Monetizing your Blog with Affiliate Marketing

Monetizing your blog with affiliate marketingIn preparation for my speaking gig at the Blogville Conference in Charlottesville next week on the subject Monetizing Your Blog I thought I would share some thoughts on affiliate marketing.

If you have a blog and would like to make more money with it, affiliate marketing can be a great complement to your blogging efforts. I don’ really recommend this as a long term monetization strategy, but it definitely works if you’re pationate about promoting other people’s products.

I don’t personally use (much) affiliate marketing on this site and when I do I make it clear.  I do however have a number of other sites that are 100% affiliate driven and deliver some nice income on the side.  They require very little attention and basically run on autopilot.

Here’s a quick breakdown on the basics of affiliate marketing:

  • Description: Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards you (their affiliate) for each purchase or action brought about by the your marketing of their products.
  • Benefits: Earning potential using targeted ads that require little or no customization and drive revenue 24/7.
  • Tools & Resources: Amazon Associates, Google Affiliate Network, Google Adsense, ClickBank, LinkShare, Commission Junction, ProBlogger.net, Entrepreurs-Journey.com
  • Reality Check: Earning potential may be limited in local markets

Here is a checklist of ideas to help you skillfully incorporate affiliate marketing into your blog.

  • Think about the subject of your blog and your typical blog reader. What types of products would they be interested in? What products do you like and would like to recommend to your readers?
  • If you have space for promotional graphics and advertising in your blog layout, use it. If you happen to have unsold ad space, never leave a blank “Your Ad Here” space. Instead, use that space for an affiliate graphic. Having blank ad space gives your potential advertisers the image that your blog may not be worth advertising on.
  • Write posts on topics that lend themselves to linking to the products you want to recommend. For example, if you’re going to be promoting wedding dresses, write a post about choosing the perfect wedding dress, making it a natural fit for your affiliate link.
  • Write a product review. Your loyal readers value your opinion, give them full details about the product and your honest thoughts…and then insert your affiliate link.
  • Include a “My Favorites” section in your blog sidebar and link to the product. Instead of a traditional blogroll, why not include affiliate links to some of your favorite products.
  • If you have a mailing list sign up for your blog, be sure to promote a product on the thank you page and in your follow-up emails.
  • Publish the articles, special reports and other content provided by the affiliate program on your blog.
  • Write follow-up posts. Just because you posted on a topic once, doesn’t mean you can’t follow up with more information. You can also post review updates, more ideas for using the products and more.

Two of my favorite affiliate marketing networks are Commission Junction and LinkShare.  I’ve used them both extensively on some of my other blogs and made some good money in the process.  You can expect somewhere between 5-15% commission on sales through these networks and in my experience you can double that if you build a relationship and negotiate some special terms with the affiliate manager.

Have you tried affiliate marketing on your blog?  Was it successful and/or what other monetization options to you find more financially rewarding?

Please leave a comment below or on Twitter @steinarknutsen.

Thanks,
Steinar