using affiliate links effectively on your blog

using affiliate links effectively on your blog -

Monetizing is a big decision for many bloggers. Perhaps somewhere deep inside we’d all like to be “professional bloggers” who have created the perfect blend of passive and active income. Affiliate marketing is one of the simplest ways bloggers can begin monetizing. About four years ago I dipped my toes in the monetization waters by joining Dayspring’s affiliate program. Since then, I’ve found several other opportunities such as Amazon Associates and the eBook Bundle of the Week program which have combined to generate enough income to more than pay for my blogging expenses and my book addiction.

Being an affiliate marketer isn’t for everyone. But if you are comfortable sharing about products you recommend and are willing to invest the time in developing a plan for using your affiliate links, this is a great way to begin adding income through your blog. Here are few tips to help you get started.

Choose relevant affiliates.

There are thousands of affiliate opportunities. As you begin to look through the companies on Share-A-Sale or Commission Junction, you might be overwhelmed by all the choices. As you make decisions about what products and organizations you will promote, consider which ones will dovetail with your content and be applicable to your audience.  The affiliate programs Erin participates in for Design by Insight are very different from the ones I use on my personal blog.

Use meaningful links.

Effective {and profitable} affiliate use can be accomplished in many different ways. Be prepared to try multiple approaches and styles in order to find the ones that are most comfortable for you. One of my most popular posts is a list of Bible Study recommendations. I used my Amazon Associates links for the titles of the studies and receive several sales per month from this post {which, by the way, is over to years old}.  Other ways to use your affiliate links include doing product reviews or highlighting specific items or services. The key is making the links a meaningful part of your posts.  If you don’t do this, they will feel like infomercials and likely cost you readers.

Pay attention to your stats.

You need to know what is working and what isn’t.  Take note if you readers tend to click more often on images or on text links. Identify trends such as increased click-throughs when you change your sidebar ads. Successful affiliate marketing will take work on your part. Do your homework and be proactive.

Know the rules for affiliates.

Yes, I know the agreements are long and filled with difficult language — read them anyway.  And make sure you are disclosing appropriately to follow the FTC guidelines. Amazon, in particular, has strict guidelines about what you can and can’t do. I highly recommend you read this post outlining three ways many affiliates are in violation of the Amazon Associates program rules. For a great explanation of the FTC guidelines, check out this post from Amy Lynn Andrews.

How do you use affiliate links on your blog?

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing and growing your blog, we highly recommend ProBlogger’s courses for bloggers. {The images below are affiliate links and if you purchase through them, Erin will receive a commission from the sale.}

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  1. Hi Teri Lynn,

    I am managing a blog for my company and desperately looking for ways to make it better. I would like to ask if having links to affiliates that do not necessarily sell products is a good feature? I was thinking of adding links to professional organizations that we are a member of. So this is mainly just to add to our credibility and reputation as a leader in our industry. You think its a good idea? Would highly appreciate your feedback. Thanks!

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