This is good info. Shows I’m not ready to monetize yet but could be once I get my consistency in check. I’m loving this month's topic!!
Thank you for the comment, Shelly. Last week we covered the basics of blog monetization and website must-haves for monetizing your blog. This week we are going to dig into different ways that you can monetize your blog.
I want you to remember going into this week that monetizing your blog shouldn’t happen immediately. There is a process that you should have when it comes to monetizing. I will remind you EVERY blog post this month that if you are just starting out blogging, you NEED to build trust, build authority, and create relationships BEFORE you start selling.
I was just having an online conversation with someone who was looking up mommy bloggers. Her reaction was…
It’s just SO hard to find any actual content with substance in the mom genre now.
When we become so focused on making money, we forget to give information that is useful, honest, and builds trust with those who are coming to our sites. This can happen when you begin to focus too early on monetizing.
Monetizing your blog isn’t a race. Yes, I know that it would be wonderful to make a full-time income or even a part-time income with your blog but when you rush into this, you are going to turn your readers off.
My suggestion is to wait until at least the 6-month mark BEFORE you even start to monetize. I know, I can hear you in the background, grumbling under your breath, ready to throw your computer and curse me. 6 months is not a long time to build a relationship. You want to have a strong foundation BEFORE you start selling. 6 months will give you a stronger foundation than if you started from day one.
Let’s begin the process of learning what affiliate links are and how we can use them in a way that doesn’t feel gross and supports our ideal readers in the most organic way possible.
WHAT ARE AFFILIATE LINKS
Affiliate links are created when you market another person’s product or service. Think of it as a referral system for a product or service. This means that you get compensation in return for sharing their product or service. I have shared affiliate links where I receive compensation as money or free use of the product or service. The more times your affiliate link is used, the more compensation that you will receive.
I prefer using affiliate links versus using ads. I am NOT a fan of ads on a blog or clearly on any website. I feel like ads are in your face and much more annoying than a well-placed affiliate link. I don’t teach bloggers how to use ads because I think they are overused and take your traffic away from your website. Whereas, affiliate links take your traffic away from your website BUT not in the same way as an ad does. However, that is a whole different blog post.
THE BASICS FOR USING AFFILIATE LINKS IN YOUR BLOG POSTS
It is time to talk about HOW to use affiliate links when it comes to your blog and the best practices for affiliate marketing.
ONE| USE AFFILIATE LINKS THAT ARE RELEVANT TO YOUR AUDIENCE
You don’t just want to sign up for any and every affiliate link that is available. You want to make sure that the affiliate links you are sharing are going to be beneficial to your audience. You can sign up with CJ Affiliates to help you get different affiliates BUT there is another thing that I recommend doing when it comes to finding affiliate links to share with your audience. More on that in the next tip.
When you are using affiliate links that are relevant to your audience, you are essentially giving them products or services that are going to benefit where they are in their life. Think about these points when it comes to choosing affiliates to share.
Does the affiliate fit within my niche?
Is it something that I do or would personally use?
Does it easily fit into the content that you are already sharing?
Not every affiliate link has to be relevant to your audience. For example, I had affiliate links through Amazon for books that I absolutely fell in love with. I am an avid reader and my audience knows this about me. However, it doesn’t really have anything to do with my niche. These affiliate links were strictly because I loved reading. All of my other affiliate links are business-related and niche-related.
TWO| REACH OUT TO PRODUCTS/SERVICES THAT YOU CURRENTLY USE
This is a great way to find products and services that you can share with your audience. The affiliate programs that I am a part of are from services and products that I use in my everyday life. I know that these services are going to help my ideal reader because I use them in my niche. I also know that the product or service is great otherwise, I wouldn’t be recommending them to my audience.
If you don’t know if a company offers affiliate links, reach out to them. They may be open to trying if they don’t have anything set up. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
I currently have affiliate links with…
Boss Girl Bloggers (Pinterest course)
THREE| TELL THEM WHEN YOU ARE USING AFFILIATE LINKS
You NEED to tell your audience when you are sharing an affiliate link. Why? You need to let them know that you are receiving compensation for sharing that link. It ensures that you are participating in fair business practices. Plus it will also provide transparency to your readers that you are sharing a link that will make you money.
We talk about building trust as a blogger and transparency are going to help you build trust. You shouldn’t hide behind the links that you are sharing. Be truthful and open about the affiliate links that you are sharing. If you LOVE the product or service enough to have an affiliate link, you should be proud enough to say that you are participating in their affiliate program.
FOUR| WHEN SHARING AN AFFILIATE LINK IN A BLOG POST, MAKE SURE THAT IT IS RELEVANT TO THAT SPECIFIC BLOG POST
We already covered that the affiliate links that you use should be associated with your blogging niche. Now we are going to get more specific about sharing affiliate links directly in your blog posts. You want to make sure that when you choose to share an affiliate link via a blog post, it is relevant to that specific blog post.
You don’t want to share all of your affiliate links in every single blog post. You will soon notice that your readers will start to disappear. No one wants to be constantly sold to. Remember the conversation from above about mom bloggers?? Don’t be like that. (I’m not saying all mom bloggers are like this.)
When you are sharing an affiliate link in a blog post, you want it to feel authentic. You want it to flow in your creative content. You don’t want it to feel forced or out of place. If it does, it probably isn’t meant to be in that blog post.
MAKE IT PERSONAL
The best way to sell something is to share your personal experience with it. This doesn’t change when you use affiliate marketing. By making it personal, you are building an even deeper trust with those who are coming to you for advice.
I would much rather hear someone’s real experience from a product or service that they use and fell in love with versus just seeing an ad that is relevant to their niche even though they have never used it before.
This is the difference in using ads versus affiliate marketing, at least in my opinion. After all, an affiliate link is basically a referral program. You want to make sure that the referrals you are giving out are actually worth sharing.
HOW TO USE AFFILIATE LINKS IN YOUR CREATIVE CONTENT
We have talked about sharing your affiliate links in your blog posts but how else can you share your affiliate links?
CREATING A RESOURCES PAGE ON YOUR WEBSITE
On my previous website, I had a resources page. I am needing to set this up again for my new website because I absolutely loved having this page. My resource page shared all of the products and services that I had affiliate links for.
It was a page on my website where anyone could go to and see what I personally recommended using when it came to blogging. They could use my links directly from that page and not have to search my content to find them.
SHARING THEM VIA YOUR EMAIL NEWSLETTER
The people on your email list are your ideal readers or ideal clients so the affiliate links that you use will benefit them. Just like when using them in a blog post, you want to ensure that the affiliate links you share are relevant to the email newsletter topic. You also want to make sure that you aren’t sharing an affiliate link every time you send a newsletter.
You still want to build relationships with your email list and you don’t always want to sell to them.
PROMOTE THEM ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
Seriously, if you LOVE a product or service enough to sign up for their affiliate program, you should want to shout it from the rooftops that you use them!!!
Your social media platforms are a great way to share the resources that you use. You can even go ahead and link your resources page directly to the page that you are sending your social media traffic to.
I used to use Milkshake but then realized that it was better for my website traffic to create a page that sent them directly to my website. I created an Instagram page on my website that shares my important links on one page. If you go to my Instagram profile, the URL that you click on is this Instagram page. You can now see all the important links that I want to share with you.
This would be a perfect place to link to either your resources page on your website or you can link to a specific product or service that you are sharing. Either way, it is a great way to get traffic to your website while sharing the product or service that you love.
Starting affiliate marketing is fairly simple. By reaching out to the products or services that you already actively use, you can begin to make an income with affiliate marketing. However, that doesn’t mean that you will make a BIG profit immediately.
Affiliate marketing takes time and patience to grow. I don’t make a huge income from affiliate marketing. My income comes directly from my own services. That to me is the best way to make an income through your blog. The affiliate income that I make brings in less than $100 per month. My biggest affiliate income has come from the Flodesk affiliate program.
Reach out to one of the companies that you currently work with and see if they have an affiliate program that you can sign up for and begin there. You won’t know if this strategy is going to work for you until you try it.
Remember that you can also start your own affiliate program for your own products and services. I offer an affiliate program for past clients or anyone in my Facebook group. If you share my coaching programs and someone signs up from your recommendation, you will receive $50.
Do you have any other questions regarding affiliate marketing? Share them below and I will answer them to help you get started with affiliate marketing.