How to make money on your blog…with affiliate links
I may get paid commission for purchases made after clicking a link in this post.
There are lots of ways to make money on your blog. Many bloggers make money through affiliate links. But what exactly are affiliate links? What are the pros and cons, and how exactly do you make good money with affiliate links? Read on to discover how to make money on your blog with affiliate links.
I recently shared a post in response to a question I get asked A LOT: “How do blogs make money?”. In that post I explain how there are lots of ways to make money, but basically, they boil down to 5 main categories: traditional advertising, affiliate links, sponsored posts, products and services.
That post is great overview of the main ways blogs make money, but I wanted to go a bit deeper into the nitty gritty of exactly HOW to make money on your blog via these 5 ways: the pros and cons, the steps you need to take, and what you need to do to make serious money.
Last time I shared how to make money on your blog with advertising, so this time I am turning my attention to the second category: how to make money on your blog with affiliate links.
What do we mean by affiliate links?
As a blogger you can join affiliate schemes, the most well known of these is the Amazon Affiliate Programme. Once you’ve joined an affiliate programme you are given a special link. You can then drop that link into a blog post (or indeed anywhere on your blog). If a reader clicks that link and subsequently go on to make a purchase, you will get a commission – either a percentage (the commission from Amazon is usually somewhere between 3% and 10%) or a flat fee.
There are lots and lots of affiliate schemes out there – before you recommend a product or service, it’s well worth researching if the company in question has an affiliate scheme you can join.
Pros and cons
Bloggers who do well with affiliate links make A LOT of money – thousands per month. And a link in a blog post is much less obtrusive than a large flashy display ad. The link is also more logical – it’s usually in the context of a review on your blog and it comes with your recommendation. So if you have a loyal following – an audience who hangs on your every word and buys everything you recommend – then you will do well with affiliate links.
Although there is obviously a link between pageviews and affiliate income, the link is less direct than with standard advertising, meaning even a small blog has the potential to make good money with affiliate links.
The other great thing about affiliate links is that once you have them published in your blog post, you can keep on making money from them month in month out (so long as the blog post is still relevant), and as you publish more and more blog posts with more and more affiliate links, you make more and more money.
The downside is that you have to work harder to make money with affiliate links than with advertising. With advertising, basically you can set it and forget it. With affiliate links you have to write and publish a blog post which features one or more affiliate links and you also have to promote that blog post. And it’s not enough for people to just look at the affiliate link, they have to actually click on the link AND go on to buy that product for you to make money.
The other problem is that affiliate links definitely work better on some kinds of blogs than others… As a rule of thumb, the higher the price of the items you recommend, the more money you are going to make – so a blog recommending photography equipment costing thousands is likely to make more money through affiliate links than one which recommends books that sell for a few pounds.
So how do you go about it?
The good news about affiliate links is you can start earning money from them immediately and the amount of money you make is not directly linked to the number of pageviews, so even small blogs can make money with affiliate links, if they go about it the right way.
Start by researching affiliate schemes related to your blog’s topic and then apply to be an affiliate – this is usually as simple as filling in a form or sending an email, and you usually hear back pretty quickly too.
Good schemes to start with are Amazon’s affiliate programme and ShareASale’s affiliate programme, as they have lots of different products, so you should be able to find plenty that fit your niche.
Next, write content that naturally includes links to the product or products that you are an affiliate for. It could be a review, or it could be a ‘top 10’ type piece, or just a link that slips naturally into an otherwise fairly normal blog post. And make sure you include your special affiliate link when you link to the place where people can buy that product, so you get the commission.
You will also need to clearly state that your link is an affiliate link to comply with rules on disclosure.
How to earn lots of money with affiliate links
The best way to earn good money with affiliate links is to really research the best affiliate schemes for your niche and then use your affiliate links in lots of natural blog posts. Affiliate links should seem natural and helpful to your readers, not annoying and spammy… If every other word is an affiliate link, that’s not going to work! The vibe should be about helping and advising people not constant selling and money grabbing.
The other important thing you need to do is ensure you gain your readers’ trust and keep it. Make sure that the links you do use are genuinely helpful and that they are definitely things you love, and you know your readers will love and benefit from them too. Never ever be tempted to include an affiliate link to something you wouldn’t touch with a bargepole, just because the commission is good. You may get a small amount of money initially, but ultimately you will lose your readers’ trust and that will damage your long-term pageviews and income.
To gain your readers trust and loyalty you need to work hard, creating blog posts that really speak to them, engaging on social media (a Facebook group is great for this) and growing your email list. The more you can gain your readers’ love and trust, the more likely they will be to take you up on your recommendations.
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Find out more…
Find out more about making money with affiliate links:
- A beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing for bloggers
- 19 easy ways to increase your affiliate income from your blog
Find out more about the other ways of making money with your blog:
- How to make money on your blog with advertising
- How to make money on your blog with sponsored posts
- How to make money on your blog with products and services
And for a good overview on the subject of making money with a blog, check out this post: How do bloggers make money?
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Re ShareaSite – this appears to be from the US – are the any barriers/is it worth using in the UK? Thanks 🙂
Yep, it’s absolutely fine to use in the UK. I’ve earned money from them, so yes it’s worth it. It’s a good one to be joined up to as lots of brands use them. Eb x
Affiliate marketing has always been a bit of a enigma to me. I get clicks but no one ever buys anything when they click through it’s bewildering – if they don’t want it why click in the first place. Who knows?! lol
Thanks for stopping by Kathy – I think the key to affiliate marketing is figuring out what your ideal reader is most likely to buy and then writing genuinely content around that product. My most successful affiliate sales have come from genuinely useful posts I have written to help my readers with a particular problem they are facing, which naturally lead to a desire/need for the product I am hoping to make an affiliate sale from. Eb 🙂
Hi Eb, my name is Scott Charleboix and I blog for PinArtwork. I’ve got affiliate links but they aren’t converting into sales. With that being said, which course of yours would be best for me to convert my affiliate clicks into sales? Please let me know. Thank You.
Hi Scott, I do include advice on writing good affiliate posts in my course ‘Profitable Blogging Jumpstart’ >>> https://www.productiveblogging.com/pbj However, the course is not solely focused on making affiliate clicks – it covers many other topics as well. If you want some free tips, you might like to check out this post: https://www.productiveblogging.com/increase-affiliate-income/
Hope that helps! Eb 🙂