Once you’ve put in your time as a baby blogger and are generating a decent amount of traffic, a way to create income for all your hard work is to become an affiliate of the products and services you use and love.
Affiliate marketing is understood to be the practice of recommending a product/service and getting paid by merchants of those items any time a buyer clicks from your site to theirs and makes a purchase. Basically, you get a commission on any sales generated by your link.
So let’s say you frequently blog about the super creative crafts you do with your kids. You could become an affiliate of the Crayola store and when someone who is following your step-by-step instructions on how to make an alligator puppet needs some of the poster paint you use and decides to go to their online store and buy it from them, you get 10% of the sale price of any items they purchase. Easy peasy. And the beautiful thing about it is that it can be sincere and authentic recommendation — just like you would recommend something to your friends offline.
How to Pick Products
If there’s a product you use, there’s probably an affiliate program for it. There are programs for baby strollers, toys, nanny services, patio furniture, golf bags… almost anything under the sun. However, to make any real income in the affiliate space, you’re going to want to post about it repeatedly. Think about it, what are the chances that someone who is in the head space of buying some poster paint happens to be on your blog on the day that you post a link to the Crayola store? It’s a bit of a numbers game.
One strategy to increase those odds is to place any links or affiliate ads in your sidebar that way they are up all the time. I recommend picking a limited number of ads or links for their sidebar positions, like four to six, that way your readers are not bombarded with ads.
How to Find their Affiliate Programs
The easiest way to find out if a product or merchant has a program is to use good old Google. Type in the brand name plus “affiliate program” and see what comes up. More likely, you’ll be directed to one of a few companies that represent merchants in the affiliate industry. Some of the big players are Shareasale, LinkShare, and Commission Junction. These companies manage all of the ads and links you’ll need for your site as well as tracking, reporting, and paying you your commissions. Affiliate commissions can range anywhere from 4% (Amazon) to 50% (for lots eBooks and eCourses through ClickBank).
How to Get Links
Most affiliate programs require you to sign up for an account. This means filling out some online forms. From there, you can browse their merchant list to see what products or companies you want to work with. In some cases, you’ll have to apply to become an affiliate for that company. It might take 3-4 days for them to approve your site. Once you are approved and your account is activated, it’s as simple as cutting and pasting the links or codes for graphic ads to your site.
How to Make Money
Again, it’s a numbers game. Think about your monthly traffic. Now try to figure out how many of them may be visiting your site in the mindset to buy a stroller or a Disney vacation (yes, Disney Resorts have affiliates). This is why bloggers obsess about traffic and keywords… because if your site can come up in a Google search when someone types in “buy stroller,” think about how that affects your chances of making a sale! It’s a slippery slope to get caught up in the keyword game. But if you have built an audience, affiliate marketing is definitely a viable way to monetize.
Don’t Forget to Disclosure
The general idea behind disclosure is that if a blogger is receiving compensation from an advertiser and merchant, they should make this known. That way, your audience can make an informed evaluation regarding your written opinion of the product. Make your disclosure policy available on your site because it’s a good human practice but also because them’s the rules! 🙂