Did you know that when it comes to blog monetization, affiliate marketing is second only to contextual ads type tools (see more in Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2011 report)? That’s quite a change from 2009; and if one includes Google AdSense into the “affiliate advertising links” category (as some affiliate marketers do), I’m certain it would then easily rank #1.
As the above chart shows, “affiliate advertising links” are neck-and-neck with “self serve tools” for nearly 55% of professional full time bloggers; and they are also being actively used by professional part time bloggers (over 50%), entrepreneur blogs (over 45%), and even corporate blogs (some 38%)
If you aren’t yet using affiliate links in your blog, it’s a high time to start playing with them. Here are just a few of the options that you have when it comes to “affiliate advertising links”:
Many online retailers also offer affiliates access to their product feeds. Below you may see how these look on Commission Junction affiliate network (when I’m searching for “iPad cases” in BestBuy.com’s inventory), where you can either grab links to individual products (to feature them in your posts), or using these tools you may import them in batches.
There are affiliate networks that offer these (e.g. ShareASale, Google Affiliate Network), but my personal favorites are Amazon associates program widgets (mainly due to the high degree of customization that Amazon offers). Below you may see how Roger Dooley uses one on his blog:
Textual & Contextual Links
Here you have two options: (i) either link individual product/keyword mentions to the respective merchant pages (through affiliate-coded links) manually, or (ii) automate the process by using tools like VigLink or Skimlinks. Click on the image below to see a good recent article on how the latter two work:
Reviews, Lists, Comparisons
Finally, consumer advice type blog posts are greatly popular. They may be monetized using any of the above-described methods. Below you may find a screenshot of a popular “review” site that successfully monetizes through affiliate links:
Instead of Conclusion:
IMPORTANT: Whichever of the above you use, make sure you comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s rules regarding testimonials and endorsements which I covered extensively here (see also this recent article for a lawyer’s take on them). Good luck monetizing your blog(s)!!