Many bloggers make money selling their own products from their blogging, often advertising them in the sidebars and naturally weaving them into their blog posts. These products can range from ebooks to handmade scarfs and everything in between. What if you don’t have any products yet have readers who are looking to buy? Or perhaps you blog on an area where having your own products is unlikely, maybe new cellphones and cellphone technology for example? You can sell other people’s products and services too via affiliate programs and get a commission, a percentage of the sale. Commissions range from a low of approximately 4%-7% for Amazon to often over 50% for downloaded electronic products like ebooks.
An easy way to find appropriate affiliate programs is simple to type “affiliate program” plus your subject into the search engines. For example to monetize a site on flyfishing, typing “flyfishing affiliate program” into google returned multiple great options.
Although many companies run their own affiliate programs, there are companies that run affiliate programs for multiple merchants including some really major ones like eBay, Sony, and Dell. Examples include AvantLink, LinkShare, Commission Junction and ClickBank. Amazon also has a very popular affiliate program that you can use to sell books and electronics and more.
Although the only products from Amazon I display from my blog are books, if someone clicks through to Amazon I get credit for anything they buy. In the past few months I have made money from people buying green tea, tampons, electronics and copies of my books too. It always shocks me what people are buying from Amazon via my blog. The nice thing about Amazon is even if you don’t want to look commercial, recommending professional books via the Amazon program is very non-commercial.
You better make sure you like the affiliate products and services you are promoting and that they fit into the general theme of your blog. You don’t want anyone to think you are selling stuff just because you are getting a commission. It better be good and you better like it or you are going to lose your credibility.
One of the best ways to promote affiliate programs is via email. “Email?” you say, but isn’t this article about blogging? Many bloggers have an email list as well of interested readers, often gathered by having a signup form on your blog for a newsletter. Offering a freebie or “ethical bribe” for people to signup will greatly increase signups. This freebie is usually something instantly downloadable, for example a special report, ebook, or audio file.
Of course if you have you own products you can also start your own affiliate program, enlisting bloggers and others to help spread your wares.
Some people make a full time living promoting affiliate programs. Others, like myself, get a few extra dollars a month, and whether that’s $20 or $2000 it’s very welcome.