If you run a blog and receive a decent amount of traffic, then you may wish to earn some extra income from it. This can be quite a contentious issue - some people are adverse to advertising online and will go out of their way to avoid it. Other people just accept it is part of the web and acknowledge that certain content wouldn't exist if it couldn't be monetized in some way.
There are many ways you can choose to earn an income from your blogging efforts and I will be looking at a few of them in this series of posts. Today I am going to take a look at affiliate programs and how you to include affiliate links on your WordPress blog easily and effectively.
Which Affiliate Program
There are hundreds of affiliate networks and thousands of products which run their own affiliate programs so you have a huge choice of products and services you can link to and earn a commission from. I recommend that you look at some blogs and websites in the same niche as you and see who is advertising on their sites. Sign up to some affiliate networks and have a browse through their merchants and see if anything sticks out that matches your site.
How to Promote
Personally, I do not like websites that will just post affiliate links blindly and hope they catch a few referrals via search engines etc - they dont provide any value. When I promote an affiliate product, I like to include them in a larger article about a subject or I will contact the merchant and ask them if I can have a free copy because I intend to do a review, most will oblige - if not, many times I will buy the product for the purpose of a review anyway. When I post the affiliate link, I will include it in an honest review - this way you are providing value to your blog readers and earning your commission.
If you dont fancy writing reviews of products, then most affiliate programs will include banners and text link code which you can place in your blog theme - I tend to try and keep these to the sidebar so as to not interfere with your content.
Free WordPress Plugins
There are a number of plugins which let you manage affiliate links with ease. I highly recommend using one to manage yours - the reason is, if the link changes or you just want to update it, rather than having to go back into posts and editing them individually to update the link, you can manage them all from one central location. Affiliate links are also quite long and ugly in their nature, by using a plugin to manage them you can make them shorter and more pleasing.
Here a some free plugins which will do the job for you ...
Simple Link Cloaker
This is the plugin I use on WPLift - it lets you manage all your affiliate links from the settings screen, you can choose to redirect any affiliate link to any other link in the form of yourblog.com/yourlink
Full Details » Download »
Affiliate Links Manager
With this plugin you can:
- Create simple URL redirects like http://example.com/a/blue-product/ or http://example.com/visit/red-product/.
- Track clicks in your Google Analytics account.
- Reduce load on your server — this plugin handles redirects in a very efficient way.
Full Details » Download »
WP Auto Affiliate Links
Provide an interface to add your affiliate links and associate them with keywords. The affiliate links will be added to all the terms specified found.
Premium WordPress Plugins
SEO Smart Links Premium is a WordPress plugin that improves the overall SEO strength of your blog by automatic interlinking your content as well as automatically convert keywords you define into (affiliate) links.
Pretty Link Pro
Pretty Link Pro is more than an Affiliate Link Cloaker or URL shortener — it allows you to automate repetitive tasks, optimize your site with testing, see the results of your campaigns immediately, virally spread your links and by being able to replicate your sites—including all your Affiliate Links within minutes.