The Importance of Multiple Streams of Income including Affiliate Marketing.
We always tell bloggers that it’s critical to create multiple streams of income if you want to ensure long-term success and stability as a professional blogger.
In addition, you want to make sure you’re using a good balance of passive income streams (ways you earn income without active work like with banner ads that are paid on page views) along with active income streams (ways you earn income with active work, like writing a sponsored post or attending an event).
Again, this is to help you maintain balance in your business and ensure you have multiple ways to earn an income, even if one of them is suddenly taken away.
Trust me, big changes can happen overnight in this industry, and those changes can be detrimental if you aren’t prepared.
We’ll go through all of the different passive and active income streams we've discovered over the years that you can consider adding to your own monetization strategy. You can choose to focus on only a few income streams, or map out a plan to add them all to your blog over time.
The first income stream I want to talk about is affiliate marketing. Many blogs earn the majority of their income from affiliate marketing programs. Depending upon the month, 10-15% of our income comes from affiliate marketing.
It’s one area we're focused on improving this year since it becomes a passive income stream when you have old blog posts that continue to get a lot of traffic each month (and we have several).
If you’re not familiar with the term, affiliate marketing works on a very basic premise. You link to a product or service you like using an affiliate link from your blog or social media channel.
One of your readers purchases said item (or another item from that website, depending upon the program terms). You get paid a commission for referring the buyer and the buyer still pays the same price they would have otherwise.
The more traffic you have coming to your blog each month, the better you’ll do with affiliate marketing.
Even if you have a tiny little brand-new blog, you should still be using affiliate links every chance you get. That way, when your traffic grows, you already have those links in place and your affiliate marketing income should continue to grow as your traffic grows. If you have a small, yet fiercely loyal following, you can also do well with affiliate marketing programs.
How to Find Affiliate Marketing Programs
There are thousands upon thousands of affiliate marketing programs out there. So, no matter which niche your blog is situated in, you can find programs that will work for your readers. It might take some digging and creative thinking, but there is a program out there for you!
We're members of more affiliate marketing programs than we can count, but there are less than a dozen that we're highly active with.
We find, for us, that it’s better to focus our time and attention on a core number of affiliate programs rather than write a single fleeting post for hundreds of different programs.
You’ll have to test and experiment to find what works best for your readership. We find that the bloggers who earn a significant income from affiliate marketing have built a solid, trusting relationship with their readers.
Here is a list of places you can find affiliate marketing programs to consider joining for your blog.
One of the very first affiliate programs we signed up for was with Amazon and by far it’s our biggest affiliate marketing income earner.
There are millions of different products available on Amazon, and we love that they pay you for everything that is purchased through your link – not just the one product you linked to. It’s the perfect program for most blogs to start with.
For a long time, they had states that were excluded from participating in the Amazon affiliate program. Now, all states should be able to participate (at the time of writing this book).
They have also now introduced the OneLink program that allows you to earn income when some of your international readers purchase through your Amazon affiliate link.
We just set up this integration recently, and we're already seeing a return on our time for doing so. Setting it up took less than an hour, so it’s a simple change to make.
Sign up for the Amazon Affiliate Program.
If you want to get really good at earning income with Amazon affiliate links, Carolina King from Mama Instincts has a really great book that teaches how to make over $1,000 per month with less than 10,000 pageviews through the Amazon affiliate program.
ShareASale is one of many affiliate brokers (a company that manages the affiliate programs for many other companies) out there, and they have some great affiliate programs to choose from.
The reason we like affiliate brokers is that you can join multiple programs through them. That way, you can get to the payout minimum faster (the minimum payout with ShareASale is $50). It’s a lot more rewarding for newer bloggers who don’t have as much traffic yet to be able to see a payment more quickly.
Join the ShareASale program here.
Another affiliate broker to consider is Rakuten LinkShare. They offer affiliate programs for some bigger retailers like Best Buy and Walmart in addition to many other programs you may be interested in.
We like the Deep Linking function that allows you to easily link to any page on the company’s website.
This is a great program all around.
Join the Rakuten LinkShare program here.
CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction)
CJ Affiliate is another affiliate broker we use often.
They also have pay per call programs that pay well, so if your readers like to use the phone, you should take a look at those too. CJ Affiliate also has a $50 minimum payout – we find that to be pretty standard with most affiliate programs.
Pepperjam Network is yet another affiliate broker. They have quite a selection of affiliate programs you can join.
Skimlinks and VigLink
A lot of people hem and haw about the amount of work it takes to track down and join all of the affiliate programs they are interested in.
If you feel like you’re in a place right now where you want to make a change that’s quick and easy, consider joining a network like Skimlinks or Viglink that will automatically insert affiliate links for you.
They will take a portion of your profits, though, so you have to decide if that’s right for you.
This is one strategy that didn’t work particularly well for us, but we know many other bloggers have success with it.
We haven’t tried it again since our traffic has grown because we found it to make more sense to use Pretty Link Pro to insert affiliate links automatically for me – and we don’t have to give anyone a cut of the profits.
If you’ve been online for long, you have probably seen bloggers promoting “bundles” of ebooks, courses and bonuses. A lot of bloggers make very serious cash promoting these bundles! We have made a decent amount doing these.
The most popular Bundles program that we're aware of is Ultimate Bundles. They have bundles you can promote nearly every month, so there’s likely one that will fit with your niche. You typically earn 40% of any bundles you sell, and if you are an author contributing to the bundle, you can earn 70%, making it very lucrative.
Another bundle program we have participated in is the Back to Basics Bundle (they also pay 40%). If you Google your niche and “Bundle” you may be able to come up with more options that better suit your needs. There are new ones popping up all of the time.
One of the things we love about Bundle Marketing is that they do so much of the work for you. They provide you with graphics, email templates and post ideas so that you can really hit the ground running.
We only like to highly promote 2-3 bundles per year. The promotion schedules can get pretty intense when you’re trying to hit your goals.
And you don’t want to overwhelm your readers or email list by over-promoting bundles – unless you want people to hit the unsubscribe button. Keep that in mind when you’re creating your monetization plan.
Blogger Affiliate Programs
Many bloggers offer affiliate programs for products they’ve created. Perhaps there’s a blogger you love, or an ebook or course that you’d like to share with your readers.
Check first with the blogger or author to see if they have an affiliate program you can join. Many of them do!
Chrystal released her very first ebook last year called 30 Essential Oil Recipes for DIY Beauty and Skincare. She offers an affiliate program that will pay you 40% on any sale you make on the book. Contact Us to request your own affiliate link for this book.
If you enjoy this book on Monetization Strategies, there will also be an affiliate program you can join as well to share with your fellow bloggers. It will allow you to earn a little extra income by recommending this book to other bloggers that can use it.
There are a few websites that host a lot of blogger affiliate programs, including SendOwl, Clickbank and e-Junkie, so check those out as well. Some of them allow you to search for programs that might be a fit if you don’t know where to start.
If all else fails, find the Contact page on the blog and reach out to the blogger. You may be able to make an arrangement with them or they may be able to point you in the right direction.
Individual Company Affiliate Programs
Is there a product or service you love and adore? We challenge you to sit down and write down a list of some of your favorite products and services. Think about the products you use with your family every single day.
Then think about which ones you regularly talk to your readers about that you’d be able to naturally work into your posts.
Then go to those companies’ websites and see if they have an affiliate program. If you don’t see it on their website, Google, “COMPANY NAME affiliate program” (without the quotes) and see if anything comes up.
If it doesn’t, you can check the affiliate marketing brokers listed above to see if the company participates with one of them. If they don’t, check Amazon to see if the product is sold there. Check other industry-related websites that may sell it and offer an affiliate program.
If you still strike out, email the company’s marketing department to see if they can point you in the right direction. There are lots of ways to earn income through affiliate marketing for products you love and use.
There are two affiliate marketing programs in particular that we love that come from individual company affiliate programs. Both Kombucha Kamp and Ancient Minerals have programs that we enjoy promoting.
They both pay well and have plenty of marketing tools to help you educate your readers and, in turn, earn an income when they make a purchase based upon your recommendation through your link.
This is an immense amount of information… What questions do you have?
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