Getting started with affiliate marketing can feel confusing but it doesn’t have to be!
As soon as you get your head around a few steps, you can easily setup relevant and non-intrusive affiliate links within your blog posts like a PRO.
In this quick-start guide, I will walk you through:
- What is affiliate marketing?
- How to sign up to affiliate marketing programs
- How to place affiliate marketing links
- Where to place affiliate links in blog posts
What is affiliate marketing?
We’ve all got to start somewhere so don’t worry about asking the simple questions first.
Affiliate marketing is when an online retailer pays commission to an external website (you) for driving traffic or sales generated from referrals.
An easy way to explain this for travel bloggers is, you have a blog post about Taipei so you include several affiliate marketing links (tracked with a unique referral code) promoting hotels in Taipei for a hotel booking website. Every time one of your readers clicks a link and books a hotel based on your recommendation, you receive a pre-agreed commission rate based on a percentage of that sale.
Payouts can take from a few weeks to a year to process! So don’t think of this as a quick earner but more like a steady income stream once you are established.
How to sign up to affiliate marketing programs
The easiest way to get started is to register with an affiliate marketing network.
An affiliate network is an intermediary between publishers (you) who sell, and the merchants who create products and services for you to sell. It’s the easiest way for travel bloggers to apply for and manage multiple affiliate programs all-in-one system.
Once you’ve signed up and entered your details, joining individual programs is as easy as searching for genres on the network and clicking a few buttons to share your details.
If you’ve been accepted to the program, you’ll receive an email and the program will appear on your account where you will be able to start using your unique referral code.
When you have established your blog and feel more confident with the application process and managing multiple accounts, you may find that signing up directly with your favourite programs will give you greater customisation on your banner ads.
How to place affiliate marketing links
Affiliate links are usually placed as text links or banner ads. I prefer banner ads because it clearly shows your readers what it is – an advert for an external website.
However, if you do use text links, try to mention their website name or make it clear that your link will direct to another website.
Affiliate marketing, like advertising, is generally accepted as a means for bloggers to generate income and to continue providing free content to the reader. However, you don’t want to lose the trust of your audience so make sure that your links are placed clearly and most of all that the company you are promoting is relevant and beneficial to your audience.
Most affiliate marketing networks will have a section within your account called “LINKS” or “MY CREATIVE”. This is where to find the programs and creative available to you.
Click “Get a Link/Banner” then select the banner you like and simply copy the HTML code with your unique referral.
Where to place affiliate links in blog posts
I usually include between 1 and 4 affiliate links per blog post.
You don’t want to dilute your message with too many adverts or put off your readers with shameless advertising. Also, external links will make it more likely for your audience to leave your website and time spent onsite will decrease.
I find that including a few relevant affiliate links within travel blog posts when mentioned “where to stay” works well and helps my readers rather than get in the way of my message. Or towards the end of a blog post when my readers are ready to make an informed decision.
Affiliate marketing can be a great way for established bloggers to increase the revenue from their blog without doing too much extra work.
You can include affiliate links within old blog posts that continue to drive traffic or place them within new blog posts that you are writing anyway. With affiliate marketing networks, it’s easy to find and apply to tonnes of programs relevant for any article.
Just remember to focus on relevancy and place your banners appropriately to maximise your trust and reward from interested readers.