If you’re new to the blogging game everything can be pretty overwhelming at first.
In fact, things were overwhelming for me YEARS before the pieces started to fall into place. One thing I really struggled with was affiliate links. I wanted to make money and I wanted to make it fast (which is non-existent no matter what career you choose).
When I first started blogging, I realized no one was going to pay me to do anything because I didn’t have the experience or credibility I needed, so I spent hours upon hours researching the best affiliate link service with the highest commission because I knew that was one way I could make money.
So then I found multiple high-commission programs and like any “super smart blogger”, I decided to join them all. Clearly that wasn’t the best choice because I spent most of my time deciding which affiliate program I’d get the most money from on that particular item instead of actually creating content (huge waste of time).
This post is dedicated to the bloggers who were just as confused as I was about affiliate links and also the readers who question the authenticity of a blogger if she uses affiliate links.
So here’s the real deal…
Bloggers have to make money…
At the end of the day, blogging is a job. It’s becoming a more widely accepted job, but some people still give bloggers a hard time when they see the #ad or #sponsored. And I’m with you, I feel icky sometimes too when I see that.
However, affiliate links/sponsored posts are necessary for a blogger’s financial survival. The only time it’s not necessary is if said blogger already has an established business and just blogs for “fun”. And even if that’s the case you should still incorporate affiliate links.
They’re really quite brilliant because they’re a way for the blogger (YOU) to make money by sharing your favorite things with your readers. And this is wrong how…? Well, it’s not, which is my point.
The only time affiliate links or sponsored posts are “wrong” is when the blogger abuses them. For example, if a blogger puts their affiliate links everywhere (on the sidebar, at the footer, etc.) or if a blogger has #sponsored as every other Instagram post, it can be really annoying and obnoxious. Affiliate links and sponsored posts are supposed to enhance the reader’s experience not take away from it.
Why you should use affiliate links…
Obviously, you make money through affiliate links, so using them should be a no brainer. It’s passive income that literally takes little to no effort to create and makes money for you while you sleep. It’s really a win-win for you and your readers because you’re able to link the exact products you’re wearing/using so they can shop and replicate the look.
How frustrating is it when you see a blogger wearing something and you want the exact item but can’t find it anywhere? That’s where affiliate links come in handy.
They’re especially beneficial for beginner bloggers because you don’t have to wait around for brands to collaborate with you before you can start making money. You simply link your outfits, home decor, supplies, etc. and get money through every click that comes in without it being an additional cost to your readers, (more on affiliate links here).
Affiliate links are also a good way to get to know your audience better. Most, if not all, affiliate link services have a dashboard where you can monitor how many clicks you’re getting, how many sales you land, and what your most popular items are. Obviously the items that are getting the most clicks/sales are things your readers like so you want to create more content around that.
Once you figure out the logistics of your blog (your name, niche, content, social media, etc.), affiliate links should be next on your priority list. The sooner you jump on the bandwagon the sooner you can get paid. Like everything else in blogging, if you’re a little late to the affiliate game, there will be missed opportunities, but you can always start today and it’s not the end of the world. Affiliate links won’t make or break your blogging success but they definitely help you get a taste of what it’s like to get paid doing what you love.
What’s your take on affiliate links? Hate them, love them? Share with us in the comments below!