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:
- Logical Media ($25 sign up bonus!) – samples, coupons and more
- ShopHer Media – samples, coupon and more
- Coupons.com – coupons
- Market Leverage – samples, coupon and more
- ReadySite ($25 sign up bonus!) – samples, coupon and more
- CPAStorm – surveys and more
- Pepperjam – shopping and more
- Commission Junction – coupons, photo printing, shopping and more
- Ebates ($5 cash or $10 GC sign up bonus!) – coupons, photo printing, shopping and more
- Cashbaq ($5 sign up bonus!) – coupons, photo printing, shopping and more
- Mr. Rebates ($5 sign up bonus!) – coupons, photo printing, shopping and more
- Big Crumbs – coupons, photo printing, shopping and more
- LinkShare – coupons, photo printing, shopping and more
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.