What is Affiliate Marketing?

One of the easiest and most common ways to make money blogging is through affiliate marketing. What is affiliate marketing? Let me explain…

what is affiliate marketing

There are essentially two ways to make money online:

  1. Sell your own stuff.
  2. Sell or promote someone else’s stuff and get paid for doing it (like I pay a lot of you for promoting Tell Your Time).

Simple.

In this post, we’ll tackle #2. (If you want to sell your own stuff, I recommend starting with an ebook. Here’s how.) But let’s talk about affiliate marketing…

What is affiliate marketing? What is an affiliate?

This is how affiliate marketing works:

  1. You have a blog or website (here are my steps to get yours up and running in 15 minutes or less).
  2. You know of a product or service you can confidently recommend to your readers. You will first partner with the company that sells this product or service.
  3. You will market (i.e. tell others about) this product or service for the company that offers it. In this way, you are an affiliate (sometimes referred to as an internet or affiliate marketer).
  4. For example, let’s say on your blog or website, you alert your readers to the great product Company Z offers, either by writing a post about it or placing a button or banner ad somewhere on your site. You link to the product’s website in your post and/or button/banner ad. However, you don’t just use any link, you use your affiliate link which contains your special and unique ID. (We talk about how you get this link in a minute.)
  5. A reader clicks on the text link (in your post) or the button/banner ad in your sidebar. They are taken to Company Z’s website and they decide to purchase that product or service.
  6. Company Z can see that their new customer (i.e. your reader) was referred by YOU because that uniquely-coded link that tells them so.
  7. Because Company Z is grateful to you for the referral, they reward you with a commission.

4 ways to find affiliate products or services to promote

When you’re looking for things to promote, be creative. Every product or service you use and love might very well be affiliate-worthy. Check it out. Here are some ways to find out whether or not there’s an affiliate program attached to the good stuff you talk about and use:

  1. Think of a product or service you already like and go to the website of said product.  See if you can find a link (often in the footer) that says something like “Affiliates,” “Affiliate Program,” “Referral Program” or something similar. Follow the links to sign up. For example, when I decided to write my post How to Start a Blog or Website (in 15 Minutes or Less), I simply searched for the info about Bluehost’s affiliate program on their site.
  2. Think of a product or service you already like and google it. For example, I’m a fan of Tiny Prints* because I think their greeting cards, birth announcements, wedding invitations & holiday greeting cards are to die for (I really do actually). So I googled “Tiny Prints affiliate program” or “Tiny Prints affiliates” or “Tiny Prints referrals” etc. If your first search doesn’t turn up anything, try again. Don’t give up too easily. Sometimes there are slight variances in word usage or terms. Follow the links to sign up.
  3. Take note of the affiliate products other bloggers in your niche are using. Look at their sites. Read their posts. What’s in their sidebar? What are they linking to? If you see a product or service they talk about that jogs your memory and you can ethically promote it too, find affiliate information by the methods described above.
  4. One of the best and most efficient ways to find things to promote is to join an affiliate network and browse through their available campaigns. In fact, many companies offer their affiliate program via an affiliate network, so oftentimes as you are searching for possible products to promote, you will have to join an affiliate network anyway. This will often work to your advantage since you’ll have access to a lot more products all in one fell swoop. Like this…

What is an affiliate network?

An affiliate network works like this:

  1. Website Q (the affiliate network) is like a middleman. They provide a place where advertisers (i.e. companies that have products or services to sell, sometimes called “vendors”) are matched up with publishers (i.e. you, the blogger or website owner; also referred to as “affiliates”). Imagine Website Q sitting in the middle of you (the publisher/affiliate) and the company (the advertiser).
  2. Advertisers strike a deal with Website Q and say “Hey, we want to sell more of Product X. We will reward any of your publishers $XX who promote Product X and it results in a sale.”
  3. Website Q agrees and lists that campaign (or offer) on their website.
  4. You, the publisher, join the affiliate network (Website Q) and see Product X listed among the available “Campaigns,” “Offers,” or “Marketplace” (usually you’ll find this tab at the top of the screen in the navbar). You decide Product X is a good product for you to promote and write about, so you opt to take part in that campaign. Sometimes you have to apply to be part of the specific campaign for that product, sometimes you don’t; it depends on the affiliate network and advertiser.
  5. Once you are cleared to promote Product X and you understand the terms for that campaign, you look through the list of available buttons, banners, text links, etc. for that product. You choose the one that you like most and copy the code they provide for you. This code has your unique ID in it. Then you paste this code on your site wherever you’d like it to show up on your site.
  6. Your readers see the banner, button or link, click on it, are taken to the Product X website, they buy it and you get paid by Website Q (who was previously paid by the advertiser of Product X).

Affiliate networks are nice for advertisers because then the advertisers don’t have to run the affiliate program themselves. Affiliate networks are nice for publishers because it’s sort of like one-stop shopping and they don’t have to hunt for individual programs. Of course, affiliate networks are nice for the affiliate networks because they are acting as middlemen and getting a piece of the profit pie.

6 important things to remember before you become an affiliate

  1. Choose only products or services you can recommend without reservation. Seek out the best. Products/services you’ve used yourself are a great bet as you can speak about them with confidence and from experience.
  2. Choose products or services that are relevant to your niche. If your site is about children’s books and you promote car insurance, at best you’ll look like you don’t know what you’re doing and at worst, you’ll be branded a “spammer.”
  3. Once you have gotten a bad reputation as a spammer or an “out-to-make-a-quick-buck” type of blogger, it’s incredibly difficult to regain your reputation. Start out with high standards and you’ll be fine. Simply put, promoting bad stuff makes you look bad and will hurt you in the long run.
  4. Look around for the best affiliate deal. My friend Carrie tipped me off to this and after searching around, I realized one of my affiliates paid almost 30% more if I went through a different network. Let me tell you, I changed out those links real fast!
  5. Experiment, experiment, experiment! Experiment with different networks, ad sizes, text links vs. images, placement on your page, etc. Sometimes there are vast differences in revenue when small changes are made!
  6. Always know the Terms of Service for the programs in which you are participating. It’s no fun to be kicked out of a program!

What are some affiliate networks you can join?

There are lots of affiliate networks available and most are easy peasy to join (just follow the prompts). Different affiliate networks provide different products so you’ll want to hunt around to find the one(s) that are the best fit for you.

Here are some affiliate networks I am a part of, along with a sampling of the types of products, services or campaigns they offer:

1. ShareASale

A large network offering such things like Genesis Theme for WordPress (my favorite!! and if you use Genesis, you might as well make that link in your footer an affiliate link, right?) and Tiny Prints (as mentioned above.)

Sign up for ShareASale here.

2. Logical Media

A network who works with advertisers like Coupons.com (printable coupons) and Home Depot (tutorials and newsletters).

Sign up with Logical Media here.

3. Escalate Network

Another network similar to Logical Media (good for families) offering many of the same things like Vista Print (free business card, address labels, etc.).

Sign up with Escalate Network here.

4. Panthera Network

Advertisers here include things like Entertainment Books.

Sign up with Panthera Network here.

5. Commission Junction

This is a HUGE affiliate network with a bazillion affiliate programs such as Moo Cards (super cute business cards) and Bluehost & HostGator (web hosting).

Sign up as an affiliate with Commission Junction here.

6. Amazon Associates

Who doesn’t love Amazon and the fact that you can get almost anything there? (Plus, it’s a handy place to spend all those Swagbucks gift cards!) Of course, they have much more than books like a Kindlegonna save for this (got it and LOVE it!), Macs (be still my heart), Pirate’s Booty (we’ve been known to buy these by the case) and textbooks (stop here before the college bookstore!).

Sign up with Amazon Associates here.

7. Even more affiliate networks:

*There are affiliate links in this post.

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Comments

  1. Jackie says

    Really great information! I didn’t even think to look for specific affiliate programs on a company’s website.
    The hard part is specializing in promoting an “indie” lifestyle, since most companies in that niche probably don’t have the budget yet for affiliates.

  2. says

    Unfortunately, if you don’t have a lot of traffic, you won’t make much from affiliate marketing. But I do appreciate the list. Seems like the most popular blogs these days are “How to Blog” ones:-)

    • says

      When you will become affiliated with a product, you must target your audience and traffic source too. It can be Adwords, forums, niche relevant blogs or it can even be Facebook. I would like to suggest you not to rely on Search engines like google for traffic. It can make you frustrated. If you get traffic from it, take it as a bonus. :)

    • says

      This is a very good list of programs to use. Yes you are correct about traffic and traffic is the best way to promote your affiliate link but it is not the only way. You can take your link to the customer if you know the right place to look.

      But thanks again for the time you took to put this togather.

  3. says

    I’ve been trying to learn about affiliate advertising and how to implement it on my site. This is by far the clearest and best explanation of what it is and how it works. Thanks for writing this up Amy!

  4. says

    I don’t think enough bloggers use Affiliate marketing. it is the one the best and quickest ways to make money blogging. Great article Amy. thanks as always.

    – Bryan

  5. says

    Hello Guys I trying many affiliate for my education blog but there are no more satisfaction please suggest me any good affiliate for education niche blog. Thanks for sharing.

  6. says

    Hi Amy – thanks for explaining all of this! I have a food/cooking/recipe blog. Any idea of some affiliate networks to join that provide for this niche? The ones you listed don’t seem to fit. Or do people who have food blogs also join these types of networks you mentioned? I feel like it would make more sense for me to have affiliate links for cooking products or food related products. Let me know how I can go about finding affiliate networks that carry these types of products.

    Thanks again for the great post!

  7. Ann-Marie says

    With an assoc. program like Amazon’s, is it necessary you already hold an account with the company? And if you are running multiple web/Internet locations where it is possible to be a productive affiliate, and not a spammer, is it possible to have just a single affiliate account with a company or does each web location need to have it’s own unique connection to the affiliate being promoted/advertised? (I so hope this makes sense and is clear…..) thank you for your time band wonderful info Amy!!

    • says

      Some affiliate networks work with many brands/products so in those cases, you can be affiliates for multiple brands/products if you’re part of one affiliate network. Then there are other brands or products that have their own affiliate programs, so those you’ll have to manage separately. It can get sort of crazy to keep track. I use a spreadsheet with brand/product name, my affiliate link, whether or not the company is part of an affiliate network, etc. I wrote about it here. I hope that makes sense!

  8. says

    I was using Google Adsense, but my account was shut down. I am trying to find a new way to make money with my blog, and this affiliate ads sounds good. I just can’t find any products/services that fit into my niche (Religious discussion)

  9. says

    Hi Amy,
    I’m signed up for the Amazon affiliate program, and when I click on the “link to this page” I get HTML code, which is all fine and dandy, but it doesn’t work well when I want to share an affiliate link on Facebook. If I just copy the URL of the given item, will it magically be an affiliates link? Or what else should I be doing?
    Thank you for your time!!
    Megan

    • says

      If you’re trying to post an Amazon link on FB and you want to use your affiliate link, don’t paste the link. Instead, go to the page on Amazon of the product you want to share. Look in the gray Amazon Associates bar at the top of your screen for the “Share” link. You’ll be able to pull down a menu and opt to share on Twitter or on Facebook. Makes it really simple.

  10. says

    Please forgive me if I am being redundant. I just wanted to know, if I am using an affiliate network am I also able to become an affiliate for sites not available through that network?

  11. says

    This is so helpful to me! I’m so discouraged with Adsense right now and I really needed some alternative options to make SOME money. This is going to point me in the right direction. I appreciate your being so candid with us all!

  12. says

    Amy,
    First I want to say that your blog has been such a great resource in setting up my blog. I can’t tell you how easy you have made the process!

    I am wanting to become an Amazon affiliate but unfortunately live in Illinois so it seems it is not to be. I was searching the web for answers and came across Viglinks. Do you have any thoughts or experience with this? It seems like a simple way to do affiliates and I know they take a percentage of your commission. It looks like they link every affiliate they are joined with so I’m not sure that’s the best but I don’t know of any other way to get around the Amazon thing.

    Thoughts? Ideas? Thanks so much!

    Julie

  13. says

    Hi there, love this post! I was wondering if you have any suggestions for wordpress plugins that help you integrate links automatically, like Affiliate Ninja, for instance. I would love to hear your opinion!

    • Amy says

      Great question. I’ve never used plugins for affiliate links (I tend to keep my plugin use as light as possible). I do keep a spreadsheet that makes pasting in my affiliate links quite simple though, even though it requires an extra step. I wrote about it here.

  14. says

    I LOVE your blog! It’s so informative, and I’ve been researching these kinds of ideas for several months now! Thanks so much for this information!

  15. says

    Hi Amy! I’ve been reading your blog for a couple weeks now. I’m setting up my blog, but haven’t started posting yet. Your site has been incredibly helpful! I just signed up with LinkShare and was approved by my first advertiser. I’m attempting to do “Deep Linking” to a product I think will be of interest to my readers. I’m attempting to put the ad in the sidebar, but haven’t yet succeeded. LinkShare gave me the code, but I don’t know what to do with it. I tried putting it in a text widget, but that didn’t work. (I’m using WordPress.org and Atahualpa.) I tried to search your site for instructions, but haven’t found any. Do you have instructions for that?

  16. says

    Hi Amy! Question…I am signed up with Google Affiliate Network, and know how to place ads in sidebar. If I write a post referring to the advertiser, can I put link in my post, OR, am I limited to the banner ads in sidebar?

    • Amy says

      I would say the short answer is yes, but I would read the Terms for each that you’re going to use. It’s a good idea to know about the terms for each program!

  17. says

    Thank you Amy for this great information. I’ve been doing just the banners on my side bar, but now I think maybe doing the links would work better. I’m going to experiment. I’m only doing products that I’ve tried and can 100% approve of. I think bloggers who don’t stick to their morals are just slimy.
    Thank you for helping a broke girl like me realize it’s possible to earn some money. :) You are an answer to prayer!

  18. says

    Amy,
    I just started a blog by following your steps. That was great, thank you. I have three questions about setting up the affiliates.
    1. How can I put the affiliates side by side and next to each other just like in yours. (I’m referring to your “more cool stuff..” where you have two columns and three rows.)
    2. How do I set a hyperlink affiliate link in my post? (EX: I use cloth diapers.) The word cloth diapers would but a link to an affiliate who sells cloth diapers.
    3. In your “Hi, I’m Amy” section on the right. How did you set up those internal hyperlinks. I used a text widgin to put insert my about section but I can not add any hyperlinks. Also how did you add your picture in that same section.

  19. says

    Hi Amy, I just found your site and it looks exactly like the information I need-as I am just in the beginning phases of blogging/adding affiliates. Have you ever found a product you want to sell and worked directly with the manufacturer/producer to give them back percentage of sales from your site?

    • Amy says

      I’ve never worked directly with a manufacturer/producer. Most companies I’m aware of require you to work via their (often 3rd party-managed) affiliate program through which you can promote many or all of their products. Check out this post for a lot of affiliate programs (toward the bottom). Not sure if that answers your question.

    • Amy says

      Oh my stars, I think I just linked to this very post. #INeedANapApparently

      I must not be following your question. Would you mind asking again? Maybe I’ll do better this time. :)

  20. says

    Amy! I figured it out! My Ad Block Plus on my browser (Mozilla) is working really well. They are blocking my links!
    Now on to the next question – do you know how I can get around this? Surely I can’t be the only one using Mozilla with Ad Block Plus. LOL

    • Amy says

      Well, that’s good to know! My only recommendation is to switch to Google Chrome. I did a few weeks ago and realized I should have done it ages ago. Love it!

  21. says

    No, no code. Nothing. The code remains in tact in the widget box, but shows nothing on my sidebar. Yes, happens with both CJ and Amazon.

    I did read it could be my chosen theme (which would really stink, LOL).

    Thanks Amy! I’ll let you know once it’s resolved and what the issue was. :)

  22. says

    Hi Amy! First off, congrat’s on becoming a Relevant speaker!! So excited and really hoping I can go again this year!!

    I have more of a techie question I hope you can help me with. I’ve done some Google searches and asked around on Twitter (#savvyblogging), but am still struggling to find any answers.

    I signed up for 2 affiliate programs (Amazon and Commission Junction/DaySpring) and I can’t get either of their affiliate links to work on my WordPress.org blog. I have tried both the JavaScript and the HTML version and neither works. Am I missing a step or a plugin? Is it just a simple copy/paste method?

    What happens is I put the link into the widget box and save it. The link (html/javascript) remains in tact, but it never shows up in my sidebar. Help?! Thanks!

    • Amy says

      Hmmm…not sure if I understand exactly, but do you mean the code itself shows up on your site instead of pulling the ad? And it happens for both CJ and Amazon? You might try grabbing just your affiliate URL (http://cj.com/referal/etc) and not all the img tags and stuff that are often supplied automatically. Or, if no links are working in your widgets, you might try calling your host or your theme author?? Sorry I’m not much help here!

  23. Gdaiva says

    Yes, I always leave the site when there are hundrets of add or even worse popus in you face. Its hard to believe for me, that those even work. Everyone I know, the first thing they are looking for the X sign in those popups.
    Your site is so perfectly designed with tons of info. I shop a lot on amazon, next time i go thru your site at least somehow to express my appreciation.
    Thank you again!!

  24. says

    Amy, I’m often asked about how I make money from my blog. It can be quite challenging to explain, but you’ve done so here in a very easy-to-understand way. I will be bookmarking this post for the future…so when I’m asked again, I can say, “see what Amy says.” ;) Thanks!

  25. says

    Hi Amy!

    Have you heard of Skimlinks? We aggregate the affiliate programs of over 11,500 retailers and 25 affiliate networks, and turn normal links to retailers into their equivalent, updated affiliate link when a user clicks on them. So one sign-up with us saves you the stress of broken links and the time logging in to multiple affiliate networks. Thought you might be interested as your site is about monetizing blogs in the easiest and user-friendliest way possible :-) Feel free to contact me for more info. Thanks!

  26. says

    I have started signing up for some affiliate programs and reading the fine print is over whelming! I have noticed that they are all very similar, but one thing I was wondering, after I become an affiliate, I cannot use my own link to order things? Is this correct? I want to post things that I actually use. I will not take advantage of this, but just want to check! Thank you so much for your blog, mine is a result of yours!

    • Amy says

      Hi Carolynn,

      I do not use my own links unless I have express permission to do so (in writing). This is very important for many networks such as AdSense which will kick you out of the program if you click on the ads on your own site. One of my affiliates indeed did let me use my affiliate link to purchase a second of their products, but only one time. But I was so nervous, I emailed them and asked explicitly if I was reading that right. “So, can I click on my own affiliate link on my own blog and purchase this?” The response was, “Yes, you can use your own link.” And I wrote back again, “So, I will in no way be penalized if I click on my own affiliate link?” (I think I drove them crazy (Hi, can you say anal? :) ) but they assured me it was fine…and it was. All that to say, be very, very careful! I know the fine print is tedious, but being familiar with the TOS (Terms of Service) is really to your benefit.

  27. says

    Thanks so much for such a comprehensive affiliate list! I’m always looking for the best ones and even more curious how much people are able to make with their affiliates to know if they are worth my time.

  28. says

    Hello Amy~
    I am visiting from Money Saving Mom today. I am having a time reading your steps~ I am overwhelmed. I have been blogging a year and have 421 followers on blogspot.
    I have 2 advertisers who pay me monthly to advertise on my blog. Would it make a huge difference in switching to my own domain? I am afraid I would lose my followers. What step should I take next?
    Thank you for taking the time to bless us all!~
    Carrie

  29. says

    Amy – As a newbie, I had no idea about all of this affiliate marketing! Wow.
    The vision of my blog does not necessitate my making money from it, but I’m not closed off to the idea. But I’m having trouble envisioning how I would use affiliate marketing, except maybe to recommend certain books I read. My site is more of a devotional/Christian living-type blog. Do you have any other suggestions of ways I can use affiliate marketing? I might add a “LOVE THESE SITES” type page of things I really love. Maybe that’s overkill?

    • Amy says

      I think you could do a “Love These Sites” page (I have a tip about this coming up) and as you blog more, I bet you’ll find other ways to incorporate affiliate links if you choose. Blogging about products you use and love is a good way to do so.

  30. says

    Thank you for this very informative and easy to understand information. I’m wondering if the same information applies to blogs as well as an e-commerce website? My biggest obstacle is getting traffic to my website. Having all this wonderful information and affiliates is great but only if people see it.” If you build it they will come” I have found does not apply to websites. Thanks!

    • Amy says

      E-commerce websites are a bit different. You can still use affiliate marketing on them, but you’re right, how well you do with affiliate marketing is often dependent on your traffic. Still, some key affiliates on a static website can still bring in some decent income. And you’re right that “if you build it they will come” no longer applies to websites anymore given the sheer number of websites on the internet. My suggestion is to get out there, take part in forums where your potential customers would hang out, comment on blogs providing useful information and do your best to get your name out there in as many ways as you can think of.

  31. says

    I recently started a blog (I became an Amazon affiliate) and I just launched (a few days ago actually) my own online store. I’m familiar with blogs, ebay, etsy, etc. I have searched and searched online for information on affiliates, blogs, etc. You are a lifesaver because your blog seriously is the easiest way to understand PLUS you even GIVE us some affiliates. I’m tring LiveMocha now and I already now what I’m going to write about in my next blog (Hello Espanol). Anyway, looking forward to getting your emails for sure. Oh…question for ya…how can I add an etsy link to my blog? Not sure if it’s just a banner or an affiliate banner somehow…? I’ve seen people who make things on etsy-they have a link/banner on their site? My MAIN goal is to somehow link all my stuff together…my store…my blog…my facebooks (heck I got educated and opened an twitter account but thats slow going b/c I’m so new)…etc. PLUS advertising is so darn exspensive espec. when you are just starting out… Thanks :) Cheers! Happy bloggn!

  32. says

    Oh thank-you, thank-you. I was jut talking about this with a bunch of other blogers last night. This information is JUST what I’m looking for!

  33. says

    Amy, thank you for such an encouraging and helpful post. I’ve done some Amazon affiliate work, but still feel like there’s so much I don’t understand. This helped so much! thanks!

  34. says

    Thanks for this post. I too have been thinking about this whole affiliate marketing idea and wondering whether it would put off my readers. I want to give my readers honest and neutral advice (I write a math blog) but there are genuinely some products which I feel I can recommend, so why not make some money if I’m going to recommend them anyway. The only problem is making sure that I can be truly neutral and be as enthusiastic about products I like which don’t have an affiliate scheme.

    • Amy says

      I’ve found that in general, if your focus is on providing useful content, readers are often quite gracious. I certainly hope the scales here tip decidedly in the direction of really helpful content.

    • Amy says

      Did you like that? I figured I don’t use ‘em very often so I had to get ‘em all in in one fell swoop. :)

  35. says

    Amy, this is the most user friendly explanation of affiliate marketing and how to get started monetizing your blog that I have ever read! Wish it had been available when I got started last year. Great work and thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us. I can’t wait to go deeper!!

  36. says

    Hey Amy–great informative post, here. I am going to look into a few of these and choose wisely. I want to make sure I am building a really solid readership first before bombarding people with ads, but I think your explanation was SPOT ON. Thanks for that. And much agreed on the comment above–there are some sites I don’t even BOTHER with b/c I just feel like all they do is post various links so they make a profit. Some to the point where I’m like, “wheres the CONTENT????” Even pioneer woman didn’t get to where she is if the content wasn’t there. People aren’t dumb–they can smell a scam a mile away.

    GREAT POST.

  37. says

    I’d really like further input on this as this is one thing I have struggled with since starting a blog. I signed up with a lot of the affiliate networks but since starting my blog and really getting my feet wet with affiliates, I was able to truly grasp how many of the “great deals” I found on other blogs were just affiliate links. It was really discouraging to me personally, because here I was thinking that the blogger was finding all these great deals and wanting to share them with others, and then I realized that they get them emailed to them daily and get paid for getting us to sign up. I’m not saying I don’t think a blogger should make money from affiliates! However, I was personally discouraged after realizing the amount of affiliate posts that I’ve seen on other blogs, and it makes me not want to post any on my own blog. I eventually realized that one of my favorite blogs was practically posting affiliate posts all day long. I dunno, what do you think? Am I even making sense? :) Maybe you can help me think about all this affiliate stuff in a different light!

    • Amy says

      I think I understand what you’re saying. Like maybe you felt snookered a bit? Not sure if that’s the right word but I can see where you’re coming from. :)

      Here’s my take: I have gained a huge amount of knowledge from bloggers who have offered free expertise and information on their blogs over the years. I am so grateful for the time they took to put it all online so I could personally benefit from it. Knowing how much time and energy it takes to compile all the information and present it in a way that is simple for me to use and easily accessible, it seems quite reasonable to me that they should be compensated in some way. They are truly providing me a service that is making my life better and in other offline areas of life, I’m more than willing to pay for great services as well. In the end, I’d much prefer the information to be freely available and their compensation come from affiliate programs (which doesn’t cost me anything major), than for the information to be something I have to pay directly for (and thus compensate them that way).

      I do agree with you that some bloggers are heavy on the affiliate links and product promotion, but when that’s the case and I feel like they have little else to offer, I simply move on and find another blog that provides a bit more meat. Thus my mantra to myself (and all bloggers): Be helpful! ;)

      • says

        Absolutely, that’s exactly what I meant. Very, very good points… thank you! I am so thankful as well when other bloggers, such as yourself, spend time sharing their expertise with others. I am especially thankful because I now realize how much time it really takes to get these meaty posts published… something I never thought about before!

        • says

          I have a personal blog motto I live by: “No short term profit is worth the long term success of my blog.”

          So when I’m considering whether or not to post a deal that has an affiliate link attached, I have to ask myself: is this worthy of my readers’ time and attention? Is it in alignment with what I say my blog is about? Would I do this deal myself? If the answer is no, my time & reputation are simply not worth it!

          It is not a waste of time to write meaningful, helpful posts that don’t contain a single affiliate link. Too often bloggers ask, “how could this post earn me money?” and not, “how can I position my blog as one that is a valuable resource?” Build the trust with your readership through solid, quality content so when you do have the right opportunity to share an affiliate link or two – you’ll have a captured audience and not a desensitized one.