Today I want to share with you all about affiliate marketing for bloggers. It’s by far the most popular way to make a passive income.
But can oftentimes be confusing, especially with all the affiliate marketing lingo.
I’m not going to bullshit you here and tell you ‘you can make X amount of dollars in X days if you buy ABC program.’
That’s a crock of shit.
Yes, the amount of money you can make with affiliate marketing is truly limitless. But like blogging, it is a marathon, not a sprint.
So, in this article, you’re going to learn everything you never knew you wanted to know about affiliate marketing.
Let’s get started, mama!
*This post probably contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you use them, at no cost to you. You may read our dry and boring disclaimer policy for more info.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
What the heck is affiliate marketing anyway? Well according to the dictionary affiliate marketing is a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays a commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.
Are your eyes crossed yet lol?
For us regular folks it basically means a company will pay you a commission for recommending their product to your audience.
Affiliate Marketing Example
So, for example, I’m an affiliate for SiteGround hosting. I’ve personally used them for years and love their product. When someone clicks on my SiteGround affiliate link then makes a purchase, I receive a commission for the completed transaction.
Affiliate Marketing Glossary of Terms
Before we get to the nitty-gritty, I want to share the most common affiliate marketing terms. Otherwise, the rest of this article is going to sound like I’m speaking Klingon or something!
- Affiliate: An affiliate is a person that has signed up to promote and be a brand ambassador for an advertiser. In different affiliate networks, this can also be called a publisher or influencer.
- Advertiser: This is the company that you are agreeing to promote their product or software.
- Affiliate ID: This is a unique number and/or letter combination that is assigned to you by the advertiser.
- Banners: These are the pre-made graphics that many advertisers provide to make promoting their products easier for you.
- Click-through: A click-through happens when your reader clicks on your affiliate link or banner then is taken to the advertiser’s website.
- Commission: A commission is the money that you are paid by an advertiser for either leads or sales on their website.
- Conversion: Conversions are calculated by dividing the number of sales by the number of clicks. This is an important number to monitor because it can help you discover if you need to adjust your blog post, link placements, or marketing strategy. Example: 10 sales ÷ 100 clicks = 10% conversion rate
- Cookie: A cookie is a text file that is stored on a website visitors’ computer. It contains information that lets advertisers know which affiliate website a customer came from so that proper credit is given.
- Cookie length: This is the specific length of time a cookie will remain on a website visitor’s computer. The amount of time will vary for each advertiser. Example: Amazon has a 24-hour cookie. Once a reader clicks on an Amazon affiliate link on your blog then they must make a purchase within 24 hours for you to receive a commission.
- Cost per lead: An advertiser will pay you a set fee for each potential customer you refer to their website.
- Cost per sale: An advertiser will pay you either a percentage or a flat fee of a sale for each customer you refer to their website.
- Cost per click or CPC: An advertiser will pay you a fee for each click through to their website.
- CTR or click-through rate: This is the percentage of readers who view a banner then click through an advertiser’s website.
Now that you know the common affiliate marketing terms, it’s time to talk about finding affiliate programs.Affiliate marketing is my FAVORITE way to make passive income as a blogger! Are you ready to learn all about it? #affiliatemarketing #bloggingtips Click To Tweet
How to Find Affiliate Programs to Join
There are literally thousands of affiliate programs available for you to join.
But you need to keep in mind that your blog isn’t about you…it’s about your audience.
For example, if you are a beauty blogger becoming a JoAnn Fabric affiliate wouldn’t make a lick of sense. Because your reader is most likely not looking for sewing or craft supplies.
But applying to become a Sephora affiliate would be a perfect fit.
3 Ways to Find Affiliate Programs
There are three different ways that you can find affiliate programs to join.
- Go directly to a company’s website and scroll down to the footer. If they have an affiliate program, it’s normally listed in that section.
- Join an affiliate network like Shareasale, Awin, or Flexoffers. You’ll have access to about 20,000+ different programs.
- Google it. Search a company’s name + affiliate program to see if anything comes up in the results. If nothing is found, then the company may not have an affiliate program for you to join. But their competitors may have one, so apply to them instead.
Affiliate Networks vs. Programs
I just want to take a moment to clarify the differences between affiliate networks and programs.
An affiliate network is basically a directory of hundreds or even thousands of different programs found in one place. The beauty of this is you have one login and all your commissions are combined into one payment.
I use one username and password to access all those accounts and receive a single payment instead of 4 separate ones each month.
However, not all advertisers are part of a network. Many have their own individual program and application process. Some examples are ConvertKit, Shopify, and SiteGround.
With these programs, you will have multiple places to login and multiple payments.
Affiliate Application Process
Whether you join a network or an individual program you have to fill out an application. When I first started blogging this was intimidating to me.
I had no freaking clue what to do and I was denied…multiple times. Eventually, I figured it out and want to share some tips to increase your chances of being approved.
6 Tips to Getting Your Affiliate Application Approved
- Make sure your blog isn’t a hot ass mess. Your blog needs to be completely set-up with legal pages, about me page, branding, and an organized menu. First impressions matter in the online world so make it count.
- Have at least 10 published posts but more is better. Advertisers need to know that your content aligns with their mission and products.
- Upload a profile picture to your bio so they can see your gorgeous face. Brands want to work with real people, not some anonymous logo.
- Include as much information in your bio section about your blog, reader demographics, traffic information, and how you plan to promote their products.
- Be honest. If you’re a new blogger say that but explain your vision and your plan to grow.
- Take action and submit your application. If you’re denied you can email the brand for answers and reapply another time. Trust me…it’s not the end of the world!
Best Affiliate Networks for New Bloggers
These are the best affiliate networks to join for new bloggers. The application process is simple and straightforward and approval ratings are high.
Once you join these networks, you’ll have access to over 30,000 affiliate programs.
- Awin has over 15,000 advertisers all around the world. There is a $5 sign-up fee that you get back in your first commission payment.
- ShareAsale has over 4,500 advertisers. You can find affiliate programs in fashion, beauty, business, kids, and more.
- Flexoffers has almost 12,000 advertisers in various categories. This a definite must join if you’re in the personal finance or beauty niches.
How to Promote Affiliate Offers
Now that you’ve been approved to some programs it’s time to make money.
Here are just a few ways that you can promote your new affiliate programs:
- Write a ‘how to post’ on how to use the product or create a video if that’s your jam.
- Write an honest review about the product and include the good, the bad, and the ugly.
- Write about your personal experience with the product and how it changed or improved your life.
- Post your affiliate links on social media.
- Create a course or eBook that includes the product as one of your recommendations.
- Have a resource page on your blog which lists the products and services that you use to grow your business.
- Include your affiliate link in your email newsletter. (note: not all affiliate programs, like Amazon, allow you to include links in an email. Check your program’s terms and conditions before proceeding)
Making Your Affiliate Links Pretty
When you join a program, your advertiser is going to give you a special affiliate link. The link is usually ugly, long, and too complicated to remember.
I recommend using a cloaking plugin like Pretty Link or Thirsty Affiliate to make it short, sweet, and memorable.
The plugin will turn an ugly link like this: https://www.siteground.com/index.htm?afcode=7Horr8bleL00kin6Code
Into this: abundantbosslady.com/SiteGround
Affiliate Disclosure Requirements
I know you’re super excited and want to start using your new affiliate links, right? But hold on a moment. You need to know some boring but important rules and regulations about using affiliate links.
The Federal Trade Commission, FTC, has some rules about disclosing your affiliate partnership to your customers.
The FTC says this about disclosures:
“The Guides say that disclosures have to be clear and conspicuous. What does that mean?
To make a disclosure “clear and conspicuous,” advertisers should use plain and unambiguous language and make the disclosure stand out. Consumers should be able to notice the disclosure easily. They should not have to look for it. In general, disclosures should be:
- close to the claims to which they relate;
- in a font that is easy to read;
- in a shade that stands out against the background;
- for video ads, on the screen long enough to be noticed, read, and understood;
- for audio disclosures, read at a cadence that is easy for consumers to follow and in words consumers will understand.
A disclosure that is made in both audio and video is more likely to be noticed by consumers. Disclosures should not be hidden or buried in footnotes, in blocks of text people are not likely to read, or in hyperlinks. If disclosures are hard to find, tough to understand, fleeting, or buried in unrelated details, or if other elements in the ad or message obscure or distract from the disclosures, they don’t meet the “clear and conspicuous” standard. With respect to online disclosures, FTC staff has issued a guidance document, “.com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising,” which is available on ftc.gov.“
The FTC basically states that you need to disclose any relationship where you are getting paid to review or recommend a product. Also, your disclosure should be ‘clear and conspicuous.’
I personally place my disclosure statement after my introduction. However, if I do include an affiliate link before my intro then my disclosure is at the top of the page.Don't be like the Fyre Fest influencers...disclose your affiliate relationships. #affiliatemarketing #bloggingtips Click To Tweet
Ready to Earn Income from Affiliate Marketing?
I personally love affiliate marketing. A post written today can pay you for months even years in the future. It truly is a passive source of income.
I’m sure you heard of bloggers making six-figures each month from affiliate marketing. The biggest difference between the ones that make money and don’t is the action they take and their expectations.
If you expect to fail, then you’ll fail.
If you expect success, then you’ll succeed. Just take inspired action each day until you reach your blogging money goals.
Pin this for later