Finding Profitable Affiliate Offers For Your Blog
There are a few ways to monetize your website. But affiliate marketing is probably the best approach for turning your blog into a serious revenue stream.
Here's the Big Idea in a Nutshell
Affiliate marketing is an honest and profitable approach to bring value to your audience while also building a business around your content. If you find the right offers, and when it is done ethically and with full disclosure and transparency, it can prove to be quite lucrative.
Monetizing Your Blog
Have you ever recommended a great restaurant to someone? When they ate there, did the restaurant owner thank you? Or ever send you any money? Probably not.
But that’s exactly how affiliate marketing works.
There are tens of thousands of affiliate offers and opportunities that work like that. And they will gladly reward you for a simple referral.
Imagine a restaurant sending you 10% of your friend’s purchase – every time they visit that restaurant. Some affiliate programs pay upwards to 75%! 50% is a common commission in affiliate marketing depending on the product and the offer.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Instead of providing, producing or manufacturing your own product, being an affiliate marketer allows you to simply promote or endorse someone else's product and earn a commission when members of your audience purchase it.
To start implementing affiliate offers into your content, you would look for a respectable product or service that appeals to your target audience, possibly one you've previously written about, or better yet, one you use for yourself.
Then you would check to see whether the vendor offers an affiliate program, and if it does, join it. You will be granted a unique URL known as an affiliate link that you would embed into your content.
When people click that custom link to visit the vendor's offer, you are compensated when they purchase.
And, in many cases, affiliate programs will even provide you with a discount coupon to present to your audience to incentivize them to click through your specific link.
Tell 'em Joe Sent You
This is a common marketing structure. It's been happening in talk radio for years. If you have ever heard a radio talk show host explain the benefits of a certain company's service and they provide a web address to get the "special offer", they are simply providing their affiliate link to their audience on the air.
Ever heard the phrase, "...Tell 'em Joe sent you!..."?
That's the basic principle behind affiliate marketing. But online, it's easy for the average person to do with special links provided by the vendor.
As a result, this kind of marketing is a win-win-win situation. Good for the consumer (assuming you are sending them to a good offer); good for the affiliate (as an income stream) and good for the provider of the product or service who gains a new customer.
Know Who You Are Talking To
Like most things, this all sounds straightforward in principle, yet many people experiment with affiliate marketing and never make a dime. Why is that?
If you've been paying attention to this course, you already have a huge advantage over untrained affiliate marketers since you recognize that your success is going to be dependent on the value you can provide to your audience.
Also, you should know by now that your audience is a specific kind of group - all interested in a similar set of topics. It's why you chose the niche you did. In other words, your audience is targeted and from a marketing perspective, that is very valuable to a vendor.
If your following is made up of dog lovers who are passionate about healthy pet food, makers of that kind of product would love to put their wares in front of your group. The bigger and more targeted that group is, the better.
One of the best ways to implement this monetization method is to look at the tools and services you personally use and see if they have affiliate programs you could utilize.
Then, as you grow and create new material (especially tutorials and how-to guides), you can promote these essential tools just as you would normally, but connect them to affiliate links. Your endorsement for such products will be genuine since you are personally using them.
As an example, I do this with several of the tools I use.
I was in the web hosting business for many years, but eventually I retired that service and decided that I would move all of my personal websites to a new host. (Since I would no longer be able to host my own websites anymore.)
So I did research on who I thought the web hosting company was. After some basic vetting based on my experience in that industry, I concluded that SiteGround would be my provider of choice. I have a blog post and a Youtube video about why I chose this company and why I use them and recommend them.
You can see it here:
That article and video also contain links to SiteGround so people can see it for themselves. Of course, those links are affiliate links...and SiteGround compensates me for anyone I refer to them who purchase their service.
In fact, every time you see the name SiteGround in the body of the text you are reading now, you are seeing an AFFILIATE LINK - and if you click on any of these links and purchase from SiteGround, they will reward me for referring a new customer to them by paying me a portion of the sale.
I do this with several of the tools I use in my Internet ventures. It's why I can provide free information, tutorials, ebooks and videos and still earn a living!
Affiliate links can be included in tutorials, product reviews, comparisons, lists, and essentially any form of content where it fits in and benefits the reader...even video content.
When you develop content that is fundamentally valuable on its own and naturally add affiliate links inside that material, there's a strong possibility the content will start bringing in regular search traffic and, as a result, you'll start to see recurring affiliate revenue.
The Ethics of Affiliate Marketing
Now, before you sign up for every affiliate scheme and plaster your blog with affiliate links, It is critical to handle affiliate marketing ethically.
Remember, we want this agreement to be beneficial to all parties involved. That implies you must select your affiliate products with caution.
Anything you promote to your audience should be something you use and recommend or have high regard for.
You will disappoint your audience if you simply choose things based solely on the potential commission payout. And they'll remember that you didn't have their best interests in mind.
On the other hand, if you promote respectable offers that truly improve people's lives, they will remember that as well. And your future recommendations will be given even greater weight.
Another thing to remember is that affiliate marketers have a legal responsibility to disclose their affiliate relationships alongside their endorsements.
In other words, your audience needs to know that you earn a commission if they buy. Note the disclaimers I have on all or most of the pages on my blog.
I even have a whole page dedicated to making sure my readers know that I may be promoting something for which I am compensated. This is actually required by law.
As a side note, not everything I recommend has an affiliate link associated with it. I often endorse products and services simply because I think my audience needs them - and that is part of providing good content. In fact, I do that more often than I provide an affiliate link.
If everything you endorse is also an affiliate program, that may be cause for suspicion. It's better to focus on making sure your recommendations are legitimately helpful with or without the potential for compensation.
Finding Affiliate Offers
Obviously, the offers you affiliate with will need to be appropriate to the niche you are in. So, that requires knowing your audience and their needs.
The best place to look for such offers in by using affiliate networks that list them.
An affiliate network brings vendors together with bloggers, content creators and advertisers who want to generate affiliate commissions. The major advantage (besides having a convenient place to look at a list of offers) is that affiliate networks handle payments and affiliate link management. They act as a clearing house between the vendor (selling the product), the customer (purchasing the product) and the affiliate (promoting the product) to make sure everyone gets what they are supposed to get.
There are literally hundreds of Affiliate Networks and they vary wildly. Some do not allow just anyone to join and others are open to the public with no vetting process. Some of the most well-known are these:
When you look through lists of offers, you'll want to consider factors like these:
- Commission Rates
- Cookie Durations
- Reputation of the Network & Vendor
- Quality of the Offer's Landing Page
Whenever possible, products and services you personally use will always convert better than ones you have no experience with.
Here are just a few networks to look into:
Amazon Associates: Offers a vast product range of products and a trusted brand. Commission rates tend to be lower than other networks, but promoting high-ticket offers can be very lucrative.
ShareASale: Known for its diverse affiliate programs and user-friendly interface.
CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction): Features global brands and provides advanced tracking tools.
Rakuten Advertising: Offers access to international brands and provides innovative ad formats.
ClickBank: Specializes in digital products with high commissions - most 50% and some even 75%. But CB works best in the health and fitness, or self-help niches. Easy to apply to be a ClickBank affiliate.
Awin: Provides access to a wide range of advertisers and in-depth reporting tools.
Impact Radius: Known for its comprehensive performance marketing suite and flexible partnerships.
FlexOffers: Offers a vast selection of affiliate programs across various niches.
PartnerStack: Focuses on B2B affiliate programs, ideal for tech and SaaS bloggers.
MaxBounty: Known for its high-converting CPA offers and weekly payments. But you must be interviewed to be accepted.
Shopify Affiliate Program: Allows bloggers to promote an e-commerce platform with great earning potential.
eBay Partner Network: Offers access to eBay's extensive product inventory.
Avangate (2Checkout): Specializes in software and digital product affiliate programs. Signing up can be clunky, but if you are in the software niche, they are worth looking at. .
Skimlinks: Helps bloggers monetize their content through automatic affiliate linking.
CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction): Features global brands and provides advanced tracking tools.
Pepperjam: Offers a vast network of advertisers and specializes in affiliate marketing technology.
These affiliate networks cater to a wide range of niches and offer various commission structures, making them valuable options for bloggers looking to monetize their content effectively.
Adding Affiliate Links to Your Blog Content
An affiliate link is a URL that contains a unique identifier associated with an affiliate marketer, allowing them to earn a commission for promoting and driving traffic to a specific product, service, or website. When a user clicks on an affiliate link and makes a purchase or performs a desired action, the affiliate marketer receives a percentage of the sale or a fixed amount as a commission.
Here's how an affiliate link is typically structured:
- Base URL: This is the main web address of the product or service you're promoting. For example, it could be something like https://dotcomclassroom.com
- Path: The path usually comes after the base URL and often includes additional information like categories, product names, or identifiers. It may look like "/product-category/product-name."For example: https:///dotcomclassroom.com/product
- Parameters: These are variables and values that are added to the URL to provide additional information to the destination website. For affiliate links, the most crucial parameter is the affiliate tracking ID, which is used to identify the affiliate marketer. This parameter is usually in the form of "?affiliateID=123" or similar. For example: https:///dotcomclassroom.com/product?affiliateID=123
- Anchor Text: In many cases, affiliate links are hidden behind anchor text (a clickable piece of text) that encourages users to click. For example, the anchor text may read: "Get 10% off on this product." But the link in that text would be the affiliate URL.
NOTE: Not all affiliate links use this exact syntax. This is just an example of a common format. The point is to use the EXACT affiliate link your vendor has provided you with. Here's an example of the syntax for an actual affiliate link I use when recommending my favorite WordPress website builder:
Here's another example of an actual affiliate link that I use:
Here are the steps to add an affiliate link to a WordPress blog post:
Step 1: Log into Your WordPress Dashboard
- Go to your website's WordPress admin dashboard by entering your login credentials.
Step 2: Create or Edit a Blog Post
- Navigate to the "Posts" section on the left-hand menu and select "Add New" to create a new blog post, or select an existing post to edit.
Step 3: Add Content to Your Blog Post
- Write or edit your blog post content as you normally would. When you come to the point where you want to insert the affiliate link, highlight the text you want to use as anchor text.
Step 4: Click the Insert/Edit Link Button
- If you are using the WordPress editor (as opposed to a 3rd party plug-in like Beaver Builder), you will see a chain link icon in the toolbar. Click on it to open the "Insert/Edit Link" dialog box.
Step 5: Enter Your Affiliate Link
- In the "Insert/Edit Link" dialog box, paste your affiliate link in the "URL" field. Make sure your affiliate link is properly formatted with the base URL, path, and any parameters.
- Optionally, you can add a title for the link. This is helpful for SEO and accessibility.
Step 6: Set Link Options
- You can choose whether the link should open in a new tab/window or in the same tab. This depends on your preference and the behavior you want for your readers.
- Click the "Add Link" button to insert the affiliate link with your chosen anchor text.
If you are using a 3rd party design plug-in like Beaver Builder, the link option is part of the text editing interface. It's pretty self evident and very easy to do.
Step 7: Test the Link
- It's a good practice to test the link after inserting it to ensure it's working correctly. Click on the anchor text in your blog post to verify that it redirects to the affiliate product or website.
Step 8: Save or Publish Your Blog Post
- Once you're satisfied with the changes, click the "Save Draft" or "Publish" button to save or publish your blog post with the affiliate link.
That's it! You've successfully added an affiliate link to your WordPress blog post. When readers click on the link and make a purchase, you'll earn a commission based on the terms of your affiliate agreement with the product or service provider. Make sure to comply with any relevant disclosure requirements and best practices for ethical affiliate marketing.
TIP: A good way to mange your affiliate links in WordPress is with a free plug-in called Thirsty Affiliates. It enables you to dynamically manage your affiliate links and effortlessly integrate them into your content as you write an article.
Here's an example of an offer for the Thirsty Affiliates WordPress plug-in that I use on the DotComClassroom website. The image to the left is linked to my affiliate URL for this product.
Some affiliate programs will provide you with several ad creatives like the image shown here that you can embed into your blog by simply pasting in a snippet of code that has been automatically configured with your unique link.
The process is simple and similar to pasting in a text link.
So you now have a fundamental idea of how affiliate marketing works, and I strongly advise you learn more and implement this monetization strategy into your content. The entry barrier is low, but the potential profits are surprisingly high.
DotComClassroom.com is a service of:
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