Last Updated on May 4, 2020 by ellduclos
How to Kick A** with Affiliate Marketing
If you having been blogging for a while, or even if you are new…maybe you are ready to take your blog to the next level and start earning from your passion! There is nothing wrong with that! In my 6 month blogging journey post, I share that I make money blogging 6 different ways. A huge source of my blogging income comes from affiliate marketing. It took me a couple months to really figure out how to consistently make sales! Trust me, it’s not easy and in order to make full time income through affiliate marketing it’s going to take strategy and trial and error. BUT DON’T WORRY!!! Today I am sharing with you everything you need to know about making money through affiliate marketing strategies… The “ultimate” guide.
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. You can read my disclosure here.
What is affiliate marketing?
Before getting started with affiliate marketing, it’s important to know what it is. When you sign up to become an affiliate of a company/brand, they will give you affiliate links to their products. When you sell a product through your affiliate link, you get commission (a percentage of the sale). Commission varies depending on the company/brand. SOMETIMES, your audience can even get a discount on the product if they purchase through your affiliate link. It’s a great way for bloggers to earn and make a living through their passion, which in my opinion is a great way to live!
Of course, there are people out there who take advantage of others through affiliate marketing but usually readers can tell right away if they sense a phony.
Which leads me to this:
Only use affiliate links when you genuinely love the product you are recommending. It shouldn’t just be about the money! If you use affiliate links in a way that’s spammy &/or isn’t genuine, your audience will catch on, you will get a bad rep, and you WILL NOT succeed in affiliate marketing.
Be sure to properly disclose your affiliate links
When using affiliate links you MUST always disclose. If you write a blog post that contains affiliate links you should state that your blog post contains affiliate links. I also link back to my disclosure page. Which brings me to my next point about affiliate marketing…
Once you start using affiliate links it’s really important to have a disclosure page! You may be thinking, what does a disclosure consist of? What do I need to have in it? Can someone make it for me?
Here’s the thing, I used to use a free disclosure policy generator because I didn’t want to spend the money. I quickly learned that this was harming my blog and putting my blog at risk! I actually had a lawyer write a guest post for me explaining why free privacy policies and disclosure policies weren’t protecting my blog! You can read that post here if you’d like to learn why.
Also note, when you disclose your affiliate links, the disclosure should ALWAYS be before the link. You should not write a blog post with affiliate links and state that you used affiliate links at the end of the post. It should always be in the beginning before the affiliate links appear.
What affiliate programs are worth joining?
Now you may be wondering what affiliate programs should I join? That’s a great question! There are so many different programs out there. I am going to mention a few of my favorites:
- Amazon: I used to not like amazon’s affiliate program that much because I couldn’t make money from it for quite some time. But now that I have been really practicing my affiliate marketing strategies, amazon is one of my favorites! If you think about it, there are SO MANY products on amazon. The list is endless! Not to mention, everyone and their mom is shopping on amazon…AMAZON PRIME, HELLO!?! So why not give it a try? … Here’s the catch though, you have to make a sale pretty quick in order to stay on the program. I would apply to amazon once you know you have a solid strategy down where you can make at least one sale! Hopefully my guide helps!
- ShareASale: I really enjoy shareasale because it has some of my favorites on there! For example: Tailwind, it’s no secret that I LOVE Tailwind. My #1 selling e-course is my Pinterest e-course which teaches you how to use pinning strategies to grow your blog traffic & sales. I swear by Pinterest, it brings me a consistent 20,000+ pageviews a month and brings me consistent sales of over $2,000 a month. A huge part of my strategy is using Tailwind properly to sell and grow on autopilot! My course teaches all of that. Since I use and love Pinterest, I am constantly raving about Tailwind! I thought, why not be able to earn through my recommendations? Nothing wrong with that! Plus, they have a great affiliate program on Shareasale! Also Namecheap has an affiliate program through Shareasale which I love too! There are tons of merchants on there to choose from and it’s free to join. Definitely worth trying out!
- Shop Style Collective: This is the affiliate program I use for beauty products and clothing brands! I know everyone and their mom uses reward style, BUT … I got denied 4 times, YES FOUR TIMES, from reward style. Basically, I can’t sit with them….. Instead of reward style I use shop style collective which is pretty much the same thing… maybe a little bit more limited but whatever! It works! I can find products from sephora, ulta beauty, and some top selling fashion brands too! The commission is very small but it can add up!
- My Host: If you are self hosted and you happen to LOVE your self host, check to see if they have an affiliate program. Most have affiliate programs! What better way to earn than by recommending a self host who you use and love! I definitely recommend self hosting! It allows you complete ownership over your blog. You also have plugins and more customization when you are self hosted. I have also found it easier to monetize. I use Siteground and have loved them since day one. They have a live 24/7 chat team that helped me transfer from wordpress .com to self hosting wordpress .org and ever since that day, it’s been smooth sailing. They are always helpful so I have no reason not to recommend them! I really love their affiliate program too. If you aren’t self hosted and have been wanting to for a while now, it might be time! If you want to go self hosted with Siteground you can use my link and start for $3.95 a month! Keep in mind though…the more you pay in advance the more you save! I signed up for a year in advance to get an even bigger discount.
- Creative Market: Depending on your niche, this might not be for you. BUT, I love creative market and use it all the time! It’s a platform where graphic designers, and bloggers sell their digital products such as: Blog themes, social media templates, media kit templates, graphic designs, instagram presets and so much more! All of the products i’ve purchased from there have been STUNNING. Plus, you can promote these products on Pinterest! YUUUUUP!
These are my top 5 affiliate programs that have been working for me. I will say, there are tons out there! Think about the products and services that you use daily and figure out if they have an affiliate program.
For example: Did you take an e-course lately that you loved? I bet they have an affiliate program for it! My Pinterest e-course has an affiliate program where you can make 30% from each sale! My course is $32 so that’s about $10 per sale which isn’t bad!
Related: 9 ways to increase your blog post shares
Does blog traffic matter when it comes to making sales?
When it comes to actually making a sale, it’s not easy! Many would say that you need to have a ton of blog traffic to make money through affiliate marketing. That’s not entirely true. Of course you need to have some traffic in order to get your links seen, BUT it doesn’t need to be 100,000 monthly page views or anything crazy!
For example: I currently recieve around 27,000 – 30,000 pageviews a month and make $2,000+ a month in affiliate income. I can’t say if this is good or bad BUT I can say, it helps pay the bills.
My first $1,500 sale month was 6 months into my journey and my blog traffic was about 15,000-17,000 monthly if I remember correctly. That’s just some perspective on blog traffic.
What actually matters then when it comes to affiliate sales ?
One word: TRUST.
Trust is what matters most. If your audience doesn’t trust you or your opinion, then they will not purchase anything you recommend. Trust is crucial when it comes to selling anything! That’s why when it comes to your blog it’s important to try and build relationships with your audience.
Think about it, are you more likely to purchase something a stranger recommends or something your bestie recommends? In my opinion sometimes people keep themselves TOO professional to the point where I feel as if I can’t connect with writer at all! I want to feel a sense of community with a blogger rather than having it feel like the blogger just wants the money.
When it comes to my own blog, I don’t even like to call my readers an “audience” because for me, they are more like my best friends. (to be honest my readers are more supportive than most of my friends and family! Probably why I am addicted to social media…)
I am a huge believer in community over competition. When it comes to my blog it’s really not about the money for me. I would much rather pass on working with a brand whom I don’t love than to work with them just for an extra buck. Huge reason why I don’t price my courses outrageously. Maybe it’s bad for my business? Idk, but I also don’t care!! I know what it’s like to want something I can’t afford.
ANYWAYS ….When you recommend products and/or use affiliate links, you want to be HONEST. Don’t lie to your audience. Your audience will catch on and you will never build that trust which means you can kiss affiliate marketing goodbye!
I wrote a post recently on how to grow a trusting audience so you can read all about that here!
When it comes to building trust, it’s crucial to back up what you say. Provide evidence that you know what you are talking about!
Text Links Vs Banners? How to add affiliate links?
when it comes to affiliate marketing links which performs better? Text links, or banners?
In my opinion text links perform way better! Banners tend to look a lot like ads so people are skeptical to click. Text links aren’t as bold and people are more likely to click a text link as opposed to a banner.
HOWEVER, you can still use banners and display them as if they were ads. You could add one to the end of your post like an ad or in the middle. Many choose to do this instead of using google adsense. It allows you to choose what is being advertised.
How do you add a link to your post?
If you are using wordpress, you should see a tool box with a “chain link” button. If you scroll over it, it will say “Insert/edit link” …Simply highlight the word you wish to turn into a link and then click that “chain link” button in the tool box. Now you can add the link you wish to link the word to and you are good to go (:
Related: 10 Blogging Myths Busted
Affiliate marketing ideas:
How can you use affiliate links to increase your sales? Here are some of my favorite ways!
A great way to use affiliate links is in round up/favorites posts. For example, at the end of the month you could have a “my favorite products of the month” or “What I loved this month!”. In these posts you can mention the products you used and loved all month. (I am sure you could find a ton on amazon that you use and love!)
2. Gift Guides
It’s November after all…the holidays are right around the corner! Write some gift guides that are related to your niche. A perfect way to incorporate your affiliate links! Here’s an example of one I did.
3. Product Reviews
Part of what I blog about is beauty. In this niche I am constantly trying out new products. If I love a product I will review it and use affiliate links in my review! You can do this for any niche! If you used a product and loved it, write a review!
4. Create a Facebook Group of your Own
It’s no secret that a huge part of how I was able to grow so quickly was because of the creation of my Facebook community, Boss Girl Bloggers which exploded into 31,000+ members in a year. I am forever grateful for my community because it is filled with supportive and inspiring like minded women! The great thing about having a Facebook community is the fact that it’s YOURS. You can do what you wish with your community.
It also allows you to connect with your readers on a more personal level which I love!! I feel as if my blog and social media platforms feel like “community” because they all have grown through my Facebook group. It really all began with Boss Girl Bloggers. If you haven’t built your own community for your blog yet, you really should!!!! I have shared my affiliate links in my group and it definitely helps because my community members are my besties and they trust my opinion!
If you aren’t sure how to grow your community, don’t worry! I let you know all of my secrets here.
5. Resource Page
A great way to add affiliate links like your “self host” and things like “tailwind” etc. Have a bloggers resource page. You can recommend things that you use and love that help you and your blog! For me I would be listing things like: Siteground, Namecheap, Tailwind, My Pinterest E-Course, (you could list affiliate links to any e-courses you’ve taken and loved) creative market, an affiliate link to your theme creator, things like that!
6. Shop My Favorites Page
This is more geared towards fashion/beauty bloggers but even if you are a mom blogger, interior designer, etc. you could have a shop my favorites page. This page would include products you use and love or fashion pieces you are obsessed with! I would use shopstylecollective affiliate links and they allow me to also create product widgets. I would use this shop my favorites page to add product widgets of some of my holy grail items! A great way to recommend and sell!
I really enjoy blogging about my beauty hauls. People seem to LOVE reading and watching hauls. They find it interesting to know what you purchased! Why not show them your latest haul to target and add affiliate links to the products you purchased? OR a home decor haul with affiliate links to the home decor pieces you picked up? There’s endless hauls if you are a shopping addict like me!
8. Outfit of the Day Posts
For all my fashion bloggers out there! You could do an outfit of the day series or a “get ready with me date night” post and link to the products you are wearing! Shop style collective would come in handy for this!
Do you use a product that is hard to use? You could do a tutorial of the product and use your affiliate link to recommend the product you are giving a tutorial on. For example: I love and use tailwind so I have a tutorial of how I properly use it to grow my blog traffic and link to my affiliate Tailwind link.
You can use affiliate links on Pinterest what?!! … YES … You can’t use all, but you can use most! Make sure to look into the rule of your affiliate link programs before you go ahead and use them on Pinterest.
For example: in the U.S I believe amazon doesn’t like when you use your affiliate links on Pinterest. I could be wrong, but I choose not to, just to be safe! However, I use Tailwind, Siteground, Creative Market, ShopStyleCollective, and so many more!
If you have proper Pinterest marketing strategies, you can make a KILLING through Pinterest.
My Pinterest monthly views are 1.3 million so when I promote my affiliate link pins the same way I promote my blog post pins on Pinterest, my affiliate link pins gain a lot of attention!
Maybe you are thinking, well…my Pinterest monthly views are no where close to 1.3 million! Don’t worry, that’s okay! First off, you don’t need a million monthly Pinterest views to make money. All you need is to make sure you are using Pinterest properly to benefit you! If you don’t have a Pinterest strategy then you won’t make the sales.
That’s why I put together my Pinterest course that teaches you my exact Pinterest strategy that brings me 1.3 million monthly pinterest views and helps me make $2,000+ in affiliate sales a month. Not to mention, these strategies also helped increase my blog traffic to almost 30,000 pageviews a month which is pretty great!
If you know a thing or two about Pinterest already, then you know it’s important to create click worthy pins for your blog posts! WELL … just like blog posts, your affiliate links need click worthy pins too!
Create a beautiful click worthy pin for your affiliate link and promote the pin just like you would your blog post pins! Just make sure to disclose in the pin description that it is an affiliate link!
Again for a complete breakdown of how to use Pinterest to grow your blog traffic and sales you can take my course for just $32 and if you love it, you can become an affiliate and earn your money back!
Maybe you have a lot of products you love and want to promote on Pinterest without creating a blog post that shows up on your blog and annoys your subscribers.
Instead, create separate pages for these product reviews and promote the page links on Pinterest. This will hide your post from appearing on your blog and if you don’t add your page to your menu it won’t be easily found unless through Pinterest where you promote it.
I have done this for a couple of things! I do it for some of my course sale pages! Rather than create a blog post just dedicated to a course sales page, I made a separate page on my blog and only make it seen through Pinterest pins! (sorry if this concept seems confusing, it sounds a bit confusing as I read it over.)
Related: 10 Tips related to the latest Pinterest update
- Build trust with your audience
- Don’t be “salesy” … have a personality and create your own voice.
- Don’t be spammy or forceful
- Use Pinterest to your advantage
- Create a Facebook community for your readers to connect
- Be personable, real and honest
- Believe in the products you are selling
And remember that everything takes time and hard work. You need to be dedicated and patient. I know making money blogging is the goal if you are reading this, but don’t stress it so much! You don’t want your blog to become a chore. Remember why you started, blog with passion and the money will come.
I really hope this helped!!!!
I love this, thank you so much for making this Ell – It’s jam packed with information! I definitely want to do Affiliate marketing ? I just got approved for Share A Sale so I’m stoked to try that out! My Pinterest is growingggg and although it’s not close to your views (holy moly), I’m getting there! I have to check those other affiliate link sites! Thanks again lovely! ?
Geraldine | https://geraldinetalks.com
I’m so glad it was helpful (: yay for getting approved! You’ll make some $$$ in no time! ?
These are some great tips and ideas. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!
Thank you so much Kathy!! ?
Oh my goodness. There’s a reason I come back to your blog over and over for informations. I love that you care about other bloggers and it shows your in the pricing of your products and the endless amount of information you love sharing to boost others up in this blogging journey! You da best ?
You are too sweet! Thank you so so much ?
Peanuts & Cacahuetes says
This is such a great informative post! I really need to take some time and look into Pinterest properly because I don’t make the most out of it for sure! It’s bringing me a few views but not that many (far far from 1.3M ??)
I also started to put some affiliate links on my blog but it’s not efficient AT ALL (it literally didn’t bring me anything so far…)
I need to look into creating a strategy and a trusting audience, which I clearly don’t have??
Thank you for the tips!!!
Thank you so much!!Keep working at it and you will get there I promise!!! (: Your blog is awesome!
Nicola Knobel says
This was a great read thanks El!
Will definately be inplementing some of this
Thank you so much!
As a new blogger who is also enjoying being involved in your Facebook group, I cannot thank you enough for spelling this process out for me. My goal is to build up my site and then apply for affiliate programs, but I still need to update my website. Thanks for pointing the way!
You are the sweetest! Thank you so much, and so glad to have you a part of the group!
Melis Living says
Thanks for this awesome guide! I’m just getting into aff marketing and it’s such a minefield so it’s great to read some proper advice on how to build a good strategy. Thanks so much for being the amazing human you are sharing all this cool advice with us all! Melis
Thank you so much Melis! You are too sweet! I really appreciate you and I am so glad you found this helpful! (:
Ell!! Thank you for this. So well written and fun to read! I’m just starting out and feeling overwhelmed! This post was like a toolkit for affliate marketing yumminess! I will definitely check our your Pinterest course.
Thank you so much! That means a lot to me (: Glad you found it helpful!
Gail Bodnar says
So nice to connect with another lady AM! I’m trying to get better at this whole blogging thing & yours is the cleanest, structured, well written, informative one I’ve seen yet! I’m keeping it as an example to me! The information is top notch, thank you for the helps! May I ask you how you set this up? Did you go through WordPress? Great work ghurl❗
Thank you so much Gail! My blog is set up self hosted with siteground and I use wordpress through siteground which is the wordpress .org version! (:
Mary Yowell says
Great post! I have been struggling with this!
Love this post! I’ve been doing my research on affiliate marketing since starting my blog and this is one of the best posts I’ve come across. You don’t hide any information or give the same general tips everyone else does. Thank you!
This comment made my night! Thank you so much! So glad it was helpful (:
Sherri Preston says
This was so helpful, thank you for posting!! Very ‘user friendly’ and very easy to follow!!
So glad you found it helpful and easy to follow along (: Thank you so much Sherri!
This post is filled with great information! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much Tameka!
Thanks for always trying to help
My pleasure (:
Classiclink Technology says
Nice article. Stumbled upon this on pinterest. Good job.
These tips are awesome! I need to get to work with my Affiliate marketing.
Thank you so much! So glad you found it helpful (:
Girl, I love your blog!
I remember coming across it once on Pintersest, I joined your Facebook group today and found my way to your website again. I was like “Hmm, this looks familiar.”
It’s still taking a lot of trial & error while building my website, but that’s expected!
Anyways, your Facebook group has helped me a lot!! Thank you❣️
That’s a very concise list of affiliate marketing ideas! I didn’t know you weren’t allowed to put amazon links on Pinterest. I agree that it’s hard to make sales off of that in the beginning. I am attempting to write useful marketing tips. It’s a work in progress and I get burned out of ideas and struggle with traffic. Love if you check it out!
Thank you so much! Definitely will!
Wow! There is so much useful and amazing information in this post and I really appreciate it! I am just starting out and trying to figure out the best way to start my blog and FB community the right way. Thank you so much for all your insight!
Thank you so much!! So happy to hear this! (:
Matrix Outsourcing Solutions says
Well, this is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!
Thank you so much!
I made my first sale by Siteground with my 1st post in 1st month of blogging. And since that day I have Affiliate marketing as the biggest source of income. Affiliate marketing is just awesome.
Love to hear that!!!
Very informative, i started a blog a month ago and i was struggling with what to do. Now i have more insight in what i will be doing in the future. Thanks for the information.
So glad to hear this! Thank you!
Thank you so much! I’m struggling with understanding affiliate marketing and how to make a sale. Although I’m still very young in terms of blogging! This post was so helpful!
I am so glad you find my post helpful! Thank you so much and keep up the good work!
Nails places says
vary good post.
Krissy Viane says
Thank you so much for this wonderful article. It helped me so much with my blog!
So glad to hear it was helpful!
Tasha Westlund says
I’m glad to hear you like Amazon. I hear a lot of people saying they don’t like it that much because the payout is smaller but I think it will be so much easier finding something in my niche there. Very encouraging!
michael cottam says
Thank you for helpful information sharing with us.
Faith v says
I want to thank you SO much for this beautiful blog PACKED with useful information! Especially for someone (me) who’s in the process of figuring out how to start my blog, get familiar with SEO, AND try to understand how to start up affiliate links when I decide to launch my site! This is absolutely incredible and gave me so much hope!
I am so glad you found my tips helpful! Thank you so much!