By Ceri Heathcote of Style Eyes Fashion Blog
I read the previous blog post Does banner ad revenue sustain bloggers? With interest and was quite pleased to see that I was not the only one who has not really had much success with affiliate banner ads. I have however had reasonable success with affiliate marketing and wanted to share a few ideas on how you can make money through your blog using affiliate marketing.
With affiliate marketing, you will get paid for any sales from people that have clicked (through an affiliate link) from your site make. Cookies last for various amounts of time depending on the program so you could continue to benefit from any purchases even if they don’t buy the product immediately, for example up to 30 days after the initial click. As with any other form of monetisation of your blog, traffic volume is important but it is possible to make money with affiliate marketing even if you have a relatively low traffic volume. It is all about relevant quality traffic and people who share the same style or taste in clothes as you do.
Use Deep Links
In case you didn’t already know, a deep link is a link that leads you to a page other than the homepage of the site. A deep link will lead the reader directly to the product or category page so that they can buy the item easily should they want to. Most affiliate networks will provide a tool to configure deep links for each affiliate program. You will just need to copy and paste the page URL and it will change it into an affiliate link for you. You can use this link for text and images so that any sales that you generate will be picked up and you will get paid your commission.
Monetize Your Recommendations
If your blog is all about the clothes that you wear and how you wear them, people will tend to follow you because they like your style. If you include affiliate links to the clothes that you wear (where possible) and the clothes that you love, others may want to buy them.
Label Your Outfit Photos
One of the most popular parts many fashion and style blogs are the outfit posts. If you have styled a piece of clothing into a great outfit it is possible that others will want to recreate the look or buy the piece of clothing. Brands are already buying into this form of marketing through sites like Chictopia. Where possible labels your outfit posts with affiliate links to each of the items of clothing that you are wearing.
Curate your own lists
If you love a particular trend for the season and have spent some time researching the best places to buy a particular type of clothing, share the list with your readers. If you publish wish lists on your blog, try adding affiliate links to them and don’t forget to click on the links yourself when buying something. You can also add affiliate links underneath a set you have designed for Polyvore or a similar site.
Join lots of affiliate Programs
I have joined 3 affiliate networks which covers a huge number of the online fashion retailers. If you are in the UK try Linkshare, Affiliate Window and Webgains. I join all of the programs for retailers that I like and then add the links as and when I blog about a particular piece of clothing.
Stay True to What You Love
Monetising your blog can end up taking away all of the reasons why you enjoy blogging and why people read your blog. But with affiliate marketing, sharing what you like is a great way to market because you are staying true to yourself and what you really love instead of just doing it for money. In the interests of transparency and honesty to your readers you can disclose the fact that you are including affiliate links in your posts, how you do this is up to you but it may help to read Defining and publicizing your blogs advertising policy by Ashe Mischief.
I also don’t limit myself to just writing about brands/ clothes that I am an affiliate for, If I like something I blog about it regardless. I would suggest writing your blog posts first then adding in the affiliate links (where relevant) afterwards , this will make it more natural. Focusing on the affiliate side of it first could make your posts sound like an advertisement which is probably not what your readers want to read and not much fun for you to write either.
Optimise Your Posts
If you have written a post about a particularly type of clothing, then why not optimise the page using the name of the clothing as a keyword. For example, if you have posted about white dresses for summer, then optimise your post with the phrase ‘white summer dresses’ or ‘white summer dress’. Your post may then start appearing on Google when people search for this term. Brand names and descriptions/names of particular pieces of clothing can work well on the search engines. This will not only drive traffic to your site but could also help drive sales for you.
The more specific your term to what you have posted about, the more likely you are to get a sale from it. You can find all sorts of posts about optimising individual posts. But basically if you can optimise a post for a keyword or phrase by including it in your post title, adding alt tags with the keyword to your images and getting as many links back to the post using the title as possible. For WordPress blogs, there are some great SEO plugins that you can install to help you optimise your posts, if you are on Blogger; you might find my post Optimising Your Blogger Fashion Blog – a Beginners Guide helpful.
Affiliate marketing is not for everyone and many bloggers may prefer to keep their blog as something that they do purely for enjoyment rather than financial gain. For those who would like to monetise their blog, I think that this type of marketing strikes a good balance between making a bit of money and doing what you love.
I am sure there are plenty of other great ways that you can monetise your blog using affiliate programmes, so please share in the comments section if you have any that you have found to be successful.
image by esra dandin