Are you making money with affiliate marketing? It’s one of my favorite strategies for monetizing a blog because it’s:
- A great way to connect your audience with fabulous products and services
- Simple to do
- Low entry barrier (you don’t need to have a lot of money to spend in order to earn with affiliate marketing)
- Versatile – you can find affiliate programs in every niche
Affiliate marketing is amazing, if you’re making money. But I hear from so many bloggers who aren’t seeing the needle moving.
They have affiliate links in their posts. They’re promoting things on social media.
But, no matter what they try, they just can’t generate the affiliate income they were hoping for.
If you’re in that boat, let me encourage you. You can do this. You can make money through affiliate marketing. Don’t give up!
But, do evaluate. What are you doing that is working? What are you doing that just feels like a giant time suck?
One way to improve your affiliate marketing income is to partner with the right companies. Not every affiliate marketing program is a good one for you to make money with.
To help you out, here are some of the best affiliate programs to make money that I’ve discovered.
No, Amazon doesn’t pay affiliates a ton of money. Or keep their cookies very long.
With these limitations, you might be wondering why they’re on a list for affiliate programs that make money. Here’s why:
Amazon has two great things going for them that make it simpler to make money with their Affiliate Program:
- Have you seen how many different items are for sale on Amazon? There is so much variety! Every blogger could find something to link to. This variety sets this affiliate program apart.
- Have you tried promoting bounties? These are a fixed rate payment you get for promoting Amazon verticals like Amazon Prime, Amazon Video, Audible, and several others. Best of all, many of these generate commission when your readers sign up for a free trial. Being able to promote a free trial is a great way to introduce your audience to the services.
Remember that you get a percentage of any products the customer purchases after clicking through your affiliate link. They do not have to purchase what they clicked on. So if you have someone click on a sticker book and wind up buying a camera that’s $2500, you just earned a nice commission.
Tip: Prime Day Is coming! Are you ready for it? Read this post for help:
2. Ultimate Bundles
It’s no secret that I LOVE partnering with the team over at Ultimate Bundles. In fact, I wrote a post dishing out my best tips for making money as an Ultimate Bundle affiliate.
Here’s a quick peek at why Ultimate Bundles is one of my favorite (and top-performing) affiliate programs:
- Generous commission. If you’re an affiliate you get 40%. If you’re a contributor, you get 70%. They are very generous, and even have a second-tier affiliate program, where you can refer other people to promote the bundles, and you get a portion of the sales they generate. With such great commission rates, the money really adds up quickly.
- Affiliate training. As an Ultimate Bundles affiliate, you can join their Facebook group and join their affiliate training. They offer webinars, sales planners, tips for increasing your conversion rates, and much more.
- Something for Every Niche. Have you seen the number of bundles this team puts together each year? It’s impressive! And it means there’s something for you to promote to you audience.
- The leaderboard prizes! I love being on the leaderboard! The prizes are phenomenal and they’re motivating.
If you want to check out all the available and upcoming bundles, you can. It’s not too late to promote the next one! Give it a try…
3. Your Favorite Blogging Services
If you monetize your blog, other people are going to wonder how you did it. And want to know what tools and products you used to make it happen.
So tell them! You don’t have to blog about blogging to share what you’re using. You can have a resources page on your site. Or a little custom ad in your sidebar highlighting some of your favorite tools. Just make sure you have them set to use your affiliate link so when people click through you get credit.
Whatever tools you legitimately use AND recommend are fair game, if they have an affiliate program. And that goes beyond just blogging tools. Throughout the day, pay attention to the things you use over and over again. Do they have affiliate programs?
Since you are a true fan, you’ll be able to create content your readers can’t resist. It’ll answer their questions and compel them to make a purchase.
In a nutshell? Promote things you really use. And tell your readers how awesome they are. Without lying or going over the top.
ShareASale is an affiliate network, which means you can access tons of affiliate programs from there. There are over 4,000 merchants represented and 1,000 of those affiliate programs are only available through ShareASale.
If you aren’t an affiliate with ShareASale yet, you definitely should consider joining. There’s something for everyone, which is a huge advantage.
The terms and conditions vary from program to program within ShareASale, but they are very good at providing you details. Here are some money-making affiliate programs you can apply for, to show you what sorts of things you can expect:
You can search for merchants by category and see what is available for you to promote. Sign up for several and see what resonates with your audience.
How do I know what to promote?
It works for me & I've used it myself. It's really hard to promote something you haven't personally used and loved. A good example of this for me would be FlexJobs. I get a lot of questions about this program. If someone asks me where to find something in the dashboard, I can tell them. If they tell me they aren't finding ANY jobs to apply to, I can provide them with a list of steps that may change that. If they ask me if I pay for a membership myself, I can, with 100% honesty, say YES.
That's why I always recommend bloggers new to affiliate marketing to first take a look around their own life for things to promote. What little things have made a big difference in your life? What things do you pay for that are related to your niche? Those are the things you can sell with 100% transparency and honesty.
Be trustworthy. The last thing you want is to get caught in a lie if someone asks you something about navigation of a dashboard or how the pricing of something works and you have to tell them you have no idea because you really don't use it. You are only promoting it because of the big payout.
Where do I promote my links?
Mention it in a blog post. A lot of bloggers get great initial results by working backward. Make a list of your top 5 or 10 blog posts. What things would be a natural fit in there? If it's a recipe post, maybe it's a few of the necessary tools needed to complete the recipe. Include your Amazon link. If it's a potty training tale, include a list of books you read or potty training supplies you recommend. Still not sure? Google posts similar to yours. What are those people promoting within those posts?
Write a review post. You don't always have to take the stale, old review structure. Maybe your post will be “10 awesome things I've bought with my Swagbucks” or “3 courses in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle that changed my life.” Honestly, I hate writing traditional reviews. But writing something like the two examples given gets me excited and allows me to more clearly show my excitement. That's what sells – your story and excitement!
Do a YouTube video. This is another great way to do a review but in a much more visual form. Bonus: this also lets people know you have actually purchased or used the product yourself if you are showing it on video.
Include it in a list post. List posts can be great not only for traffic but also sharing affiliate links. Make a list of your favorite industry tools, products or supplies.
Tell your email list about it. If you have an engaged email list, and I hope you do, it will almost always outperform a blog post. You may choose to (sparingly) write a dedicated email about something you love, or just link to it as it fits naturally within your story. Or, add a P.S. to the bottom of your email if you have a special sale or coupon code to share.
Keep Promoting Your Affiliates
Now that you have a couple of money-making affiliate programs, it’s time to help them make you money. You can’t just stick in your links and call it a day.
No one will click through. They may not even realize there’s a link there.
Instead of random links, spend some time talking about the pros and cons. Be honest, not speaking like a used car salesman.
And talk about it more than once. You can’t have a single blog post with a single link to an affiliate program and expect it to make money. It won’t.
So be consistent. Include multiple links. Test multiple phrases (ie Buy Now, Learn More, The Name of the Product, etc.).
Don’t be afraid to experiment when it comes to affiliate marketing. You can do this!
First published in April 2018. Updated July 2019.