Let’s face it: We’d all like to make a little extra money here and there. And we’d like to do as little work as possible to get it. Having sponsors advertise on your blog can be a great way to do just that. But finding advertisers with money to spare can be tough, and it’s even harder to get the big guns — with their big money — to come on board if you’re just a little guy yourself.
Lucky for you, though, there’s a little thing called affiliate marketing that could help you earn a bit of extra money with very little extra legwork apart from your initial time investment. According to blogger Heather Sokol’s introduction to affiliate marketing, the process is simple: Affiliates (site publishers and bloggers) direct customers to their partners, where the customers’ sales are completed, then the partners pay affiliates a commission for the referral. It’s the modern version of companies paying a “finders fee.”
A great place for affiliate-marketing novices to begin their research is the Google Affiliate Network. Google’s affiliate website describes three phases and several steps to getting started and becoming successful with affiliate marketing:
- Setting goals: Develop goals and metrics to measure success.
- Policies: Follow advertiser and network terms and conditions.
- Recruiting: Apply and get approved for advertiser programs.
- Link management: Strategically manage creative content on your site. Experiment, run reports and monitor progress.
- Creative best practices: Find and implement creative content that drives conversions.
- Analyzing performance: Evaluate your business for strengths and weaknesses, and identify areas for optimization and development.
Looking for a more general affiliate program? In addition to Google’s Affiliate Network, companies like LinkShare and Commission Junction offer access to countless advertisers and programs to help publishers generate revenue. If you want to be a little more specific in your pursuit of revenue, here are a few ideas:
Google AdSense is a common affiliate marketing program that uses text and graphic ads to generate revenue cents at a time, then pay out when an affiliate’s balance gets high enough. Sometimes it’s not even just about making money. If you have specific interests or genuinely want to endorse a specific retailer’s products or business’ services on your website, look into working with them as an affiliate. You might be surprised at how many businesses offer it. Enjoy hiking and other outdoor sports? REI has an affiliate program. Love getting a good deal? Consider becoming a Groupon affiliate. Publishers who post a widget on their site earn a commission on every daily coupon sold because of the link on their site. Another example is Amazon.com Associates. Using turnkey tools such as links, banner ads, widgets and “site stripes,” publishers can earn up to 15 percent from their site visitors’ purchases.
A few good targeted searches, and you could be well on your way to earning that highly coveted additional revenue.