As a follow-up to my last post on how to start affiliate marketing, I want to mention some reasons why you might not be making any money if you've already started adding affiliate links to your blog instead of addressing those questions in the comments…
Your readers don't buy
Your readers may be more inclined to look, instead of buy. If you're getting a lot of clicks on your links, but few or no purchases, this is likely the case. You will also want to experiment with different types of links (images, text, widgets) to see if one out-performs another, and keep track of when your readers buy/click. But your readers may primarily be of a younger demographic without much disposable income, or are more frugal with their money. Maybe they read your blog for inspiration, or “just for the pictures” and don't click on links.
If you've been using affiliate links for quite some time (at least 6 months – preferably a year) and you're not making sales, but getting a lot of clicks, then you should definitely consider moving to a pay-per-click model like ShopSense. That way, you'll get paid whenever your links are clicked, not only when you convert a sale.
You use too many links
Or you don't use the right mix of text & image links. With RewardStyle (and ShopSense) for example, you can use a combination of text links then image links in your post so you don't overload it with too many text links. If your reader's trying to read your post but is constantly interrupted with links, it can be overkill – break them up a bit, put them in one place, or use a widget and/or image links as well.
You're not linking to the EXACT items you wear
If you're a personal style blogger and post outfit pictures, your goal should be to link directly to as many items in your outfit as possible. Think how frustrated your readers will get if they really love something you're wearing but they can't buy it! If you frustrate your readers too often by not showing them where to buy things, then they'll stop clicking your links or visiting your blog altogether.
If the item is absolutely no where to be found, then link to one similar item, that's around the same price as what you're wearing, but no more than one.
You haven't been doing it long enough
Patience is a virtue! It takes a long time to build up enough trust and authority for your readers to start clicking on links. Don't give up until you've had your affiliate links up for at least six months, AND you've been tracking them, analyzing which ones get clicked on most, and tweaking what you link to based on that information. If after that time (I'd REALLY recommend doing it for a year) you're not making any sales, then a pay-per-click, or straight advertising model may work better for you.
You don't convert
With so many blogs out there, all using affiliate links, your readers may go somewhere else, click on another blogger's link and immediately buy, which means you lose out on the sale. In other words, you're not converting your readers to buyers instantly. If, by some small chance, your readers don't click on any other affiliate links besides yours, and they purchase something within 30 days (or however long that retailers cookies last) of clicking on your link, you WILL get credit for it, but the best way to insure you make money via affiliate linking is you convert your readers as soon as possible.
There are a million reasons why your readers may not be converting immediately after clicking on one of your links, but the most obvious one is that they're just not ready to buy. There's not a lot you can do about that, but you can post consistently, make your blog a resource to keep readers coming back to your blog frequently enough that yours is the last link they click when they ARE ready to buy. Also, give them an incentive to go buy NOW with a coupon code, or sale item.
Your readers don't trust you
Unfortunately, this can be a big reason why you may not be converting readers into buyers, especially if you've been doing this a while. Your readers may not see you as a shopping resource, either; they may read your blog for other reasons. Which is great, but not if you're hoping to make an income from affiliate linking.
It takes time to build up trust enough for your readers to click on your links and buy what you're featuring. Don't forget that. But for some reason or another, they may not trust you anyway, or any bloggers for that matter. Some blog readers know enough to clear cookies frequently so they don't give a blogger credit for sales.
Remember, though, if you want to monetize your blog, affiliate marketing isn't the only way to do it. In most cases, you have to have a lot of traffic to make money via affiliate links (I don't – but I've been doing it for 10 years, and only after 5 did I start making MOST of my income via affiliate links), and be primarily a personal style/outfit blogger. Which doesn't mean others can't do it also, but there may be other ways that make more sense for you. Try them all!
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]