Are You a Free Affiliate?

If you are a blogger, you probably have a few things you are very passionate about.   Through the course of a typical week, you probably link out several times to various companies, products, or services that you endorse because you personally enjoy them.   If it is not a paid review or an affiliate link, then you are doing so for free. 

Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, but why not get paid for it?   People seem to have a misconception that affiliate marketing requires you to endorse products you don’t use, which is completely untrue.   MOST companies now have affiliate programs of some sort, so if you are endorsing anyone, you can get paid.    Your web hosting company and your domain registrar more than likely have affiliate programs.   Any book or TV show reviews you do can be endorsed through Amazon.  Anything sold on eBay can be endorsed through their affiliate program.   There are such huge advantages for companies to run an affiliate program that most companies are doing so. 

It was with that in mind that about six months ago when I decided to make a change in my online practices and shift my focus primarily to affiliate marketing.   The first thing I did before launching any new campaigns was to dig through my existing websites and popular individual posts looking for affiliate opportunities.   Because of the amount of content I had produced over the past two years on my network of websites, this was a fairly big task and took most of one weekend to complete (about 13 hours).  

Like I encouraged others to do in one of my last posts, I started with the basic 6 affiliate companies.    I also spent some time looking through my blog analytics and figured out which companies I was sending the most traffic to.  I then went to Google and searched for the companies name and affiliate.   I was surprised that 3-4 of of these companies had affiliate programs as well!

Once I was done signing up for relevant affiliate programs and collecting affiliate links, I went back into those posts and updated these existing links within my posts to be affiliate links.  I chose to mask my affiliate links because it makes it much easier to use them on multiple websites, but it really isn’t needed as you are targeting search engine traffic.   I then took any others that were relevant and added them to the blogs sidebar. 

After each day, I began to check on my progress by logging into my affiliate accounts.  Each day it seemed my eyes widened more and more.   Within 30 days I had made almost $1,200.00 just from these affiliate programs.   This was without factoring in and new affiliate campaigns, just links I had naturally done on my sites over the years.  It was an exciting time, but also depressing to think about how much money I had lost in the previous weeks, months, and even years by not learning the secret to making money online earlier.  And these were all links I made originally without any income in mind, but just because I enjoyed the product or service.  

In the months since, that income has been pretty consistent and I’ve been growing it with new niche sites, new campaigns, etc.   It is fun to see the income rolling in 24/7, and have that money come from work I’ve done in the past.   Any work I’m doing now will hopefully be adding to that income six months from now!

If you have a lot of content indexed in the search engines, I highly recommend you carve out some time to research affiliate programs and update your links.   You’ll probably be surprised with the opportunities that present themselves. 

  • Care to unveil the secrets of your biggest earning affiliate offers? 🙂

  • Kyle Eslick

    @ Llama – Ahh, aren’t you a sneaky one! Seriously though, there is no secret to it. This site doesn’t really make much money, which is why I talk about all sorts of stuff here instead of focusing on something in particular.

    I have 3 other main blogs that are extremely niche focused, and all areas I’m very passionate about. Most of the affiliate links were added to those 3 sites, though I did manage to find a few here in some of my popular posts that have been producing a little bit. Every bit helps and it adds up over time!

    In the months since, I’ve been carving out some time each week to setup new BANS sites (which I’ve talked about before and am extremely passionate about) and have found a good deal of success with them as well. I think I’ve got about 15 of those sites up and running so far. As long as they are bringing in $7.00 a year, they are a success as far as I’m concerned because they pay for themselves. Many have outperformed that in the first month or two. Get 80 of those producing $10-$20 or more each and thats a pretty nice supplemental income.

  • Mike Muise

    This is something I have also come to the conclusion on. On my site I am focusing on plugging companies I enjoy or have enjoyed using which can in some way benefit me financially. And as you said, most online company these days has some sort of affiliate or referral program.

    Now if only you could get affiliate advertising dollars from things like wearing branded clothing. 🙂


  • Kyle Eslick

    @ Mike – Exactly. When I talk to people about affiliate marketing, they mostly seem to think you have to promote shady companies or small businesses. These days pretty much everyone has an affiliate program, so if you are linking to anyone, you should at least check before dropping a link into a post.

    The crazy thing is you don’t have to do anything you aren’t already doing, except create the affiliate accounts. You can promote the same people you would be anyway!

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