Blogging can be grueling. It requires discipline, creativity, consistency, and dedication. Even after you’ve written the content, you still have to format it by adding interesting pictures, links, SEO tags, and more. Then, you have to promote it via social media, advertising, and paid/organic search. Let’s face it – it’s work!
Maybe you’ve been writing awhile and want to leverage all that work into some money. You can secure a site sponsor, sell ads, beg your rich Uncle Fred to commission works, or you can make affiliate offers to your audience (or all of the above). There are probably other options too, but we’re going to take a look at the affiliate option.
What’s an Affiliate Program?
Affiliate programs allow you to earn a commission for selling someone else’s stuff. They typically include digital products like e-books, seminars, and courses but can also include offline products like just about anything you can buy at Amazon.com.
Google affiliate product marketplaces and you will find dozens like Clickbank, Amazon, Commission Junction, and more. You can even earn money hosting ads from Google on your site (although the commissions tend to be quite small per transaction). The options are practically endless.
You sign up (typically for free) as an affiliate with a company/supplier and then you are given a custom, unique code to add to your marketing collateral. You can place these coded links as hyperlinks within your blog posts, reviews, resource listings, or clickable ads on your sidebar, for example. This unique code helps track the leads and subsequent sales you create for the affiliate product provider.
So, what’s the short and sweet? When you sell stuff, you get paid.
10 Questions to Answer
Affiliate revenue can be tricky and you certainly don’t want to alienate the audience you’ve worked so hard to build. Before you begin, here are 10 important questions to answer.
- Is the product compatible with your audience’s needs?
- Does the front end marketing respect your audience or is it all just pitch & jive?
- Does the back end process respect your audience? (pox on the house of Spam)
- Have you had the monetization conversation with your audience or will this be an unexpected change for them?
- Have you developed a justifiable and supportable selection criteria and policy (and shared that) as to what you recommend?
- Have you prepared and prominently posted a disclosure statement that you are an affiliate? (this is required by law in the US)
- Can you vouch for the company and product personally?
- Is the downside of monetization (potential stigma, negative view by viewers, reduction in trust resulting from endorsing) overcome by the revenue gains?
- Do you philosophically believe in it? (if no, quit reading & don’t do it, ok?)
- Is this the best option for monetizing your blog?
I am a believer in affiliate revenue, although I find it more fun to create my own original products and let others be my affiliate rather than the other way around. That said, selling products that support your niche is a fantastic way to extend value and enrich both your bank account and your audience. If you do it with integrity and a sincere attitude of service, honoring your peeps, all should go well. No, go forth and secure ye some mailbox money!
[Graphic by PinkMoose]