Woman using a laptop and writing notes - ultimate guide to affiliate marketing for bloggers.

Want to learn more about affiliate marketing for bloggers? It’s one of the easiest and most profitable ways for new bloggers to make money with their sites without much effort. So, this easy affiliate marketing guide is a good start.

Personally, right now, it’s my number three strategy for earning profits from my blog business. It’s something I focus on every time I write and publish a fresh blog post.

However, when it comes to new bloggers, I recommend it as the NUMBER ONE way to make a passive income while you’re busy honing your blogging skills and growing your blog.

Like with any monetization strategy, there are some rules and key essential elements that you need in place for success.

This post will take you through the essentials to help you get started making money with your blog!

I’ll answer these questions:

  • What is affiliate marketing?
  • Why it’s a great monetization strategy for bloggers
  • What you need to get started with affiliate marketing
  • What’s the general process for affiliate marketing
  • What kind of affiliate programs are out there to sign up to?
  • Where can you find affiliate programs for your favourite products and services?
  • How to join affiliate programs
  • What do to after you’ve joined? Essential steps to take to keep organized.
  • How to add affiliate links
  • What to do about “nofollow”
  • Where can you share affiliate links for maximum opportunities?
  • What are some tips for affiliate review posts to boost conversions?

Wouldn’t it be awesome to cover the costs of managing your self-hosted blog and have extra profits on hand?

Absolutely yes!

So, grab a cup of coffee or tea, read my ultimate guide to affiliate marketing for bloggers and get started sooner than later!

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on a product or service, and decide to purchase it, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. All recommended products and services are based on my positive experience with them. For more information, please read my Disclaimer.

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Before we get started, sign up to get access to a list of 50+ Affiliate Marketing Networks & Programs that are great for new bloggers.

Affiliate Marketing For Bloggers: An Ongoing Passive Income

It was during a Saturday day trip with my family when I got the email saying I received an affiliate sale. Cha-ching! That’s $60 coming my way.

Mama can cover an impromptu lunch out!

The joy of affiliate marketing for bloggers is that once you set things in motion, you can start earning a passive income with affiliate links. With minimal ongoing effort.

Making affiliate marketing part of your blog is fairly easy. These are a few easy ways you’ll add links:

  • To new or existing blog posts on relevant subjects: affiliate products/services are mentioned as a useful tool or resource that solves the problem
  • Product or service review posts that are only about it
  • Tools & Resources pages

Once you have it published, it’s there for people to click the affiliate link and potentially purchase it.

This makes it much easier to make money with your blog.

|RELATED: The Reality Of Making Money With A Blog

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is defined as an activity in which publishers (affiliates) earn a commission from successfully promoting a product or service offered by an advertiser.

  • For publishers and bloggers, it’s a monetization strategy.
  • For brands and retailers (advertisers or sometimes called merchants) it’s a sales strategy.

They leverage affiliates with online platforms (e.g., online publications or bloggers) to generate sales through promoted links.

The brand’s goal is to make sales. The affiliate’s goal is to make money from commissions.

As an incentive for publishers to promote their product/service, brands offer a commission based on a percentage of the sale or a set price.

This is the flow:

Affiliate marketing flowchart

How much can you earn? It all depends on the program.

Commission percentages can range anywhere from 5% to over 40%. The commission structure can be a one-time sale or a recurring sale. Sometimes it’s a set price, for example, $15 per sale.

In other words, there are great opportunities for ongoing income from selling affiliate products and services.

This is why affiliate marketing makes sense as a monetization strategy for most bloggers. There’s little ongoing effort required, but great rewards, if you do things effectively.

Some of the biggest publications in the world are using affiliate links on their online properties. For example, Good Housekeeping has affiliate links in its online articles. The site’s Gift Guides and product reviews are peppered with affiliate links.

If the big guys are doing it… you should be too!

What Do You Need Before You Start Affiliate Marketing

Before you jump into affiliate marketing, there are a few key essentials you need:

  • Pretty Links (free version for beginners is fine) or Lasso (premium – it’s best if you’re focusing on Amazon, Walmart etc, and looking to create grids and other eye-catching affiliate product displays). This masks your ugly affiliate pins and helps make it super easy to add links.
  • A PayPal account, as many affiliate programs payout commissions this way.
  • The ability to create helpful content that readers love reading. This is a skill you’ll need to work on for affiliate success.

Once you have these essentials you are ready to proceed!

| RELATED: 5 Essential Things To Invest In Your Blog To Make It Successful And Profitable

How To Start Affiliate Marketing – The General Basics

Before we delve into the details, an overview of affiliate marketing steps will help you understand the general process.

Affiliate marketing for bloggers can work in several ways. Right now, I’m giving you the most common way.

  • Ensure you have a website that’s ready for affiliate marketing (refer to my points above)
  • Find a product or service that you love.
  • Apply to join the affiliate program. You may need to join the affiliate marketing platform that hosts the brand’s affiliate program first. For example, Impact, Awin, Shareasale, etc.
  • Once accepted, use the specific URL (tracking cookie) for that product. This is the affiliate link – usually something long and full of text and numbers. When somebody clicks the link, they will be taken to the site and it is tracked through a cookie for a specific period of time (usually about 30 days).
  • Use Pretty Link (my preference for beginners!) or Lasso to mask the long, ugly link under your own domain. Using either plugin also helps you track your links.
  • Add the link to your blog posts, social media posts, email newsletter, or Pinterest. You can also share it as a referral.
  • Publish an in-depth product review post to promote the product. Don’t forget to add your affiliate link.

When somebody purchases using your affiliate link, a portion of the sale will go to you, at no extra cost to the customer.

It usually takes anywhere between 30 to 60 days before you get paid.

Payments are usually made to PayPal, or directly to your bank account, depending on the program’s payment process.

| HELPFUL RESOURCE: Glossary Of Affiliate Marketing Terms

What Kind Of Affiliate Programs Can You Sign Up For?

So now that you know the general basics of affiliate marketing for bloggers, let’s get into the details.

However, the first question to ask is what kinds of products and services can you sign up for?

There are many types of products and services that have affiliate programs.

Depending on your blog niche and audience needs and interests, you can choose from:

  • Digital products (ebooks, courses, templates)
  • Physical products
  • Services
  • Online software (SaaS products such as Podia, Reword, etc.)

By the way, I have an affiliate program for my courses and digital products as well – you can sign up for my Confident Blogger Academy Affiliate Program and start earning a 30% commission on each sale.

Confident Blogger Academy Blush Pink Affiliate Asset

Focus On Products And Services You Love

When choosing products and services for affiliate marketing, always start with those that you know, have used and really love.

Why is this so important?

When it comes to affiliate marketing for bloggers, the best way to convert a casual reader into a customer is through content that sells them on a transformation.

You want them to click the link and purchase it – that’s your goal!

To do so, the best way to inspire and persuade them is to speak about the product or service from experience. In other words, show them the proof.

Here’s what you’ve got to do next:

  • Write down all of the products and services that fall under your blog niche that you’ve used in the last few months.
  • Look at your blog content. What are potential products and services that you can add as an affiliate link to each post?

Write them all down! This will be the start of your ongoing affiliate marketing initiatives.

Now, where do you sign up for these affiliate programs?

Finding Affiliate Programs On Brand Sites

What you need to know next about affiliate marketing for bloggers is how to find the best programs to join.

Here’s how to find affiliate programs when visiting the brand’s website:

  • Check on the brand’s page – or Google the brand and “affiliate program”, Usually the brand will have something about affiliates at the bottom footer with other key page links. It may
  • Some brands may have their own affiliate program that they manage. This is the case with bloggers who are using platforms such as SendOwl, Podia or Thrivecart
  • If a brand is using an affiliate marketing network platform, you’ll be directed to it. You’ll either sign up to the platform or log in if you already have an account.

Finding Affiliate Programs On Affiliate Program Networks

If you’re just starting you may want to sign up to a few affiliate marketing networks to see which brands they have as advertisers/merchants.

The top affiliate marketing networks include:

While Shareasale has been a popular affiliate marketing network, many brands are moving over to Impact.

Impact is super easy to use and is amazing for affiliates because of the easy payout with PayPal – something Shareasale was missing.

Affiliate Marketing For Bloggers Impact

By now you should have found where your favourite products and brands are in affiliate marketing networks. You’ve signed up to the network and been accepted… so what’s next?

| RELATED: The Top Affiliate Networks And Programs For New Bloggers

How Do You Apply For Affiliate Programs?

Next on my list of affiliate marketing tips for bloggers is how to apply to programs, easily and quickly.

Applying to and joining affiliate programs can be tedious. With my productivity hack, I’ll help you speed it up.

First, we’ll get you set to apply for affiliate programs with these steps:

  • Copy the first paragraph of your About Me page to your clipboard. It should be about what your site is about and who it serves. If you don’t have this, you’ll need to fix your About Me page – do that with the help of this workbook:
  • Open up a fresh page in Google Docs or Microsoft Word, and copy your brief About Me intro.
  • Write all the ways you can promote affiliate content: for example, added to relevant blog posts, a favourite tools/products page, your social media, a newsletter, etc.
  • Include information about your audience reach: how many followers you have with your social media accounts and your monthly pageviews.
  • Save this content as you’ll be using it as a reference for applications for affiliate programs.

I’m just trying to save you some time in typing everything out! It’s easier to copy and paste when you have to fill out the questions when you’re applying to affiliate programs.

This is what an application for a brand program looks like. Note the section at the bottom asking for brief info as to how you’ll promote the affiliate links.

Affiliate Marketing For Bloggers Applying For Program

Once you’ve applied, that’s all you need to do!

The brand will look at your site, and see if it’s a good fit and if it has the required legal pages.

The Disclaimer is very important as it covers your affiliate disclosure. You’ll need this to prevent any fines from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

This is why I strongly recommend you purchase this legal template bundle – it’s a worthwhile investment for your peace of mind.

Now you wait. You’ll either get accepted or rejected. Don’t feel bad if you get a rejection. In the beginning, I had many.

Sometimes the brand doesn’t see your site as a good fit for their objectives. That’s fine. Move on! There are other brands that will happily work with you.

| RELATED: How To Pitch Brands For Sponsored Collaboration Opportunities

Next Steps After You’re Accepted For An Affiliate Program

Sometimes advertisers may decline your application.

However, if your site is a good fit niche-wise, looks professional and it has the necessary legal pages, you should be approved without issues.

So what do you do next?

Here’s what I do:

  • I log in to the program, or affiliate network, and grab my affiliate link – this is usually a general text link.
  • In WordPress, I open up PrettyLinks and create a new masked link. This helps me keep my links organized as well.
Affiliate marketing for bloggers - how to add links to Pretty Links
  • If there are visual assets, such as a logo, I download this from the affiliate platform. I then add the logo and my masked affiliate link to my blog tools & resources page.
  • I do a search through my blog posts to see if I have mentioned the product in the past. I add the affiliate link to these mentions. I also give some context and reasons why it’s so great.
  • Next, I take relevant existing blog posts that are a good fit for the affiliate link and add the link to them. If it makes sense, and I have access to ads from the advertiser, I’ll add them sparingly to these posts.

This is a general strategy for affiliate marketing for bloggers: start with your existing content and create new blog content with your affiliate links!

Adding Affiliate Links To Your Blog Content

One of the most important things to know about affiliate marketing for bloggers is how to properly add links.

There’s a good way and a bad way. I’ll show you the good way so that you don’t get penalized by Google.

Always use “nofollow” with affiliate links.

This tells search engine bots to ignore the link when your site is crawled and to not pass on any good “link juice” to the other page. It also keeps Google from viewing you as spammy.

How do you add affiliate links to your blog content?

Without Using Pretty Links

This requires keeping a Google Sheets list of all your affiliate links for reference.

  • Add your affiliate link to the product name (best to use the name as anchor text).
  • Click so that your link is “Open in new tab” and “Set to nofollow”.

Using Pretty Links – A Productivity Hack

This approach works excellently if you’re using WordPress blocks editor (not the classic editor) to write your blog posts.

  • Highlight the anchor text you want to add the link to
  • Click the Pretty Link icon in the little bar
  • Write the name of the brand or affiliate link name you used to create the Pretty Link
  • Click so that it’s “Open in new page” and “Set to nofollow’
Affiliate Marketing For Bloggers Ultimate Guide pretty link

What about “Sponsored”? You can add this if you’re collaborating with a brand, where they are paying you to add a link or you’re reviewing their product that they have provided you. Anytime there’s an exchange of money from a brand to you, to add a link (no follow included), you should note it as “sponsored”.

Adding Ad Banners & Affiliate Links To Images

When it comes to ads, use WordPress’ Custom HTML block and add the HTML code here. Make sure to add “rel=nofollow” to your affiliate link.

Add Your Affiliate Link Disclosure

There’s one more important step when adding affiliate links.

You need to disclose that you have affiliate links in your blog content.

This is required, as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that anybody who purchases from the site knows that you have the potential to receive a commission from your links.

To do this properly you first need the proper legal pages for your site. In this case, the Disclaimer.

Get a customizable Disclaimer template in the legal bundle (best deal) and set it up on your site.

Where you add the Disclosure is important. You need to add the brief disclosure paragraph BEFORE the first affiliate link appears in your blog content.

PRO TIP: Sometimes, if you’re doing a sponsored post with affiliate links, you’ll want to note that you are being paid to do the review. Make sure you make your post not only “nofollow” but also “Set to sponsored”.

1. Easiest Way To Add Your Disclosure – WordPress Blocks

This is a productivity hack – one of my best tips when it comes to affiliate marketing for bloggers.

Use WordPress blocks’ feature where you can save your own customized block (as a pattern).

Affiliate Marketing For Bloggers disclosure example 1

I crafted my Disclosure (the one you see near the top of this post), and I saved it. All I have to do is type in the name I gave that block, and it appears automatically.

The only downside is that if you change it later, it will save as the changed version – and change over every other instance of that saved block on your site. So write a standard Disclosure and leave it as is.

Alternative Customizable Method

Keep your saved disclosure statement handy.

If you need to edit it, copy and paste the text and use a regular paragraph block to recreate it. With this new block, you can now make changes to the copy.

2. Using A Disclosure Plugin

Some like to add their Disclosure just below the title of a blog post or a specific spot in their post. To do this, you need to use a plugin.

There’s Ad Inserter or WP Affiliate Disclosure.

| RELATED: How To Blog Legally: From Legal Pages To Copyright

Where Else Can You Share Affiliate Links?

The top reason why affiliate marketing for bloggers is an important monetization strategy is that you can add links in more places than just your blog.

Here’s an overview of where you can add them:

  • On Instagram (in your profile link, or in your Instagram Story with the link sticker (just note in text that it’s an affiliate link).
  • Pinterest pins
  • If you have a Facebook group or on your blog’s Facebook page
  • In your newsletter
  • Included in your freebie lead magnet
  • A podcast
  • Youtube video walkthrough
  • Online courses and digital products (ebook, workbooks, etc)

These are some to get you started!

Read my full post on 15 free ways to promote your affiliate links and start making more with your passive income!

PRO TIP – Affiliate Disclosure On Social Media: Remember to always share your disclosure or note that a link is an affiliate link. For example in Instagram posts, if you’re adding a link to LinkTree, or your actual link, you should be using the hashtag #affiliate in the caption. The same applies to Instagram Story link stickers or Pinterest pins – include “(Affiliate)” in the text. This will reduce the chances of you being fined by the FTC for not disclosing this properly.

PRO TIP 2 – Remember to add the affiliate disclosure to any free lead magnet you create – BEFORE the first affiliate link.

How To Write Product Reviews That Convert Into Sales?

At the end of the day, you want to get people clicking your affiliate link to purchase a product or service.

But how do you entice them to do so?

By writing in-depth honest reviews.

Affiliate marketing for bloggers is easy because you can do product review posts on your site!

Here are key steps to writing a great review:

  • Introduce the reason why they are interested in that product (the pain point)
  • Share why and how you purchased it – show them you know about the product first-hand
  • Share the results: demonstrate how this product or service solved your problem with visuals (this is the social proof)
  • Provide the details of the product: key features and benefits
  • Pros & Cons – what you like about it, and what you didn’t. This part is important.
  • Wrap it up with another reminder of how it helped solve your problem and how it can help your audience too.

One Last Tip For Maximum Passive Income

When you’re signing up for affiliate programs, look for these two things:

  • Recurring commissions – where you consistently get a commission once somebody purchases a product/service with a monthly or annual subscription.
  • Affiliate programs with a generous payout (e.g. 30% or more) on items that are reasonably priced for your target audience.

Once you have this figured out, you’re set!

Affiliate Marketing For Bloggers: Grow Your Passive Income

Now you can see that affiliate marketing for bloggers is a great way to make a passive income.

Once you get started, affiliate marketing doesn’t require much work on your part.

While the learning curve is there, it’s not that difficult. This is why I always recommend affiliate marketing as a monetization strategy for new bloggers.

While you learn about other monetization tactics, set your affiliate marketing in motion!

Learn how to write affiliate product reviews that convert into sales. There’s an art to it!

Before you go, I have one last thing for you! Get access to over 50 high-paying programs that make affiliate marketing for bloggers super profitable!

Want to learn another way to monetize your site? Learn about creating and selling digital products – even as a beginner blogger.

QUESTION: What is it about affiliate marketing for bloggers that confuses you the most? What would you like to know more about?

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