Make Money with Affiliate Programs

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If you're blogging for extra cash, there are easier ways to make money.

However, if you are going to be writing about what you love, you might as well make extra money if it's only going to take a few extra steps.

Affiliate Programs can work, if you know how to use them. Personally, I've had my share of rage/resentment when it comes to affiliate programs, as I put an ‘ad' up on my blog for months and only bring in a few cents. It took some time before I was able to figure out ways to make money off them, without comprising editorial content.

  1. Be sure to disclose someplace on your site which affiliate programs you use. Affiliate Programs give lots of choices of links to put on your site, so use them. You can put a big ad, or a text link in the side bar. Doing this will give some amount of transparency with your readers.
  2. Personally I've never had much luck with static ads in the sidebar. Making commissions are easier by integrating affiliate links in the content. This is best achieved by writing useful posts for your readers. On The Coveted, I created a list of eBay shops to help my readers find the good things on eBay. It not only helped my readers, but the post generated links to my site.
  3. Integrity is vital, integrating affiliate links with content will register with your readers in a bad way if you post things you really don't believe in, or wouldn't buy yourself. A year ago, I decided to make a pledge to myself to be more conscious with my shopping. Though, I love shopping, and I love clothes, there are certain parameters I allow myself to indulge in. Posting links to that would go against the personal pledge and breach my integrity.

How to Join Affiliate Programs

There are loads of different sites out there. The best way to go about finding which ones would work for you, is to look at the sites you love and to find out how to sign up, usually you can find the links at the bottom of the home page. Programs vary greatly on the kind of commissions they use, I've seen a low as 5% to 50%, and some are easier to manage than others.

eBay Partner Network– This is the one program I've been able to use efficiently. Though I have had bad experiences with some eBay sellers upset at my posts (which I still stand by) eBay has been very good to me, the commission structure starts at 50% and gets better. The links are easy to set up, and they have some very advanced widgets to integrate with your site.

Amazon Associates– Has loads of different payment structures and link options, and since they sell just about everything on earth… it's good to be just signed up with them. Especially if you refer to books and music a lot in your posts.

Commission Junction– They seem to be the leader in the affiliate marketing world, or at least a favorite among fashion bloggers. With accounts with Zappos, Shopbop, Couture Candy, Piperlime and Pink Mascara it's easy to get connected with loads of different shops.

LinkShare– Also has a lot of great accounts (Yoox), I've not had very much luck with them personally, but they are mentioned a lot in affiliate conversations.

Connect Commerce– Google's Affiliate program

So that should be enough to get you started! What are some of your experiences with affiliate programs

Posts of interest:

Who are you affilated with?

Affiliate Programs (Forums)

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28 Responses

  1. grechen

    good post! for me also, my blog integrity is paramount. there are so many fashion/shopping sites that ONLY post affiliate links or paid links, it makes me crazy!! i post everything, and only use an affiliate link if it’s something i would buy and use or HAVE and endorse. the most important thing is to keep them within the context of your site/blog…and be consistent. for me, graphic ads used in conjunction with context posts are most effective.

    overall affiliate marketing is very important to my business – sometimes it’s 50% of my income for the month. Other times, it’s more and sometimes less. my favorite program is CJ, it’s easiest to use and payments are sent every month on the same date.

    • Anvida

      I’m wondering if you’ve heard of
      It’s new and so much better than cj. it’s really easy to use and all image based… i have to say i highly recommend them 😉

    • Christine

      Gretchen, I think your site is awesome!
      I’m just getting in to fashion blogging..well blogging in and I had a few questions for you if you don’t mind. You mentioned you were petty successful so I was wondering what affiliates you use and if you use ad sense as well?
      Great job on your blog, it’s beautiful and functional (which is the best part)!


  2. Naomimimi

    thanks for the pointers! it’s nice to have some blogging feedback and tips from someone who isn’t such a social media nerd that they aren’t in touch with how to practically make a blog work for them.

    kudos on this blog. i’m getting my blog going so that i can soon be a part of your project 🙂

  3. CeCe

    I recently started a blog at So, I really appreciate you posting this one. On the surface blogging seems so easy, but it really is a process. And it takes years to become established and respected. This advice will help me and other bloggers to keep the integrity of our sites pristine.

    Thanks for this post!


  4. Anjeanette

    Great tips! I’ve been hesitant to use some of these affiliates- doesn’t someone have to purchase something in order for you to make money?

  5. Miss Elle

    I -adore- my affiliate programs. I have some 125×125 links on my sidebar, but typically, I just post up images of the clothing I’m talking about, using the affiliate link. I definitely only post the clothing that I truly would buy, and only if its good quality.

    I don’t understand the point of subscribing to anything fashion-related in affiliate programs if you wouldn’t shop that company yourself… You have to believe in the products!

  6. Jennine

    ooh grechen i think i’m going to have to pick your brain for tips!

    naomii… thanks, it’s good to know that this makes sense to non-techy people, that’s what the point was of the post.

    angeanette, yes someone has to buy something as the result of your click, but some programs place a 30 day cookie so people have 30 days to purchase, which you then get a commission from.

  7. Ashe Mischief

    Thanks for this post, love! It’s great to see the advantages of affiliate programs.

    I myself never post an object in an affiliate link that I do not want/would not buy myself. A great example of this is a recent shoe post I made. All of those shoes I love, many I would love to buy. (As soon as a I have a job!!!) So I don’t see the harm in it.

    Another aspect that was recently pointed out to me, that I think is great, is the aspect that bloggers can mutually support one another through affiliate networking. This is a great way to financially support the community and controlling your purchasing power in a way. I used to do this when I ran the Persnickety message boards; all members could shop through Amazon and the proceeds would keep the boards alive. Recently Mallory (of Miss Malaprop) brought up how she can’t shop through her own Amazon Affiliates, but she can shop through mine or her boyfriend’s. I can shop through hers. I can shop through the Zappos or eBay affilates on the Coveted or through the affiliates at the Bargain Queens. I like to think that by using others affiliate programs for things I would be buying anyhow, that other bloggers will pay it forward in a way, and use me much the same.

  8. grechen

    lol, anyone is welcome to pick my brain anytime!! i do have to say, i’ve had my site up since 2004 and only really started making consistent money through affiliate links last year (2007), so it took three years. mid-2006 was when i made my site my primary source of income, and thanks to affiliate links, it has kept me from living off ramen noodles…

  9. gilda

    wow, i have never given this any thought, and reading this, i definitely started to! thanks. i always read about how to make money off blogs, but have never made anything off mine. 😀 i’m gonna check out those affiliate programs you mentioned!

  10. sexy Boris

    Timely article for me. Just started a style blog at < a href=””Sexy

    Yes I would include editorial content and not just affiliate links. Plus it has to be something you would buy or see on your favorite girl.

    Love your website Grechen. Want to make my site like yours. It does not look like WordPress. Looks like joomla or drupal…

  11. Salina Rahim

    Thanks for sharing how affiliate programs work. There are quite a few out there to join from. Thanks for the great info.

    Salina Rahim

  12. Prêt à Porter P

    i know this is an older post, but thank you for this. ive read it several times.
    im finally taking the plunge and trying one of them. ive been reading a lot of fashion books lately, so the amazon program seems to already fit in the content of my blog.

  13. jay

    eBay turned me down and i have a pretty well known style blog. Do you know why they would turn me down? and what are some tips that can ensure that ebay will allow me to join their network.

  14. Noel

    Fantastic resource! I’ve recently turned 18 and am now eligible for these programs… Thank you so much!

  15. Humidity Temperature

    -,. I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives great information :;-

  16. Peng

    I’m in Singapore and I’m finding trouble finding a fashion affiliate program that works for me, or if anything at all is applicable for me 🙁

  17. Annette

    I love this post, and some very great suggestions.

    I run fashion courses, and would happily offer any Fashion blogger an affiliate program.

    This way it is very suitable products/ topics to the blogs that subscribers would be interested in. I have fashion courses in Fashion Buying, Fashion Design, and How to Start Your Own Fashion Label.

    I would be happy to talk to anyone that was interested in becoming an affiliate. Please email me if you are interested.
    [email protected]

    I hope this helps with this blog post….. xoxo

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  19. Abner

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