There are amazing ways to generate an income from your blog. However, today we are focusing on how to make money from your blog through affiliate marketing! I know that affiliate marketing can be a little bit of a struggle and it may seem overwhelming at the beginning.
To make more sense of everything, I have created this post to guide you through the process in a few very simple steps including three video tutorials on VigLink, ShareASale and Amazon Associates. It will cover everything from finding suitably affiliate partners to making your first lead sale in a few easy steps. Let’s take it from here and then gradually work ourselves towards building a successful blog and business.
Now here are my thoughts on why you should focus your energy on starting out with affiliate marketing and not another way to make money from your blog in the beginning. Other ways of earning money, include AdSense, Sponsored Posts, selling your own products, Freelancing & Consultancy Services, selling online products or writing paid reviews etc.
Advantages of Affiliate Marketing
- Every blogger can start making money through affiliate sales. Even with little blog traffic. I have seen income from my blog with only a little traffic when I started out. Over time these number will start to add up and create a decent result. It all depends on how excited people are about what you are selling on your site, are you targeting your niche and can you build a trusting tribe! If you have that people will buy the stuff you promote because they are truly interested in it.
- Affiliate marketing works for a niche as well as lifestyle blogs. When you have created a very specific niche blog, it might be hard to find a product partner for yourself. However, some of the big Affiliate Networks have literally thousands of brands under them, ranging from baby’s, to travel to DIY. You will be able to find something for every niche idea you have. As well as covering popular lifestyle product partners.
- With affiliate marketing, you can profit from other people’s products without having the hustle of creating a product or business yourself. It’s kind of a passive income. You basically refer your audience to someone else’s product and earn sales income on that referral. It’s pretty amazing!
Best time to Start using Affiliate Marketing
So when is the best time to start using affiliate marketing? It’s actually right now!! Blogging can quickly become frustrating as soon as you hit one of these first hurdles you need to take before really kicking off.
Even a single sale when you check your email can be super exciting and motivating. It may only be a small income for now but it keeps your blog running consistently, and dedication and endurance are key to growing a business and to make money from your blog.
If you need help on How to create a blog in the first place – check out my easy step by step guide on how to Self-Host your Blog! Download my FREE PDF Guide right HERE:
So let jump right into how to make money from your Blog!
Most important 5 steps to make money from your blog with Affiliate Marketing!
Step 1 Understand the basics of Affiliate Marketing
What is Affiliate Marketing
A way for a company to sell its products by signing up individuals or companies (“affiliates”) who market the company’s products for a commission (def. By Entrepreneur.com).
Basically, If you are affiliating with a brand, you can promote their products on your blog or social media. You receive a dedicated link, which links either to the business or the product of that brand. If someone clicks on that link and buys the product you receive a commission on that sale.
What is an Affiliate Link
An affiliate link is a link to a product or brand which contains a specific tracking code which is only applied to you. So if anyone clicks on your link and ends up buying the product you receive a commission for leading this person to that product.
The lengths of how long this person is being tracked depend on each merchant so watch out. Sometimes links are valid for over 120 days. Meaning that even if a person buys a product after maybe 100 days of clicking your link you make money from your blog and link! However, this varies greatly. Sometimes links may only track for 12 days as an example.
Affiliate Network vs. Direct Affiliate Partner Program
There are huge affiliate Networks, basically a Network which contains a bunch of brands that you can join and start earning affiliate money. Sometimes a brand may not be part of a Network, however, offer a direct affiliate partner program themselves. I would recommend checking out both. Normally, if you visit a brand directly through their website, at the bottom of their page they would list if they have an affiliate program or referral program. Then you can apply directly to that.
Note that a brand can be part of an affiliate network but maybe also offer a direct affiliate program through their website directly. Commission rates may vary whether you join directly or through their website and it might make more sense to apply directly. However, on the other hand, when using networks you have all in one place and less confusion. I will leave that decision up to you.
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STEP 2 Find Affiliate Partner
Find partner which suit your niche or blog. There are literally thousands of brands which offer affiliate partnerships. Some of them only through an affiliate network some directly. As finding the right brands to promote on your blog can be overwhelming I would suggest you do the following:
- Write down a list of 15 Brands you would like to promote on your Blog (List of my faves at the end of this Post)
- Go to Google and search for: Brand “X” affiliate program. Within the first few results, you will find out whether this brand is part of an affiliate network. Or check directly on their website at the bottom, look for affiliate or referral.
- Write down next to each brand you look for to which network it belongs (or own program)
- Create affiliate accounts at the Networks which cover most of your desired brands.
My favorite list of Affiliate Networks is listed at the end of this page!
STEP 3 Create affiliate accounts
- Choose Top 5-8 Networks to join (VigLink, ShareASale and Amazon Associates)
- Choose Top 5-8 Brands to join
- Create accounts to the networks
STEP 4 Apply for and join affiliate programs & to some brands directly
- Once you have created your accounts you can start looking for merchants to join. Some of them you may be able to join right away. To other, you will need to apply and write a short description of who you are, what you do and how (which channels) you intend to market their products.
Head to the Resource Library HERE to download a FREE email Template (including the text) I use to get approved 90% of the time. You can use the template for email application and brand applications within networks.
- Don’t get discouraged if you do not get approved for every single merchant you apply. It really happens to everyone. Try a different brand and apply to it again at a later stage.
STEP 5 create the first affiliate link
I have created video Tutorials for my 3 favorite Affiliate Networks. The Tutorials will show you how the inside of the Network site looks like and exactly how to navigate in it. You will also learn how to can create your FIRST affiliate link. The first step in starting to make money form your blog begins now! Yey.
Let me quickly highlight the difference between linking to a brand a linking to a product.
Viglink System: By identifying commercial products mentioned within a publisher’s content, VigLink automatically transforms those terms into revenue generating hyperlinks whose destinations are determined in real-time, advertiser bid auctions.
ShareASale System: Directly links to a company or a specific landing page such as a main page or categories of that website. The links are already created and you can choose (copy paste) from a selection of links predetermined by the merchant.
Honestly, both systems work totally fine and depending on the merchant it makes sense to use both of them.
STEP 6 include in post & start earning
- Find a merchant within network you have joined (approved)
- Search for a product and create a link
- Include that link in your blog post, Instagram, YouTube video description etc.
- Properly disclose Affiliate Links (read more below)
- Start to make money from your blog
How to disclose Affiliate Links properly
DISPLAY! You are required by the Federal Trade Commission’s disclosure requirements. (FCC) to properly disclose and display affiliate link on your website, blog or any social media platform. You can get fined or banned for not following the rules. If you would like to read more click HERE.
Rule of thumb is, the better you display and make it clear to your reader that they are clicking an affiliate link the better and safer for you.
What I do:
- Blog: At the top of my page “Highlighted in RED”, I disclose that the article may contain affiliate links
- YouTube: Within the description Box of a YouTube Video I include a disclosure sentence, similar to the one on my posts. I additionally, mark affiliate links with a * sign.
- Social Media: Add a disclosure sentence or use Hashtags such as #affiliatelink #affiliate.
Concerns and hurdles of affiliate marketing you might have
There is no ONE Network containing all affiliate products or business easily available. Often you will have to sign up for several affiliate networks as well as contact product owners directly. This can get quite messy and confusing. With setting up a clear system, overview and focus you will be able to handle this. Further, you might get rejected by some of your businesses you really wanted to join and this can be discouraging. Please don’t feel that way. It is absolutely normal to be rejected by some of the merchants. At a later stage, you will be able to apply again. However, I would suggest to wait for a few weeks/month and improve your traffic/site appearance or adapt your application form and then try again.
OMG, YOU DID IT! You learned the first steps in earning affiliate commissions and make money from your blog!!! Of course this topic can be covered in more depth and there are advanced strategies how to promote your links and really get cracking with affiliate marketing, but for now, I think we have covered the basics!!! Cool!
Let me know in the comments what you think of this post.
Talk to you soon Katie
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Here is a list of my favorite Affiliate Networks I use to make money from my Blog and Social Media!
Or, KICK to download a FREE email Template (including the text) I use to get approved 90% of the time. You can use the template for email application and brand applications within networks.
Brands like: ASOS, bebe, eBay, Benefit, Bloomingdales, Claires, Etsy, net a porter, Macy’s, Selfridges, sweaty betty, booking.comH&M, Harrods, Hunter, Sennheiser, pet safe, Sur la table, Swarowski, Nordstrom, NIKE, Aliexpress, American Apparel, Clarins, elf and more …
Brands like: Miss Selfridge, Shutterstock, Manuka Doctor, GoDaddy, Misguided, Asda, Trivago, last minute, Jack Wills, John Lewis, The White Company, Superdrug, Lookfantastic, ASOS, Topshop, Canon, a Office Stationary, Forever 21, ghd, TripAdvisor, and 1000+ more in tech, finance, hobby etc.
Brands like: REVOLVE; LaRedoute, Crabtree & Evelyn, L’Occitane, OLAY; Yves Rocher, Barnes & Noble, Bloomberg, Grammarly, Office Depot, Banana Republic, bon prix, converse, Forever 21, Free People, Happy Socks, Intimissimi, La Redoute, Michael Kors, TJ Maxx, Tory Burch and 2000+ more …
Products sold on Amazon
Brands like: BCBGeneration, elf, estee lauder, Shu Uemura, charlotte tilbury, Smashbox, Laura Geller, Betsey Johnson, Cult Beauty, Bloomingdales, Avene, Kohl’s, Liberty London, Molton Brows, Topshop and 1000+ more
Brands like: AliExpress, Baby and co, Feelunique, Tony&Guy, Quicksilver, Deichmann.com, KJ Beckett, Light in the Box and 800+ more