how to monetize a blog

How to Monetize A Blog With Affiliate Marketing

There’s never been a better time to start a side hustle. With more people turning to social media and the internet for the bulk of their purchases, platforms have literally taken “add to cart” to the next level with their ease of online shopping.

This means that making money with your blog or social presence has never been easier. That is, if you know how to set yourself up for success.

That’s why affiliate marketing is a great way to dip your toes into the social water of online sales. These days, you can easily monetize a blog with affiliate marketing from day one. Affiliate marketing is a business model where you can earn commissions selling other people’s products. When you actively promote these brands and items, you can include specific affiliate links to your audience that if they click on and make a purchase, you will get credit for that sale and ultimately earn commission straight from the retailer. 

This comes at no additional cost to the shopper – which means it’s literally a win for all involved.

Every brand and affiliate program differs slightly in their policies and rules, but most of the time, if someone purchases ANY item through your link (not just the product you’re promoting), you will earn the commission for the entire sale – which has the opportunity to result in some pretty big commissions depending on the brands and products you’re promoting. 

how to monetize a blog with affiliate marketing

Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners

So you want to be an affiliate marketer – but how do you know which affiliate programs to sign up for? There are a TON of options out there, and some programs can be pretty strict on requirements for joining. 

One of the best things you can do when you want to monetize a blog with affiliate marketing is research affiliate programs that align with your brand, vision, and voice. For example: if you’re a mom who plans on promoting mom-blog type content like products for new moms, baby essentials, and the best toys for childhood development – it wouldn’t make sense to join an affiliate program promoting tools for bloggers or small business owners. 

But it would make sense to join a program like Amazon Associates where you can provide reviews and links back to multiple different items like baby monitors, car seat covers, changing pads, children’s toys, etc. 

A few of the easiest, and diverse programs to join when you’re just starting out include:

  • Amazon Associates
  • ShareASale
  • FlexOffers
  • RewardStyle

Here’s why I love them:

Amazon Associates:  Amazon is great when you’re just starting out because the platform has pretty much everything available to link back to. And they make joining super easy. If you already have an Amazon account (and honestly these days, who doesn’t?) you’re halfway there.

While Amazon Associates is known for having a lower payout than most affiliate programs, it’s still a great option because the clickthrough rate is often higher. This can be great, especially if you’re just learning the ropes of affiliate marketing, because you’ll have a higher chance of your links being clicked, and earning a small income as you get comfortable with your posts. 

ShareASale: Similar to Amazon, ShareASale is going to provide you with multiple retailer options. Once you have a ShareASale account, you can apply to work with different brands. Once approved, you can create specific referral links to particular products, and even download banner images for your website to make your page look more professional.

FlexOffers: FlexOffers is just like ShareASale – once you’re approved within the system you can apply to different brands to start promoting your favorite products. 

RewardStyle: RewardStyle, or LTK used to be pretty difficult to get accepted into. But recently they have changed their process and have been approving smaller accounts. Which means you don’t have to have over 10k Instagram followers or a certain amount of monthly blog traffic to get approved into the program.

These four are popular among bloggers and for good reason! They have a ton of different products and brands that you can use to monetize a blog with affiliate marketing.

How Fast Can You Monetize a Blog With Affiliate Marketing?

Generally, you can start earning commissions almost immediately once you get those links up and visible. Each program is going to vary in how often they will release payouts: some will do it after 30 days, some will do it after 90 days, and some have a certain threshold of how much  money you have to earn before they will send your payment. 

The best way you can start seeing that money earned in your bank account is to create a consistent posting schedule. There is this general rule in marketing that you will be told “No” about 16 times before you ever get a “Yes.”

Keep that in mind as you’re posting. You don’t want to post a product once and assume that you’ll make sales. Keep showing up with your content. Show your followers how you use that product, and don’t be afraid to come back and post about it more than once. 

How to Start Affiliate Marketing Without a Website

If you can’t monetize a blog with affiliate marketing because you don’t have a website yet, do not stress. Affiliate marketing can be done just as easily on social media as it can be on your own website.

I do advise if you’re serious about building this business for yourself, to make having a website part of your long-term plan. Ultimately, you don’t own your social channels, right? Remember when Instagram and Facebook both shut down for a day this fall? Websites didn’t shut down, though. Having your own site is a smart move, but it doesn’t have to be the first thing you do.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is if you’re going to share affiliate links on social media, you need to disclose the fact that it’s an affiliate link to your followers. This can be done by including something like “ad” or “sponsored” or “affiliate link” in the caption or wording that you’re sharing. 

Instagram has made it especially easy now that they’ve done away with their 10k or over rule – where you had to have at least 10k followers on a business account to be able to have a swipe up link feature in your stories. Now, anyone, regardless of the follower count, can include links in stories – which makes affiliate marketing that much easier (and also a little more competitive – so definitely spend some time coming up with your game plan!)

Ways to Make Money Other Than Affiliate Marketing

A different form of way to make money other than affiliate marketing is sponsored posts. This is when you work 1:1 with a specific brand to create curated content promoting that brand. Depending  on the deal you negotiate, you could have the opportunity to earn a set dollar figure for that content you create, or the chance to earn commissions based on sales you generate from the agreed upon content.

Brand collaborations are a great way to gain experience, build your media kit, and start making a name for yourself in the industry. If you’re not sure where to start, you can check out these tips and trips for approaching brands to land a sponsored collaboration

Just like with anything, you will improve with practice. Write down the type of content you strive to produce, and then research your favorite brands that align with your vision. Start creating content and promoting those brands you love in an authentic way, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. 

Following your favorite influencers to see how they do things is a great way to learn, but don’t feel like you have to be a cookie cutter image of what everyone else is doing. Especially as the market gets more competitive, brands (and shoppers) are going to value authenticity and seeing things done differently and unique to your own style. 

So what do you think? Which affiliate marketing strategy will you start to use first? Check out this article to learn even more about affiliate marketing and how to make money doing it here!

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