The Scoop on Affiliate Marketing + 10 Easy Affiliate Programs for Bloggers

All of my blog posts may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission. Thank you for supporting me!

Howdy guys and gals! I’m back again with another great post on affiliate marketing. Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you know the basics of affiliate marketing and how it works. If not, check out my post on how I made my first sale with ShareASale to learn more about how it all works. Once you’re read about how I made my first sale, learn more about how to get more clicks on your affiliate links.

If you are brand spanking new to blogging, and need to know how to start a blog, check out my FREE 7 day email course guiding you through every step necessary to get a money-making blog up and running in no time! If you need a host for this brand new blog of yours, look no further than SiteGround.  Namecheap.com is running a special on domain names right now! Lock yours in now for as low as $.88!

The Scoop on Affiliate Marketing + 10 Easy Affiliate Programs for Bloggers

What are Affiliate Programs?

Simply put, affiliate programs are individual merchants offering a commission to participating bloggers for each sale he or she makes through the merchant’s affiliate links. Each program has its own terms, conditions, and commission amounts. Be sure to review all of the information for each merchant’s program you join so that when the first sale rolls in you aren’t surprised.

What are Affiliate Networks?

An affiliate network is a website, such as ShareASale or CJ, that brings together bloggers and merchants. The merchant creates their affiliate program through the network and uploads all of their promotional content (affiliate links, banners, etc.). Bloggers get to pick from the list of all affiliate programs the network offers, and once approved by the merchant, can begin including the merchant’s content on their blog or website. Whenever someone clicks on this content and makes a purchase, the blogger earns commission.

How do I join an affiliate program?

There are several ways to go about joining an affiliate program. The most common way is to join an affiliate network site like I mentioned above. Once you’ve joined the site, you can search for and register to participate in the affiliate programs you like.

Another way to join affiliate programs is to join directly through a merchant’s main website. For example, I joined the Target affiliate program by going to Target’s main website.  Most of the time, the affiliate program link is in the page footer.

Why spend time putting links on my website?

There’s a BIG difference between putting links on your website versus promoting products you believe in and use to your readers. If you are just trying to make a quick buck, throwing up a few banners or links and hoping someone clicks on them is one way to go, but it will decrease your readers’ trust in you. I hope this is NOT the route you’ve chosen to take.

Those who succeed in affiliate marketing understand the needs of their readers and only promote high quality products. I highly suggest writing regular product reviews of those products you use every day. You’d be surprised as to how many products you use that are affiliate links.

If you are going to spend a lot of time inserting affiliate links on your site, do it the right way the first time. By using the right keywords, creating valuable content, and being honest with your readers, you’ll see affiliate income start to creep up in the right direction.

Will I earn $50,000 in my first month?

Hell no. It’s not realistic unless you have dozens of blogs designed solely to earn affiliate income. I tell all of my readers that affiliate marketing takes time, just like anything else. Just because you are throwing up banners and links doesn’t mean your readers are going to click on them. It will be slow for a while. Don’t give up. Keep writing quality content and promoting great products. The income will eventually start rolling in. Do not expect high numbers in the beginning. It’s just not realistic.

I followed all of the steps but am not earning money. What gives?

It can be frustrating to do all of the work the right way only to not see the results start pouring in. Don’t worry. Many bloggers give up after a few months, but this is a mistake. You have to be in it for the long haul to really see results pay off. If you are only writing posts about affiliate products, try expanding your reach by promoting products through other mediums, such as face-to-face, social media, videos, and more.

Affiliate marketing is not something you’ll succeed at overnight. It takes time, experience, and perseverance. If you have all 3 of those things, there is no reason why the sales won’t start rolling in soon. Here are some quick tips:

Write consistently. Most bloggers who see increases in affiliate sales are writing 2-3 quality posts per week (more or less).

Write with your readers in mind. This goes without saying, but your blog posts shouldn’t be about you. You are writing for your readers. Write with their best interests in mind. Put it this way, would you recommend a car with flat tires, a burned out engine, and no windows to your mom? Probably not. The same holds true with your readers. Treat them like you treat a family member!

Your blog posts should be reader-centered at all times. I’m definitely not saying you should never write about yourself, though. If you are looking to make someone’s life easier, solve a problem, recommend a valuable product, or talk about how something works, these types of posts must be geared around your readers.

Choose the right products to promote. Don’t go to ShareASale and start applying for everything under the sun. Just because a product may have good commission rates doesn’t mean it’s the right product for your readers. Choose wisely and limit the programs you join.

Example: Don’t sign up for Tailwind’s affiliate program if you have never used it. Tailwind is one of those products that has a lot of great tools for bloggers looking to promote on Pinterest. If you use BoardBooster or other pinning products, don’t join the Tailwind affiliate program!

Focus on building your traffic. If you don’t have a lot of subscribers, and traffic just isn’t flowing to your site the way you’d like it to, chances are your affiliate sales aren’t going to be anything to write home about. Hopefully by now you have implemented a strategy on how to increase traffic to your site.

Continue to focus on building relationships, networking with other bloggers, and work to build traffic continuously. Your rate of return will be much higher with higher traffic volumes. If you are only getting 100-200 views per month, chances are less than 1% of those are clicking on affiliate links.

Be willing to try new things. Banner ads may work for some posts, but in others, text links may be better. In other situations, images with the affiliate link attached to them may work better. Find what works best for you and be willing to try new tactics if you aren’t having success.

Try taking one of your most-viewed blog posts and turn it into a video. You can include the affiliate link under the video, or tell your readers how to get to the product link on your site.

Learn from others. One of the best ways to learn tips and tricks for affiliate marketing is to research what other bloggers are doing. Every blogger does it differently, but there are tried and trusted strategies that you can learn and implement on your own blog. Interview others, ask questions, get to know how they operate.

What types of posts convert well with affiliate marketing?

  • Product reviews
  • List posts
  • Tutorials/how-to guides
  • Tools/resources page

Product Reviews

Remember when I was talking about how it’s better to promote products you believe in and actually use yourself? Share them with your readers through a detailed product review post. If you’d like to see an example of one of my product reviews, check out my Charbroil review I did a few months ago. This isn’t an affiliate link, but it’s a good example of what makes a good product review.

A quick tip on product reviews:  You’re not always going to have a positive review of a product, and don’t write one just to solicit clicks on your affiliate links. You’re not building trust with your readers this way. If a product isn’t a good one, write a negative review.  Sure, you probably won’t see a lot of sales convert from it, but you were honest and built trust with your readers (this is key!).

List Posts

Are you a food blogger?  Why not create a list of helpful products you use to cook every day? Each item can be an affiliate link, or you can include several affiliate links at the bottom of your post. Make sure to not only include a list, but a brief statement as to why it’s a must-have tool (after all, you put it in your list!)

Tutorials/How-to guides

Blogging about how to use a product is a great way to not only teach someone about how to use it, but you can teach them why the product is valuable. When readers see step-by-step instructions, they learn how easy/hard a product is to use.

Tools/Resources page

A tools or resources page is a critical page every blogger should have! It’s a great way to get the word out about the products you use every day. Not every product on this page needs to be an affiliate link, but do include them every chance you get. My blog has a “Tools I Use” page. Check it out if you want an idea of what this should look like.  This page should always be growing as you use more products. Make it a habit to update it at least once a month.

Ready for some of my favorite affiliate programs?  Here they are!

Affiliate Programs

Your turn!

Are you having success with affiliate marketing? I’d love to interview you!  Simply drop your contact information into the comments section and I’ll reach out to you!  I’d love to feature you on a future blog post about affiliate marketing!

Share your wins below!  I can’t wait to hear about your affiliate marketing success stories!

9 Reasons Why You Aren’t Making Money With Affiliate Marketing

All of my blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click on them and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting Go Ask Your Daddy!

Affiliate marketing is promoting the products and services of a business, and receiving commission for sales that convert through your unique links. There are literally thousands of merchants across all types of product types participating in affiliate programs.

Why is affiliate marketing beneficial for bloggers? It’s relatively easy to get started and a great way to supplement income. Merchants benefit by promoting their products through affiliate text links and banner ads shown on their affiliate participants’ blog or website.

Any blogger who looks to make serious income from a blog starts with affiliate marketing, because it’s the easiest and best way to drive up the income. If you do it correctly, there is potential for substantial income.

If you’ve been doing it for a while with no success, it’s time to take a step back and figure out what’s going wrong. Why are you failing? Why are you not seeing the clicks convert into sales?

Here is a list of 9 reasons why you aren’t earning affiliate income today, and what to do about it.

1. You don’t know how to do it

You can’t just wake up one day and decide you are going to get rich by participating in affiliate marketing. It just doesn’t work that way. There’s a method to the madness, and it’s up to you to make sense of it all. Luckily, there are tons of tutorials available to help you get started. I wrote my own tutorial about starting up with affiliate marketing. Have you read it yet? If not, it’s a great place to get started.

Many bloggers take the wrong approach and place affiliate links all over the place. My general rule of thumb for affiliate links is to not exceed one affiliate link per 1,000 words. Search engines don’t like tons of links, and may actually push your post down in the rankings. We don’t want that! Affiliate links should help us, not hurt us. So, one link per 1,000 words is your general guideline.

I also don’t recommend putting affiliate links in the first 500 words, unless absolutely necessary. Search engines crawling your site may flag it and move it down in the results.

2. You are promoting too many products

One reason why many bloggers fail to earn income through affiliate marketing is because they are promoting too many products at once. While you are free to sign up for as many programs as you like, it’s wise to only focus on those that relate the best to your blogging niche.

3. Products don’t relate to your niche.

If you are writing about travel or technology, why would you promote products for education or fashion? Your readers will not only get confused, but will catch on that you are just trying to earn a quick buck.  The products you promote through affiliate marketing should be directly related to your blog topics.

4. You’re a new blogger

It takes time to establish yourself in your niche and build creative content that drives traffic. Until you are getting more eyes on your site, the clicks on your affiliate links will suffer. Be patient with your traffic building. Unlike the impression some bloggers give out that say this can happen overnight, it takes patience, persistence and strategy to get to a great volume level.

This doesn’t mean you can’t earn income with lower traffic levels, but it takes more work to get the few clicks you are getting to convert over into actual income. If you are aiming for a high amount of conversions from your affiliate links, high traffic volume is crucial.

5. You aren’t consistent

To get good at anything, it takes consistency. Blogging is no different. Make sure you are putting out anywhere between 2-3 blog posts per week and then market them as heavily as possible.  Be consistent in promoting affiliate links properly, and always make sure you are disclosing the usage of links on your site.

6. You expect instant results

Like I said earlier, some bloggers swear they earned $50,000 after their first month of blogging. If this is the case, they are definitely the minority. Don’t expect quick success. Affiliate marketing can work, but it takes more than a month to drive numbers and volume.

Don’t get disappointed if you see $0.00 in your ShareASale account month after month. Keep running the slow and steady race, and eventually you will start to see results.

7. You’re only using AdSense

I had no luck with Google Adsense. I guess part of that was that my traffic volume wasn’t high enough for it to make enough income to be worth the trouble. The problem was, I was trying to rely only upon Adsense and wasn’t supplementing those ads with affiliate links.

Don’t isolate yourself to only Google Adsense. Don’t believe the reports you see where bloggers are earning thousands with Adsense. They have more than one blog (probably closer to 40 or 50!) to help generate a descent income.

Search engines like Google frown upon bloggers who are creating a blog for the sole purpose of Google Adsense, so you won’t be helping yourself by doing this.

8. You aren’t connecting with your audience

Writing a blog post is one thing, but writing a post that provides VALUE to your readers is another. There are hundreds of thousands of bloggers producing mediocre content every day. Why be one of them?  Find ways to bring value to your readers and connect with them on a personal level. Establishing trust is a critical beginning step to earning income from affiliate marketing. It’s just like any business – you MUST network and connect with others to be successful.

9. You’re buying into the hype

Ever see those posts, “How I earned $50,000 last month from affiliate marketing?” Don’t buy into the hype! Those bloggers aren’t just setting their links and watching the money roll in. There is a lot of hard work involved in bringing a blog to a level where affiliate income is substantial, and it takes much longer than a month. Am I saying it’s impossible? No? But I am saying it’s not realistic and don’t expect it to happen in a short month.

What now?

Now is a great time to sit back, analyze your current process, and find ways to drive more traffic to your affiliate links. Get creative! Who knows what will work if you never try? Best of luck, and please let me know if you have any questions.

Are you ready to start a blog? Check out my full guide here! Once you are up and running, sign up for Tailwind and get your posts automated on Pinterest and Instagram!

Here are some of my other blog posts on affiliate marketing:

How to Start a Money Making Blog

This post contains affiliate links
Perfect domains are here

Today, I am going to go through all of the major steps you have to take in order to start a money-making blog.  Consider this your all-in-one tutorial to begin your career as a blogger.

How to Start a Money Making Blog

When I first started blogging 2 years ago, I never thought a fun hobby could turn into side income.  I am slowly but surely starting to see the income creep up. Last month, I earned $900 just from blogging. That’ll pay a few bills!

Just a quick disclaimer that I am not a professional writer nor is blogging my full-time income. For me, it’s a way to earn a little extra cash on the side in addition to my day job. I’m also a full-time bank manager and a daddy to 4 kids. Life always has me spinning in circles, so I don’t always have the time needed to make my blog a full-time income, but that’s ok, I love what I do and I wouldn’t trade it for anything

My blogging story

I started blogging at the end of 2015 with really no idea how to do it or how to make it go anywhere. I looked at my blog as a fun hobby to talk about my family and write about parenting advice.

I really wasn’t getting much, if any, of a following to what I was reading. I thought I was sharing to the right places, but nothing seemed to work for me. Earlier this year, I changed my blogging niche from parenting and family to helping others learn how to blog and earn a solid income from blogging. I’m seeing a much greater following and response from the articles and tutorials I provide.  I really love helping others in all steps of blogging experience – from newbies to experts.

My blogging income isn’t the same every month. Sometimes I earn $200 and sometimes I earn $1,000. We’ll talk later on about how to get the most income out of each and every blog post.

I wouldn’t be earning the income I’m earning today if I didn’t take a leap of faith and start my blog.

What the heck is a blog?

You’ve heard of a journal or diary, right?  Well, a blog is very similar. A blog (weblog) is a place where you can share your beliefs, interests, hobbies, and more.  The first step in starting your blog is the desire to write about something you love. This becomes your niche. Make sure to pick a niche you can write about all the time. My niche is blogging tips and product reviews.

Who can blog?

Well, essentially anyone can blog. You don’t have to be technically-advanced or certified in coding to start a blog. You need an internet connection, a web host, a domain, and a blogging platform to get you up and running.

There are thousands of bloggers who work from home full time.  Some bloggers, like myself, blog part time. You can earn the same amount of income as a full time blogger if you put the right income strategy in place. The best way to monetize your blog is through affiliate marketing (don’t freak out yet!).

What kind of income will I make? Is it worth all the time and effort?

You will make as much income as the effort you put into your blog. If you write one post a month and don’t promote it very well, don’t expect to make $4,000! Blogging takes serious determination, perseverance, and organizational skills (just like any job, right?).  With the right income and promotion strategy, you can earn a lot! I know there are some bloggers who say they earned $10,000 after their first month. Don’t fall into the trap that this is the norm. Hardly any blog earns much after the first 6 months, let alone after one! It takes time!

How much does it cost to start a blog?

Not very much at all. If you already have an internet connection, you can start today for free. While I don’t recommend ever using a free version of WordPress or Blogger, if you are looking to get your feet wet in the blogging world, you don’t have to spend a dime.

The reason I don’t recommend you sticking with a free blogging platform is because you are severely limited at monetizing your blog on free platforms. You also look unprofessional. Would you rather visit www.goaskyourdaddy.wordpress.com or www.goaskyourdaddy.com?  Which looks better? Developing your brand off the bat includes your online presence.

But, if you are going to monetize your blog, you must self-host your site. I would never use another company to host my blog and domain other than SiteGround. You can get web hosting from SiteGround starting at only $3.95 per month. That’s super cheap! I currently use the Startup Plan which is perfect for the size of my blog. The good thing about SiteGround’s plans is that if you find yourself growing beyond the limitations of your plan, you can always upgrade easily.

Interested in SiteGround?  Use my referral link right here to get started today!

Ready to get started?  Let’s go!

1. Pick Your Domain Name

Your domain name to your blog is like the name to a store or to a company. Picking your domain name can take some time and creativity. I went through 2 domain names before I arrived at goaskyourdaddy.com.

If you choose to host your website with SiteGround, you can also have them host your domain name. You’ll be asked to tell SiteGround what your existing domain name is if you have one, or if you don’t have one, it’ll search for some that are available. If you want to host your domain name elsewhere, I highly recommend Namecheap.com. Register your domain name at Namecheap starting at only $.88. Registering your domain name with your hosting company is usually the best route to go if you want everything neatly tucked into one company. They’ll usually throw in a good deal for you, but you can host elsewhere if you desire.

2. Sign up with SiteGround

Once you type in www.siteground.com into your browser, you land at their homepage. If you want to review their plans, click on “See Plans.” Otherwise, click on Sign Up.

Once you click on Sign Up, you’ll be taken to the plan options. Choose your plan and then click “Order Now.”

SiteGround will then give you the option to register a new domain or use a current domain.

3. Install WordPress

SiteGround makes it easy to install WordPress onto your new site. Once you have completed your registration, you will be taken to your cPanel account.  From there, install WordPress from the Autoinstallers menu. If you do not already have an existing WordPress site you want to transfer over to SiteGround, you’ll be able to start blogging once the install is complete.

For those bloggers who are moving an existing site, you will need to download your site files from your existing web host and upload them into your SiteGround account. The next step after that is to migrate your database. SiteGround will do all of this for you as an included benefit with your hosting account. I highly recommend you let them do this for you so that you don’t lose data. SiteGround responds quickly and had my site up and running in less than 24 hours.

4. Writing your first blog post

It’s really exciting to finally write your first blog post. If you are just starting out, I recommend having no less than 5-10 drafts ready to publish. It will be very tempting to hit the publish button as soon as possible, but resist at all cost. Writing just to write is one thing, but writing a post that is valuable and solves a problem your readers have is another.  Read how I write and publish quality content.

5. After hitting publish

The work only increases after you hit your publish button. It’s time to promote your post to drive traffic to it, and it must be done right. Here are a few tips to consider:

  1. Share through word of mouth. Before you go live with your brand new blog, tell all of your friends and family members.
  2. Connect your blog to social media. WordPress allows you to connect your social media accounts so that your posts automatically get shared whenever you post new content. I only connect to the most popular social media accounts (such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest).
  3. Get going early with Pinterest. My site sees most of its traffic come through my Pinterest account. Create pinnable images and post to both your own boards as well as group boards. You can’t be very successful on Pinterest without a solid plan in place. Tailwind makes all of that a breeze! Read how Tailwind is boosting my blog traffic.
  4. Share more than once.  We live in a rapidly changing social media environment. This is why it’s very important to create and maintain a solid social media strategy to share your new and old content regularly.
  5. Do keyword research. There are many SEO tools out there to assist you in determining the best keywords to use in your blog posts. From interviewing more experienced bloggers, I learned that the key to driving traffic is implementing a solid SEO strategy.

7. Making money with your blog

Some bloggers suggest waiting to monetize your blog until you’ve established a solid reach, but others insist you should start right away. I’m one of those that promote the “do it now” approach, but it has to be done right to be successful.

Some common ways bloggers make money include affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, product reviews, paid posts, and ad hosting. The best way to earn income is through affiliate marketing. Once you have your affiliate links set up, one post can earn you income over and over again.

Affiliate marketing is the way to go if you love promoting products you use and know how to appropriately market them to your readers. Once you are signed up with an affiliate marketing network, such as ShareASale, you can sign up for programs, start promoting products, and draw in commissions from purchases made through your affiliate links.

8. Be genuine first

It is very important to establish yourself as an expert in your niche before you start blowing up your blog with ads and affiliate links. Remember, the more you try to sell to people the less likely they are going to trust you and come to you as a reputable source of information.

You will be tempted to throw links into every blog post, and that’s a good strategy, but don’t overdo it. My rule of thumb is no more than 2-3 affiliate links per 1,000 words.

Don’t sell yourself short by recommending products you haven’t used, or wouldn’t use. If you are writing with your readers in mind, you will genuinely care about the reputation you are putting out there. I’ve seen too many bloggers load their sites up so much with ads and links that I closed out before reading their content.

Want to learn more about blogging?

Sign up for my FREE 7-day email crash course!  You’ll be on your way to blogging income success in no time!

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How to Get Your Affiliate Income Sizzling

All of my blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click on them and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting Go Ask Your Daddy!

Picture it: You’re a new blogger coming right out of the gates.  You’ve read other blog posts about how to make income with affiliate links and thought, “They make it sound so easy! I want to do that!” So, you finally implement a strategy, start including affiliate links in your posts and months go by without any sales. You get really DEPRESSED. I’ve been there….but….

I bet you never stopped to think about the thousands, maybe millions, of other bloggers doing the same exact thing you are doing. It’s a very saturated market, which is why you have got to find a way to get the edge over the competition.

Today, I’m going to give you some insight as to why you aren’t making many, if any, sales from your affiliate links. Take notes, because this information is vital to understanding what makes affiliate links work well for blogging income.

How to Get Your Affiliate Income Sizzling

WHAT ARE AFFILIATE LINKS?

I’ve answered this question in earlier posts. Essentially, affiliate links are provided to you when you join an affiliate marketing platform, or if you join a merchant’s affiliate program directly. They are special links just for you so that the merchant can track your activity and sales. Any sales resulting from your links being clicked end with you receiving a commission.

The one thing you need to know about affiliate programs is that the commission rates for merchants won’t be the same. You’ll see wide ranges of commission percentages. My suggestion is to target those with a higher commission percentage. Not only are there those merchants that give you a certain set percentage, there are some, like Candy Club, that will give you a set dollar amount per sale. I made 2 sales for Candy Club in one day and earned over $50 in commission – pretty sweet!

HOW DO YOU POSITION AFFILIATE LINKS WITHIN THE POST FOR THE BEST EXPOSURE?

Here comes the tricky part. Not every blogger is skilled at placing affiliate links in the right spot to attract traffic. To be honest, it’s not always easy, and there’s no real black and white answer I can give that will work for every post every time.

There are three basic places where affiliate links can go on your blog post.

  • Top of post: Most people don’t use this method because they feel like it’s selling out the product right away, but you can get around this by creating a “Recommended Products” section at the top, and the include the affiliate links to the products that you are talking about in your post.
  • Inside blog content: Merge your affiliate links inside your content and make the links appear natural. If you have 20 instances of the word to which you are tying to an affiliate link, do not link to it 20 times. Link to it once. Having too many links in a post is bad for SEO and will make your post appear spammy.
  • Bottom of post: If you are recommending products after a long blog post, it’s good to write a “wrap-up” section and then break out a few bullets with recommended products. This can also be a good spot to drop in a banner for your affiliate link.

 

DON’T MAKE YOUR AFFILIATE LINK POSTS TOO “SALES PITCHY”

I hate going to car dealerships. I know if I go just to even browse for a dream car, some salesperson is going to walk up to me and start nagging me to buy a car. Sometimes I just want to be left alone to browse and shop.

Did you know that your blog posts can feel the same way to your readers as car dealerships feel to me? If you come across as only wanting to make a quick sale, your readers aren’t going to trust you. They will feel totally annoyed, and will blacklist your blog to never return again.

I’m sure you’ve landed on a post you thought looked like the perfect post to answer the question you had, but when you arrived there, it had pop up ads, links all over the place, and what’s worse, that large ad covering the entire page. It’s entirely too much and is obvious you are fishing for sales. Don’t be that blogger!

BUT, HOW DO I GET AROUND THIS PROBLEM?

Believe it or not, there is a great way to write a blog post, throw in affiliate links, and your readers will never get the feeling like you are trying to sell them on something. If you craft a blog post that serves a purpose, such as a “how to” post, you are giving your readers a reason to come to your blog, read your post to find a solution to your problem, and the affiliate links serve as recommended products to help with the problem they are trying to solve. Brilliant!

Tutorial posts are great ways to get your post SEO ranked because search engines love to index posts that help people solve problems. You can use tutorial posts in many different ways.

Look at your affiliate merchant list right now and see if there are any programs you’ve joined that sell products you could write a tutorial post about right now. Look at my post, “How Tailwind is Helping My Blog Traffic” as an example. I wrote a post about how I use Tailwind to bring in blog traffic, but it’s not really a tutorial post. It’s time for me to take it and turn it into a highly-profitable tutorial post. The tutorial post will have step by step directions telling readers how to sign up for Tailwind, how to create a pinning schedule, and more about how to use the features that come with Tailwind.

You can write opinionated posts all night and all day as to how great a product is, but these are NOT tutorial posts. Leave your opinions out of the tutorial post and stick to the facts as to how the product works.

DO KEYWORD RESEARCH AHEAD OF TIME

Just because you are using affiliate links for a certain product doesn’t mean that all you have to do is type out the name of the product and link to it. Using sites such as Google’s Keyword Planner is a great starting point. 9 out of 10 successful affiliate bloggers will tell you they get most of their traffic from proper use of keywords inside the blog post.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical in driving traffic to your site, and you must do this before you publish. Make sure you are incorporating the most searched keywords inside your blog post so that your post ranks better in the search engines.

DON’T STICK TO JUST WRITTEN PROMOTION

I know, I know, the reader must click on your affiliate link and make a purchase for you to make income off of that sale. But, you can promote those affiliate links in creative ways – more than just in written form.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Create a video tutorial of how to do something and then recommend your affiliate products at the end of the video. You can even drop the affiliate link inside the video’s description.
  • Write a creative social media post asking a simple question you’d like your readers to respond to, and then direct them to your blog post for the answer. While I don’t necessarily share a lot of affiliate links inside of social media, directing them to my blog post that contains affiliate links seems a lot cleaner to me and makes me feel less salesy.
  • Create a resources page on your blog to list all of your favorite tools.  You can create a section solely for your affiliate products. Don’t forget to disclose the presence of your affiliate links.
  • Email awesome deals to your subscribers to tell them about great sales and coupons your affiliate partners are offering. Many times, affiliate program managers will send direct emails to their affiliates announcing new deals and promotions. Use those opportunities to turn them into email campaigns to your subscribers. Again, disclose at the top of the email that the links are affiliate links.

BE PATIENT

Sales for me didn’t happen overnight, and even still today sales aren’t consistent. I’m still working towards creating the perfect strategy for my own blog. You need to do the same for your blog too.

Implement a consistent approach to marketing your affiliate links and find what works best for you. Keep going back to the drawing board until you find something that you like.

Be patient. The best thing you can do is not give up after a few months of $0 income. Keep writing quality content and implementing a solid approach to affiliate marketing and you will eventually see sales come in. Never get up, never surrender!

DO YOU NEED MORE HELP?

I’m here to help you succeed with affiliate marketing, so if you have a question about anything I’ve talked about today, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. I take pride in writing quality content, so if there are things in this post you’d like to see, I’ll be more than happy to add them to it!

I do recommend you read the following posts I’ve written in the past about affiliate marketing.  You can also subscribe to my free 7-Day email course, How to Create a Profitable Blog, and learn all about blogging.

 

How You Can Get More Clicks On Your Affiliate Links

This post contains affiliate links

Today we are going to talk about the best ways to get clicks on the affiliate links you place on your blog. Monetizing your blog is exciting, but takes a lot of serious planning and organization to get things working to your advantage.

Recommended: 20 Secrets to Affiliate Marketing

There are generally two types of affiliate links that bloggers are given when they enroll in an affiliate program. Banner ads are the most common because they are easy to throw up on the site and they work on their own. Text links require a little more structure and thought as you want the links to fit well within the context of your blog post.

What happens when you have done all of the work of placing the ads and links on your site and no one clicks on them? It’s easy to feel defeated when you see the $0 sitting in your affiliate account. But, giving up too early is never a wise choice. There are things you can do today to position your blog and blog posts to receive higher clicks and revenue.

Let’s take a look at a few tips to help you build your affiliate income.

Focus On Text Links

If you spend most of your time throwing banner ads on your site and then wait for people to click on them, you are wasting your time. While they can provide some source of affiliate income, they tend to make readers feel uncomfortable – especially if you throw banners all throughout your content.

Text links work if you build your content up with quality and value. Mixing in text links that promote the products and services that relate to your content is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your affiliate links.

It’s All About Balance

Posts that have affiliate links in every other sentence tend to cause readers to lose interest and confidence. If you are writing a post about a product, it’s not necessary to include the affiliate link every time the word comes up in the content. Putting too many links in your post will get flagged by search engines as spammy content (that’s bad).

Create a plan before you start to monetize your blog and stick to it. Decide how many affiliate links are allowed in each post and make sure the post focuses on your readers’ interests before your desire to earn income. A well-balanced plan of attack will set you up for success down the road.

Place Links Above the Content

Have you ever considered placing your links above your content? It’ll be the first thing readers see, and they won’t have to scroll all the way through the post looking for them. You can dramatically increase your click through rates by placing the links in a spot where your readers are sure to look – the top of your post.

Cloak Those Ugly Affiliate Link URLs

The affiliate links you are given look something like: http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=992347&U=1350177&M=50947&urllink=. These links make it easy for your readers to hover over and see that they are affiliate links. There are several ways to get around these ugly links. One way is through a plugin called Pretty Link Lite. Pretty Link Lite is a WordPress plugin that allows you to use your own shortened URLs. Pretty Link also tracks clicks and tells you exactly where the clicks are coming from.

Ask Your Readers

There’s no better way to promote your affiliate links than to simply ask your readers to click on them. If you are writing a product review, ask your readers to click on the affiliate link at the end of the post to learn more about the product. Never end a blog post without a call to action.  If you want affiliate links clicked, your call to action is the perfect opportunity to promote them.

Expand Your Reach

By now, I hope you know that as a blogger, you can’t just write a post, hit publish, and then recline on the couch. While Netflix and chill sounds like a great idea, the fun in blogging is just beginning after you hit publish.  Expanding your reach as a blogger will benefit you in more ways than just clicks on your affiliate links. Posting in group boards, Facebook groups, social media accounts, and sending out emails all lead to more traffic, which in turn leads to higher visibility on your affiliate links. A big rule about promoting your affiliate links in social media is to make sure you are disclosing your affiliate links.

Recommended:  Can I Share Affiliate Links on Facebook and Twitter?

Write to Persuade

While affiliate marketing isn’t usually face-to-face, there’s still a strong level of sales and persuasiveness needed to encourage readers to click on your links. You can see a major difference in, “I won a million dollars yesterday,” and “how would you like to win a million dollars?”  Asking your readers direct and persuasive questions encourages them to find out more by clicking on your links. Ok, so the million dollar question is a little overboard, but it illustrates the type of marketing to focus on when crafting your posts.

Be careful, though, not to come across too salesy. No one wants to be hassled to buy something. Ever been to a car dealership?  I’m sure you can recall the different types of sales tactics salesmen used to try to push you to buy. You don’t want to do that with affiliate links. Make the link flow naturally in your post and steer clear of the advertising lingo. Readers have no obligation to buy anything from you. It’s your job to encourage them to click on your links.

You Can Do It!

It can be a little overwhelming trying to implement a solid game plan for advertising your affiliate links, but with a little structure, perseverance, and confidence, you’ll be seeing your sales increase in no time.

What’s worked well for you? Are there tips you’d recommend I add to this list? Let’s start a conversation below!

How I Made My First Affiliate Sale With ShareASale

If you asked me before I started my blog in late 2015 what “affiliate marketing” was, I’d probably tell you it was something I never planned to pursue.  The idea of “selling” things to my readers just wasn’t top priority.

This post contains affiliate links

Now that I truly believe I provide a ton of great blogging advice on my site, I changed my thinking. I no longer look at affiliate marketing as “selling” to people or “selling out just to make a few bucks.” If done right, affiliate marketing should feel like you are recommending valuable products and services you actually use and believe in to your subscribers.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

I answer this question in my earlier post, “20 Secrets to Affiliate Marketing Success,” but in case you haven’t read it yet, it’s really a simple concept. Affiliate marketing is the promotion of products and services for a merchant in exchange for a commission.

The first step in getting involved with affiliate marketing is to join affiliate networks that offer programs related to your niche. There are thousands of companies that offer their own affiliate programs. You simply go to their website and look for a link (usually at the bottom) for their affiliate program.

Another way to find affiliate programs is to search for actual “affiliate networks” that offer thousands of different programs you can apply for and join. I am a member of ShareASale, Rakuten, Commission Junction, and AvantLink.  These networks work with so many merchants, that there is a very good chance you’ll find something worth promoting on your blog.

I wrote a review on ShareASale a few months back. If you are serious about working with them, I highly recommend reading it to get a little more detail about what they are all about. It’s very easy to join programs and get creative materials for your site. I also wrote a post about some of the AMAZING merchant programs at ShareASale you should consider joining!

Adding affiliate links to your site

After you’ve been accepted into affiliate programs, you can’t start earning any money until you actually place their creative materials (links, banners, coupons, etc.) on your site (affiliate links).  Adding the affiliate links correctly is critical as the links are the only way the merchants can track the purchases made through the links on your site. Don’t worry, though, all affiliate programs give you your own customized affiliate links that you can simply copy and paste into your html editor or WordPress site.

Affiliate links are behind-the-scenes to your readers. There is no additional action they have to take for you to get paid, other than click on the affiliate link and purchasing something from that merchant.  It does not cost them anything extra because it’s an affiliate link. While you are required to state at the top of your post that it contains affiliate links, readers who click on your links are driven directly to the merchant’s product page.

So you may be wondering if the reader has to purchase the specific product you are advertising.  The answer is no. If your link is for a computer, but they end up purchasing a fax machine, you’ll still get a commission. What’s even better is most affiliate program has tracking cookies. No, not the yummy kind (now I want cookies!), but the kind that is placed in the reader’s computer that tracks whether or not they come back down the road and make a purchase. This means that if you clicked on my affiliate link today, but didn’t purchase anything, I could still make a commission if you returned to the site at a later date and then purchased something. Each affiliate has specific time periods (usually 30, 60, or 90 days from the initial visit).

My Strategy

You have to be very methodical about how you implement affiliate links on your site. Dropping affiliate links everywhere on the page and hoping someone will click on something is definitely NOT the right approach. Nor is throwing your links in social media. I rarely get clicks on any affiliate links I put on social media so I focus more on my blog content to drive in the sales.

No one is obligated or motivated to purchase anything from you just because you pop a link or banner on your site. They could go to another site or brick-and-mortar location to accomplish the same task. I wouldn’t buy a car from a car salesman just because he says I should.

My banner ads do get clicks, and I’ve earned sales from them, but my primary source of income from affiliate links has been through my product reviews. I have made several big sales for Candy Club simply from posting my Candy Club Subscription Box Review post on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Product reviews do very well in search engines because they give details about a product.

When I wrote my big Candy Club blog post, I didn’t immediately see any sales. I got a little frustrated, but I continued to promote the blog post every where that I could. I soon noticed I started seeing sales come in from banners clicked within the post. Proper link and banner placement is critical!

You saw me mention Pinterest as a source of promotion a few paragraphs above this one. Yes, you can promote affiliate links on Pinterest.  There are so many ways to be creative with promoting through Pinterest. I created my own affiliate products board and anytime I see a good deal I share it. It’s as simple as uploading an image, linking with the affiliate link and writing a great description full of rich keywords. You also have to disclose you are using affiliate links in the description. Don’t forget this!

Not only has Pinterest been a good source of traffic for me, but it’s also a great source to read about how other bloggers are succeeding with affiliate links. I use Tailwind to automatically promote my pins and Tailwind Tribes to share my pins even further (Tribes are free even if you aren’t using Tailwind!).

How Tailwind Is Helping My Blog Traffic

Making the first sale

The first sale is always so exciting. Whenever you log in to your affiliate network’s platform and see the balance has changed, you get motivated to do even more on your blog to keep the sales coming in. When I sold my first few Candy Club subscriptions, I knew that whatever I was doing was starting to work. Regardless of how many sales you make, always look for ways to make your process smoother.

Are you new to affiliate marketing? Or, are you making a full-time income? Share in the comments how you have succeeded (or are working towards succeeding) with affiliate marketing.  How did you make your first sale??

More reading:  How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing