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Blogging for Income: Affiliate Sites

by Tara Kuczykowski on October 22, 2008 · 54 comments

Learning how to monetize a blog actually probably isn't the ideal place to start a blogging for income series, but because this is Money-Making Week, it's where I'm going to begin. Hopefully this will give those of you that already have blogs a starting point, and for those of you thinking about blogging, I'll come back to getting started over the coming weeks.

There are many ways to earn an income from blogging. You can use AdSense, ad networks, affiliate sites, sell your own products, do paid posts and on and on. But don't be fooled into thinking that blogging is a get-rich-quick ticket. It's hard work, and it can be very discouraging when you're starting out with little traffic and few comments.

(BTW readers, bloggers LOVE comments. Even if you just take a moment to say, "Thanks, that post really helped me out," I guarantee you'll make someone's day!)

With so many methods, it's only natural that some will work for some people while not for others. It's important to try a variety to see what works best for you. I've experimented with several, and one of my favorite methods is affiliate marketing.

So what's so special about affiliate marketing? Basically it's a win for me and a win for my readers! My readers get to sign up for great samples and other offers, and I get paid a little bit to offer them the opportunity. Of course not every sample I blog about earns me money. In fact most of them don't, but it's always a nice incentive when they do!

Some important tips about affiliate marketing:

  • Be selective. Before you promote an offer on your blog, look at the landing page that your affiliate link takes you to.  Is it something that you would feel comfortable signing up for?  If in doubt, you can email your rep at the affiliate network for additional details.  You don't want to damage the trust your readers have placed in you by having them register for a scam.
  • Do your homework. Be sure to pay close attention to the terms and conditions regarding an offer.  Some offers can't be offered as a text link.  Some can be sent in an email format.  Some offers can be incentivized meaning you can offer a bonus if a readers takes advantage of the opportunity.  Just be sure that you read thoroughly and understand before you promote.  Again, you can ask your rep for help if you have any questions.
  • Don't overdo it. Constantly bombarding your readers with affiliate links and placing tons of banners and ads in your sidebars will only turn them off.  Select a few good offers to promote and focus on them.
  • Personalize it. If you've had a personal experience with the company or offer you are promoting, tell your readers about it.  They're reading your blog because they like what you have to say, so if you can approach them with an insider's point of view, they'll be that much more likely to take action.

There are literally thousands of different affiliate companies out there.  The ones I've signed on with probably aren't even a drop in the bucket, but many were sites that were recommended to me when I started out, so I'd like to share them with my readers as well.

Recommended affiliate companies:

As I mentioned before, you're probably not going to make big bucks using these companies, but using them strategically can generate some nice pocket change or give you a little breathing room in your budget.

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

1 kim October 23, 2008 at 7:58 am

I have been waiting all week for this post. I would be new to this type of blogging but so many Mom's have helped me get started and being a social worker at heart I thought this would be a good way for me to continue helping others while I am home with my boys. I can't wait to see what you have to say about getting started. I am also wondering how the 'reviews/giveaways' work.

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2 Andrea @ Mommy Snacks October 23, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Tara, all great things to consider!!

I am with you 100% on selectivity. If I don't sign up for something myself, I don't feel comfortable sharing that with my readers.

Andrea @ Mommy Snacks´s last blog post..Walgreens Snack: Week of October 26

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3 Andrea @ Mommy Snacks October 23, 2008 at 8:39 am

Tara, all great things to consider!!

I am with you 100% on selectivity. If I don't sign up for something myself, I don't feel comfortable sharing that with my readers.

Andrea @ Mommy Snacks´s last blog post..Walgreens Snack: Week of October 26

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4 Kim October 23, 2008 at 5:41 pm

I am thankful that you mentioned that Andrea. I was on a blog just yesterday that mentioned doing reviews for extra cash and when I went into the site it asked me how much I could spend. I asked the site manager or anyone reading the blog if anyone had any experience with this company and the manager just posted my response and there hasn't been anything sense. I think it really matters in this atmosphere that you trust the companies that you are posting information on and that you don't just do it because there is a monetary gain.

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5 Kim October 23, 2008 at 1:41 pm

I am thankful that you mentioned that Andrea. I was on a blog just yesterday that mentioned doing reviews for extra cash and when I went into the site it asked me how much I could spend. I asked the site manager or anyone reading the blog if anyone had any experience with this company and the manager just posted my response and there hasn't been anything sense. I think it really matters in this atmosphere that you trust the companies that you are posting information on and that you don't just do it because there is a monetary gain.

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6 Deal Seeking Mom October 27, 2008 at 3:36 am

Andrea and Kim, I absolutely agree, and that's why I felt it was important to point out in my post. Losing my readers' trust is not worth earning a few bucks on an affiliate promotion.

Kim, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I'll be continuing the series. Thanks for letting me know you're interested in tips on posting giveaways. I'll make sure to include that information!

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7 Deal Seeking Mom October 26, 2008 at 11:36 pm

Andrea and Kim, I absolutely agree, and that's why I felt it was important to point out in my post. Losing my readers' trust is not worth earning a few bucks on an affiliate promotion.

Kim, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I'll be continuing the series. Thanks for letting me know you're interested in tips on posting giveaways. I'll make sure to include that information!

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8 Beth October 27, 2008 at 4:04 am

Thanks so much for your insights! This is a hobby of mine and a way to show my kids that giving is just as important as receiving, and I would hate when they get older to be "tricked" into something on my site just because I had a link to it! It isn't worth the extra money, but I do like sharing the good deals!

Beth´s last blog post..My first Giveaway - $125 Lodis Ballet Wallet! Let's make it great!

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9 Beth October 27, 2008 at 12:04 am

Thanks so much for your insights! This is a hobby of mine and a way to show my kids that giving is just as important as receiving, and I would hate when they get older to be "tricked" into something on my site just because I had a link to it! It isn't worth the extra money, but I do like sharing the good deals!

Beth´s last blog post..My first Giveaway - $125 Lodis Ballet Wallet! Let's make it great!

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10 Amy October 29, 2008 at 3:01 am

That is such great advice, Tara! We try to be very selective about affiliate marketing and only really use it when it is truly useful. In the beginning, I wasn't as selective, but I learned with time that it was good to do my research & homework. Wonderful tips!

Amy´s last blog post..The MomAdvice Big Give: Faith Mission of Elkhart, Indiana

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11 Amy October 28, 2008 at 11:01 pm

That is such great advice, Tara! We try to be very selective about affiliate marketing and only really use it when it is truly useful. In the beginning, I wasn't as selective, but I learned with time that it was good to do my research & homework. Wonderful tips!

Amy´s last blog post..The MomAdvice Big Give: Faith Mission of Elkhart, Indiana

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12 Katja November 3, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Thanks for great tips!

Katja´s last blog post..Road Trip - Guess Where We Are Going!

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13 Kay February 8, 2009 at 1:26 am

thanks for the advice! :)

Kay´s last blog post..Stainless Steel Pot Rice Cooker, a Safer Health Choice

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14 Mathea Ford March 2, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Thanks so much for the info! I love reading what you have as posts every day!

Mathea Ford´s last blog post..Spring Fling Craft Show!

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15 Melissa March 25, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Great advice! Thank you! I also agree about only posting things that I feel comfortable with- I have family and friends that go to my site and I wouldn't want them to be scammed! Thanks again, as always, I enjoy your site!

Melissa´s last blog post..Fry's Week of 3/25 - 3/31

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16 Rachel @ Surviving The Stores March 25, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Great advice! I always sign up for the programs before I recommend them to "test" them out. It's always fun when I was going to recommend something anyway and then come to find out there's an ad for it as well!

Rachel @ Surviving The Stores´s last blog post..Update on Pace Salsa Coupon

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17 Christina @ Recession Proof Shopping March 27, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Thanks so much for writing this! My blog is brand new and I'm trying to learn all I can about blogging so I can share what I've learned about beating the recession through shopping with others. I'll be following this for sure! I've learned so much already from your websites! Thanks!

Christina @ Recession Proof Shopping´s last blog post..Friday's Frugal Find

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18 Swap Savers March 28, 2009 at 1:43 am

Thanks for the list--that is a great idea. I am surprised you don't have Swag Bucks listed under rewards programs. It is one of my favorite programs since you can earn rewards without spending any money! Here is more information about it http://www.swapsavers.com/forum/topics/swag-bucks-code-22609

Swap Savers´s last blog post..Marilyn Schmett replied to the discussion 'Cash 4 Books'

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19 Swap Savers March 27, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Thanks for the list--that is a great idea. I am surprised you don't have Swag Bucks listed under rewards programs. It is one of my favorite programs since you can earn rewards without spending any money! Here is more information about it http://www.swapsavers.com/forum/topics/swag-bucks-code-22609

Swap Savers´s last blog post..Marilyn Schmett replied to the discussion 'Cash 4 Books'

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20 Robyn April 13, 2009 at 9:34 am

Thanks Tara, this is GREAT INFORMATION and thanks so much for sharing it! :)

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21 Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) May 25, 2009 at 7:28 pm

GREAT info! Thanks Tara for sharing your wisdom. You definitely are an affiliate expert! :)

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom)´s last blog post..Happy Memorial Day

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22 theresa April 1, 2010 at 6:50 pm

I am new to this and this info is awesome and so helpful. Does anyone know if you can use google adsense and those other affiliates.

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23 theresa April 1, 2010 at 2:50 pm

I am new to this and this info is awesome and so helpful. Does anyone know if you can use google adsense and those other affiliates.

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24 Tara Kuczykowski April 1, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Yep, you should be able to use them, Theresa. I started using many when I first started my blog.

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25 Tara Kuczykowski April 1, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Yep, you should be able to use them, Theresa. I started using many when I first started my blog.

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26 Financialbondage May 7, 2010 at 11:34 pm

it's not easy getting blog traffic or making $. As I am finding out. Adsense or affiliate programs won't make you money until you get one key element. Traffic. Lots of it. And that takes time. think years not months.

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27 Financialbondage May 7, 2010 at 7:34 pm

it's not easy getting blog traffic or making $. As I am finding out. Adsense or affiliate programs won't make you money until you get one key element. Traffic. Lots of it. And that takes time. think years not months.

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28 shaina June 14, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Does Target have a new coupon affiliate program? I keep seeing blogs with affiliate links for Target now but I'm not sure how to apply for it! Any ideas?

Shaina

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29 Tara Kuczykowski June 15, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Shaina, Target has an affiliate link through their program with Connect Commerce. However, you won't receive income for prints. If someone makes an online purchase from Target.com you'd earn from that.

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30 Christina August 16, 2010 at 5:43 pm

When you join Coupons.com's Affiliate program, I see where you make banners, but what if I just want to list links to their coupons? How do you do that? thanks!

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31 debt managemenmt uk September 15, 2010 at 7:34 am

Good Advice.Thanks.

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32 Jane October 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Hi Tara,

First off I really love your site-and I think you do well because you are honest about deals.

I have my own small coupon blog, it's pretty dismal. :( But I do work too, and have managed to sell affiliate marketing to my CEO (gasp), but so far the exp.has been awful. 70,000 on a mailing list- no sale? I suspect it's the affiliate company. Anyways- I'd like to ask your advice re: company (it's listed above and has been cited in a class action lawsuit) . And any suggestions on a reputable affiliate network that offers Groupon etc..

Thanks!

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33 Tara Kuczykowski November 1, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I'm not sure which company you're referring to, Jane, but I've had a good experience with all of the companies listed. I think Commission Junction has a Groupon program, but you could also go directly through Groupon to receive Groupon credits as well.

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34 Diane November 10, 2010 at 10:56 am

First, I would like to say that I love your site.
I have only just begun a blog and am learning as I go. My question is, are their affiliates for smartsource and bricks coupons?

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35 Tara Kuczykowski November 10, 2010 at 11:03 am

Thanks, Diane! There isn't an affiliate program for Bricks coupon, but there is for Smartsource. You can try emailing jbeliveau@newsamerica.com for details.

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36 Pudding November 22, 2010 at 10:44 am

Hi
I am very newbie in all and very motivated to do my own blog just as a hobby. Your website is very helpful and fun. I was wondering if you can share your experience with Ads by Google. I heard that is hard to get paid with them an also you have to give them your credit card number so they withdrow money every mothn for their services. Can you get enought earning to paid the monthly fee and also keep some bucks for you? Thank you

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37 Tara Kuczykowski November 22, 2010 at 10:49 am

It's not that it's hard to get paid by Google -- I get paid every month -- but when you're starting out it can take quite awhile because they only pay when you have reached $100 in your account. I honestly don't remember if I had to register a credit card because that was about two-and-a-half years ago, but there is no monthly fee.

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38 Laura February 19, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Thank you for posting this :)

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39 tracey April 11, 2011 at 8:45 pm

thanks for all these tips! I have already signed up for a few of these and just added a few more via your links so thanks!

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40 Joyce Allen May 21, 2011 at 12:03 pm

This was very helpful. I'm starting a coupon blog and this is great advice !!!!

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41 Autumn June 18, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Thank you so much for these postings! I am new to blogging, and I love it! But there is so much out there, and not a lot of good info on how to really get the ball rolling on how to make it a little profitable. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

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42 Dawn August 9, 2011 at 10:07 am

Just found this and it is great!!! I do have a question though......can I use any website host??? like hostgator??? or do I need a special company?
Thanks!
D

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43 Tara Kuczykowski August 9, 2011 at 10:31 am

Sure, you can use any hosting company that you like.

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44 Amy August 17, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Hi there and thanks for the awesome info! I have a question, I see on other people's blogs links for coupons and when you click it, it automatically comes up ready to print, and says it is a brick coupon. Where do I find an affiliate for bricks, or links to these coupons directly? (I don't want to copy/paste other people's links and post those as they could be making the money from it!).
As you can see, i'm fairly new to all this but loving the learning process a lot!!

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45 Tara Kuczykowski November 6, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Hi Amy -- sorry I missed this before. There is no affiliate program that I'm aware of for Bricks coupons.

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46 Lisa November 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Are there affiliate programs for Target coupons? I've read older posts on WeUseCoupons that they do not have any, but sometimes I see affiliate-like links on websites.

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47 Tara Kuczykowski November 6, 2011 at 9:33 pm

There isn't technically an affiliate program for printing Target coupons. However, Target.com does have an affiliate program through Google Affiliate, and they offer an affiliate link that leads directly to the coupons page. You won't earn when people print coupons, but you may earn something from people that visit the site to print a coupon and then make a purchase.

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48 Lisa December 15, 2011 at 11:03 am

Thanks! I just happened to see this now LOL.

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49 PixelManila January 12, 2012 at 11:56 am

This article is very informative specially for a newbie like me. Thanks a lot :)

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50 Smart Money Manager August 6, 2012 at 7:28 am

Another great advice. Truly helpful for a mom like me who wants to earn online.

Thanks again!

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51 Penny Matrix Exposed December 4, 2012 at 11:51 pm

I must thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this blog. I really hope to check out the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal website now ;)

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52 Wendy February 13, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Thanks for sharing the affiliate links.

I've been trying to figure out how I can post the grocery deals. Any tips?

Also, I tried to go to the ReadySite link above, but Internet Explorer wouldn't show the page.

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53 affiliate income April 14, 2013 at 10:58 am

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website.

I really hope to see the same high-grade content by you
in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my
very own website now ;)

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54 Theresa September 20, 2013 at 8:17 pm

I cannot thank you enough for posting this information. I Have been blogging daily for 20 months now and I am making a piddly amount compared the time I put in. I am extremely selective about my blog content, and don't post any deals I wouldn't do myself. I have Google AdSense and Escalate, but it is great to have links to other options!!!

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