Top Affiliate Programs For Blog + Business (and how to use them!)

*This post contains affiliate links

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the top ways that a blogger or website owner can make money. It tops pay-per-click ads, which typically only bring in pennies per click (and is dependent on people leaving your site), and can be more consistent that sponsored posts, which are time consuming to land if you don't have tens of thousands of engaged subscribers, and a killer media kit.

Whether you are a full-time blogger or you have a physical or service-based business, affiliate links can be a great source of additional and passive income for your website. Many business owners overlook the ability to generate income with affiliate marketing techniques for their existing businesses, and in many cases this can result in hundreds to thousands of dollars of missed income potential per month.

For example: If you are a flooring contractor focusing on installation, you can use your blog as a portfolio of your work. If you add photographs of a job you have just completed, you can also use an affiliate network, such as Amazon Associates to link the exact product to your post (Check out this example here). If your post is found on Google, Google Image search, or Pinterest, and the link is clicked, you not only capitalize on your physical client, but also a commission on the product as well. This works out well if someone from out of your service area finds you online but cannot hire you due to distance; you can still generate income from the otherwise 'dead' lead.

Another example: You are an interior designer, and you showcase your images on Pinterest to drive traffic to your website. Only local clients will be able to hire you as their designer, but your website traffic is phenomenal. Regardless that the furniture, wallpaper, decor, flooring, window treatments, etc. are not products that you personally sell; linking the same, or similar products under your pictures on your website can drive affiliate income to your business from people who love your design, but live out of your service range.

How to add affiliate links to your website:

Adding affiliate links is so easy, regardless of your site's host and platform, and comes in a variety of options. It is always best practice to stick to the same style of affiliate advertising to keep your own business branding on point. Here are a few ways to utilize links via your website:

  • in embedded text

  • in banner format

  • linked photographs

  • widgets

top affiliate programs for blog and business


My Top Two Recommendations For Affiliate Program:

1. Amazon Associates

Amazon has taken online shopping to a whole new level, and that is an understatement. I recently read a report citing that for every $2.00 spent in the US, one of those dollars is to Amazon. This to me is a good basket to put my eggs in. The inventory catalog leaves no stone left un-turned, giving it broad range to be suitable for any niche, demographic, or industry.

Once your reader clicks on an Amazon link, the cookies are active for the next 24 hours. If the product is added to the reader's cart, you will receive commission if they purchase the item within 30 days. Your commission percentages grow the more items that are sold under your ID.

The best part about Amazon's affiliate program according to me? Well, that would have to be the fact that you receive commission on anything the reader purchases within that 24 hour time frame (I woke up this morning to find that I made a commission on someone buying toilet paper yesterday). Let's say you recommend this product, but they purchase this one instead, you are still getting paid, yo. To me that's a no-brainer.

You can receive cash payments, or Amazon Gift Cards, and you are paid out every 60 days. That is quite a while to wait, I hear ya, but when the checks do come, they are typically quite large.

2. ShopStyle Collective

Shopstyle Collective is an affiliate program that allows you to also receive a pay-per-click. The main draw to me about this site is the fact that you can link some seriously high end products and feel safe that you aren't sending your readership to go buy a knock off Gucci handbag. I don't always find the high end products that I am looking to link on Amazon Associates, and when I can't- I go directly to ShopStyle.

Something I don't like about ShopStyle: Every product link directs you first) through ShopStyle, and then) to the site that houses the product (view what the re-direct looks like by clicking this link here for reference) whether it be Nordstroms, or ASOS, or whatever the case may be. This (to me) looks slightly spammy and I feel it makes my site look less professional. I use this program when I have a very specific product that I am looking to feature, but I wouldn't, say, use it in a 'gift round-up' post. It is way too all over the place. Another reason I use this program second: Grabbing a quick $.05 off a click, but losing my reader to Macy's website is not worth it to me if they don't buy the product I promoted. If I am going to lose a reader anywhere, I would rather lose it to Amazon, knowing that my efforts have a greater chance of ROI due to the fact that I get commission on anything they purchase.

How To Get Readers To Click Your Affiliate Links

  • Don't give it all away: If you are going to add a picture and description of the product, leave the price off. The reader, if intrested, will click the link to check the price, therefore activating the cookies
  • When you are adding options, for example: a camera, you could casually say, "my top three camera choices are this beginner one, this one with a good price point, and this because I can grow into it". That forces the reader to click the link if they find what you are saying to be valuable.
  • Use as many links in your post as possible. This broadens your chances for obvious reasons.

Use Your Analytics

Both of these affiliate programs offer great analytics. I recommend continuosly checking to see which of your links get the most click thru action, so you can a) know what products your readers are looking for for later posts, and b) analyze the way the link was presented in your post so you can repeat that in the future.

In summary, there are great many bloggers and business owners that utilize affiliate links on their sites, and find it to be a great source of passive income. To encourage that this has the best-case affect, be sure to keep the items you are promoting on brand with the rest of your site, and be mindful of any stats or analytics you can use to up your game. Find ways to improve your web traffic to engage more organic click thru rates, and keep on keepin' on. It sometimes takes a few weeks for your initial work to begin to pay off.

Happy Money Making!