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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Connect Commerce– Google's Affiliate program
So that should be enough to get you started! What are some of your experiences with affiliate programs