When you first start a blog, revenue is on your mind, albeit at the back of it. More often than not, a blog stems from the sheer passion for writing and documenting what you love, whether it’s fashion, beauty, food, travel, or lifestyle. A following – should that be what you’re looking for – typically comes afterward. Only then does monetization really enter the equation.
Ads & Affiliate Marketing
The beauty of blogging, as a part-time (or even full-time) gig, is that there are countless avenues to explore to be paid for your efforts. The first – and currently the most universal – method to earn money as a blogger is through sponsored online advertisements and affiliate marketing links. They’re ads that track your visitors’ actions once they interact with the banner or text URL, and reward you commission should they make a purchase. We’ll cover more ways to monetize your blog in the coming weeks, but until then, here are our tips for successfully using ad networks and affiliate programs:
1) Use only the most relevant ad networks and affiliate programs
Once again, affiliate ads and links pay per action, meaning you’ll only receive a commission for the sales directed from your website or social media platforms. That being said, it’s in your best interest to work with only the most relevant ad networks and affiliate programs to your content, because your audience is most likely to click what interests them. For example, a food blog has no business utilizing networks meant for beauty brands.
Many companies have independent ad and affiliate programs — it’s just about finding the right ones for you. Third-party programs like CJ Affiliate and Rakuten LinkShare give you access to thousands of brands with affiliate programs, although you must apply and be approved for each one. Websites like RewardStyle and Skimlinks offer automatically created banner ads and links only for the brands they’ve partnered with, which can be limited.
You’ll also want to compare and sign up for the programs that offer the most commission on clicks and/or sales. Just be sure to do your research once you’ve pinpointed who best to work with!
2) Create content with the intent to sell products
Although generally, you should be creating content pieces that satisfy you creatively, there are always dimensions you can add in order to monetize them. Optimize your blog posts and social media updates to sell relevant products, or explore new topics for this purpose specifically. The ads you choose to show should then complement your posts, and vice versa.
For example, if you have a fashion blog or social media channels where you post your daily outfits, be proactive about wearing clothes that are current, so that they can be linked and (hopefully) purchased by your readers. You may also choose to build product collages as wishlists, color stories, or inspiration for the opportunity to link many items at once. There are infinite ways to integrate ads and affiliate links; be certain you’re being as authentic yet strategic with it as possible.
3) Be diligent with ad/link placement
It can be quite tedious to search for the right ads and products to link, but the more work you put into it, the more you can get out of it. Be mindful of what’s trending in your networks to know what ads will perform best on your platforms. Link every product you mention or link multiple products that are similar. If you’re posting about something on Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest, have them click through to the suitable affiliate URL so that when they’re shared by others, your links are being used by their audiences too. It’s all about dedication!