The absolute best way I have found to monetize my blogs and websites throughout the many years I have been trying to make money online is undoubtedly; affiliate links.
If you do not how what I am talking about, don't worry as I am about to give you a quick and practical cash course on affiliate links including:
- What are affiliate links
- How to add affiliate links to your content
- Where to find affiliate links and of course;
- How to make money with affiliate links.
I'll also share with you some dos and don'ts at the very bottom as sadly; affiliate links can also be detrimental to your website's traffic and yes; detrimental to your ability to make money with affiliate marketing when not used correctly.
What Are Affiliate Links?
Affiliate links are unique tracking links that would be created for you through an affiliate program that allows you to profit (in the form of affiliate commissions) whenever you send a sale.
For example, let’s say you are an affiliate for Amazon.com.
When you become a member of the Amazon Associates program, a unique affiliate link is created for you that you can then use on your website.
People who visit your website and decided to purchase something through that link will be tracked by Amazon and – if they do purchase a product – you will get your affiliate commission.
Of course, it’s very important that you only use the affiliate links provided to you by the affiliate program as otherwise, you won’t be credited for the sale.
I am guessing you are here to learn about affiliate links because you want to make money using them so needless to say; make sure you use only the affiliate links that are provided to you by the advertiser.
How Do Affiliate Links Work?
Embedded within any affiliate link is an affiliate tracking code, which is your unique ID and thus; when a sale or a click-through to the advertiser happens, it’s tracked and credited to you and you only.
You may also hear the term “affiliate cookies”. For example:
“Our affiliate program offers a 30-day cookie”
This means that a potential customer can click on your link today and even if he does not purchase, you can still earn a commission for the sale if the customer returns and makes the purchase within that have a 30-day window.
It’s good to note that if the customer clears his browser cookie or purchases through a different device; you will not get credit for that sale as obviously, the affiliate tracking ID has been wiped out.
Also, if the user clicks on any other affiliate links to that advertiser, your link will be replaced with the “new” tracking ID.
With regards to what you can expect, there are plenty of affiliate programs who offer different tracking duration.
You’ll find affiliate programs who offer just 24 hours and some even offering lifetime tracking (unless the user doesn’t clear his browser or clicks someone else’s affiliate link).
How To Use Affiliate Links
There are plenty of ways you can “share” your affiliate link.
While I do not recommend this as a long-term strategy, you can even post your links on social media platforms but that is typically frowned upon and you can quickly get banned or removed if you abuse it too much.
I have a list of where affiliate links are and aren’t allowed so take a look into that but the only place I recommend you use such links is on your own website.
I will give you better examples of where and how to best promote your affiliate links correctly but for now; let me explain:
How To Add Affiliate Links
My favorite way to add affiliate links is on my blog posts or reviews (more about this later).
For example, let’s say I am promoting fishing rods through my hobby-fishing website and I want to do a review of a certain fishing rod and would like to offer my readers the chance to buy it from a reputable source.
This is an easy two-step process, and it goes as such:
Step 01: Find The Product You Want To Promote:
All I need to do is go to Amazon.com, find the fishing rod I want to promote and find my affiliate link (unique only to me):
Once I have my link, I then pick a specific keyword in the text that I want to link from and all you need to do is to click the “link” button in your WordPress Editor.
Here is how that is done:
I am assuming that you are using WordPress for your website but if you are using any other platform, such as Medium, Blogger or Wix; the same process applies.
Here’s a quick video on how to add affiliate links to Blogger:
How To Get Your Affiliate Links
As I said at the beginning of this guide, you need to get your affiliate links from the affiliate program you have decided to join.
Unless you join an affiliate program, there is no way you can have/find your own affiliate link.
For instance, linking to Amazon.com – even though you are logged in to your account on Amazon – is NOT how you find your affiliate link.
That link would not credit you for the purchases your customer will do, for that you need to find your affiliate links:
How To Find Your Affiliate Links
The example above shows my own Amazon Associates accounts but Amazon is not the only player in the game – although it sure is one of the biggest.
While no one platform looks like the other, they function very much in a similar way.
All you have to do once in the “dashboard” of your account is find the specific affiliate link provided for you and use that.
(Most affiliate programs will also have how-to guides to help you familiarize yourself with the backend dashboard)
Some programs may even provide more than one affiliate link and also some might give you the option to create your own affiliate links (affiliate ID will still be embedded in the link) – this is so that you can track your own links and how your content is performing.
Slightly bit more technical but nothing to worry about – once you get used to it, this will be a breeze.
Where To Use Your Affiliate Links
Above I mentioned that the best place to use your affiliate links is only on your website, more specifically in your content.
However, those are not the only ways you can use them. Here are two other locations (one being risky and one being the absolute ideal) way of using affiliate link:
In the Sidebar
While – in theory – this sounds like a great place to put an affiliate link since it gets a lot of views, I would strongly advise you not to take this approach.
As I see it, having an affiliate link in your sidebar cheapens the value of your content.
When it comes to “link density” – which I have a whole section about it below – you do not want to overdo the use of affiliate links.
From SEO’s perspective, having an affiliate link on every page of your website (which is basically everywhere on the website) means that you are more of an affiliate bridge page than a source of information which yes; is frowned upon.
It’s best to keep your affiliate links only in your content where it’s necessary and where it makes sense to have it.
Of course, you do not want to overdo it in your content either as adding an affiliate link to every piece of content will lead to the same problem mentioned above, i.e; affiliate links on every page.
The best way to go about this is to create pages and posts are that are only meant to house affiliate links.
A perfect example if this would be product reviews.
I only have a few products I promote on this website.
Instead of using my affiliate link, whenever I mention those products, I link to my “official review” – this gives the user more information about the product, allowing me to really sell it to them, and;
It also leaves my site clean from too many affiliate links.
The other (best) place to use affiliate links would be;
In Your Email Marketing
I know you may not be at this stage yet, but email marketing (if you want to do affiliate marketing well) is incredibly important and a tremendous asset to have.
Just in case you are wondering, you can start an email list from day one of your website / blog and you can even do it for free.
Once you have a sizable audience; you are free to use affiliate links as you please.
Of course; do not go crazy with it and start spamming your list with an avalanche of affiliate links but if you keep it sensible – there are no limitations to how often you can place affiliate links in your emails.
Also keep in mind that whoever has signed up to receive emails from you are ready to be sold to – although just like you and me, they do not appreciate being spammed to death.
Here’s a great guide on how to use affiliate links with email marketing.
How To Promote Your Affiliate Links
Ok, the fun stuff;
How can you promote affiliate links and make good money promoting them?
Well, I have news for you; affiliate links do not make you money.
Affiliate links simply track the events that are happening and if you do manage to make a sale, then the affiliate link is responsible for crediting the sale to your account.
That’s the main purpose of an affiliate link.
You will make money by driving traffic to that specific link and you can do that by knowing how to build and generate traffic.
Now there are plenty of ways you can get traffic – you can even use social media to build up an online presence on there and then divert your audience to your website/product reviews housing your affiliate links.
Pinterest is one of the best “social platforms” to work with affiliate links so definitely look into that if your niche is Pinterest-friendly.
However, when it comes to affiliate marketing, there’s no better traffic source out there than the mighty SEO!
From my experiences and from what I have observed mentoring and helping countless of affiliate marketing newbies in my training course, anyone who understands SEO and learns how to use it to divert traffic to their affiliate offers is making a killing online right now.
Think about it; SEO is free to do (although it does take time to build) and it’s also traffic with a high-intent to buy something.
You rarely ever hear advice about promoting affiliate links with SEO because sadly many – yes even the experts – get this wrong sometimes.
That’s an entirely different topic itself though so I will leave that for a next post, but I do have a few guides you can look into today regarding SEO:
Affiliate Links (The DOs & DON’Ts)
DO Use Hyperlinks
Affiliate links are FUGLY!
The tracking code embedded within it make it incredibly displeasing on the eye.
This is why you should never post an affiliate link “raw” and rather use text to “mask it”.
This is called a hyperlink text and it looks as such:
DO Make Your Links Pretty
Another way you can prettify your links is with the use of a simple plugin called PrettyLinks.
This will allow you to create “pretty affiliate links” and it does this by creating a 301 redirect link that you can then use in your content.
Not really a must, but it helps make the link much more visually pleasing and it also makes it a bit more “clickable” in the eyes if your reader.
DO Write Product Reviews
As I said earlier, product reviews are an amazing source of income for affiliate and the perfect place to use your affiliate links.
If you want to make money with affiliate links, then learn how to properly craft product reviews.
DO Add More Than One Affiliate Link (If….)
Let’s talk about keyword density for a second here.
Do not be afraid to use affiliate links – if you are using them properly, then they would not have any significant effect on how well your website performs.
However; you can’t over-do it.
If you are going to use affiliate links in all (or most) of your content, use my “formula” and only add;
1 affiliate link = 1000 words.
This post is about 3,000 words and there are exactly 3 affiliate links on this page.
DO Link Images
This is not the case for all images, but product images (which you will likely be using in your product reviews) are a great way to sneakily insert a link.
For some reasons I have never understood since I never do – a lot of people click on images and yes; I have tried this myself and have seen shockingly good results.
Pro tip: A caption under the image also gets a lot of eyeballs due to its unique location. Instead of linking the image, you can also hyperlink your caption with an affiliate link.
DON’T Over Use Them
I just had to throw this in here one more time as I see way too many using the “spray and pray” technique with affiliate links and it always ends in a disaster.
DON’T Start A Post With An Affiliate Link
Not ideal – best to avoid.
Very few people will actually click any sort of link when they have just landed on your website – best if it is avoided.
DON’T Spam Social Media
Maybe a link here or there will not cause issues, but it’s best if you don’t; there are far better ways to do this (as explained above).
BONUS: DON’T Use Them From Day One
This is just my theory and I have seen many do the exact opposite with great success.
I personally do not use affiliate links with a new website/blog.
I’d much rather wait till the site has a steady flow of visitors coming in before I decide to add affiliate links.
Sure I might lose some sales but it’s probably not a lot and the benefits of having a “clean”, information only website will give me a quicker path onto Google’s page 1.
I explain this in more detail in my new course: Affiliate SEO Mastery.
Common Affiliate Links FAQs
Q: Do affiliate links hurt SEO?
In general, it’s safe to assume that Google does not like affiliate marketers.
However; without affiliate marketers (and affiliate links) there would be far less (great) content in the world.
Affiliate marketing allows people like me to work hard to create the best possible content out there and this is what Google wants to see.
No affiliates = no income for content creators = no content to rank.
Still, when in doubt; always assume Google prefers sites with no affiliate links.
Q: Should you accept affiliate links on guest posts?
I got asked this in the comment section below and I thought I’d address it.
If you are either receiving a guest post or you are sending a guest post, an affiliate link should never be present.
The author of that said post should get two do-follow links for every 1000 words but strictly no affiliate links – unless of course, they pay you handsomely for it.
Q: Can affiliate links be stolen?
No, this is just fake news.
There was talk in the early days of affiliate marketing that links were being stolen but this is just a myth and unless someone has the login details of your website, they cannot just “steal” your links.
Adding a free security plugin against hackers won’t be a bad idea though.
Q: Is there a limit to how many affiliates links you can use?
As we said, you should only add 1 affiliate link per 1000 words but as for how many affiliate links from different affiliate programs you can use, there is no limit.
PRO Tip: You do not want to join too many affiliate programs though – that is a major headache to manage.d
Best to stick with a maximum of 5.
Q: Can you use affiliate links on Instagram?
Yes and no; technically you can but I’d advise you don’t. Here’s a guide on where affiliate links are allowed.
Q: Can you use affiliate links without a website?
No; affiliate programs most often will request your website’s URL before they approve you.
You can start a free WordPress website from here >>
Affiliate Marketing Links & Resources
We're now nearing the end of this mini affiliate marketing crash course I had for you.
I hope you have found some of the answers you were looking for here and I hope this post has raised more questions than it has answered for you.
Affiliate marketing is an amazing, mind-blowing topic that I have been studying for nearly a decade now and to this day I still have questions about how certain things work.
My go-to place to get a quick and practical answer is Wealthy Affiliate, which is an affiliate marketing training course that has helped me create my full-time affiliate marketing business online.
I have been there for 6 years now and I never plan on leaving as it honestly is the best training course that I have ever found.
I guess you could say this website would not exist and I would not be here writing these words to you if it wasn't for this training course.
While I would strongly suggest you take the plunge and create a free membership account so you can start learning today, I also understand you may have questions and reservations about it.
I have a full, in-depth review of the Wealthy Affiliate platform here for you >>
Thank you for reading my guide on how to add & use affiliate links on your blog and website.
If there are some questions I did not answer, be sure to leave them down below and I will make sure to answer them as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, here are some of my previous affiliate marketing guides that you may find useful:
I'll see you next time.
PS: I'm currently online inside the Wealthy Affiliate live chatroom - if you have nothing better to do; drop by and say hello >>