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:

34 Essential Blogging Tools You Must Have

This is an ever-growing list of some of my favorite tools, resources, and freebies for my blogging business. I have used almost 90% of the tools in this list, and the remainder are tools other bloggers have highly recommended.

Please come back often as I’ll be updating this post regularly. Some of these links are affiliate links, and I’ll earn a small commission if you make a purchase through them.

34 Essential Blogging Tools You Must Have

AFFILIATE MARKETING

Commission Junction – Another great affiliate marketing platform for bloggers. It’s free to sign up and easy to start joining networks.

Shareasale – Shareasale is one of the best and most popular affiliate marketing networks. There are literally thousands of merchants from just about any genre you can think of, and applying as an affiliate is very easy. Check out my earlier review of the Shareasale program.

BLOG PROMOTION

Buffer – Buffer is a scheduler you can use to promote your latest and greatest post to social media channels multiple times, and with different titles or images with each post.

Hootsuite – I use Hootsuite to automate my blog posts to my Facebook fan page and my Twitter account. I also bulk-schedule my Facebook group thread posts ahead of time with this app. There are some limitations with the free version, but if you want to schedule your posts at the most optimal time possible, Hootsuite does a great job.

InboxQ – Inbox Q is a great tools that allows you to create blog posts with different keywords. When users type in questions with these keywords, you get updates. If the questions are interesting, you can create blog posts from them.

Mailchimp– I stand by Mailchimp as the best and easiest free email marketing software available today. You can own a free account as long as you have up to 2,000 subscribers and send no more than 12,000 emails per month.

Tailwind – I’ve really enjoyed having Tailwind for the last 3 months. It’s completely transformed the way I share my content onto Pinterest, and has helped me boost my traffic well beyond what I though was possible. Tailwind automatically shares pins for you at the most opportune times. If you are interested in a free month of Tailwind, send me an email to jeremy@goaskyourdaddy.com and I’ll send you the link.

BLOGGING TOOLS

Blogger – Blogger is a well-known platform thousands of bloggers use to create a quick and attractive site. It’s owned by Google and is designed for a more simple user in mind.

Grammarly – Grammar and punctuation are things I take very seriously when I write blog posts. Properly written content is crucial to a professional and reputable impression to becoming and remaining a blogger with authority. I use Grammarly in addition to the WordPress spell checker.

My App Builder – if you decide to go the route of creating an app for your blog or business, I’ve worked with My App Builder in the past. It’s super simple to create an app to suit your needs. It’s only $29 per month.

MyThemeShop – MyThemeShop’s Premium WordPress Themes and Plugins are a perfect solution for ANY online presence. They are endorsed by top bloggers and affiliate marketers and have been featured on top websites like WordPress, Forbes, etc.

ThemeIsle WordPress Themes – ThemeIsle is one of the top providers in premium WordPress themes and plugins. You can gain access to all of their themes for only $149.

WordPress – WordPress is one of, if not the largest, blogging platforms available today.  Although it’s free to use, I highly recommend moving into a self-hosting platform. If you use WordPress for your blog, there’s also a free app for Apple and Andriod.

WP Engine – If you blog with WordPress, WP Engine is one of those sites you really need to put in your favorites. WP Engine provides professional or personal web hosting. I also like to use their free WP Engine Speed Test to determine how fast my site is performing. Be sure to take advantage of their Funnel Month now through 8/31/17. You can get up to up to 3 months free.

Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress – I highly recommend the Yoast plugin for WordPress because it helps set your post up to be as search engine friendly as possible. I love the color indicators that tell you when you need to work on something, or when something is good to go.

CONTENT GENERATION

BuzzSumo – BuzzSumo is a content idea generator. Simply enter the name of a website or a topic to find hot content ideas. Enter your headline, answer a few questions, then you are off to view your analysis.

Coschedule Headline Analyzer – A fantastic tool I use every day to analyze my blog headlines to drive traffic and search results.

Google Keyword Planner – Google’s Keyword Planner is an easy to use tool to check the popularity of keywords. Find out just how much search volume your keyword is receiving as well as other related keywords of interest.

Google Trends – use Google Trends to see if the blog post you’re about to write is popular or not. Google Trends lets you enter in your topic to see what the search volume is based on your keywords.

Keywordtool.io – another keyword tool that gives you up to 750 suggestions for your keywords. You will have to subscribe to the pro version to get more than 750 suggestions.

Reddit – Reddit is a great place to go to see what others are discussing. If you are looking for blog post topics, head on over to Reddit, check out the topics, and find interesting ideas that go with your niche.

Portent’s Title Generator – This site allows you to enter a topic into the tool and it’ll spit out sample blog post titles. This is one of my frequently visited sites whenever I’m creating new content.

Quora – Quora is a website where you can go to find answers to questions people are asking, or you can be the one to answer those questions for them by creating a related blog post. Perform searches on your keywords and look for topics where you can pitch in with your ideas.

Twitter trending topics – If you use Twitter a lot, visit the trending topics section to look for the latest topics in news. A great free resource for content ideas!

GRAPHIC DESIGN

Canva – Canva is a free graphic design and image editing app that many, many bloggers use. They don’t offer as many features and tools as PhotoShop, but they are perfect for bloggers who are looking for a quick design or image. I use Canva whenever I update my Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ cover photos.

Gimp – Gimp is a free image-editing software very similar to Adobe Photoshop. If you aren’t looking to spring for a paid service, Gimp gives you all the essential editing tools you need.

PicMonkey – PicMonkey is a free image and graphic design application similar to Canva. Again, it doesn’t offer nearly as many tools as paid applications, but does a very good job and suits the needs for most bloggers.

SECURITY

Identity Guard – a must have service for anyone, but especially a blogger. Protecting your identity while online is very important, because as bloggers we are online pretty much all the time. Having the peace of mind that our identities are protected with Identity Guard is a great thing. I highly recommend Total Protection with Credit Karma.

SITE STATISTICS

Google Analytics – Free site statistics you can install on your blog today. There are other paid options, but Google Analytics will give you more than enough statistics to appropriately manage your blog.

STOCK IMAGES

Pexels – Pexels is a free stock image site. Most images fall under the Creative Commons License so you are free to use as you choose.

Pixabay – Pixabay is one of my go-to free stock image sites when I need an image for my blog. It’s free to join and doesn’t require any attribution (although I still suggest you do).

TIME MANAGEMENT TOOLS

Calendars – Calendars are an absolute necessity for a blogger. I use a calendar from Calendars.com every day when I am scheduling things for my blog. A traditional calendar, as opposed to one on a phone or computer, helps keep things in front of me. Take advantage of FREE SHIPPING through Calendars.com with purchase of $30 or more.  Today through the end of this year you can also get 50 – 75% OFF ALL 2017 Calendars.

WEB HOSTING & DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION

Namecheap.com – Namecheap is a fantastic choice for anything you need for your domain name. They are always having amazing deals on domain names and other services for your website. For example, you can get a .store domain name for 90% off and for only $4.88 for the first year!  Another great deal is that you can register your domain name starting at only $.88.  If you are just looking for hosting, Namecheap’s hosting starts as low as only $1.66 per month.

SiteGround – SiteGround is my new web hosting provider. I recently migrated my site from eHost because of so many technical problems. SiteGround is the best in terms of web hosting, domain name registration, and more for your blogging needs.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN

Do you have a list of your own favorite blogging tools? Which ones would you like to see me add to this list? I really want to know what other great tools are available for bloggers and would love to add your suggestions to this list!  Share in the comments if you have any to add!

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.

 

8 Goals I’ve Set to Grow My Blog

Blogging is fun, but hard work.  All of the time and effort going in to making our posts the best they can be seems to be a waste when we don’t get any views or comments on them. If you aren’t seeing movement in the right direction, then it’s time to set specific goals to help get you there. I am always treating my blog like it’s a business, and along with that mindset have set up specific goals for my own blog that help me progress and improve both my content and my traffic. If you really want to learn how to boost your blog traffic and eventually start earning money from your blog, don’t go anywhere else!

8 Goals I've Set to Grow My Blog

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. Thank you for your support!

1. ONLY WRITE QUALITY CONTENT

Writing and publishing quality content is the most important goal I’ve set for myself. It’s more important to me than driving traffic and monetizing my blog. I’ve made a commitment to myself to only write valuable content that my readers can use and find helpful. Some bloggers throw out 15+ posts per week. This isn’t me. If I only post once a week, it’s worth it to me if that one post is high-quality and generates tons of interest. I put a lot of time and effort into each post I write. Sometimes it takes me 2-3 days to write one blog post, but I’ve realized that’s okay. My readers would rather wait an extra day or two for the next post so that they are getting my best effort.

Writing quality content takes practice. You’re not going to write an award-winning blog post your very first time out of the gate (but it’s possible!). In order to really put out quality content, you have to understand what your readers want and then give it to them in a format they’ll love. I think most bloggers think they are limited to just writing down words in a blog post, but it could also be a video on YouTube, a poll on social media, or even a simple email blast to your subscribers. Be creative! Don’t be afraid to try new things and shake it up!

2. INVEST IN BLOG GROWTH TOOLS

A second goal I have is to invest in blog growth tools (free or paid) that will benefit my blog. One of the best decisions I’ve made for my blog is investing in Tailwind. Tailwind has allowed me to bulk schedule my pins to multiple group boards with ease, so that I can focus on other aspects of my blog. If you haven’t tried Tailwind yet, click here for a free month.

Tailwind Tribes are also a great forum for sharing your content with others. The great thing about Tribes is that you don’t have to have Tailwind to use them (but it helps!). Tribes are kind of like blogging groups. Each are created for a specific topic or topics, and the users join and share content that fits the group’s topics. Feel free to join my Tailwind tribe!

3. IMPLEMENT A SMART AFFILIATE MARKETING PLAN

My affiliate marketing plan is crucial in both driving income and not pushing readers to hit the “unsubscribe” button. Too many banners and links and I come across as just trying to make a quick buck, and more importantly, not genuine. I’ve made a commitment to only share affiliate links for products and services I use or recommend.

4. CREATE A FREE EMAIL COURSE

I finally accomplished one of my main goals – creating a free email course. With the help of Mailchimp, I was able to create a 7 day course called “How To Create A Profitable Blog. Creating an email course was very important to me because I knew I had a lot of valuable information I wanted to share with my readers. The course went live last week and I already have several subscribers.

5. INCREASE SHARING ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Over the past two years of blogging, I’ve learned that the more presence I have on social media, the more traffic and engagement I see on my blog. Today, I promote my blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and StumbleUpon.  I’m also active in many blogging Facebook groups, which are great ways to increase engagement and meet new bloggers.

6. IMPROVE MY SITE’S VISUAL APPEARANCE AND PERFORMANCE

I never realized how important the visual layout of my blog really was for driving and retaining traffic. I’ve installed theme after theme, plugin after plugin, logo after logo, in hopes to find the perfect setup. Site functionality and speed are both so important in retaining traffic. A site that takes more than about 2-3 seconds to load easily loses traffic. There are several sites where I like to regularly test my site’s speed: WPEngine, Pingdom, GTMetrix, UPTRENDS.  Alongside the theme, I’ve also improved my web hosting by moving from eHost to SiteGround.  To keep it simple, I moved away from the Jetpack subscribe plugin and opened up a Mailchimp account.

7. SEND A REGULAR NEWSLETTER

Now that I’m signed up with Mailchimp, one of my goals for growing my blog is to increase my newsletter subscribers. My mailing list is the gateway to connecting and engaging with my readers. I send out a weekly automated email tied to my RSS feed so that readers can catch up on all the posts for the previous week. If I have a really good deal, or exciting news, I send separate emails to my mailing list letting them know.

8. PARTICIPATE MORE IN FACEBOOK GROUPS

Facebook groups have been a very good lifeline between me and other bloggers. I’ve gained so much knowledge of the blogging world just by participating in my Facebook groups. If you haven’t yet joined any groups, you should get started today. You can start by joining my own group, Blogger Share and Promo Group.

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There you have it!  These are just a handful of the goals I’m working on right now to build my traffic and grow my blog. I look forward to the next post so that I can share many of the other goals I’m working on today.

Do you have a set list of goals you are working on to boost your blog? Please let me know in the comments section below.

My New 7-Day Email Course – How to Create a Profitable Blog

This post contains affiliate links or banners

So, you are ready to take the plunge and start a blog? Great! I’ve created a free 7-Day course by email giving you insights on just how to do that. There is so much to starting and running a blog that you probably don’t realize. I’ve spent nearly 2 years learning every aspect I could about blogging, and am finally beginning to see income rise. I really wanted to share the wealth of knowledge and experience I’ve gained with you, my readers.

If you are at the verge of starting a blog, you’ll definitely want to subscribe to my free email course today. The topics I cover in the course include:

  • Deciding on your niche and creating your blog’s name
  • Securing your domain name
  • Blogging Platform
  • Write and promote your first post
  • Monetizing your blog
  • Email marketing
  • Plus…gain access to my list of favorite tools and resources I use on my own blog every day!

I look forward to having you join me on a 7 day crash course to building, maintaining, and monetizing your blog. Let’s get started!

My New 7-Day Email Course - How to Create a Profitable Blog

 

Tailwind Visual Marketing Suite

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