How to earn money blogging is a question we hear all the time. Affiliate marketing is a great way to start when you begin monetizing your blog. This post touches on a few things, but we are having a weekend blog retreat all about monetization in October you might want to look into. Since this is a post about affiliate marketing, it may not surprise that there are some affiliate links included which means we get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
How to earn money blogging using affiliate marketing companies
There are a lot of companies that offer affiliate marketing programs. I have found some to be easier than others. You have to find the one that works best for you and your blog. Affiliate marketing is different that sponsored posts. You can put many different affiliate links within one post. In this post about Back to School Must Haves, I used six different affiliate companies.
Amazon’s affiliate program is easy, and you can link to almost any product you want. However, the percentage you get per sale is very low. The bonus is that you get a commission on anything they buy from Amazon with that purchase even if they don’t buy the product you were trying to sell them.
Shareasale is my favorite company to work with. They have a wide variety of merchants, and it’s very easy to grab links or banner ads. They also have great customer service.
Flex Offers – Has a smaller variety of companies to offer but they are all larger companies like Home Depot. I don’t find their interface as easy to use, but you might love it so check it out.
Commission Junction used to be the granddaddy of affiliate marketing options, but they have had a lot of changes and many companies have left. They will also cancel our account if you don’t have a sale in six months so be sure you are ready to really do a lot with them before you start an account.
Rakuten (formerly Link Share) has a website like Amazon as well. Its interface is easy to use, and they have a TON of ways that you can easily share products like their WordPress Plugin which easily pulls in an RSS feed for quick blog posting.
Click Bank offers ebooks and digital products from people like you and me to take their passions & expertise and make them into products that they sell. You will find a wide variety of subjects just be sure to look at them carefully.
Skimlinks automatically adds affiliate links to keywords on your blog with just using a short piece of code. It’s no fuss no muss they automatically add links in for you.
How to earn money blogging by finding out what my customers want to buy?
Affiliate marketing can be a lot of trial and error so don’t give up after a few tries. It takes a lot of posts and links to start making money. Remember to ask yourself, “How does your affiliate fit your goal or your customer’s life?” There are a few ways to find out your follower’s interests.
- ASK! Take a survey on subjects using social media or in your newsletter
- BE COVERT – take the emails from your newsletter subscribers and search wish lists on Amazon, they may have them as public, and you might find a common thread
- Check your Google Analytics – Go to Audience – Interests and see what subjects your viewers lean towards it may be something different than your blog subject that could make you lots of money.
- See what other influencers in your niche are sharing and writing about using affiliate links
- Look at your comments on blog posts and social media they might give you a few clues
- Share things you have a story about, is it something you love? That will come through in your post just make sure it matches with your blog niche.
The rules for disclosing affiliate links are a little different on your website than they are for social media however your disclosure should be clear, concise, and require no user action to understand it. The words affiliate link are not sufficient in a post. It must state that you are getting paid, so people who have no clue what affiliate links are will understand. You can read info straight from the FTC here.
Everything is open to interpretation but here are a few guidelines that I have found to be generally agreed on by myself and my affiliate program managers:
- At the beginning of the post just like a sponsored disclosure or close to the first link in the post. To avoid SEO issues, I usually put it under the first photo in my post – see here. It MUST be before the 1st affiliate link in your post.
- They cannot be buried in your footer nor can they be something that has to be clicked through to understand so just putting the word affiliate disclosure hyperlinked will not suffice.
- In a font that is equal in size to the font on your post and in a shade that stands out against the background. This means no tiny writing, and you can’t make it lighter than the font you already use.
- Above the fold so that the visitor does not have to scroll down to see it. It must be clear from the beginning.
How to write an FTC compliant affiliate disclosure to earn money blogging
You can be as direct, funny or creative as you want to be with your disclosure as long as it is clear. Feel free to make is match your writing style. Here are a few suggested ways to word it on blog posts:
- We are compensated for our reviews. Click here for details. (link to your disclosure page)
- This post contains affiliate links, and I earn a small commission if you shop through them. This is how we help to make money so we can continue to bring you amazing content.
- This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something with these links, you are helping support (NAME OF YOUR BLOG HERE) at no additional cost to you.
- Affiliate links are included for your shopping convenience which earns commissions to help with the cost of supporting this blog.
- I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
- This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small financial compensation if you make a purchase using this link.
- My role as a blogger is to not only show you my favorite products and hand down my own tips and knowledge related to (name of item or company here) but it’s to introduce my readers to new and exciting brands which I receive a small commission for if you buy through a link on this page.
- We adore sharing things we love with (YOUR BLOG NAME) readers. These aren’t our products or companies that we are working with, but we thought it might be something that interests you. We do get a cut that keeps us in enough coffee to run this page 24 hours a day!
Safely disclosing affiliate links on Social Media:
Again it must be before any affiliate hyperlink.
As space may be limited on social media, you can use abbreviations a little more. Here is straight from the FTC on Twitter – The words “Sponsored” and “Promotion” use only nine characters. “Paid ad” only uses seven characters. Starting a tweet with “Ad:” or “#ad” – which takes only three characters – would likely be effective.
For Facebook, you can edit your Facebook description (not your meta description) in Yoast to have (sponsored) before the description.
If you want it in your post type, you can place it after the pitch but before the URL however if hey click before your disclosure because you’ve just hooked them then that might be considered as deceptive. Here are some suggested affiliate disclosures for Facebook:
- Ad: POST LINK
- Sponsored by @Brand XYZ: POST LINK
- Affiliate link: POST LINK
- Commission link: POST LINK
- POST (ad) LINK
- POST (sponsored) LINK
- POST (affiliate link) LINK
Where can you use affiliate links on a blog to earn money blogging?
Affiliate links can be shared almost anywhere so you can earn money blogging, but make sure to check each companies rules in case they have restrictions, for instance, you cannot email Amazon Links.
- Social Media – Twitter, FB, Instagram and Pinterest (what is your best social media traffic, driver?)
- Blog Pages – If you have lead in pages on your site like I do then you can place them on those. See Here
- Sidebars and Static Front Pages
- Create a Resource Page
- Blog Posts – You can not only put them in the body of a post but link them to photos or put banner ads at other places within a post. One great tip I learned to get content on an affiliate link is to look at reviews on Amazon to see what people like and don’t like about a product. It might give you some great ideas of ways to talk about the product. Doing a breakfast recipe like pancakes? Why not do an amazon link with photo to a cookbook with 100 pancake recipes?
- Here are some post thought starters
- Create a course or series around a product ex: Cricut or Silhouette
- Do a comparison post
- Create a list post and include the product
- Intermingle a roundup with affiliate links
- Do a product giveaway
- Why I switched from X to Y
- Did you want ____? Tread these tips first
- Obscure facts you wish you knew about___________
- Everything I wish I knew about___________
- Here are some post thought starters
How to insert affiliate links on a blog post
All affiliate links on a blog post or attached to a photo must be NoFollow. This means that Google is being told not to give “juice” to that link because it’s paid and not natural. You can use the NoFollow plugin, hard code it, or use a plugin like Pretty Links Pro. I love using Pretty Links Pro because it makes all of my links look like they came from my blog however it does not “cloak” your link.
Pretty Links Pro also allows you to link to keywords so for instance if you sell a Cricut machine and would like to link up every time the word Cricut is used on your blog you can easily do it with one entry on the advanced settings when you create a link.
Affiliate links are just one way you can earn money blogging but it’s very targeted and much more in your control. Feel free to ask us a question below about how to earn money blogging it might be in a future blog post!
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