Life should be about makin’ your plaything, your pay-thing! For those of us who love writing and sharing our knowledge with the world, blogging is the perfect avenue to accomplish that. One way you can easily monetize your blog is through affiliate marketing.
If you’ve already started blogging, you can go back through your old posts and see how you can add affiliate links to them! Why promote products for free when you can make a little dough from your thoughtful product promotion?
Haven’t started a blog yet? Read this guide on How to Start a Self-Hosted Lifestyle and Travel Blog!
You can use this Affiliate Marketing guide to:
- Learn about affiliate marketing
- Use affiliate marketing to monetize your blog
- Promote products in an authentic way, and,
- Find companies to start working with today!
This post contains affiliate links to help keep this blog running.
To learn more about affiliate links, click here.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is when you promote a company’s service or product and that promotion is tracked via a special link. Every time you inspire a reader to click your link and do something, like make a purchase, you receive a small commission or some form of compensation.
As you create more content, your affiliate partnerships will naturally fit into the web that is your blog! Choose affiliate partnerships that are not only right for you but right for your audience.
Are you afraid you may seem inauthentic to your readers by promoting products?
- Stick to promoting companies and products that will benefit your audience
- Show your readers how a product can benefit them by writing a “how-to” guide
- Write informative, helpful posts that give readers a wealth of information (beyond the product)
- Connect with readers by providing a personal experience with the company, or a photo of you using the product!
In my 8 Essential Travel Tips Guide, I promoted features of websites I use and companies I love – whether or not I received compensation for the promotion. I made sure to include a lot of helpful information and advice for my readers who may not be ready to sign up for services I promoted such as earning $40 in travel credit at AirBnB or signing up for Airfare Watchdog’s low airfare alerts.
Also, ensure what you promote will be helpful to your readers! For example, the services I promoted help my readers save money when they are traveling.
So, how do you start helping your readers and monetizing your blog?
- Brainstorm a list of companies related to your niche you want to promote
- Google “company/brand affiliate program”
- If they have an affiliate program, follow the steps to apply for their program
It’s not always easy to come up with a list of companies right from the get go. So, here’s some ideas as to where you can start!
Promote Your Hosting Company
Yes. You can start your blog, and then get money for starting your blog! All you have to do is sign up for an amazing hosting service and then you can start recommending them to others.
For example, when you sign up for Siteground’s hosting, you are automatically eligible for their affiliate and referral program.
BTW: I freaking love Siteground. First of all, they installed WordPress for me within minutes. But second of all, they have amazing 24/7 customer service. I had a problem at 4 am one morning and within ten minutes they not only solved my problem but also let me know how I could prevent it from happening again.
Thinking about starting a blog you can monetize? Check out my Ultimate How-to Guide on Starting a Lifestyle Blog!
When you sign up, they require you to pay a $5 deposit that can be returned to you in whole later. Don’t let that intimidate you! You can get that money back later!
One of the best parts about joining Affiliate Window is the opportunity to work promote Etsy products. Etsy is a huge marketplace with sellers promoting their own WordPress themes, personalized products, clothing and jewelry… there are so many ways you can promote Etsy on your website!
Amazon Affiliates has a great and easy to use affiliate program! Since Amazon is such a big company, you can find a product that benefits every niche.
Ideas to Promote Amazon:
- Gift Guide
- Fashion Guide
- Travel Essentials
- Hiking/Camping Essentials
- A Shop page
- My (Monthly) Favorites
- Top Ten List
Even if you are not writing a guide or essentials list, you might be able to find a product related to what you are writing about.
In my guide on How to Use VSCO to Create Beautiful Images, I promoted this camera to phone SD reader. VSCO is a mobile app, but I wanted to extend my reach to people who use digital cameras for their photography, too. The camera to phone SD reader makes it easy to upload photos from their digital camera’s SD card to their phone! So digital camera users can use my VSCO guide, too.
Amazon is a great way to start affiliate marketing! It’s easy to sign up and start adding products to your site.
CJ Affiliates (formerly Commission Junction) is essential for every blogger who wants to work with big-name brands. Since they have a centralized system connecting bloggers with plenty of brands, using CJ Affiliates makes working with tons of companies easy. You can work with brands in every niche, including:
- Travel: Tripadvisor, Expedia, Hotels.com, CityPASS
- Fashion: Banana Republic, Dresslink, Forever21, Fabletics
- Lifestyle: Backcountry, Lonely Planet
- Finance: TransUnion, CreditSesame
Share a Sale
ShareASale is another great affiliate program for bloggers! They have a huge base of recognizable brands for bloggers in every niche! What I love most about ShareASale is that as you apply to work with different brands, you can pitch to them about your blog, and how you will promote their products and services. When you give companies a great visual of how you will promote their products, connecting with them becomes so much easier!
Some examples of brands on ShareASale include:
If you are only trying to join programs that have a large marketplace, join Flexoffers. They have an amazing range of categories of Advertisers to whom you can apply in their marketplace (careers, business, clothing, shopping, travel… the list goes on!).
If you are not in the United States, you can even search advertisers by country. Seriously, Flexoffers is a must-join for bloggers!
BrandCycle is yet another affiliate program that offers brands in a variety of niches! Plus, they have a simple-to-navigate website! My favorite part about BrandCycle is that once you are accepted into their program (my application took two business days to receive a response), you can access the brands they work with all on one page! BrandCycle is one of my favorite affiliate programs because once you’re approved, you have access to all of the brands they work with (you don’t have to apply to different brands – this is amazing).
Once your application is approved, you have access to links from:
Yes! You can work with Lyft. Lyft is a rideshare smartphone app that is a great alternative to taxis. You can work with Lyft to refer riders or drivers. Lyft constantly expands cities where it is available. Not only does Lyft costs cheaper than Uber, but drivers also attest to better pay from Lyft. Yeah! Both parties (the rider and the driver) benefit. And by working with Lyft, you can benefit, too!
Haven’t joined Lyft yet? Use this link to sign up and get $15 towards your first free rides!
When you refer a rider, they get $15 towards their first free rides. Lyft gives its affiliate partners $10 for each referral.
Have you started using Ebates yet? Ebates is a site built on affiliate links! They just share the commission they earn from their affiliate links with their users. Basically, you click on an Ebates affiliate link which leads you to a company’s online shopping website. And, Ebates will share their commission with you, offering cash back on every purchase you make! Ebates works with a ton of well-known companies including Amazon to give cash back to their users.
If you are shopping anyway, it’s basically free money.
And Ebates is totally blogger friendly! You can offer your readers $10 cash back after they make their first purchase. This is in addition to the cash back they will receive from that purchase!
Haven’t joined Ebates yet? Click here to get your first $10! It’s so addicting, you’ll love it!
For all you fashion bloggers out there, ShopStyle Collective is a great clothing affiliate program. They have a variety of options and ways you can display the products they offer! I love using their widgets to promote clothing products and accessories. It is very simple to sign up and start using ShopStyle Collective! Plus, it’s fun to browse their products and choose which ones you like best.
Inzpire Me connects brands with social media influencers. So basically, your referral registers, connects his/her social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter), and sets a rate. You will earn 5% of your referrals’ earnings for 12 months! 5% is the service fee that InzpireMe charges to brands. Yep, instead of collecting the service fee, the company gives it to you as a thank you for the referral!
Other Referral Programs You’ll Love
Parabo Press: I could rave about Parabo Press forever! If readers use your referral code, they can receive one of either 25 free square prints or a small photo book. You get $5 in shopping credit for every person who use your code! Another win win situation from a brand that produces quality content. When you sign up, use my code KRISTA to get your first 25 prints free!
AirBnB: I love staying at AirBnBs! They offer great alternatives to staying at a hotel or hostel. You can offer your readers $40 in travel credit. After they book their first trip, you get $20 of travel credit! This is perfect for travel bloggers because if your travel credits add up, you can travel more often using AirBnB and produce more content for your readers!
Ibotta: Ibotta is another cashback shopping app. You can receive cashback rewards by completing tasks on the app and making purchases in certain stores! Your readers get a $10 welcome bonus just for using your code! Not on the Ibotta train yet? Register to get your $10 welcome bonus!
But Most of All, Stay True to You
I love blogging. I put a lot of time and thought into my blog, but it never feels like work! Finally, I’ve found something I can be passionate about. If you’re not blogging, but you love to tell others about products you love, or experiences you have in day-to-day life, why don’t you start?! I’ve written a great guide to get you to start a successful lifestyle or travel blog.
Have you already started your blog, and you’re looking for more guidance? Here are some related blogging posts:
- Blog on a Budget: Build a Successful Blog Without Spending Any Money
- 3 Ways to Boost Your Blog Traffic with Pinterest
- How to Effortlessly Captivate Your Readers and Improve Your Writing
Sign up here for access to money-making blogging tips and exclusive content.
And, remember: when you promote products or services, only promote products or services you love! Don’t lose your voice when you start doing affiliate marketing, either. If you feel like you haven’t found it yet, don’t worry. After you write a few articles, you’ll begin to find your voice.
Maintain your connection with your readers and only promote products that they will love, too. Even though I had affiliate links in this post, every link helps someone interested in monetizing their blog through affiliate marketing by either connecting them with a brand or giving them an idea of how they can promote a product.
If this post helped you, please share or pin!
Do you have any affiliate programs you love? What’s worked for you? Or, are you a newbie to the blogging scene like I am? What questions do you have about affiliate marketing?