Make Money Blogging: Affiliate Marketing For Bloggers

Make Money Blogging: Affiliate Marketing For Bloggers

This post may contain affiliate links: If you purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products/services that I approve of. Purchasing through my links allows me to continue to provide unique content and pursue my business dreams. Thank you for supporting me.

As you know, I am an advocate for living a life of fulfillment and happiness. A life that you are excited to wake up to, are passionate about, and love. For me, that life is about blogging: helping other bloggers, reviewing new books, and sharing unique travels. As I grew up, making money blogging and turning my passions into a remote career seemed impossible. How could anyone make money blogging? Within the past year, I began learning and studying successful bloggers who make anywhere from $10,000-$120,000 a year. Many of these bloggers, freelancers, and digital nomads offer digital courses, sell products, and secure income through numerous social media channels. At times, the overload of information is overwhelming. Where do you even begin or how do you start to make money blogging? For me, affiliate marketing for bloggers is one of the easiest ways to monetize a blog, and you can start right away.

Where do you even begin or how do you start to make money blogging? For me, affiliate marketing for bloggers is one of the easiest ways to monetize a blog, and you can start right away. #bloggingtips #blogging Click To Tweet

While this post will be a down and dirty version of affiliate marketing—I will gear a few programs toward book bloggers, specifically—I hope you find one or two new affiliate programs and better understand how to incorporate links into your posts.

Affiliate Marketing For Bloggers

What You Need In Order To Start

I originally made some pretty costly flaws when I started monetizing my blog. Before I delve into affiliate marketing for bloggers there is one key step that you should take before monetizing your blog and applying for programs.

Are you wondering how to make money blogging? Check out these affiliate marketing for bloggers programs that are easy to join as a beginner blogger. Learn about self hosting with SiteGround and WordPress. #bloggingtips #affiliatemarketing #blogging #business

WordPress: .Org versus .Com

Back when I created my hobby blog for The Uncorked Librarian, I used wordpress. com. I bought a pretty theme, and I paid for the cheapest hosting plan. WordPress. com still allowed me to register my own domain at theuncorkedlibrarian.com for a few extra dollars versus using theuncorkedlibrarian.wordpress .com.   Even though I had no goals to monetize at the time, I wanted to look professional and accessible without having ‘wordpress’ in my domain name.

The Limitations Of WordPress .Com

When I begin realizing that I loved blogging and wanted to make writing my full-time career, I quickly ran into limitations with the .Com version. Don’t get me wrong, I still use WP .Com as part of Jetpack to read other wordpress blogs, pair stats against Google Analytics, and add some neat features to my blog like WP likes and the Goodreads widget. However, although you can pay more to allow monetization on your .Com site, features are still limited.

  • You have little control over your site and what you can monetize.
  • SEO isn’t great
  • You can’t create an online shop
  • Overall, you cannot take your site to the next level.

For these reasons, I switched to self-hosting through SiteGround and wordpress. org.

The Benefits of Using Web Hosting And WordPress. org

When you make the switch to wordpress. org, WP still looks and feels the same except you need a web host, and of course, you will have much more control over your site. A web host essentially offers storage space and allows access to your website. I use SiteGround as my web host and pair it with wordpress. org as its platform.  Perks of self hosting this way with WP .org include:

  • Adding a variety of plugins, like YOAST and Grammarly
  • Ranking better in searches via SEO optimized posts and themes
  • Monetization through an online store and any type of affiliate links and ad campaigns of your choosing
  • Faster loading time for your users, which also helps you rank better in searches
  • Ability to edit features, HTML, and all formatting
  • Choosing and purchasing any gorgeous blog theme that fits your niche through vendors like StudioPress

You just have to remember to update your plugins with self-hosting, which takes all but two seconds when prompted.  Also, make sure to backup your site through plugins like Updraft and install a plugin for security like Wordfence.

My Recommended Self Hosting Choice: SiteGround

I highly recommend SiteGround as your web host as they have been wonderful for me. Although slightly nerve-wracking, SiteGround transferred all of my .com material to .org.  YES, you can transfer your old site content, which offered a huge relief for me. Only my WP .com theme didn’t transfer, which was OK with me. I bought a new and more SEO and device-friendly theme that I could customize.

Plus, with 24/7 chat service, SiteGround’s staff members are always available to problem solve and help. Once, I updated a plugin and my site had a glitch.   Ok, maybe that sucker crashed and disappeared into the error message abyss. I wanted to barf. Within minutes, SiteGround’s team had everything back up and running.

The main benefits of SiteGround:
  • Their starter package starts at $3.95 a month
  • 24/7 online chat help service
  • Easy to use for beginners
  • Creating your own custom domain email (hello@theuncorkedlibraian .com)
  • 10 GB of starter storage space
  • Widely used by bloggers and freelancers—there is SO much information out there to help you get started and make the most of self-hosting

Now that you have the main key to monetizing your site, here are 5 affiliate marketing for bloggers to get you earning money right away:

5 Affiliate Marketing Programs For Bloggers

These are 5 affiliate marketing programs for bloggers to help you make money blogging.  You can also check out TUL’s post on turning your blog into a business here.  Please remember that success varies across bloggers, and don’t forget that you must disclose on your blog that you are using affiliate links.

Are you wondering how to make money blogging? Check out these affiliate marketing for bloggers programs that are easy to join as a beginner blogger. Learn about self hosting with SiteGround and WordPress. #bloggingtips #affiliatemarketing #blogging #business

Insider Tip: I find that using product links is more helpful and makes more sales faster than banners and ads.

1. Amazon

Amazon is where I first started monetizing as a book and travel blogger. Signing up for the Amazon affiliate program takes mere minutes, and they have a variety of banners, product links, and promotions that are easy to integrate into your site. They make cutting and pasting affiliate links easier than any other program I’ve used, and you can quickly track your income report. How much commission you make is based on what type of product you sell, and what promotions they are running.  Even if you don’t sell the exact item that you are promoting, Amazon retains cookies for at least a day and counts any sells within that period.  Amazon is versatile, popular, and they have a plethora of products.

Example of an Amazon banner:

Example of a product link:  Check out Anthony Le Moignan’s book, A Long Goodbye.

A few words of warning:
  • You must make a specific number of sells within a designated time period for official Amazon Affiliate approval. If you fail to make those sales, you can apply again, but you can no longer earn money from old links.
  • Amazon is strict about who uses your links. They monitor for friends and family—and will not count any IP addresses that look like yours or someone who knows you.  I have a sneaking suspicion they also check page engagement times: If other bloggers are helping you out, the sales with immediate link clicks and purchasing of unrelated items within seconds may get flagged.
  • At this time, you also cannot directly post Amazon affiliate links in newsletters or social media platforms like Pinterest and Twitter. Links must be imbedded into a relevant post. I highly suggest reading their terms and conditions before starting.  Even pro bloggers have gotten kicked out years later for breaking a rule.
  • Payout starts at $100–so you may go a few months without pay if you are just starting.

Sign up for the Amazon Affiliate Program.

2. ShareASale

ShareASale is another popular affiliate marketing program for bloggers. A part of Awin (that’s up next), ShareASale is currently operating independently.  Unlike Amazon, you apply for companies who you wish to promote products for.  Each company approves or denies you–so if you get denied for one, you have 100’s of others to choose from.  Etsy (U.S.) and Wayfair are just a few companies tied to ShareASale, and I personally use ShareASale for Tailwind, a bunch of blogging resource programs, and I just joined Zazzle for fun.  Wine t-shirts, anyone?  Minimum payout is $50 monthly once you make a sale.

Join the ShareASale Affiliate Marketing Program.


Other TUL Blogging Resources:

The Scoop On Pinterest Communities   Where To Promote Your Blog    Instagram Scams

What Not To Say To The Blogger In Your Life      How To Connect With Your Audience


3. Awin

Awin.com is actually a UK based affiliate program (with some of the cutest stationary companies I have ever seen).  Awin boosts of Etsy for non-US users, and like ShareASale, links to a variety of programs and companies that you apply to individually.  Somewhat of a pain but to show good faith, when you apply for Awin, you have to pay $5–which you immediately get back upon finishing your application and approval.  You will also need to upload your own W-9 from the IRS website.  You are responsible for reading each program’s rules to see where you are allowed to post your links.  Unlike Amazon, some programs will let you post direct affiliate links anywhere you wish.

Join the Awin Affiliate Program: Awin.com

4. CJ Affiliates (with Barnes and Noble for my book bloggers)

CJ Affiliates is formerly Commission Junction.  Once again, this type of affiliate program offers a variety of programs to apply for and choose from like Trip Advisor and Barnes and Noble.  One of the largest networks, they payout monthly, and you must make a sell within 6 months or they boot you out of the program.  I specifically like that CJ Affiliates has a deep link generator plugin for your Internet browser (kind of like the Pinterest Pin or TW scheduler); I can quickly head over to Barnes and Noble, find the book I want to pair with a review, and instantly generate an affiliate deep link to drop in my post.

Example of a CJ Affiliates Barnes and Noble banner:


Example of a product link: Check out Barnes and Noble’s Top 100 Books.

You can join CJ Affiliates here.

5. Book Depository 

True to my part book blogging nature, I wanted to add one more affiliate network for my book reviews.  Book Depository offers millions of books from all over the world, including titles from indie authors and publishers.  They also provide free delivery to over 100 countries.  With over 19 million titles, you cannot go wrong.  Joining their affiliate network is free, affiliates earn 5% on all sales, and there are monthly payouts.  They show your earnings in the pound but will convert your sales to dollars when they payout.

Sign up for Book Depository.

Are You Ready To Make Money Blogging?

Although this is the short and condensed version for how to make money blogging via affiliate marketing for bloggers, I hope these self hosting tips and 5 affiliate programs get you started as a new or even more experienced blogger.  I went for almost a year without adding affiliate links to my book reviews.  I feel like a schmuck.  Even with just Amazon alone, I could have been earning passive income.  Adding links takes seconds.

What other ways do you hope to grow your blogging business?

I’d also love to know what favorite companies you have on each of these larger affiliate program platforms.

Support Other Bloggers By Sharing The Knowledge: Pin It!

Are you wondering how to make money blogging as a #bookblogger? Check out these affiliate marketing for bloggers programs that are easy to join as a beginner blogger. Learn about self hosting with SiteGround and WordPress. #bloggingtips #affiliatemarketing #blogging #bookblog   Are you wondering how to make money blogging? Check out these affiliate marketing for bloggers programs that are easy to join as a beginner blogger. Learn about self hosting with SiteGround and WordPress. #bloggingtips #affiliatemarketing #blogging #business

Follow:

17 Comments

  1. October 23, 2018 / 1:06 pm

    Great list! I use the same exact affiliates! The only difference is that I use Elegant themes. Great post! =)

    • Christine
      Author
      October 23, 2018 / 4:53 pm

      Thank you! I also use Skimlinks on the rare occasion, but I am undecided how I feel about the platform right now. I did get denied for Trip Advisor on CJ Affiliates–so Skimlinks lets me earn a little commission through them instead. Awin is the one platform I am trying to get better with.

  2. October 23, 2018 / 6:03 pm

    This is an extremely helpful post. I’ve been trying to find the best way to monetize my creative writing blog while incorporating book reviews. Thank you! I will be sharing this on Twitter and Pinterest.

    • Christine
      Author
      October 26, 2018 / 6:22 pm

      Thank you!! Thank you for sharing too! If you ever get stuck, never hesitate to send me a message.

  3. October 25, 2018 / 2:26 pm

    Great post! I totally think that running a business should count as exercise. 😀 It seriously feels that way blogging sometimes. 😉

    • Christine
      Author
      October 26, 2018 / 6:11 pm

      I’d be so dang skinny! 😂😂 Thank you!!

  4. Entertainingly Nerdy
    October 26, 2018 / 12:37 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I have been wanting to monetize my blog for a while now but I didn’t know how to go about it especially since I don’t get many views yet.

    • Christine
      Author
      October 26, 2018 / 6:02 pm

      I read that it’s always good to lightly monetize from Day 1. With lower views, I would not place ads everywhere (that’s just annoying and loses people’s trust), but a buying book link is great! I hope this post helped, and never hesitate to ask questions if you get stuck (I got stuck on a few affiliates myself at first). Amazon is a great starter affiliate as they are easier to figure out.

  5. October 26, 2018 / 3:45 pm

    Great guide, Christine! Checking out CJ Affiliates for the B&N affiliates. I don’t mind not making money from my blog since it is a hobby, but this is a great way to try and help offset the costs of hosting. I may move over to self-hosted next year when my year with .COM is finished. Honestly the only thing that I am annoyed about is not being able to use Google Analytics :/

    • Christine
      Author
      October 26, 2018 / 5:52 pm

      Monetizing is definitely is a great way to offset self hosting fees. The first year of self hosting is super cheap. I’m a little worried about the following year, but hopefully, my affiliate marketing will cover it. Thank you! Self hosting works well for SEO ranking, etc, too—but something tells me you know all of that 😉 I do love Google Analytics—can you use Google Search Console or no?

  6. October 28, 2018 / 4:38 am

    I just starting using Amazon Affiliates but don’t really know if I’ll get anything out of it just yet (I just joined because I saw you do it and it’s free) – I really need to read up on it more I think! Great advice about WordPress I will also look into that too. I really want to make my site more professional but feel like I can’t start anything until I’m earning a full-time wage. Its all excuses, I’m scared to commit after my travel one failed!

    • Christine
      Author
      October 30, 2018 / 2:47 pm

      I literally just got paid out by Amazon today…I calculated how much they made in four months vs me. Then I laugh-cried. GAHAHA–it’s a bit wild, really. I’ll be sure to use your links when I purchase–we (blogger friends and I) noticed that Amazon is incredibly strict about ‘friends’ and watches engagement and such. Half of the customers’ purchases from my site aren’t counting, and seriously, I have NO idea who these people are making the purchases. They aren’t friends, family, or bloggers that I know, especially based on what is being purchased. I messaged Amazon to see what was up and all they said was that they block IPs from friends and family. I jokingly wrote back how I must have secret admirers and blog followers lol. But seriously, they must look at time spent and other factors–that are incredibly strict. I can’t complain because Amazon still brings me cash, and they are really great: easy to work with, tracks everything for me, and are universal.

      I feel you about not wanting to spend a lot of money up front too. I think I dished out at least $700 (I do keep track for taxes) in start-up costs. Hosting, Adobe, LLC protection…you name it… I am determined to make it work, but I am definitely terrified of failing. At the end of the day, I just remember that I enjoy it, it will take time, and I can always add and try new things. New businesses rarely get out of the red in the first year. I am learning a lot for sure.

  7. October 29, 2018 / 9:33 pm

    Great breakdown of .com vs .org! We’re so glad we went with .org and self hosting. It makes a world of difference!

    Need to check out ShareASale. Not that we’re anywhere else to being able to monetise since our page/site views are still abysmally low. Oh, but one day… *sigh*

    And yeah, Amazon is insanely strict. I find it so ridiculous that you might be penalised for a friend or family member seeing something you advertise and GENUINELY wanting to buy it. So long as it’s not you (which some affiliates allow, but I can understand why they wouldn’t), honestly don’t get why it’s such a big deal. Especially since everyone complains how low Amazon’s commission is, as well! Still, we endure…

    • Christine
      Author
      October 30, 2018 / 5:15 pm

      Thank you!

      I needed that .com vs .org lecture long before I wasted some cash on themes for the wrong platform. WP .com asks why you are leaving, and the answer is DUH….they really do have false advertising. You can’t truly monetize with .com, even though they pretend that you can.

      I first started with ShareASale because of Tailwind–which has tenfold made a difference in my blogging traffic. My page views are slowly getting up there. I’d love to be at 10,000 a month before Dec. I’m learning that I do have to write more posts that sell for my audience.

      Commission cracks me up sometimes. Someone used my Barnes and Noble affiliate links for almost $50 in books; I received 48 cents. I just got 4 cents off of an ebook sale on Amazon. I am still hoping to master affiliate marketing as passive income. Bloggers make $1,000 a month from it alone, if not more. It’s wild. I need to organize my affiliates. I recently started applying for everyone–indiv. programs payout more.

  8. November 9, 2018 / 6:03 pm

    You are the BEST!! I was just talking to my husband (aka, my IT department) about how I think I’m ready to start monetizing my blog. Just to see how it goes! But, it is overwhelming when it comes to picking a place to start. I’ve done some research here and there, but this post really helped give good details about programs, especially for us book bloggers. Thank you so much for all this info!!! It’s a great starting point.

    Out of curiousity — do you know anything about how paying taxes on blog income works? I used to do freelance work, and the paperwork needed to file for “freelance” or “home business” taxes is brutally expensive. This is one of the reasons I’ve been reluctant to start monetizing; I don’t wanna pay $300 for paperwork for my business that’s only bringing in $3 a month, lol. I always see so much about making money from blogs — but not about how to handle taxes! If you know of any good place for info on that, I would be grateful for the links! 🙂 Thanks!

    • Christine
      Author
      November 11, 2018 / 4:56 pm

      Thank you so much! It is so overwhelming–I am not going to lie. I did A LOT of research, and I have been trying new tactics. I also started taking more online courses and watching youtube videos. I am glad that you found this helpful.

      So if you are a freelancer, you know about self-employment taxes and reporting, which I am just learning. This is how I became a LLC: https://theuncorkedlibrarian.com/turning-your-blog-into-a-business. As you probably know, a single member LLC operates like a freelancer but you have different asset protection (or so a casual lawyer told me). The only real difference is that someone would sue my blog and not me. The $300+ in paperwork is worth it for me because I don’t want to get personally in trouble because I thought I had permission to use a book cover when I didn’t…or something like that. Leave my wine fund alone! If you make more than $400ish (don’t quote me–I am not a professional tax person or lawyer), than you went from hobby to business and officially have to pay taxes. Most of these affiliates ask for a W-9. They track a lot for you too. To be safe, my husband bought Turbo Tax for small business this coming year. I’ll let you know if it was the right choice. I am still trying to figure out all of the taxes, honestly. I just started making money and fully using these affiliates. I have Excel sheets with expenses and income. If I make more (which I haven’t but hope to next year), I’d honestly go see an accountant or at least call my local business resource center to make sure that I am doing taxes 200% correctly. Hope that helps! I’ll keep you up to date as I learn.

      • November 12, 2018 / 9:23 pm

        This definitely helps a lot! Thank you for sharing all these candid details. Also helps to know that the general “hobby” threshold is around $400. I saw your other comment above about how much you actually had to invest into the blog before being able to start trying to make money (LLC, etc). That is crazy, and all that stuff never even occured to me. I never seem to think of this as “this is starting a business”; it’s always “this is a hobby that may bring in extra cash!” But the former is a reality, and one I definitely need to do a lot of research in before I decide I’m ready to jump in. Thanks again for sharing all your experiences thus far!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *