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Make Money

Affiliate Marketing: The Quickest Way to Make Money

By Sep 8, 2011 May 13th, 2012 32 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links which may give us a commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

You can start making money from your blog – right now, today! Does it sound too good to be true? Does it sound border-line unethical? I pinkie swear that it is not. It’s honorable enough that you could even tell your mom about it.

affiliate marketing tips

What is it? Drum roll please…

Hello, Affiliate Sales!

If you are new to affiliate marketing here’s how it (ideally) works:

  1. Find a product you love. Choose something you can honestly rave about, something highly related to your blog and something you know will help your readers.
  2. Sign up with the seller as an affiliate and get your affiliate link.
  3. The link is an individualized URL that you embed to a hyperlink or an advertisement.
  4. When your readers click the link a little cookie, or tracker, is registered on their computer. If they make a purchase, the seller will know you referred them and you get the commission.

Did I Mention It Hardly Takes Any Work At All?

  • You don’t actually have to create a product. You don’t have to send it, you don’t have to do much more work than plug it.
  • You don’t need a huge amount of traffic to see affiliate income. If you pick your product well and your audience trusts you, you’ll see some sales.
  • Affiliate commissions start around 3 percent (electronics), rise to 8-15 percent (books and other products) and go as high as 50 percent of the ticket price (information products like ebooks).
  • Subscription services offer commissions for the life of your readers’ subscription and can develop into a very nice passive income.
  • Affiliate links allow flexibility in your advertising method. Hate ads? Just write a post and link to the service. Don’t mind banners and buttons? Put them on your site for heightened awareness and visibility.

If really want to avoid sleazy Internet sales on your blog (and I know you do, because you’re here)…

Follow These Best Practices:

  • Develop trust by picking products that meet your audiences’ needs first and your pocketbook second.
  • Be choosey! Your reputation depends on it. If you haven’t personally used it – don’t recommend it.
  • Don’t over use affiliate links. They are like salt. A dash here and there goes a long way to improving your bottom line. Too much will make your readers run away.
  • Plan your affiliate posts ahead of time. Sometimes there is an application process to be accepted as an affiliate.
  • Anyone who markets to US citizens must comply with the FTC requirement to disclose all affiliate links. I highly recommend following these guidelines.

How To Find Affiliate Programs

Google it. Seriously. If a company sells online, chances are they have an affiliate program. Audible does, Amazon certainly does, Constant Contact and almost every other email service provider do, as do web hosting companies. Tons of little companies do too.

For digital products try eJunkie, Commission Junction or (my favorite tool) network with bloggers you know. If they have an ebook for sale, chances are they offer affiliate commissions.

Do you use affiliate links to make money from your blog? What works best for you?

More On How To Make Money Online

To learn more about successful money making strategies, be sure that you do not miss these posts!

32 Comments

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  • wow, this blog is very interesting and elegant, I love to read this everyday, thanks for sharing this to us, I definitely shared this to my friends about Affiliate marketing!!

  • Twila Fay says:

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  • LenaLoo says:

    Goores.com, an online baby gear and furniture retailer, has an affiliate program, sign up with pepperjam.com!

  • To make even more money, I write posts and sprinkler affiliate links throughout the post. That has been working really well for me; it does take some getting used to, because I’m trying to write naturally, create keyword rich content, and link in a way that isn’t obnoxious. But once I got it down, it became second nature.

    Thank you for sharing this fantastic information.
    Kimberly

  • I am really unclear… does this mean anywhere you put affiliate links you have to have a disclosure statement or only where you are reviewing, recommending, or endorsing a product? We put links to products in each recipe post but don’t make any statement of opinion about them.

    Great information!

  • Jess says:

    Thank you for this post!! I’m bookmarking it for reference!! I have adsense on my blog right now. I would love to get into the affiliate program! I’m writing goals for this to achieve atleast 2 on my site before Oct! Thank yoy for the post!!

  • Reviewer11 says:

    Does this really work? 🙁 If so, and if it’s reliable and safe, can you please explain it to me in a simple way for me to understand? 🙁 It’s like I have ADD and I’m desperate to help my family financially. 🙁

  • KateW says:

    I am in the process of transferring my blogs to other people and hope to start a new one soon. I think it is definitely true that patience pays off. Over time, people do click.
    Good advice!

  • Manjusha says:

    Making money with affiliate links is not all that easy. I have tried it in the past, but found little success. In hindsight, I think it was probably because my site wasn’t getting a lot of visits then. I then turned to PPC advertising like adsense. Now my sites attract a decent number of visitors, but I am not all that enthusiastic about affiliate programs. I know most programs offer decent commission, but getting people to buy is not easy.

  • Modern Gypsy says:

    This is interesting – I’m going to have to look into it!

  • Reviewer11 says:

    I’m not good at absorbing business stuff into my brain. It sounds good but still, I feel clueless how to do this. If it’s legit and safe, it would be of some help financially for my family and me since I can’t work outside my home because of my illness. If it was explained to me in picture book, then maybe I’d understand it. (seriously, that’s how clogged my brain is, LOL). 🙂

  • Teresa says:

    Thanks for the advice!

  • Karen M says:

    I’ve just started blogging on wordpress.com, as I understand the t&c I can’t use affiliate marketing on my blog. Is this right? Or is it just the way you display the links or banners?

  • I think I oversalted my blog today.
    😀

  • Jamie says:

    I have always been interested in doing affiliate marketing on my blog, but it seems so hard to get figured out. I need to really take the time to do the research. But, time? I never seem to have enough of that. 🙂

    • Natalie says:

      Jamie – what online products do you already use and are happy with? A quick search on their site will tell you if they have an affiliate program. If the product lines up with your audience, then you’ve already done the research just by using it yourself!

  • Maggie S. says:

    Sounds like a good thing. I am going to check into a couple of ideas. Thanks.

  • Traci says:

    This is one thing I have not done yet on my site, but think about it often. I just need to sit and do the research. It is a bit intimidation, though.

  • So according to your FTC guidelines link, it says, “Your disclosure must appear on any page that has a review, recommendation, comment or article that promotes a product or service for which you receive compensation”.

    How do you (or others) do that for every post that includes even just a link without it looking repetitive or ruining the look of your site? I totally understand it for reviews, but not so much for every affilate link

    Just something I’ve been trying to come to terms with. According to the guidelines link, simply having the “disclosure” button is not good enough. And worse than that you are supposed to make it stand out by choosing a font color other than your regular post font. I use the stars (***) to highlight when needed.

    • Natalie says:

      Great question! I like to have fun with my affiliate disclosures – in one post where I referred to my kids as my little monkeys I said this “This is an affiliate link – I have to feed my little monkeys.”

      Ideally you are not going to have so many links that it overwhelms your site. If you are worried about the disclosures ruining the flow of things, it might be that you have too many. Another option would be a sidebar widget with your disclosure – visable, but not obtrusive.

      • So, is a simple Disclosure widget enough on the sidebar or does it have to be a statement? I’ve just hesitated using affiliate links because I’m unsure of all the legality. Thanks for the feedback!

        • Natalie says:

          Well, by widget I mean a text one where you explain clearly that you receive compensation for your reviews. The example of a clear disclosure on ThinkBigRevolution is a great one.

  • Mimi says:

    Don’t be afraid to try new things. If you’re not making sales, mix up your creatives. It might take a few times before you find the strategy that works for your blog. Stay persistent!

  • thansks for the advice! 🙂

  • Jenni says:

    I’m just beginning to the adventure of trying to make money from my blog. Thanks for this post! 🙂

  • I do have 2 smaller businesses on my website as affiliates, but have considered looking into Amazon, especially because I buy from them so much & I’ve seen some websites that list their favorite products that people can click and buy. Thanks for giving me a nudge in the right direction. I’ll be sure to finally decide to do this!

  • Angie says:

    Affiliate marketing is one of my main sources of blogging income. I do think it takes a bit of patience and practice though to nail down what your audience is willing to invest in and how they want to be sold to. It’s worth investing the time to figure that out though!

  • Penelope says:

    I have had amazon forever but only last month did it begin to pay out. I made nearly $10 last month by adding a text link to “Great Books on my niche topic” at the bottom of each post. I’ve had nearly $5 in clicks on Adsense. $15/month not that good, but a beginning!