Disclosure (full version here): Some of the links you’ll encounter are affiliate links. If you click and buy something, I may get a commission. Thank you!
Not everyone starts a blog with the hopes of making money out of it. For some it’s work of passion and a toil of the heart.
But after putting in a notable amount of time and effort, even the most passionate artisans, but money-hating folks ask themselves, “why the heck not”?
Another common question newbie bloggers have is “should I add affiliate links to my blog from the start? Or should I wait“?
Well, I’ve seen a lot of posts saying saying no to this question, but I say YES and I stand by behind what I said.
Because, what if a couple of your posts start ranking high straight away?
Why not earn some quick money?
It’s not usual, or common, but it’s possible; it does happen and it could happen to you.
And also, it’s a pain in the neck and a waste of time to go back and add links when you should be writing new posts to push those rankings higher and higher.
So, If you’re starting a blog, and you plan on ranking it in Google and then monetizing with affiliate links, do yourself a favor and just start adding links straight away.
But Before You Start… Some Basic Things You Must Know
Before we dive into the mechanics, tips and hacks of proper affiliate link usage here are some key points you need to understand to get the most out of your affiliate links.
#1- Write Informational Content and Reviews at a Rate of 3:1
Content is King!
It’s a cliché but it’s also DAMN true!
People come to your blog to look for specific solutions. That is why you need to have high quality informational content on the blog.
At the same time, there are folks out there looking specifically for product or service reviews. So the idea is to cater to both groups of readers.
And 3:1 ratio of informational content to reviews is an awesome mix.
However, this doesn’t mean your informational content can’t host affiliate links.
Yes it can and I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
#2- Use the Product Before you Review it
One big mistake many affiliate marketers make (especially newbies) is promoting products they don’t use and have never used. The problem with this is that when your subscribers ask you simple questions about the product, you’ll have no real answer for them.
And that hurts your credibility big time.
So, it’s very important to use the product before reviewing it. Even if you don’t need it, It’s worth trying it out just to know exactly how it works, so you can review it in an honest and best way possible.
Also, most products and services come with free trials, so you don’t have to spend any money.
#3- Don’t Promote just about Anything with High Commission
Newbie affiliates often sacrifice their integrity for some quick cash.
Specifically, they choose products to promote not based on what they like, use and truly endorse, but based on who pays the fattest commissions.
This is wrong in so many ways, from ethical to logical and back.
How are you going to legitimately promote something you don’t give a crap about; but you care about the money pushing that product?
And it’ll show in your writing.
Your writing will be dull and uninspired and will put to snooze everyone but you.
Maybe even you!
So don’t make this common affiliate marketing mistake. I know it’s common as I fell for it too, just like I fell for pretty much all of them.
#4- Be Honest with Your Reviews
This goes back to the earlier point of actually using a product before reviewing it.
There is no way you’re going to offer your honest review on a product that you’ve not thoroughly tested.
While writing your reviews, be honest. Don’t sing praises only because you hope your readers will click and buy.
Instead, mention the flaws and cons too.
Talk about the difficulties you faced while using it, and how you found solutions to those problems.
That will make your review more credible, and your readers will trust you more and will learn to associate your blog’s name and brand with honest product reviews.
#5- Get Familiar with FTC’s Endorsement Guidelines
FTC (The Federal Trade Commission) is a United States independent agency that protects American consumers.
In the FTC’s Endorsement guide (read my beginners guide to FTC), as an affiliate marketer, you are supposed to clearly and distinctly disclose your affiliate relationship with the product you’re promoting.
The idea is to help the consumer take your affiliate relationship into consideration when making a decision while consuming your content.
This may mostly affect those who operate their business in the United States. If your business is out of the United States, make sure to comply with your local laws.
#6- Get Obligatory Pages
These pages are mandatory on any respectable blog:
Homepage on a website has two crucial functions:
- It introduces users to your site; who you are and what you do
- It funnels them deeper into the site.
Your about page an opportunity to introduce yourself and your team to your readers. This is where you talk about your and “WHY” and your blog’s purpose.
Note: use the about page to build trust with your readership.
Affiliate Disclosure (Disclaimer page)
Here, you should talk about your affiliation with the products you’re promoting. Here is a great resource from Rae Hoffman on what you need to know about affiliate disclosures.
And just to give you an idea, here’s what these pages look like on my site:
How to Add Affiliate Links to My Blog?
Now that you have set up everything, it’s time to add in some affiliate links to your site.
#1- Create a Resource Page
A resource page is basically a reference page where your blog readers can find the tools you use and recommend. It is a very important page that most affiliate marketers overlook.
Yet in many cases, it may end up being one of your most profitable pages.
When people come to your blog, they are looking for a solution. And that solution could be a tool or a service you promote.
And while it may very well be available in different posts in your blog, readers don’t have the time to plow through your whole site to get it.
So helping them by curating your affiliate offers on a single page could be one of the best things you ever do as an affiliate marketer.
For example here’s how my friend Umer Quereshi does it with his resource page:
I have no doubt this setup work wonders for his affiliate income 🙂
#2- Use Banner Ads, But Use Them Elegantly
Elegantly means your banners should be present, but not obtrusive.
They should also be congruent with the overall topic of your blog.
Your site can’t talk about dogs and you add banners of running shoes.
You can add these banners in the sidebar, within blog posts or pages and inside digital products.
While doing this, it is important to look at the marketing material as well. You may need to add banner ads that match your blog’s aesthetics. While you’re focused on making money with your blog, it is important that you’re blog stays appealing as well.
Note: all of this laborious ad management is made easy if you use a plugin like Advanced Ads. Read my Advanced Ads review to learn more.
Bonus Tips- Become an Affiliate Link Ninja!
#1- Cloak Your Affiliate Links
You should cloak your affiliate links using plugins like Thirsty Affiliates and Pretty Links.
This will help you in two ways.
First, your links will look a lot neater.
this is my raw affiliate link to Wealthy Affiliate Platform Review:
And this is the cloaked version of the same link.
And this is my raw link to that sell Unbounce landing page builder.
And this is the same link, cloaked:
Btw, if you already know what Unbounce is, and you’re interested in getting it at 20% exclusive discount, check out my Unbounce coupon code tutorial.
There you’ll learn how to get this deal.
Second, sometimes the product you’re promoting changes its affiliate codes, so when it happens, suddenly all your affiliate links become invalid.
And then you need to go through each post and update affiliate links manually. Or if you used a link cloaking plugin, then you can change it inside the plugin’s dashboard and it’ll update automatically across your entire site.
Here’s how it looks like inside Thirsty Affiliate’s dashboard:
#2- No-Follow Your Affiliate Links
No-follow link attribute tells Google that they should not count that affiliate link as a vote from your blog to your merchant’s website.
This keep you safe from any link -based penalty; but the true, sublime beauty of this is that once you cloak your affiliate link (with the plugins I mentioned above) your links will automatically become nofollowed.
It’s just more efficient that way 🙂
#3- Learn to Boost Affiliate Link CTR
It is still possible to set everything right but struggle to get decent clicks on your links. And the truth is your affiliate link need to be clicked to generate sales for you.
I know, it’s common sense but you’d be surprised how many newbie marketers miss this crucial step.
I have a guide that can help you:
#4- Learn From the Best Affiliate Marketers in the Industry
Like any other profession, to be successful in affiliate marketing, you need to learn from the best in the industry.
I can’t stress this enough.
Pick one or two affiliate marketers in your industry and see and learn what they’re doing.
However, try not to follow too many people or you’ll risk getting information overload and fail to do anything.
#5- Every Post Needs to Promote Something
Make sure every post you write is promoting something.
Earlier I talked about how you need to write both informational content and reviews with a 3:1 ratio.
Well, both types of content should promote something.
While doing this, your target readers should be at the center of it.
So if you can’t promote something in the post you’re writing, it’s not worth writing as it’s probably misaligned with the core topic of your site.
As a litmus test, just ask yourself:
- “will they enjoy it;
- will the content be useful for them,
- and will the product I promoting give real value to them”?
#6- Affiliate Offer Must Be Relevant and Helpful
In the course of making sure that you promote something in every post, don’t get carried away so you start adding links that are a clear mismatch with the content.
Make sure that what you’re promoting is both relevant to the content helpful to the person reading it.
For example, this post that is all about affiliate links and within it I promote Wealthy Affiliate, which a platform that teaches newbies the basics of affiliate marketing.
I could also promote Fiverr’s booming affiliate program, because it’s highly relevant to this post and my site overall.
And in my post on how to promote affiliate links on Twitter, I promoted Missinglettr, which is a social media scheduling tool powered by A.I.
#7- It’ll Take Time, Even if You’re an Affiliate Marketing Houdini
Finally, affiliate marketing will take time to pick up.
It will take time to grow a following, it will take time to build trust, and most importantly it will take time to accumulate enough content so it makes a difference for you.
So be patient young Padawan 😛
- persistent in action
And you will succeed.
Frequently Asked Questions About Using Affiliate Links on a WordPress Site
a) What Are Some Ways to Add Affiliate Links to My WordPress Blog?
You can add them in two ways.
Site-wide (banners and resource pages)
Adding affiliate link in banners and in menu resource page means they’ll be clearly visible and accesible from any page on your site.
That’s a pro.
The con to this is that your affiliate links will be less targeted. It’s because people are more likely to click on an affiliate link when it helps them solve a problem they’re having.
Page specific (in-text banners, text links)
Page-bound affiliate links are to be found is specific pages, so they won’t be visible at all times to anyone that’s on your site. However, these also tend to work better because they offer immediate help to your visitors and we all want things yesterday and if not yesterday- NOW!
Potential immediate pain relief is the true pro of page specific affiliate links.
b) All Other Reviews Have Review Starts in Their Descriptions – Do I Need Them to Compete?
No, you don’t need them
For example, when you type “Missinglettr review” you can see some results have review schema applied to their result. Bu others don’t and they’re still ranking just fine.
However, i suggest you do invest the time and apply review star schema. It’s a big CTR booster and will ultimately lead to more sales for you.
c) I Wish to Succeed as an Affiliate Marketer. Where Can I Find More Information?
Always be learning. But also apply the things you learn.
Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is pure vanity. And you don’t want that.
Here are some of my guides that can help you get started:
Affiliate marketing is the best and easiest way to start making serious money online.
It’s a business model that works and will always work, for as long as folks buy online and for as long as the internet exists.
So why not profit from it? Especially now that you know how to add affiliate links to your blog.
It’s be stupid not to.
Do you agree?