How to Make Money Blogging: 5 Tips for Maximizing Your Earnings with Affiliate Advertising

As I’ve been writing this series on How to Make Money Blogging, I know that many of you have been scratching your head wondering if I was ever going to get around to talking about how to actually make money blogging! :) All the other posts I’ve shared will help significantly increase your blogging income, but they won’t make you a penny unless you set up streams of revenue on your blog.

And now that we’ve laid a good foundation for successful blogging, we’re ready to dive into those income-earning streams. The first — and easiest — is affiliate marketing.

For those who may have never heard the term of affiliate marketing before, it’s basically when you are paid to promote another person’s product, coupon, deal, or website. It’s typically CPA advertising — which means that you only get paid per action. In other words, a reader must take some form of action (purchase something, click through your link and sign up for something, download a coupon or ebook, etc.)

You sign up for an affiliate program (I’ll share some of my favorites in a little bit), you promote your unique affiliate link that the company gives you, and then you are paid if your readers buy the item or sign up for the item.

For instance, I promoted Amy’s Tell Your Time ebook earlier today. She has an affiliate program that offers 50% of the sales to the affiliate. Since the ebook is on sale for $2, I earn $1 for every person who clicks through my affiliate link and makes a purchase. So, if 100 people buy the ebook, I’ll make $100 in affiliate earnings.

In many cases, people have to make a purchase in order for you to earn money as an affiliate. However, there are also hundreds of other options that require no purchase. To give you an example, I’m affiliate for Coupons.com, RedPlum, SmartSource, and Coupon Network. If I post a great coupon that is on any of these sites, I earn anywhere from $0.02 to $0.80 per coupon printed (I have different agreements with each network and some pay per coupon printed, others pay a flat fee per print session per user per day).

As you can imagine, since one of the key focuses of MoneySavingMom.com happens to be using coupons, the affiliate money earned from coupons printed is one of the highest revenue earners. However, it is a win-win situation, because I’m sharing a great deal with you, it’s hopefully helping you save money and get a great deal, and then we both benefit from it.

With that background in place, here are my top five tips for maximizing affiliate advertising:

1. Don’t Compromise Your Values for a Quick Buck

Affiliate marketing can be an incredible income stream for bloggers, but there are some definite pitfalls to be wary of. You want to be very careful that you don’t just give something a great review or post about something because you’re earning something for promoting it.

I always stop and ask myself before posting something that includes an affiliate link, “Would I post about this if I were not earning a referral fee from it?”

2. Promote Affiliate Links In Your Posts Instead of Your Sidebar

I’ve found that it’s much more effective to weave affiliate links into your posts, rather than to just put affiliate links on the sidebar. If you’re already going to be writing about a site or product, check to see if they have an affiliate program so you can use your referral link.

3. Experiment, Experiment, Experiment

It takes awhile to learn what works when it comes to affiliate links. Don’t give up if you try it a few times and it doesn’t work or result in any sales or click-thrus. Keep testing things out, tweaking your approaches, and learning what works for your audience.

4. Be Upfront and Honest

In the last few months, I started denoting all posts that contain an affiliate link with a simple note at the bottom letting you know that the post contains an affiliate link. This way, you know exactly what you’re getting here and when I’m getting something in return. Not only have I received a lot of positive feedback from you all about this change, it also helps to keep me accountable in what I post to make sure I truly am following my policy to have your best interests in mind.

5. Remember That Less is More

A few strategically placed affiliate links are almost always going to be more effective than hundreds of affiliate links all over the place. It’s better to wait and only promote affiliate links that really fit within your blog’s mission and purpose than to post every other affiliate deal and opportunity that arises.

Your readers trust your endorsement more if it’s not something you give as often. If you don’t feel comfortable with something, don’t promote it.

My Current Top-Earning Affiliates (listed in order of their average earnings from the past few months):

Amy has a great list of many different affiliate programs here, if you’re interested.

If you use affiliate marketing, I’d love to hear what programs have worked well for you, as well as some your best tips for maximizing your earnings with affiliate advertising.

photo credit

(Note: Some of the links in this post are my referral links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

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Comments

  1. says

    This is great! I signed up through Amazon but had no idea how many other options are out there. I definitely agree it is a good idea to be selective in your affiliate links, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth as a reader when I visit a blog that is covered in ads!
    Thanks again, can’t wait for the next post in this series!

  2. says

    Thanks for sharing this information. There is so much out there to learn if you want to have a successful blog and this series have been very insightful. I haven’t really monitized my current blog (maybe a few here and there) but I’m laying plans for a new blog dealing with professional life that I would definitely want to monitize. Having this information to help me in the planning process is invaluable.

  3. says

    Great article! I can’t wait to read the rest of the posts you wrote and linked to!!!!!
    I feel silly asking this, but I can’t figure out where to request to become an affiliate of smartsource?
    and do you mind sharing what your favorite affiliates on commission junction are?
    thanks so much! I am so glad I found you. I found you through MojoS. I don’t know how I didn’t find you sooner!!!!

    • says

      I’d totally tell you where to sign up as a SmartSource affiliate, if I knew. See my comment above about my less-than-stellar experiences with them so far.

      I use CJ for some retailers (Old Navy, etc.), Groupon, ING, and photo companies. Occasionally, there will be a few other places, but those are the main ones.

    • says

      I have an e-mail for who to contact. I e-mailed several months ago. It took 6 months to get a response from them. At that point I said thanks but no thanks. There are very few coupons that I post about from SS anyway, so I’d rather not deal with their lack of customer service attention. It’s not worth that stress.

      • says

        Smart Source is kind of a thorn in my side. I emailed them MONTHS ago. Got no response. Then out of the blue they emailed ME about joining. So I sent over all the required info…and nothing. Nada. They have my W9 (which means my ssn) and they are just ignoring me. Not cool :(

  4. says

    Thank you for such a well written post. Your site is so nicely put together and enjoyable to read. It is wonderful to see the tools you have used to make your business a success. Thank you for sharing your ideas and your affiliate companies. Right now I just use My Savings Media because my blog is new and I was concerned with having to much focus on monetizing at first. I am going to add other income sources to the blog and appreciate the wise words you have shared. May your business continue to blossom as you are a blessing to others!

  5. says

    Thank you for all of this great info as i look to monetize my blog more. I am interested in a more detailed outline of how to become an Amazon affiliate. I post a lot of deals from them and have signed up to become an affiliate but I don’t feel like they have outlined how exactly to post using an affiliate link. Does anyone have step by step instructions for this? Apparently I need the “Amazon affiliates for dummies version. ” =)

    • says

      Hi Melanie.
      1. Visit the Amazon Associates page and login. At the top below the blue menu it should say “search for a product”.
      2. Type in the product you are looking for.
      3. Click “get link” beside the specified product.
      4. Decide on text or picture link {grey menu} and highlight the HTML
      5. On your post page, click “HTML” and copy the highlighted info.
      6. Click “VISUAL” on your post page to see the link highlighted.

      I hope that helps! :)

  6. says

    As usual, thanks for such great information! My blog is not a money saving blog, it’s more of a craft, gardening, family life and occassionally homeschool blog. Right now I’m using Amazon, Share a Sale and Adsense. With Amazon and Share a Sale I was going to post about a product anyway and then realized there was an affiliate program for it. I’m excited to read about what other programs people are using.

    Crystal, thanks for sharing so generously!

  7. says

    Thanks for the info Crystal. I have used Amazon and coupons.com but at this point I am having no luck. I have looked into click bank and might sign up with them in the near future.

  8. says

    Commission Junction is my highest paying site. I seem to have some high end readers who want good online deals. :)
    I get frustrated with Logical Media. They seem to email me really shady companies sometimes. I have learned to google them all to see if they have a good reputation.
    Thanks!
    The Bargain Shopper Lady

    • says

      Commission Junction does well for me around Christmas because of all the great photo deals.

      I use Logical Media for my Coupons.com link right now. They are the highest paying site, so that’s why my earnings from them have been high in recent months.

  9. Samantha says

    Thanks for the great post/series!! I was wondering what Logical Media is? (is it like a Commission Junction site?)

    • says

      Logical Media is similar to CJ, but they only have some offers that run at some times depending upon the budget they’ve procured from the particular company.

  10. says

    This is fantastic information. What I have found is what works for one blog does not always work for another though I am not nearly as experienced as you but with the two blogs I have that has been what I have found. For example, my one blog http://www.savvymomstylishgirls.com gets must less traffic than http://www.skinnymomskitchen.com but for some reason does MUCH better with google adsense. Much better! It actually has me scratch my head at times. I think it is just the nature of the blog. Also another affiliate network I use on that site (SMSG) is eBay Partner Network and have seen a good profit with them when I am really focusing on it. It is a great affiliate program and I am actually surprise I do not see it talked about more.

    On the flip side, amazon does much better on SMK than on SMSG. It has been a huge flop on SMSG with zero sales. But SMK makes a few sales a week which for starters I think is good. So I agree you really need to play around and find what works best for your blog. Affiliate programs are not one size fits all.

    And I completely agree that working affiliates into posts and not just thrown onto banners is a key strategy with affiliate marketing.

    Thanks again for this awesome post. They have all been so helpful.

    • says

      Isn’t it weird how that works? This is a classic example of why it’s so important to experiment and learn what works best for you, your blog, and your own audience. I’m so glad to hear things are going well for you!

  11. says

    Thanks for sharing this! I’ve been following “Blogging with Amy” for awhile now. I’ve only made $28.50 in 3 months of blogging, so I’m trying to figure out what comes next… Each day I debate between spending more time figuring out affiliates or more time writing content. Lately the content has been winning out, but I know I have to get around to figuring out the affiliate stuff again. I would like my blog to supplement our income so that I can continue to stay home with our kids. I guess we’ll just have to see if it ever makes that much. I’ve heard that you should give a blog 8 months to a year to really get going. Anyhow, thanks again for the information and the words of wisdom!

    • says

      I am in the exact same position. I have vowed to give it my best for at least 8 months. I have been at it for almost 4.

      • says

        Oh and Jessica I just checked out your blog. I like it a lot and I am now an E-mail follower. Do you have any other ways readers can follow you?

        • says

          Maybe you could suggest some more? I’m new to all of this. I’ve never tried twitter or stumbleupon or any others yet. Amy and Jenae have suggested doing a Facebook page for my site, but I haven’t had a chance to sit down and do that yet. What other ways do people follow your site?

    • says

      I agree Jessica! I have just recently started my own blog and am trying to get it started! I have recently decided to start looking at affiliates! Thanks, Crystal, for posting all this great info and the entire series! It’s been a blessing!! I love, love, love blogging, but it does cost a lot of money with the hosting, so I hope to atleast make up for that! If all else fails, I can go back to a personal blog :) My passions outwin most of those thoughts, though :)

    • says

      You know what? $28.50 in 3 months blogging is not bad at all! Way back when I first started blogging (in 2005), it took me a number of months to be averaging $30 to $50 per month in income — and it’s just slowly moved up from there as I’ve continued to learn and experiment. So I think you are well on your way! Keep up the great work!

      My suggestion would be for you to set specific goals for affiliate marketing/income-generating things for your blog (i.e. research specific affiliate programs, sign up for them, look into what affiliate offers they have available, experiment with using affiliate links in specific posts), write them out and then devote 15 minutes a day to your list of goals. Set the timer, dive in, and then stop when your time’s up and start in the next day. Spend the rest of your blogging time on content-producing. This way, you’re slowly learning and experimenting, but you’re not spending huge amounts of time on it.

      • says

        Thanks for the encouragement and the thoughtful responses! I am curious though…do you set timers throughout the day to keep you on schedule? I’ve looked over your schedule and wondered how you stay so disciplined. I always start out with good intentions, but slowly slide back to not getting as much done. I often just burn out trying to accomplish too much.

    • says

      Wow! I totally feel the same way. It makes my head spin trying to figure out where to spend my time…but I have been working more on content than affiliates and have just this week really started working on my affiliate thing more! I have had my blog since January! It makes me feel better to know that others feel the same way I do. and Crystal thanks for your helpful answers!!!!!!

  12. says

    This may be a silly question, but how do you find out if a product has an affiliate link? For example, say I want to feature a product on my blog, do I go straight to the company and ask them if they have an affiliate link? I already use amazon affiliate, if they carry the product, do I stick with them? Or use one of the other affiliate marketing companies?

    Thanks for any advice as I try to monetize more!

  13. Julie says

    Great post. May I offer one suggestion? The term “kickback” has a negative connotation and is much less professional than the term “commission.” I learned this very early in my sales days.

    • says

      I’ve never heard that kickback has negative connotations before — but I think that’s because it is a term used widely in affiliate marketing (which is, in many senses, a very different field that sales). It’s good to know that people in sales would view it as negative or illegal (which it is neither) so I’ll know better in the future.

      Thanks for teaching me something new today; I love how much I learn from my readers!

      • Kim J says

        I would have to agree with that one. Commission or even “referral fee” sounds much more professional. Kickback definitely has a negative “good ole boys doing deals in the back room” sound to it.

      • Guest says

        I would agree that kickback has an incredibly negative connotation even outside sales. It reminds me of politicians. :-)

  14. says

    Thanks for the great info, Crystal! As your reader, I’ll vouch for the win-win–I’ve been thrilled with the coupons and Amazon deals you’ve posted on your site. (.8%? Really?!?)

  15. says

    I’ve had the greatest success with Adsense and I would agree with you on the Less is More point. If you add to many monitizing items to the page it gets too busy and drives visitors away.

  16. says

    Thanks for the information on affiliate programs. I want to add some slowly to my blog, but since Amazon has shut down its program to Illinois associates (after the governor’s brilliant tax act), I didn’t know where to begin.

    • says

      I too live in Illinois and would like to know what would be a good replacement for Amazon. I have quite a few Amazon links in my posts, and I would like to replace them.

  17. says

    This is fantastic! Thank you so much. I’m not in a position right now to start a blog, but I’m soaking up all the information you’re providing in the hope that someday….

  18. says

    How do you keep track of all your affiliate earnings? It’s hard to be a part of so many programs, (Amazon shut down the affiliate program in our state too), because each program has a $100 payout, and I’m at $5 in one, $6 in another, and $20 in another…I may never see a penny. But, as I have said from the beginning. I blog to bless people. That is my goal. If I can make one person’s life for the better, I don’t care what the payout it. (Sure, it would be nice to have compensation for the 40+ hours/week I put into it, but the reward of sharing things with people that could make their lives a little better or easier is more valuable to me.)

    • says

      To be honest, I don’t keep track of them in any fabulous manner. Most of them just automatically send a check when you reach payout, so then we track them in Quicken once the checks come in. However, if I am experimenting with a new program or offer, I will check it at least once or twice in a 24-hour period to see how well it’s performing to know if it was successful or not.

    • SarahB says

      I just came across Google’s Double Click program. Find it here, http://www.google.com/doubleclick/index.html

      Anyways, it’s supposed to help you track all your ads and adspace and help you get the highest bid (Google or not) for your advertising space. I don’t know if it will help with affiliates, but may be something worth looking into.

  19. says

    Ggreat post Crystal! I just started denoting which posts include affiliate links a few days ago, and it definitely helps me stay accountable. What’s good (and sometimes bad!), is that SOOOO many legitimate deals do include affiliates, so I’ve been a little hesitant some days to post so many of them because I feel that it looks like I’m only out to earn money. (But Amazon, Living Social, Coupons.com, and all of the sites you mention really do have fabulous deals . . . it really is a win-win!)

    Thanks so much for sharing, especially including the list of affiliates. . . I’ve got to go try and figure a few more of those out!

    • says

      I don’t earn anything off Facebook deals or many of the deals I post. Typically only 2-4 deals I post each day are affiliate deals. Some days, none are. It just really depends upon what’s available that I feel like is a truly good deal and worth promoting.

      You can tell when something is an affiliate deal or not because you can hover over the link and see whether it’s a referral link and/or you can also see if I put an affiliate disclaimer at the bottom of the posts. If so, you’ll know it has an affiliate link in it.

      As far as how I find the Facebook deals, typically it’s from the companies emailing me directly or through finding it from another blogger or reader.

  20. Casey says

    I really enjoy reading your blog with all sorts of helpful information! I’m still relative new to the couponing idea, and I do wondering how do you make money with your referral links. Now that makes sense. Of all the sites I’ve visited, you’re the only one being true and frank telling readers you’re getting paid for referral all the time. Now I feel even more comfortable and trustworthy through your links! Thank you for sharing this!

  21. says

    One thing that really helps a lot too is to re-post the deals on Facebook and Twitter at different times of the day. Not only do readers see the deal on their feed that wouldn’t have seen it at another time of the day, you get more click-throughs and subsequently more people clicking on the affiliate links. I know some bloggers post the actual affiliate link directly on their Facebook or Twitter post too (at least the links that don’t disallow it in their terms) instead of posting a link to the blog post. It just depends upon the nature of the deal how much I do social media posting. I want to post stuff because I truly didn’t want my readers to miss it, not just so I can keep waving my affiliate link in their face saying “CLICK ME!!!”

    • says

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve been wary of posting a post more than once just because I don’t want people to feel bombarded — but I also know that it is very easy to miss stuff if you’re not on social media a lot.

    • says

      I’ve had a lot of trouble getting in touch with them. They first reached out to me in 2008 about becoming an affiliate, but the subsequently stopped replying to emails or sending affiliate checks after I got it set up on my site. The recently did get in touch with me and send the first check, but for the life of me, I cannot find that email (this is what happens when I try to keep my inbox completely cleared out — I end up deleting stuff I should hang onto!)

      That said, I know others have had better experience than me. If anyone here has a contact email, I’d love for you to share.

      • says

        this is a possible contact:

        Maggie: MMagruder at newsamerica dot com

        but from what I know they may not be taking any new affiliates (not that most of the old ones were getting paid)

        jenetta

  22. says

    I’ve had the most success with becoming an affiliate for eBooks written by bloggers in my niche. I’ve had more sales with those than any other affiliate link I’ve used, including Amazon.

    • says

      I so agree that ebooks are one great way to utilize affiliate marketing. I don’t promote very many of them, but I do love Amy’s Tell Your Time ebook and have done well in earnings in promoting it — especially since it’s something I can wholeheartedly endorse!

  23. Brandy says

    Love this post! I can appreciate the disclaimer to the readers on affiliate links…..although a good deal is a good deal for me whether the blogger gets paid or not. :)

    However, I have quit following some blogs because they seem to be more interested in promoting their friend’s site and special postings than giving readers true deals and good ideas.

  24. says

    Only God can make someone so kind. I really see Him shining through you!!! :D

    Question: I was recently asked to be apart of an affiliate program on my blog. I don’t have many followers or traffic coming through, so I thought it was pointless. I turned them down, but I really do like the company offering it. what do you think?

    • says

      You are so sweet. I pray daily that people would see Jesus in me; that’s one of my greatest heart’s desires.

      As far as your question goes, never underestimate yourself! If you love a company that is offering an affiliate program and it would be a good fit to promote them on your blog, go for it! You never know what might happen and, if anything, it will be a learning experience!

  25. Jamie says

    If you don’t mind me asking, what affiliate program pays you $.80 per coupon printed? I am all new to this, and just started signing up to these programs! Any info is appreciated!

    • says

      I would, except I’m not at liberty to do so per an agreement with that specific affiliate program. I can tell you that it is one of the four I listed.

  26. Sarah Heredia says

    Thank you so much for this post, Crystal! You are very thorough and that’s why I love reading your blog everyday.

  27. Sarah Heredia says

    I read recently that Amazon cancelled it’s affiliate program for those in California because the state is requiring us to pay even more taxes. Any more info about that?

  28. SarahB says

    Do you or anyone else have any information and links on getting companies to sponsor giveaways? This seems like a great way to have people sign up for your blog.

    Would you recommend purchasing a product to give away? Is that even legal?

    Maybe you can create a blog post out of this cause I’ve been trying to figure that out and haven’t really found anything yet.

  29. says

    Thank you Crystal, again, I am sorry I missed the smartsource comment. Thank you for directing me to it. I pray people see Jesus in me too…I need to work on shining more! Again, I am sooo thankful to have found you and this blog and thank you for sharing your wisdom with us!!!
    I have another silly question- If you are an amazon affiliate and promote a FREE amazon book download (like for Kindles or something), do you get compensation if people download it even though it is free ?
    also, I am definately going to take a look at how you disclose things in each post and I am going to try to do that.
    Thanks again!!!!!!!!!!

    • says

      you do not get a commission on Amazon for free products (unless the product was free because of a coupon code, then sometimes you do). But if the buyer does purchase anything else in a certain amount of time you get a commission on that.

      jenetta

    • says

      Here’s a good tip for making money on an Amazon freebie: If you promote, for example, a free $2 mp3 credit that Amazon is offering, you will receive a % of each mp3 purchased. Since they purchased the mp3, and “paid” with a credit, it counts as a sale. I get 10% of each mp3. Sure, song are only .99 each, so I make 10 cents each sale, but hundreds of them add up, and — AND — Amazon is good at promoting other products, so you’ll find that you make much more money than just that 10 cents each mp3. I heard once that all you need to do is get them in the door and let Amazon do what Amazon does best: get them to buy (they sure get me to buy, too!).

      The free Kindle books are good for getting them into the door, too.

  30. says

    For us it’s e-books. We tried all the coupon sites and others and literally got $0 from them so if one thing doesn’t work try something else. We do get a small amount from coupons.com in our newsletter but not enough to really matter.
    E-books are our big sellers and finding GOOD QUALITY e-books is hard to find! I haven’t checked but the ladies at Savvy Blogging were supposed to be putting out a list of good affiliates. I hope they get it done soon if it’s not out already.

  31. says

    Quick question: I am always a bit weary of giving out my social security number online, or to anyone for that reason. When signing up for the affiliates, you have to give either your SSN or TaxID # for tax/payment purposes. Has anyone ever had problems giving out your SSN? Do you recommend getting your blog incorporated in order to get a TaxID # instead?
    (Is this complete paranoia? :) )

    • says

      I’m not a CPA, but I don’t think you have to be “incorporated” to have a EIN. You can go online to irs.gov and apply for one and have it within a few seconds. It was easy to do and gave me peace of mind that my personal SS # wasn’t floating around out there with people I’d never met. HTH

  32. says

    Thanks for your knowledge Crystal! I don’t have a Financial Blog rather a ‘document your life electronically blog’ that has recently grown in traffic and I am slowly but surely venturing into the world of monetizing the site (because of the traffic). Again, your willingness to share is amazing!

  33. says

    Crystal, thanks for being open and honest about your earnings. It’s nice to hear what’s working for you!

    Just wanted to make two suggestions to bloggers to help them earn with affiliate offers:

    1) Instead of just cutting & pasting the promo text, write an actual post around an affiliate offer and include your “voice,” either your personal experience or a personal story. I’ve made a lot more money on posts that show the value of what I’m “selling” than on the kind where you expect people to just click and sign up. Once you have a strong post, you can link back to it again & again from FB, Twitter, or anytime in the future. It’s time well spent!

    2) If you’re a new blogger trying affiliates for the first time–no matter what your genre–try the photo offers. Everyone wants prints, cards, gifts, etc. so it’s easy to adapt to your genre, whether you’re a craft, cooking, mom, parenting, etc. blog. We all love photo deals! But back to #1, don’t just tell us the offer, show what you’ve made, tell your past experience, or brainstorm new uses for that product.

  34. Angela says

    What route would be best for blogging income going toward a non-profit organization? I am considering starting a blog with some other women that we would like the proceeds to go toward missions. Thank you so much. Just love your site and honesty.

    • says

      You just apply to join the programs you are interested in promoting (say Old Navy or Groupon) and then if you’re accepted, you can login and get your referral links.

  35. Danielle Hull says

    It’s too bad about Amazon! I guess since they’re giving free shipping with Amazon Mom and Prime, they can’t “afford” to pay decent commissions!

  36. says

    I have loved your posts in this series! I just started my own blog and I will admit to feeling discouraged. Reading your articles always makes me want to try harder instead of giving up on it! So thank you! You’ve been a great help to me!

    (By the way, I’m hosting a giveaway on my blog! :) )

  37. says

    Crystal,
    Thank you so much for such helpful information. As a new blogger, it all can be quite overwhelming. Your encouragement is also a great help!

    I have been blogging since Feb 18th to be exact, and just received my first $155.00 check! I am about $20 from my next payout. I don’t have much traffic yet, so I guess a few targeted sales is what helped.

    The affiliate part of blogging is definetly tricky for sure. Your help is truly such a blessing, as many of us “newbies” look to you as our mentor!

    Thank you for being so generous to your readers!!

  38. says

    Hey, Crystal ~ Thought I’d chime in, too, in case it helps your readers who are niche bloggers. Those in a niche will especially need to do a lot of trial and error and hope that the readers don’t mind the ride as they try to figure it out. My niche is education, and my readers expect that focus, so they are annoyed if I post coupons (I learned that through trial and error).

    Niche bloggers may do well with private affiliate programs. My 2nd & 3rd highest payouts are for homeschool curriculum companies. Amazon is my biggest affiliate program — I still get 7% commission and I SURE hope they don’t change my terms like they did yours (that’s not fun that they did that!)

    Because something like that can happen, I do not put all my eggs in one basket.

  39. Cheryl Raymond says

    I have a blog I’m working on now….are there contents are are NOT allowed on there? My blog is about sweepstakes, etc. Can I post companies sweepstakes on my website that I find out about, etc? Or do you have to get permission from each company that is running the sweepstakes?

    Thanks! :)

  40. says

    I also use Escalate Network. Love those guys. The owner is local and for some reason that makes me feel safer? LOL. I use them for coupons so they are my highest earner as well.

    I did disclose in every post for awhile, but then they mentioned that could be seen as incentivizing, so I stopped. What are your thoughts on that?

    Affiliate advertising has been great for me. Your blog is where I first heard of it and I’m so thankful to you for that (let’s just add to that long list of things I’m thankful to you for…um yeah…LOL).

    • says

      I don’t think there’s anyway you’re going to get in trouble with the FTC for disclosing in posts. You would be breaking FTC rules if you were not disclosing somewhere on your blog (either in a disclosure policy, on the sidebar, or some other similar manner).

      For me, I disclose out of a desire to be upfront with readers so they know exactly what they are getting here. I know other bloggers disagree with this, so you have to decide what you feel is right for you and your blog.

        • says

          Rats! I just realized it sounded like I was saying *you* were breaking FTC rules. I’m so sorry for not proofing my comment before posting it! What I *meant* was that anyone who doesn’t disclose in any way, shape, or form is breaking the FTC rules not that you personally were.

  41. says

    One more question. How would you suggest making money if you aren’t a deal blogger per se? I post a deal only once or twice a week. Would affiliate marketing still work for me? How would I make it work?

    • says

      Absolutely! Find products and businesses that you love and find ways to weave links to them into posts. Don’t overdo it, but definitely do use affiliate links if you’re already going to be linking to a site.

      A couple of my friends (non-deal bloggers) have done one deal or affiliate post every day in addition to all the content they typically post and this has worked well for them. The other option would be to do a round-up of some deal highlights every few days.

      The important thing is to keep it in your voice. Check out HeavenlyHomemakers.com for a great example of how to use affiliate links well on a non-deal blog. She and her husband are living off her blog and ebook income almost exclusively right now, so it’s definitely working well for them! :)