant status.  This report gives me the option to quit a program, tells me what status I’m in (Approved, Declined, etc), my commission totals, hits totals, sales totals, conversions, EPCs, merchant info, links to contact that merchant, and a link that takes me to get links or banners for that merchant.

More…

I won’t go into detail about the More section, but it does have additional reports you can run to help you with your affiliate marketing.

How to Make the Most Out of ShareASale

It’s easy to drop in a few links, promote links through social media, and add a few banner ads to your site, but there’s a lot more to it than this. Don’t sell yourself short by promoting products you don’t believe in just to make a few bucks. Focus on promoting only those products you use.

Be creative!  Don’t be afraid to try new promotional methods. For example, I will be making a video tutorial of this blog post in the near future.  I can add these links to YouTube to drive traffic to my merchants.

The amount of income is only limited to the amount of time and effort you set aside for it. It may seem like a long shot to hit in the thousands per month, but it can be done.

FTC Requirement: Disclosing Affiliate Links

Before you hit the publish button on that fancy new blog post with shiny affiliate links, you have to clearly disclose that there are affiliate links on your blog.  Put your affiliate disclosure at the top of your blog post before the first affiliate link appears. If you are sharing your affiliate links on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, you can disclose them by stating #ad or #aff. I’ve also seen bloggers write “Disclosure: Affiliate links.”  As long as you clearly disclose the presence of affiliate links, you’ll be compliant with the FTC.

Here is how I disclose affiliate links on my blog:

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links

Some Amazing Programs You Need To Join

I’m very happy to share with you some of the programs I’ve joined and their commission structure. Please note that merchants change their commission structure on occasion, so be sure to review each merchant’s full profile on ShareASale. ShareASale is also very good about emailing you about commission changes as well.

Blurb – Make your own professional-quality books, magazines, or eBooks. They offer 15% commission per sale and a 120 Day Tracking Cookie.

Book Outlet – Book Outlet has been in business for over 10 years selling books all over the world.  Books are offered at 50-90% off the list price. Book Outlet offers 10% commission, a 45-day cookie, seasonal and monthly promotions, performance incentives, full data feed, and dedicated program management

Candy ClubCandy Club is one of my newer merchants, but offers a monthly subscription service to deliver the freshest candies right to your door. They offer $20.50 commission on all 1, 6 and 12 month subscription sales, $30.00 commission on all 6 and 12 month prepaid subscription sales, one free Candy Club package to review on your blog/site upon request, and a bonus commission structure based on your performance.

Canva Press – Provides canvas prints, photo paper prints, and wall murals customized for each customer. They offer commissions between 10-14%,  a 30 day tracking cookie, discount and dollar off coupons, an auto-deposit feature, and dedicated program management.

Corner Stork Baby Gifts – Affordably-priced baby gift company founded by moms from Atlanta who seem to get invited to a baby shower or birthday party every week. Corner Stork offers the best of bath toys to room decor, personalized gifts to clothing, etc. They also price-match! The offer sales commissions of 10%.

CellSavers – CellSavers is a convenient device repair service.  Their technicians can meet you at your preferred location and time to repair damaged cell phones.  All repairs come with a lifetime warranty and high rated customer service. See my earlier blog post about CellSavers. CellSavers offers a $10.00 commission per lead, a 15 day cookie, $10 affiliate referrals, award-winning affiliate marketing management service, and monthly newsletters with updates on promotions, contests and sales opportunities.

Cricut – Cricut.com offers Cricut® machines, 50,000+ images to cut, and project supplies ranging from cardstock to iron-on film—plus inspiration, ideas, and a creative community!  The Cricut Explore™ machine lets anyone create amazing DIY projects. With world-leading technology, we make it easy for novices and professionals alike to make something they can feel proud of. Cricut offers a 12% base commission and 15% commission on orders $100+, a 45 day cookie, $10 affiliate referrals, award-winning affiliate management team from Acceleration Partners, and weekly newsletters with promotions, incentives, and the latest offers designed to help affiliates earn higher commissions.

Dancewear Solutions – Dancewear Solutions offers a large selection of the latest dancewear, dance shoes, leotards, dance shorts, tights and dance accessories. They carry most of the major dance brands such as Balera, Bloch, Capezio, Danskin, Sansha, Urban Groove and more. Dancewear Solutions offers a 6% commission rate and their average sale is $70.

Gymboree, Crazy 8, Janie and Jack – Gymboree’s clothing and accessories are created to celebrate kids being kids in unique, head-to-toe looks. Gymboree clothing is designed with colorful, high-quality fabrics and detailed touches throughout. Crazy 8 offers fashionable outfits at a great value for girls and boys, sizes 3M to 14. Janie and Jack offers classic children’s clothing rich in fabric, design and detail for girls and boys up to size 12 online. Heirloom-quality looks feature finely-crafted details such as hand-embroidery, hand-smocking and special prints. They offer 8% commission, a 30 day cookie, product datafeeds for both Gymboree and Crazy 8 that are both updated daily, and regular newsletters with updates on promotions, contests, and sales opportunities

Little Passports – Little Passports delivers a travel adventure right to your door! Choose from the Early Explorers (ages 3-5), the World Edition (ages 6-10), or the USA Edition (ages 7-12). Each subscription will have your child rushing to the mailbox, waiting for packages highlighting a new global destination or US state. They’ll receive letters, souvenirs, pop-out models, activities, stickers and more. Inspire a life-long interest in travel, language and world cultures with Little Passports! Little Passports offers $15 PER SALE commission rate on all monthly payment and 12 month plans. as well as $8 PER SALE commission rate on all 3 month and 6 month plans, a 90 day cookie for conversion tracking, regular newsletters with promotions, incentives and content, and a dedicated affiliate team.

NFLShop.com – NFLShop.com is the official online store of the National Football League and offers the biggest selection of officially licensed NFL apparel and merchandise online. They offer up commissions of up to 6% of sales, a 7 day cookie, 50,000+ product datafeed, top name brand products including Nike, New Era, Mitchell & Ness Cutter and Buck and more + authentic collectibles from Fanatics Authentic, great tools for bloggers and social media affiliates, great selection of text links and banner ads as well as “build your own” capability using Product Showcases, Make A Page and Custom Link builder, and dedicated management by Wade Tonkin.

 

How to Revitalize Old Blog Posts

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation for any items you purchase. Read my full disclosure here.

Are you struggling to come up with new, high-quality content?  Do you have writer’s block? Guess what?  You already have content on your blog just begging for your attention.  Today’s post is all about showing some love to our old blog posts by revitalizing them.

I don’t know about you, but old posts seem to still get some hits on my blog. That got me to thinking – what if that content is outdated?  What if my writing wasn’t that good?  What can I do to improve them?  I think it’s easy for us as bloggers to forget about our old blog posts because we want to continue to pump out new content. One forgotten blogging strategy is to keep content updated.

Reasons why you should start doing this TODAY:

You’ve learned new things

I’ve been blogging since 2015, and I’m pretty sure that I knew how to write well back then, but that’s about all I could do.  I didn’t understand how to include keywords for SEO, proper placement of affiliate links, or including links to other content to keep readers on my site much longer than a few seconds.  I can definitely tell you it’s frustrating to spend a lot of time perfecting a blog post to not get many views or shares.

The good thing about blogging is this:  The more you do it, the better you get at it. I’m sure I have plenty of old posts that were good ideas, but were terribly written. It’s time to update them!  And, not only will I update these posts because I care about the content on my blog, but I will also share them again.  Who knows, maybe they will go viral! Learning as you go is good for new posts, but this education can definitely apply to the oldies on your site as well!

You have more followers

We all probably don’t have the same number of followers we did 2 years ago – at least I hope not! Hopefully, your following has continued to grow.  If it’s not, then you aren’t really succeeding as a blogger.

New followers usually read your most recent content, and probably don’t have your site’s archives memorized like you do. So, you need to continue to direct them to these older posts by linking within newer posts and by setting up a sharing schedule on social media (I use Hootsuite). Chances are, your original followers fell head over heels for your old stuff – so, let your new followers experience the same thing!

You’ve experienced more

If you started blogging 5 years ago, chances are you’ve traveled to new places, met new people, learned new things, and made more memories. If you wrote a post about traveling to London years ago and you went again a few weeks ago, why not update the original post to include the new experiences you learned from your most recent trip?  By doing this, you are showing your followers not only do you care about your older content, but you continue to travel and learn new things.

When you experience more, you have more to say. Find opportunities with your old blog posts to update the information you originally shared and add new content that your readers are sure to love!

Keep your readers engaged

Updating old blog posts brings back memories of the first time a reader reads a memorable post. If you bring up new perspectives, ideas, links, and suggestions, you’ll keep your readers interested in what you have to say next.  Revitalizing old blog posts is a great way to put a new spin on an old topic to draw readers back in to your site.  It doesn’t matter how old the post is – 100 years or 100 days – do it to all of them!

Ready to get started?  Here’s how to do it!

Make a list of all the posts you want to update

The first place to start is by scouring your blog for those posts that you want to update. This may take a few hours up to a few days, even weeks, but is worth it!  It all depends on how many posts you have made, and how many are worthy to be updated.

Do you have posts that fit within the current season? For example, if I wrote a piece about Black Friday, which I did, chances are I’ll get more shares if I update it right before the holidays start.

Focus on posts with high views

If you use WordPress like I do, you have a nifty feature that tells you exactly which posts have had the highest number of views. Focus on these!  The reason they got high views is because you gave your readers something they were interested in.

One of my most-viewed blog posts is 100 Blog Post Ideas. Chances are, I can update this post to 500 Blog Post Ideas!  Surely I’ve come up with more interesting ideas since I originally wrote this post. It’s a useful post for bloggers to read to PROVIDE VALUE to them. Updating this post only makes sense!

Clean up the post

Go back through your post – word for word.  You are looking for grammar errors and sentence structure. Shorten paragraphs that exceed five sentences and eliminate repetitive phrases. I like to use the newer version of Microsoft Word for this. It searches for repetitive phrases and suggests a better way to say them.  It also keys you in on those phrases and teaches you to modify your craft. I tend to say “all of” a lot.  I would have never picked up on that had I not closely monitored my grammar and sentence structure.

Verify links still work

Chances are you probably have a few broken links within your blog. Broken links are a good way to prevent traffic from staying on your site. If your readers don’t find what they are looking for, or the content is missing, they’ll move on to the next site. Don’t be that victim!

I recommend a site called: Brokenlinkcheck.com to review all of your links.  It may scare you to do this, but YOU NEED TO KNOW!  Fix these links immediately, or delete them!  I ran my site through it today and I had 143 broken links!  I couldn’t believe it, but now I have a list to go through to clean them up!

Use Yoast SEO

I’ve used Yoast ever since I started blogging.  Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that helps you optimize every aspect of your posts to position it to be as SEO-friendly as possible.  It’s a free plugin (with optional premium features).  If you aren’t using it today, why not?  Take every advantage to update old posts to fit the mold of the rest of your site.

Update the content

Did you write a recipe post 5 years ago?  Did you modify it a month ago to make it better?  Update the original post with the new content and indicate at the top of your post the date that you updated it. Show your readers you are continually trying to improve what you’ve already written. There’s no better way than to update the content to match your new knowledge.

Recreate the post in a different medium

Most of us write posts only as a regular post seen on our blog, but how many times have we thought about creating it again in a different medium? What do I mean by this? Take my post, How to Make A Spectacular Media Kit. It’s a GREAT candidate to convert to PowerPoint!  Did you know that you can move your blog posts into a PowerPoint format and share on SlideShare?

Not only can you recreate your posts into PowerPoint, but you can also make one giant eBook of all of your blog posts.  I’m doing that right now with all of the posts I’ve written about blogging. Creating an eBook is a fantastic way to share your content as well as offer an incentive for readers to sign up for your mailing list.

Another medium many bloggers forget about is infographics.  Does your post contain a lot of stats or steps?  Create a free infographic to go along with the original post.

Remove bad posts

As much as we would hate to admit it, we have all probably created posts in the past that we hate. Why leave them on the site?  If you can’t figure out a way to revitalize and repurpose them, it’s time to hit the delete button.  My suggestion is to copy/paste the post into Word in case you want to revisit the post later down the road.  If you are in WordPress, you can always revert the post back to a draft status.

Optimize images for Pinterest

Make sure that every image on your site is optimized for Pinterest. Remove images of low quality.  Pin these images to the many group boards you have joined (I hope you have!  Pinterest is awesome for traffic!)  Research shows images with red colors do better than any other color.  I really don’t know why (maybe this is a good topic for a future post!).

I love Pinterest because not only does it provide valuable content to me personally, but it’s such a great platform for sharing blog posts.  I have created my own Pinterest Board for all of my blog posts. It’s a great way to share content even more.

Link to your other posts

There’s no better way to keep readers interested and engaged on your blog than to link to your other posts. Chances are, you’ve written similar or relevant posts that would be perfect links in your old content.  I’ve linked to my older content in this very post.  Did you notice?

Increase word count

It has been proven that search engines love to find web pages that are rich in detail. If you have any posts that are less than 1,000 words, consider reworking those posts to increase the word count. While it may not be possible in all situations, making sure the word count works in your favor is a great way to keep the post rising up in the search results.

Share it again

As I mentioned earlier in this post, I use Hootsuite to auto-schedule my already-published posts. Make sure you are doing this regularly.  Don’t let the fact that your posts are years old detract you from sharing them again.  If readers found them useful back then, and you’ve followed my steps in this post, the age really won’t matter.  I focus on the major social media networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram.  Another good idea is to write a new list post sharing the newly updated posts with your readers.

Ask your readers for feedback

What better way to find posts that need updated than to survey your readers?  Share a post to your email list and invite feedback on how the post can be improved? Your readers know what they are looking for, so use that to your advantage. Make it clear that you welcome positive or negative feedback.  Oh, and make sure you SHARE the updated post and give credit to the readers that provided the suggestions!

Insert affiliate links

By now, I hope you have joined some of the great affiliate programs out there to help you earn extra income as a blogger.  Most bloggers just focus on the new posts and find ways to insert affiliate links whenever appropriate.  You would be surprised how many of your old posts can give you that very same opportunity.  Scour your old blog posts and find ways to incorporate the affiliate links.

If you aren’t participating in affiliate marketing today, why not?  I highly recommend ShareASale. I actually wrote a recent review of ShareASale so check it out today if you are interested in joining. Joining is FREE and there are thousands of merchants to choose from when deciding which brands to promote.

Be careful which merchants you choose to work with if you do go the route of affiliate programs. Some of them have very strict rules about how they want you to promote their products.

Lather, rinse, repeat

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post (and other posts on my blog for that matter!). No matter how old your blog is, never stop updating your content. It’s a process that’ll continue for the life of your blog. Trust me, you will reap the benefits of a well-maintained site.

It’s time for ME to live up to the advice I’ve given you today to go update my old posts. Stay tuned for a grand list of everything I updated.  I look forward to seeing what YOU have done in the past with your old posts. Share in the comments!