If you have read any of my income reports then you will know that I am earning over £5,000 a month, passively, from the use of affiliate links. This amount has grown from £581.59 in just 9 months! I am keen to keep increasing my affiliate income every month. If you are keen to start earning a significant amount of money from your blog or social media channels with the use of affiliate links then I have a guide on getting you started, covering my favourite affiliate programs.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a really simple idea – you find a product or service that you like and rate highly and you earn a commission when a sale is achieved as a result of your promotion of that product or service. The company are happy to pay you a percentage of the sale to thank you for introducing a new customer to them
It is really important that you promote products that you have used yourself and that you like. Your readers are coming to your blog to read about you and your experiences and they trust your endorsement. Your readers have built a rapport with you and they will be able to tell if you don't genuinely like, use or trust a product or service.
The benefits of affiliate marketing
There are so many fantastic benefits of affiliate marketing, the biggest for me is the passive income that I can earn from affiliate marketing. By this I mean income that I don't have to actively work to achieve. With over 600 blog posts, I have lots of posts that receive daily traffic and generate a sale. I wrote those blog posts once, and bar popping back to update the information every year or so, I don't have to do much else. That income keeps trickling in whilst I'm sleeping, out shopping, on holiday or even if I am working!
Another fantastic benefit is that you don't have to rely on selling one product that you have created yourself, or that you have bought in to resell. You don't have to lay out any money by purchasing stock, you don't have to parcel any items or deal with returns. All you need to do is place relevant affiliate links into your blog posts and then continue promoting the blog posts like you normally do! There's no extra work involved apart from getting the link!
Affiliate earnings are uncapped – you aren't tied down to promoting just one product, service or company. You can sign up to as many affiliate programs as you want and promote products wherever they fit well into your blog. There are so many examples of how this can work, from a parenting blogger promoting a book their child is loving to a thrifty blogger promoting a sale. There are also plenty of ways to promote affiliate links – they can be shared on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to reach more potential customers and increase sales.
Michelle makes a massive $50,000 a month from affiliates
Michelle from Making Sense of Cents is making a massive $50,000 (£38,000) a month from affiliates alone. Can you even begin to imagine what you would do with an income like that? Michelle has a fantastic e-course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, and in this course Michelle shares her tips and strategies for being successful at affiliate marketing. There are also some great course bonuses including a dedicated Facebook group where Michelle offers her personal help. Click here to take a look at the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing e-course.
In the month after taking her course, my affiliate income increased by a massive £2,299.93 to £5,195.00 just blows my mind. I have almost doubled my affiliate income in just one month. I haven’t done anything major like introduce any new affiliates, I have simply been putting into practice everything I have learned from Michelle’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. I haven’t significantly improved my traffic or had any other major thing happen – it is simply from following what I have learned from Michelle’s course. The course costs around £150 depending on the exchange rate, and you can see that in one month I have earned well over 15 times of my initial investment.
How to get started
There are a few ways to get involved with affiliate marketing. Some companies keep their affiliate marketing in house and can often be found by searching the internet for “company name affiliate program” or you can join a company who oversee a whole lot of affiliate programs. I use a mixture of both.
You will need to have an established blog, website or social media channels as many programs require this information during the application process. If you don't have a website then I've put together a guide to making your own WordPress website.
You will also need to have a rough idea of what you will be promoting so you know which programs would be relevant to you and which ones are worth applying for.
Below I have listed a handful of my favourite affiliate programs, as well as details on getting started with them.
Affiliate Window is the UK's largest affiliate marketing website, and it is easy to see why. With 2,100 advertisers on their platform and supporting 75,000 other publishers, you can find everything you need to get started.
Registering at Affiliate Window is really easy. During the registration process you will need to make a £5 deposit – this is automatically added to your Affiliate Window balance and will become payable once you meet the minimum payment threshold.
Applying for programs on Affiliate Window
Once you have installed convert-a-link you will still want to apply for programs. I find it useful to think about the content I want to create in the coming weeks and start applying for the advertiser programs as soon as I think about it because some advertisers might decline you or they may take awhile to approve your application. If you don't have a specific advertiser in mind then you can browse existing advertisers and even filter to find relevant advertisers.
To join programs, hover over Advertisers in the top menu and select Join Programs.
Here you can either search the advertiser by name or filter to find relevant advertisers to apply for. When you are ready to apply, you will need to click on the green plus sign towards the right of each advertiser.
Here you will find the terms and conditions for each advertiser. No two advertisers are the same – some will automatically accept you, some will want you to provide detailed information about your campaign. If I am planning on writing a post about a product I love then I tell them here. Then hit join and you will know whether you were automatically accepted or whether you need to wait for approval. If you need to wait for approval then you will receive an email once you are approved.
Installing Affiliate Window Links
Although you should have installed convert-a-link, you will still want to link to an advertiser's home page or a specific product. Getting the links can be confusing, so here is how you go about doing it.
In the top menu, hover over Links & Tools and you will see the options for choosing your links. Under Text Links you will find the links to advertisers' home pages. This page will only show the links to programs you have been approved for. You can choose to show the HTML code for inserting into your website, or the link.
To link to a specific product you will need to select Link Builder from the Links & Tools menu. You will need to know the URL of the product you want to link to.
In this example I have chosen to link to a particular holiday on the Walt Disney World website by pasting the link into the “Deep link url” field. You can also choose other options such as a click reference to track your clicks and campaigns, and choose to show the HTML or just the URL. You can also create a shortlink to use by clicking on the orange button on the bottom right.
Here is where I like to copy and paste the link in incognito mode just to make sure that it goes to the correct page. Some pages, such as search results, can't be linked to and your readers will just be redirected to the home page.
Once you have your link you can place it onto your blog, website or social media channels like a normal link.
Tracking earnings on Affiliate Window
After going to all the hard work of installing your affiliate links and promoting your posts, you will want to see how well you are doing. Affiliate Window update their reports daily so you can easily see how well you are doing.
After you log in, you will be shown a report similar to the one above. As you can see, it compares this month with the same time last month and gives you an overall view of the money you have earned. It also shows you how much of your earnings have been approved and cleared for payment and whether you have reached the minimum payment threshold (which you can find out more about below). If you want to delve into your results a bit more, perhaps to plan your future campaigns or to find out what is working for and what isn't, you can access your reports from the top menu under Reports.
Affiliate Window payment threshold and getting paid
Affiliate Window pay out twice a month, around the 1st and the 15th of the month. For commission earned the previous month between the 1st -15th payments will be generated on the 1st of the following month and for commissions earned the previous month between the 16th -31st the payment will be generated on the 15th of the following month. You can opt to just receive one payment per month if you prefer.
Publishers in the UK have a payment threshold of just £20 – you will already be well on your way after putting down the £5 deposit. Payments are made via BACS and should be in your bank three working days after being sent to you.
Amazon is by far the biggest online retailer, so being an Amazon Associate is a great way to boost your affiliate marketing income. The Amazon tracking cookies last for 24 hours. This means that if you wrote a review about a product and the reader clicked through to Amazon and went on to purchase anything from Amazon (not just the item you linked to) within 24 hours, you will make commission. You can also use a clever little trick to increase the cookie tracking to 90 days. You can earn anything from 1% – 10% of any sales you generate which makes this an ideal program to sign up to.
In order to register you will need to have a website which meets the following criteria set by Amazon:
- The website is functional and has value-added content that can drive incremental purchases on Amazon
- You are in compliance with the Amazon Associates Operating Agreement
- You have a valid phone number and bank account that can receive direct deposits. You will need to provide this payment information during the application process.
Completing the application is easy, once completed Amazon will review your application and send you a confirmation email telling you whether you have been accepted into the program. If you haven't then they will also tell you why your application wasn't successful.
Installing Amazon Associate Links
Once you have been approved as an Amazon Associate, you can start to place links on your blog, website or social media channels. Amazon have a wide variety of linking tools, from linking to specific products to widgets you can install on your website.
When signed in to your Amazon account, load up the webpage you want to link to. In this instance I am using the home page. At the top you will see your Amazon Associates tool bar and you can click on “Link to this page” (or even Short Link To This Page or Share on your social media channels).
After clicking on “link to this page” this box will pop up. Here you can select certain options, such as tracking id to monitor campaigns and where your sales are coming from. You can either select everything to insert HTML with an image, or I prefer to copy and paste the actual link (the bits between the quotation marks which I've selected above in blue). A quicker way to get the link is to click on the short link to get your link. You can link to specific products, search results, the home page and more.
There are also widgets and other things you can install by checking your account.
Tracking earnings on Amazon Associates
After going to all the hard work of installing your affiliate links and promoting your posts, you will want to see how well you are doing. Amazon Associates update their reports daily so you can easily see how well you are doing.
This is the earnings summary that you will see, populated with information about your earnings. This is automatically set to display the current month to date. You can delve deeper into your reports by clicking on the links displayed on the left of the page. This includes being able to see which items have been purchased, which is pretty cool!
Amazon Associates payment threshold and getting paid
Amazon Associates pay out once a month, around two months behind. That means if you earn commission in January, you can expect to be paid in March. As a UK Amazon Associate you can choose to be paid via Amazon Gift Certificate or by a BACS payment.
If you are looking for a simple, fuss-free way to add affiliate links to your website or blog then Skimlinks is for you. Note that you cannot use Skimlinks on social media accounts.
When you register at Skimlinks you get instant access to over 20,000 affiliate programs without the hassle of having to sign up for individual programs. This means that you aren't waiting around for approval from merchants and you don't need to go to the hassle of creating affiliate links. It really is a great place to start if time is against you. Skimlinks will automatically turn any existing links into affiliate links where they have an advertiser on board.
Skimlinks is the best affiliate program to join if you want to just spend some time setting it up and then get back to blogging. Is is fuss-free and takes no time out of your blogging schedule to set up affiliate links.
Registering is simple and if you have more than one website then you can add them onto your account too, therefore increasing your earning potential.
Once you have registered and been approved, you will need to get Skimlinks installed on your website. If you are using WordPress then there is a fantastic plugin for Skimlinks. There are full instructions for setting up Skimlinks within your dashboard once you are approved.
Tracking earnings on Skimlinks
After going to all the hard work of installing Skimlinks and promoting your posts, you will want to see how well you are doing. Skimlinks update their reports daily so you can easily see how well you are doing.
I am no longer using Skimlinks and using Affiliate Window's Convert-a-link tool instead, but here you can see a screenshot of your dashboard earnings. You can then delve deeper and run reports to find what is working for you and what isn't.
Skimlinks payment threshold and getting paid
Finding other affiliate programs to join
I am now using the pro version of this plugin but the free version takes an affiliate link and makes them pretty. Using Pretty Link means that I can change affiliate links into links starting with my blog – for example, www.emmadrew.info/affiliatewindow. The pro version comes with some added bonuses, but the free lite version is fantastic too. Click here to get Pretty Link.
Disclosing affiliate links
Pin this for later
JOIN MY FREE MONEY MAKING COURSE!
Join my free 6 week email course to find out tried and tested ways to earn extra money. Get exclusive access to the Money Making Mastermind Facebook group with hundreds of members.
Latest posts by Emma Drew (see all)
- 5 Ways to Make Money that I learned from Emma Drew - March 29, 2017
- Dust off the dosh with a spending Spring Clean - March 27, 2017
- 5 ways Xero can help resellers - March 27, 2017