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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Is Affiliate Marketing For Real?

Is Affiliate Marketing For Real?

All of my blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means I’ll receive a commission for any products/services you purchase through them. It’s not a lot, but enough to help keep this blog up and running!  Thank you for your support!

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This is another article in the series of posts I’m writing about affiliate marketing to help bloggers like you learn how to succeed at earning passive income.

You may be wondering if affiliate marketing is for real, and if it’s even worth the time and effort. My answer to that is – absolutely! If done correctly, you can be earning passive income while you aren’t even in front of your computer.

The one thing that this article will NOT teach, and that is how to get rich quick from affiliate marketing.  While there may be some bloggers out there who have made a lot of money right off the bat, it’s not common, and I don’t expect any of you to expect that kind of performance as a result from this post. Creating a good business strategy will help you achieve consistent results. What I want to teach you today is how to set yourself up for long-term success and build a foundation that can lead to higher income down the road.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is simply advertising and promoting a merchant’s products and/or services on your blog in exchange for a commission whenever someone makes a purchase through those links. For example, I signed up for a WONDERFUL candy subscription box service called “Candy Club.” Candy Club is a monthly service that delivers its customers fresh and delicious candies right to their door.  When I signed up to be an affiliate for Candy Club, I gained access to their list of creatives (banners, links, coupons, data feeds, etc). I then placed a banner within my sidebar as well as many of the links within my blog posts.  I even did a full review of Candy Club (Thanks to Candy Club for sending me a month’s box for FREE!) Candy Club’s commission structure is $23.50 per sale.  Every time someone clicks on my affiliate links and makes a purchase (regardless of the amount spent), I get $23.50 deposited into my ShareASale account. Isn’t that cool?  (Oh, and I totally just promoted one of my affiliate links! – see how easy that was??)

Affiliate marketing is more than just slapping up a few banners and links. To really make it worthwhile, you need to only promote products you truly believe in and use. Because I have experienced the Candy Club service first-hand, I was able to speak to how wonderful it is and why my readers should try it out too. Even though I wrote the review of Candy Club months ago, I continue to share the post and affiliate links as much as possible.  In fact, I shared the review yesterday and woke up to 2 new sales!  Amazing!

If you join an affiliate marketing company, such as ShareASale, all of your stats will get tracked real-time. I was able to log in to ShareASale this morning and see that my balance had gone up from $26.00 to $73.00. Hey, it’s not a lot, but it’s something! I can also see reporting of how many times my links have been clicked and even the time of day it was clicked.

Check this out!

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Different Ways to Earn Money

So, each merchant has its own earning structure, so pay close attention when you are thinking about signing up for them. Some pay you a commission per sale only. Even if I sent 1,000 visitors a day to a merchant’s site, if 0 visits resulted in a sale, I still end up with $0. Other merchants pay per click.  If 1,000 people clicked on my link to a merchant, I’d get either a flat rate dollar amount, or a certain percentage, even if none of the 1,000 visits resulted in a sale. Many other merchants also pay per lead in addition to the other two ways above. If I send 1,000 people to a merchant’s site and 500 people enter their contact information into their form, I’d get commission on those 500 entries. Pretty cool, huh? It makes you want to open the flood gates and advertise the hell out of your links.

Is Affiliate Marketing Better than Selling My Own Product?

It depends. If you don’t have a product of your own to sell, nor the funds to make that happen, affiliate marketing can be a great alternative way of earning income. There are no production costs to affiliate marketing, no monthly fees, no physical locations you have to go to, no storage or shipping costs, and you can practically promote your products to anyone in the world who has access to the internet.

I’m not going out on a limb to say affiliate marketing is less work than selling a physical product because it’s not. Just like with a physical product, you definitely need to promote affiliate products to the correct market. You also have to get very creative in promotional methods, and be willing to change on the fly if current strategies are not working.

How to Become a Pro at Affiliate Marketing

Have you read my post, “20 Secrets to Affiliate Marketing Success” yet? If so, great, what did you think about it?  If not, you should really check it out because it gives you insight on how to really make income as a normal blogger. Here are a few tips I’ve learned on my own that have helped me develop my skills at promoting affiliate products:

Are you looking for the best affiliate marketing secrets and tips? Here are my 20 best tips for you to become successful at affiliate marketing today.

1. Don’t Promote Everything Under the Sun

One mistake many bloggers make in the beginning of promoting affiliate products is that they feel like they have to hit the “sign up” button on every affiliate program in the world. Don’t make this mistake! Only promote products you actually use and believe in to your subscribers. Trust me, if you promote just to try to make a quick buck, your readers WILL notice this and it will be the last time they visit your blog. NOT GOOD!

2. Use the Right Keywords

I can’t stress enough how important the right keywords are to not only boost your blog traffic, but also to drive affiliate sales. The advantage to working with an affiliate marketing network is that the account managers for each merchant are more than happy to work with you to provide helpful keywords to help drive in traffic. After all, their company benefits from your traffic with each sale you send their way!

3. Keep Promoting

Don’t just share a link once or put up a banner on one blog post. The secret to building affiliate income is consistent promotion. There are so many ways to do this:

4. Focus on Subscribers First

So many bloggers just throw up random links and make it obvious that they are only trying to make a quick sale. Don’t be like them. Establishing trust and focusing on what’s valuable to your readers is paramount in driving traffic and sales. If you are focusing on their needs, they are going to develop stronger relationships with you and with what you are promoting.

5. Add Affiliate Links to Old Posts

We all have them – old blog posts sitting out there gathering up dust. (Well, I hope they aren’t gathering dust!  I hope you are continuing to share them!). Take a look at some of these old posts to see if you have the opportunity to include some of your affiliate links in them. Chances are, you’ll find more opportunities than you think. Not only should you look to add affiliate links to your old blog posts, but you should constantly be looking to revitalize the posts for current information.

You CAN Earn Real Income Too!

If you work hard at affiliate marketing by constantly practicing the tips above, it’s a definite reality that you can earn a real income from promoting affiliate links. Don’t give up, and keep working on trying new promotional methods. If you have any questions about what’s worked for me and what hasn’t, drop me at line at jeremy@goaskyourdaddy.com.

Shop Puzzles on Calendars.com

Are you looking for the best affiliate marketing secrets and tips? Here are my 20 best tips for you to become successful at affiliate marketing today.

20 Secrets To Affiliate Marketing Success

This post contains affiliate links

Hey there!  Are you looking to monetize your blog through affiliate marketing and have no clue how to start?  Does it make you feel like a sleazy car salesman? Today’s post is all about understanding exactly what affiliate marketing is and how you can get in the know about the secrets to making a solid income with it.

20 Secrets To Affiliate Marketing Success

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing, at its most basic definition, is offering a merchant’s products and services on your blog or social media in exchange for a set commission. Some merchants offer a set percentage of the sale, while others offer a flat dollar amount. One of the most popular affiliate marketing companies (and my favorite) is ShareASale. Now, you’ve read my posts about ShareASale in the past, and hopefully know how much I love working with it.

Affiliate marketing can be a win-win for both you and the merchant you’re promoting. Their products get promoted and sales come in, and you earn cash for simply recommending and advertising their products from your site.  Cool, huh?

It’s not a requirement for you to purchase the products that you are promoting on your site, but it REALLY helps provide trust to your readers when they see you using a product you are promoting. The more you use the products you promote, the more knowledge you have that can be taught to your readers to help them become more informed and educated about those products.

My 20 Secrets to Affiliate Marketing Success

20 Secrets To Affiliate Marketing SuccessBe Selective About The Products You Promote: Promote products that are relevant to your blog topics. I wouldn’t promote health food if I run a technology blog, would I?  Don’t just sign up for every program based on the commission rate. If you wouldn’t use the product, don’t promote it

Incorporate Keywords: Most merchants will provide you with special keywords you can use in your posts to help drive search engine traffic your way. If you are having trouble identifying the best keywords to use, contact the representative in charge of the merchant’s affiliate program. More times than not, they will give you suggestions, techniques, and lists of keywords you can use to help you.

Don’t Flood Your Posts With Affiliate Links: Be careful of how many affiliate links you add to your posts.  Adding too many will make you come across as a desperate seller who is not interested in anything else but making a quick buck. My suggestion is no more than 1 affiliate link per 1,000 words.

Do Routine Checks On Your Links: Like any website, URLs can change. Performing routine checks to make sure your links work is crucial to maximizing your income. I highly recommend creating an Excel spreadsheet outlining all the posts that contain the links as well as the URL. Organizing your links makes it much easier to make corrections when the time comes. There is also a nifty online broken link checker you can run to give you a list of all the broken links on your site – not just the affiliate links.

Write More Product Reviews: Product reviews translate very well into sales. Google and other search engines really love reviews because they give readers insight into what they are looking to purchase. Reach out to some of your merchants and ask if they have any sample products they can send you for review and giveaway purposes. All of the affiliate sales I have generated have come from products I’ve reviewed and recommended.

Be Patient: Just like with anything, patience is a virtue. Do not expect immediate results. Keep sticking with your business plan and marketing strategy, and you’ll eventually see sales come through.  This will not happen overnight. Give it time and it’ll happen.

Add Affiliate Links To Old Posts: Don’t forget about your older blog posts. Look through them and find opportunities to insert affiliate links.

Be Aware Of Marketing Trends:  Keep an eye on what’s popular in your niche and what’s selling.  Different products perform differently.  Some may not sell very well, while others tend to sell quickly. If you find the products you are selling aren’t generating into sales after a while, don’t be afraid to make adjustments to your marketing plan.

Increase Your Audience Size:  Reader and subscriber growth is very important in developing a following on your blog.  The more readers you convert into subscribers, the more eyes that are going to read your posts. If you are writing high-quality blog posts, those views are going to translate into more sales down the road. Look for ways to promote your posts in the right places. For example, I am a member of many blogging Facebook groups.  I also run my own group, Blogger Share and Promo Group. Pinterest is also a steady traffic source for me.  I recently invested in Tailwind to manage my pins and ensure I am repinning appropriately.

Network: Affiliate marketing can be intimidating to new affiliates. Look for ways to network with more experienced bloggers to get advice and share tips with you for success. Blogger groups on Facebook are great for networking. Not only do you get the chance to share your own posts, but you get to read other posts and see what’s working for others.

Be Authentic:  Nothing is worse than stumbling upon a blog post where it’s clear that the author is just trying to sell you something. You know, those posts that say they are giving you 10 tips for something, but the whole article is split up with ads, teasers, and affiliate links. Don’t be like this guy! Establishing authenticity is very important.  If readers don’t see you as genuine, it’ll be the last time they ever visit your blog, and you won’t ever get a sale from them.  Be authentic in your product reviews. If you are reviewing an online graphic design service (like I did with my FotoJet review) and you find the service to be terrible, don’t pretend to like it just so that you can convince your readers to purchase it. Be honest, be open, and be trustworthy.

Don’t Promote A Product Only Once: If you really want to establish a solid income from affiliate marketing, you can’t set a link or a banner on a post once and never promote it again. Promote your posts over and over again to get a sustained level of exposure.

Be Creative: Promoting affiliate links is more than just putting a bit of code into your blog, or throwing up a few banners on the sidebar. Get creative with promoting your products. Have an email newsletter? Use it to your advantage to get the word out about your products. Find new and unique ways to get the word out there, and don’t be afraid to shift gears if your current methods aren’t working well.

Tell Your Story:  As is true in anything you are trying to promote or sell, making a connection with your readers is critical to gaining their trust. When you are promoting a product you truly believe in, tell your story.  Make the product’s value to you as personal as possible. For example, if I were trying to sell someone an iPhone, I would talk about how it’s long battery life keeps me from having to lug around my charger every where, or how awesome the camera is (yes, most of my personal images on this blog come from the iPhone 6!). Giving your personal testimony to a product’s value helps your reader understand how purchasing that product can add value to their life as well.

Be Cautious With Banners On Your Sidebar: If you use WordPress, it’s so tempting to throw a bunch of affiliate banners onto the sidebar. I urge you to be very cautious when doing this. The more ads you place on your site, the slower it will be.  You will also come across as only trying to make a quick buck. I have 3 Google Ads in my sidebar and that’s it. When I want to use banners, I put them inside my blog posts, include them in Facebook posts, and use them as images in Pinterest.

Disclose Every Time: You can’t include affiliate links in your blog posts, Facebook posts, or Twitter tweets without disclosing to your readers that they are there, and that if they click on them and purchase a product, you’ll make money off of it.  I know that sounds unnecessary, but it’s actually required by the FTC. If you are promoting an affiliate link in a Facebook post, you can write “Sponsored Post” or “Contains Affiliate Links” in parentheses. For Twitter, I usually use #ad or #affiliate. You must disclose each and every time!  The FTC can and will shut your blog down.  They are focused on protecting the rights of consumers, so if they suspect you are not disclosing, expect for your site to get shut down.

Promote To Family And Friends: Some of the best people to promote your affiliate links to are your own friends and family. Not only will they support you by sharing your posts, or maybe even purchasing something, they are usually very good about talking about it with their friends too. My mom recently bought some books through my Book Outlet affiliate link (this is an affiliate link – BOOM!  See how easy that was?!). Who knows, they may share so may times that your post will go viral!

Pay Attention To A Merchant’s Commission Structure: When you sign up to become an affiliate for a merchant’s products, you will have access to its commission structure.  Will you get paid a flat rate per sale, a percentage per sale, or only for leads? ShareASale’s affiliate application will tell you exactly what to expect.  So read it, or better yet, write it down.

Take Advantage Of Data Feeds: Product data feeds are simply files, usually in a format such as Excel, text, html, etc., that contain all of the information about your merchant’s products. The purpose of these files is to help you promote and sell products.  You, the affiliate, can take the information from the data feed and build individual pages for each product, or put more than one product on a page.  The advantage to having the data feed information is that you can get your site more exposure through search engines.  Most of the merchants you will find on ShareASale will have a tab containing their data feed products.

Have Fun: The more fun you have being creative in the promotion of your affiliate products, the more the fun will translate to your readers. Don’t be boring! Make each blog post interesting and find interesting ways to make your affiliate links fun. I know this is a challenge, but the better you present your information, the better the result will be in the end.

If you have more questions about affiliate marketing, feel free to email me at jeremy@goaskyourdaddy.com

For more information on Affiliate Marketing, see my other related posts:

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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?

10 Amazing Blog Posts For New and Veteran Bloggers!

Hey guys!  From time to time, I like to share other amazing bloggers and their successful blog posts. Today, I’m sharing 9 posts about blogging that have really helped me along the way as well as one of my very own posts I wrote last week. Whether you are a brand new blogger, or have been doing this for a while, all of us can use tips and tricks from others. Enjoy!

1. 23 Clever Ways to Monetize Your Blog

If you are looking for ways to bring in some income with all of the hard work you put into your blog, check out this post. It’s been pinned over 3,000 times and is a great resource to help you on your quest to earning money from your blog.

2. How to Start a Blog Today

Kristin Larsen, of Believe in a Budget, is the author of this post. In the post she talks about how to start a blog.  Includes step-by-step instructions, hosting plans and options, how to get a FREE domain name, and gives out bonus tips on what to do after you start your blog.

3. 17 Things You Should Do to Every Blog Post Before + After You Hit Publish (Free Checklist!)

I absolutely love this post by Melyssa Griffin!  When I first started blogging at the end of 2015, her posts and tutorials were among some of the first ones I stumbled upon to help guide me in the right direction.  In this post, Melyssa talks about all of the important things she does before and after publishing her blog posts.  It takes a lot to prepare one post, but after post is published, there is still a lot to do to promote it. Check this one out! She also gives you a FREE checklist!

4. The Major Affiliate Networks Every Blogger Needs to Know

Affiliate networking can help you generate solid income from blogging. I love this post and have pinned it to my Blogging Tools and Tips board on Pinterest so that I can come back to it as often as needed. In this post, Lisa gives you the run-down of many different affiliate networks that you can join in your quest to earn income as a blogger.

 5. How to Create a Business Plan for your Blog + 20 Page Template!

Don’t think you need a business plan for your blog?  Think again. Chrystie from Living for Naptime walks you through the steps to create a business plan for your blog, AND as a bonus give you a 20 page template!

6. Little Known Ways to Grow Your Blog

Everyone in the blogging world seems to have his or her own opinion on how to grow your blog. What I like about this post is that Fran from Free Borboleta talks about some of the little known ways to grow your blog. The one I like the most out of this list is sharing other content. I make it a habit to share to as many of my social media accounts as possible. I hope this link is as helpful to you as it was for me!

7. Blog While You 9-5

Blog While You 9-5 is another post I have pinned on Pinterest and saved to my browser’s favorites. You are able to sign up for this course to learn how to manage a blog while working full time. I also work a full-time job and do the blogging thing on the side, so it’s nice to be able to get another blogger’s advise on how to make that work.

8. Tax Deductions for Bloggers

With tax season just around the corner, all bloggers need to know about what items are deductible.  This post is a must-save!

9. 6 Types of Blog Posts to Get You More Traffic

I love these types of blog posts. It’s important as a blogger to create content that will get you the most traffic. Besides, what’s the purpose of writing a post no one will ever see?

10. Why I Create An Outline For Every Blog Post

Yours truly wrote this blog post last week!  Ever since I started created an informal outline for every single blog post, I’ve found that my posts have become more organized. I wrote this post to inspire YOU to use outlines as well!

 

Need some free images for your blog?  Check out 5 Free Image Sites For Your Blog for a great list of sites that offer just that!