7 Simple Ways to Make More Affiliate Income from Your Blog

69 amazing comments

affiliate income

Promoting affiliate products is still one of the most effective ways to make money from your blog.

If you choose a trusted affiliate program that you know and love, and then promote it properly, you’ll find that you can create a long-term (pretty) stable source of income.

But a lot of bloggers are still too afraid to give them a go.

I don’t really like talking about money on Blog Tyrant (there’s enough blogs doing that and talking about money always makes me feel uncomfortable), but today I want to show you a few solid ways to make a bit more using affiliates.

Hope it helps!

What is an affiliate program and how does it work?

Companies who create online software or paid services often have an affiliate program where people like you and me sign up to earn a commission every time we help them make a sale.

It’s pretty simple.

For example, every time someone signs up for a BlueHost hosting package through my unique Blog Tyrant link I earn a commission.

It’s a great system because it’s essentially free marketing for the company, and we affiliates don’t have to create products to sell from scratch – we just promote existing ones.

Cool?

How to do you find affiliate products to promote?

There are two ways to find affiliate products to promote on your blog: through the company itself and through affiliate websites.

I prefer to go through the company website itself because you often get a higher rate and have fewer in-between steps. All you need to do is visit the website and look for the “Affiliates” or “Partners” link and see what the program is about.

Here’s an example from AWeber.

aweber affiliate program

Affiliate websites are essentially places where you can go and browse through hundreds of different affiliate programs. They are legitimate websites – some of them (like CJ.com) have paid out billions of dollars in affiliate commissions.

I personally don’t like using them as much but it can be a good place to browse through in order to get some ideas about what’s out there.

How do you choose the right affiliate product?

Everyone has different rules and ideals when it comes to promoting affiliate products.

For example, I remember hearing Shoemoney once say that he doesn’t promote private affiliate products unless he has met the owner in person to judge whether they are a trustworthy character.

For me I always make sure:

  • I’ve used and loved the service/product
    I’m never going to promote something unless I’ve used and loved it. To me it is totally unethical to promote a garbage product to people who read and trust your blog.
  • The service has quality (preferably 24-hour support)
    Support staff is so important to me. I remember being a new-comer to the blogosphere and feeling so isolated without support help. I always make sure the affiliate programs I have respond to emails or have live chat.
  • They have a money-back guarantee
    Every good company should offer a money-back guarantee on their product or service. A free trial period is good, an any-time money back deal is better. BlueHost is one such company who will give a refund at any time. This gives me a lot of confidence that if a reader makes a mistake or their financial situation changes they will be okay.

Remember, if you are a blogger you will be promoting these companies to readers who might be regulars around your blog, or who might be subscribed to your mailing list.

It’s simply bad business to sell them something crap for a short term win – let alone being a bit of a dick move.

How to make more affiliate income from your blog

Okay, now that we’ve gone over some definitions and details I’d like to share with you a few ways to make more affiliate income from your blog.

NOTE: I really don’t agree with people who use dodgy tactics to make more money. All of the strategies I use are ethical and sustainable and I encourage you to keep your marketing as clean as possible. It’s just better for everyone.

1. Promote your affiliate product as an integral part of a detailed tutorial

One of the best ways to make long term affiliate income is to write a detailed piece of long form content (like a tutorial) and make your affiliate an integral part of that tutorial.

I really like this strategy because you benefit from the initial promotion, and then all the long term traffic that comes from your blog’s Google rankings.

It’s also a nice one because you don’t have to shove the product down people’s throats. You just gently recommend this or that product as being a good choice for that particular part of the process.

2. Drive traffic to your tutorial with Facebook Ads

If you have a really high quality tutorial or piece of content you can then drive a little bit of traffic to that article with Facebook Ads.

The good thing about this is that if your affiliate product has a pretty high payout price (like above $50) you can make quite a lot of money even if you’re spending a bit on the ads. As long as your page is converting and there is enough traffic in the niche you can do quite well.

If you decide to go this route make sure you do a lot of tracking and testing so you know exactly what is converting and why. Try not to guess too much as you often can’t be sure what’s bringing the sales.

3. Incorporate the affiliate product into your related mailing list

One of the most powerful ways to add extra affiliate income to your blog is by promoting an affiliate product to your mailing list once people sign up.

The reason this is so powerful is because:

  • It’s automatic and ongoing
    Services like AWeber allow you to create Follow Up emails which go out to every subscriber once they sign up to your list. You can create one or 100 email all at once and then never need to touch them again.
  • It’s perfectly branded
    If your blog and mailing list are tight and on-brand you’ll find that an affiliate promotion in the course of some valuable mailing list content is a perfect fit. It goes in there very naturally as you go about helping your subscribers.

It’s really important to not just say things like “Go out and buy X product now” because it is way too pushy. Rather, you want to still be providing huge value and mention affiliate products only if and when it could help a subscriber.

4. Highlight your in-post messages with graphics

Something that I do on this blog and others is use a little bit of code to highlight an important message. And sometimes you want to highlight your affiliate mentions just to make sure that people see the message.

This can be done in so many different ways and you’ll need to measure the effectiveness for your own particular blog and individual blog post.

One way is to use a plugin like Shortcodes Ultimate which allows you to add buttons, quotes, highlighted text, etc. with just a few clicks.

shortcodes
Here’s a screenshot showing you all the different things you can add with this plugin.

Or, if you’re a bit of a geek like me, and you want to keep your plugin-use to a bare minimum, you can accomplish this sort of thing using CSS and good old HTML. It’s a bit more work but helps you keep your site from getting bulky.

One important aspect of any marketing is the way that you interrupt the target audience.

The interesting thing about the web is that you have a lot of tools to do this, but you still need to hit a balance between getting attention and ruining an experience.

For example, there are many different types of pop up ads. Some of them appear when you first visit a website and allow you to close them easily. That’s fine.

Others only appear when you try to leave a website and make you click various things to “escape”. That’s bad.

Internet users have very specific ideas about how a blog or website should appear, operate and flow and unless your interruption fits into this framework you’ll find yourself getting a big increase in bounce rate and pretty small sales numbers.

5. Link back to your tutorial in places of high sustainability

In the first point we mentioned writing a long and helpful tutorial or piece of content that is full of useful information and mentions your affiliate product in a gentle and non-intrusive way.

Well, one of the best things you can do is link back to that tutorial or article in places around the web that are going to be there for a long, long time.

For example, if you land a guest post on a high authority blog you’ll want to write an article that naturally allows you to mention your original post. Blog owners will allow this if it isn’t a direct “buy this product” type of article – especially if it’s a high value piece.

One of the reasons I wrote my 9,000-word guide on how to start a blog is because it’s a valuable tutorial that I’m not ashamed to link to when I do blogging guest spots.

Remember, the more work and value you provide in your guest posts the more shares and links they get and the longer they will be around in the SERPs pointing to your article.

This also applies to forum posts, comments and other places where you think you might get a lasting (but useful) slice of traffic.

6. Become an expert at using the product you want to promote

Some of the most successful affiliates become so successful because they get really, really good at using the product or service either directly, or as an incidental part of their business.

For example, Darren Rowse on DPS has a lot of photographers taking excellent photos with Canon and Nikon SLR cameras and then mentioning those cameras in their posts and/or tutorials. Although he might not directly sell or pitch those cameras, he would be making an absolute fortune from people who get inspired to purchase after seeing what gets produced.

The same is true for people who get inspired to start a podcast because they have seen Pat’s and want to use the same set up that he does.

If you want to ramp up your affiliate product sales consider producing more content that displays your skills using the actual product or service. Give people an idea of how powerful it is, and how good you specifically are at using it to get results.

7. Work hard to get endorsements and promotions from high value websites

Nothing helps you sell affiliate products like a good endorsement or, better yet, a mention on a website with high authority.

When you get a mention on a popular site you are being aligned with that website which means you end up tapping into their brand.

I really think getting endorsed by ViperChill was a big event for my “career” as a blogger and I use Glen’s very kind words regularly on sales pages:

Glen

The thing about this is that you can really only get this type of thing buy paying for it or developing a lasting relationship with some good sites. The latter can only really be done by providing something of massive value to the blogger – usually in a currency they understand – links or traffic.

One of the best moves I ever made was to start mentioning my favorite bloggers and influencers when I was doing guest posts on other people’s blogs. This goes a huge distance to getting on the right radars.

A final tip regarding affiliate program rules and laws

Every affiliate program has it’s own set of terms. For example, some companies won’t let you use paid advertising to promote their products. And you are generally not allowed to bid on the brand name of the product.

Similarly, each country has it’s own set of laws about what you can and can’t do when you promote an affiliate product.

Most of them are common sense but you do need to be aware of things like disclosing that you are an affiliate for that product, and that it needs to be clear and early on in the post. You have to be very transparent about it. I mention it in a big clear “NOTE” at the top of any post that contains affiliate links, as well as again down the bottom in a disclaimer.

If you want to get into affiliate marketing I would spend a bit of time brushing up on the rules and laws in your own country and with your own programs. If in doubt, ask an expert.

Do you promote affiliate products on your blog?

If you have any success (or failure!) stories about making money with affiliate products I’d be really interested to hear them. This is one area of online marketing and blogging that I’m always trying to learn more about.

Please leave a comment and let me know if you have any stories or questions.

Top photo: Ryan McGuire.

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69 Comments. Join in. *Closed after 30 days*

  • Alfrick

    Thank you for the insights, Ramsay. I hope to incorporate them in my new blog.

    I’ve particularly taken note of no. 6– being an expert in the product.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks mate.


    2. Akash Yadav

      I do agree with your statement and also “Blogtyrant” helps a lot to get my very first 100,000 visits to my blog in just 3 weeks.


  • Steve

    Definitely a good post, affiliate income is often seen as ‘dirty’ by people, but if done in an upfront way can actually convert better.

    i.e. Visit Bluehost (This is an affiliate link, I receive commission if you sign up at no extra cost) – or use this non-affiliate link.

    Usually converts better than just the regular cloaked link.


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah that’s kind of what I try to do with mine, I guess. Just openly tell people that BH, for example, was the first place I got started and that I really recommend them because they have been great to me. Keep it open and honest.


      1. Steve

        Yeah I used to like promoting Bluehost but they have taken a huge downturn recently. They shifted all their plans so anyone who was previously on the ‘basic’ plan at $5 a month gets bumped up a level to the $15 a month plan. I got a huge shock after my first year so stopped using and promoting them.

        For what it’s worth, I changed entirely to A Small Orange – far better performance, support and cheaper – so happy days!


    2. Neil

      Hey which plugin do you prefer for cloaking?


      1. Steve

        Pretty Link Pro is excellent Neil.


        1. Neil

          Thanks Steve, will try it 🙂


  • Neil

    Hey Ramsay
    Highlighting an offer in the post is a good idea. But one has to be careful not to overdo it. Sometimes, it gets annoying. But its a great tactic if used properly.

    About promoting to email list, do you prefer sending email with the affiliate link or you funnel subscribers to a landing page/ or post containing the offer. I think the later is better idea.

    And one more thing. Useful Youtube videos with affiliate links works great according to some. Your views?

    Neil


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Neil.

      I always go for the landing page. Mostly because I feel it provides better value if you can send someone to a good quality tutorial or explanation as opposed to just a quick email with a link.


      1. Neil

        Me too 🙂


  • chris

    Can a company miss the boat on affiliate marketing?

    There are a couple of retailers in my niche and one has an outstanding reputation for customer support. The funny (sad) thing is they don’t offer affiliate marketing. I’ve seen a few PPC banner ads (yawn) for their company but nothing at the product level.

    The company might argue they don’t need the extra exposure (and the extra income) but in the words of David Risley, “why leave money on the table?”


    1. Ramsay

      Chris, I would absolutely talk to them about setting one up if you felt it was a good business opportunity. Seen a few local examples of that working very well for all parties concerned.


      1. chris

        Thanks, I’ll contact them. I know some of their support techs read my site. 🙂


  • Sue Anne Dunlevie

    Hi, Ramsay,

    I really like promoting products I use also. I love your idea of writing a tutorial and using Facebook Ads to drive people to that post. Brilliant!

    Thanks, as always, for the great info.
    Sue


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Sue! Love the new design elements on the site.


  • Farhan Musavi

    Hello Ramsay,

    Nice and detailed article, like always.

    Thank you for telling us about Shortcodes Ultimate. I didn’t know such a plugin existed. I’ll check it out.

    Do you know any alternative on embedding Amazon affiliate links in e-books?

    As you would know Amazon no longer allows us to embed affiliate links in e-books or even RSS feeds.

    I’ve written an e-book which I’ll be publishing on my website in PDF format. (Your article on how to create PDF e-books and the associated YouTube video was very useful, by the way.)

    In it I’m linking to some books and I want them to be affiliate.

    Any suggestions?


    1. Ramsay

      Hmm… I actually didn’t know that. Why don’t they allow it anymore?


      1. Farhan Musavi

        Well I don’t know why.

        But here’s a nice article on it –

        http://amylynnandrews.com/amazon-associate-vilation/

        And they don’t even allow affiliate links in e-mails.

        These changes were made last year.


    2. chris

      Link to a page on your site that goes into more detail about the amazon book and then link to it from that page.


      1. Farhan Musavi

        Correction: I said above the changes were made last year. But they were made much before. I read a few articles and comments published in 2012 which talk about the issue.

        Thanks Chris. Yes I guess that’s the only way to go. 🙁

        I’m quite disappointed with Amazon.


  • Mindaugas

    Fantastic article, Ramsay.

    Can you explain more about how you incorporate affiliate products into mailing lists? Do you send totally promotional letter with the offer or do you try to mention somehow in a greeting letter?


    1. Ramsay

      For me I always try to just make sure I’m providing relevant value and then in the course of doing that I mention an affiliate product if it’s something that the subscriber would benefit from.

      For example, if you have a guitar lessons blog your mailing list might be about learning blue scales. But in those follow up emails you might want to suggest a good slide or pick to use and point people to a tutorial about those things.

      That way it all kind of forms one big useful picture of content for people to pick and choose from.

      Does that help?


      1. Mindaugas

        Yes, it does. I was thinking very similar, so you just confirmed my thoughts. Thank you, Ramsay.


  • Sumit

    Hi Ramsay,
    Spot on . Great post!
    I was looking for something like this.
    There are few issues ,I’m facing, as my blog is micro niche and products related to that are not there ,so I’ve opted for Amazon books related to my topic rest I’m restricted. I tried e junkie products but one cannot count on those or I believe should have some rules as you mentioned at the start of this article.
    Would like if you can put some light or give guidance for someone having micro niche and have very less affiliate products.

    Thanks

    Sumit


    1. Ramsay

      Can you build your own product?


      1. Sumit

        Thanks. That’s great way.
        Sure, indeed. I’m writing an ebook (as you always suggest) , initially as a giveaway then may include second one at certain price.
        What say?


  • Sylvia

    I was lucky to have found a high paying affiliate ($150) that fits perfectly with my site. However, I still struggle with not enough traffic. After almost two years of resisting, I finally added Google Adsense just this week.

    Now the question is how to grow traffic? Landing a guest post on a high authority site isn’t as easy as it sounds. Any other suggestions?

    Thank you!


    1. Nate

      I’m in the same boat Sylvia. Currently, I’m working on a few “gems” to try and land a guest post. I want to put my best foot forward when I finally work up the courage to contact a high authority blogger.

      Best of luck!


      1. Ramsay

        Hi Sylvia.

        I’d start by developing an incredible resource in your niche and mention a lot of your favorite bloggers in the article. Really provide a lot of value and then pay to promote it on FB and elsewhere. Once these guys and girls see what you can do it will be a lot easier to get a good guest spot.


  • Wan Zawawi

    Hi Ramsay ,

    Nice article and thanks for the sharing


  • anilkumar

    really appreciate that nice article about affiliate program’s i struggled for several years and even i want to start hosting i seen several articles but this one could be really different when compare to others i started a blog few days ago but i linked to adsense approval it doesn’t approved finally i want to write an articles i tried even but finally always dissatisfied about my articles and u wanna see my article so welcome to my blog healthyhintz.blogspot.in see the post once and suggest me about my article, one thing i send u lots of mails i don’t know u didn’t get or not. thank u see u soon


  • Michael

    Great post Ramsay!

    This article comes at an excellent time as we’ve just started planning our affiliate marketing strategy.

    What are your thoughts on having a dedicated resource page that lists all of the products that you use and recommend, similar to what is on Smart Passive Income and Screw the 9 to 5?

    I know lots of sites do it (and I have in the past), but there seems to be a good opportunity to really optimise this page and promote it, if done well.

    Thanks again!
    Michael


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Michael.

      I have one as well. I think it’s useful but doesn’t convert very well. Boost Blog Traffic has a unique approach to theirs.


  • Michelle

    Good Article!

    Being so new, we have been focusing on marketing our own products… but definitely plan on adding a “products recommended” page… I like the idea of doing “reviews” and using FB ads to drive traffice to those blog posts…

    Have a good one!
    ~Michelle


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Michelle. Glad you enjoyed it.


    2. Michelle

      🙂


  • Martin

    What are your thoughts on reviews? I used to do these. Now I try to shoot for tutorials. I find that when you give someone unlimited value, they’re more likely to throw you a bone by signing up through your link. Then it’s a win-win. A review is very meh.


    1. Ramsay

      A review can be good sometimes but personally they always feel a bit icky to me if you do them too often. I have done one on Blog Tyrant in four years and that’s about enough. 🙂


  • Jennifer

    You shared some great information. It was right on time, since I just started a blog and searching for ways to monetize it.


    1. Ramsay

      Let me know how you go!


  • Rajeev Bagra

    One advantage of affiliate websites (cj.com, linkshare.com) for publishers is you have a mediator in case something goes wrong like payment not received for a transaction.


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah that is a very, very good point.


  • Kat Jarman

    Just got lost in your blog posts for like 30 minutes following link after link but dragged myself back here to say….

    Timely post Ramsay, I always feel a little spammy including affiliate links in anything but I need to change the way I look at it. I guess if I provide enough value, with a good tutorial or something, then it’s not unreasonable to get something in return?


    1. Ramsay

      I am so glad to hear you got lost! My work here is done! *evil laugh*


  • Kelly

    I’m always surprised by how many people feel “icky” about promoting affiliate products – I started my blogging “career” building niche blogs specifically to sell Amazon products, then branched out into other affiliate programs. I’m a big fan of affiliate marketing, provided that the blogger/marketer is also providing quality content with their links.


    1. Ramsay

      Absolutely. As long as you are being authentic and helping people it’s not a bad thing.


  • Darius Gaynor

    Enjoyed reading this article. I am planning to test FB ads to drive traffic to LeadPages that promote an affiliate product that is not related to my niche but that I like to use. Since writing about it, would not go with my blog topics and I don’t want too many blogs. Hope it works.


    1. Ramsay

      Good luck mate!


  • Dave

    I really only passively promote affiliate products. Mainly amazon, but I need to redo that area of my blog. Make it more robust and useful so when I start to get traffic, it’s good to go.


    1. Ramsay

      Make sure you keep testing.


  • Ryan Biddulph

    Endorsements can boost your affiliate income Ramsay because word of mouth marketing reigns supreme. If Glen says you’re good, many folks will know you’re good, and will trust you….Glen’s fans will and other folks who know he’s a heavy will trust you because they trust him.

    We get the biggie’s attention by working intelligently, persistently and by doing pretty much all the stuff these pros did to score endorsements, and to rake in that sweet, sweet affiliate money.

    Inspired share Ramsay, thanks!

    Ryan


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for your constant shares and comments. Really appreciate it bro.


  • Cathy Mayhue

    This was awesome stuff Ramsay! Never found a more detailed explanation about affiliate marketing before. I have been reading your blog since quite some time, I have always found you being very honest about your intention to market a product, same honesty was there in this blog. Keep it going mate!


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Cathy I appreciate that.


  • Dan Hughes

    G’day Ramsay, I started with WordPress on your advice through your BlueHost link and it has been one of my better decisions. Thank you.

    Now, I keep coming back to your blog for inspiration.

    My goal is to sell a poster, a rather special poster which is the collation of all those TV programs that tell us about the events in the history of the universe. You know, “it’s so many million years since this volcano and so many billions since that extinction event” etc. I could never get a grip on where these events came in relation to everything else, so I started to assemble everything and put them in order. It’s only taken 4 years and a bit.

    The result is a website that lists everything important that ever happened and I have begun to write a 1,000 word essay on each event. While selling the poster is the goal, completing the task of writing the full history has now become something of an obsession in its own right. It’s a big project and will take a couple of years to write the whole 300,000 words but at least I won’t be stuck for subjects to write about as they have already happened.

    Taking inspiration from your blog I concluded that writing the events as articles on a blog was the best way to promote the poster (which has given me a job for the next few years, so its all your fault). Now I have the first 8 or 9 written and established some credibility, I come to the hard part of building a subscriber base.

    All I have so far is a few subscribers I corralled from family and friends so I’m hoping your 41 Tips to build a mailing list and other posts like this one will give me a way forward.

    By the way, your closing ‘Ramsay WROTE THIS’ grabs me by the eyeballs every time I see it. I’ve respectfully moved the question mark, for what it’s worth.

    ****Ramsay WROTE THIS
    Did you enjoy this post? Why not subscribe for future stuff and get it sent directly to your inbox? It’s totally free and doesn’t happen often.

    Once again, thanks for your inspiration and I’d be grateful for any critique of the site.
    http://www.diaryofuniverse.com (without the ‘the’)
    Cheers
    Dan


    1. Ramsay

      Great comment, Dan! Sounds like a very interesting idea you’ve got there.

      I’ll remove that question mark!


  • Teresa

    All these tips are great but it’s getting more and more difficult to earn money by promoting afiliate products. Why ? I dont know. Maybe because so many bloggers are doing it.


    1. Ramsay

      Yep, I think that ongoing competition is always going to get stronger.


  • Damien Moore

    Something I’ve become more and more aware of in relation to affiliate marketing profits is the value of products with a great funnel. Once in the funnel valued customers are offered high quality free content and a number of different products at varying investment levels. All of the products in the funnel are designed to help solve a problem or overcome an obstacle that the customer has. For any prospective digital marketer who hasn’t yet developed a range of their own products to market through a funnel then naturally choosing an affiliate product with a great funnel means some careful research to make sure that there’s quality and outstanding value in all the products in the funnel. I would always be careful not to have my own name aligned with poor quality offerings.


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah this is very true. The funnel is so important.


  • Caitlin Sullivan {It Girl Weddings}

    Great post, I also liked your one on starting a fashion blog. Do you have a post on affiliate linking through social media? I’m pretty confused on whats acceptable, especially for Pinterest. It seems Shopstyle {Shopsense} and rewardStyle seem to work on Pinterest. I started my website on Weebly.. so I am making the oh-not-so-fun transition over to WordPress currently.


    1. Ramsay

      Hmmm I’m actually not really sure about that one. I’ll have a look into it.


  • Dewald Swart

    I think it is really important to become an expert with the affiliate product that you want to promote.

    WordPress is the best platform to use if you want to start promoting affiliate products.


  • Slavko Desik

    Saw this article in my RSS feed, and I realized how I totally forgot to read it when it was published. Only one VERY IMPORTANT thing to add- if you are using an affiliate network, don’t hesitate to ask for a raise if the sales are decent in numbers. We did this a couple of times, and every time we managed to negotiate a raise. Imagine this- traffic stays the same, conversion rate stays the same, only commissions get higher. Nice, huh?


  • SEO Tool

    Therefore, one link from a PR5 page will count for so
    much more than numerous backlinks from PR0 sites.
    As mentioned, writers are finding themselves heading to distribution sites around the net
    to seek a variety of unique press opportunities from brands and organizations
    around the World. The links mustn’t be just random,
    you will need to pick the far off websites to stay the identical topic
    to you.


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