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Affiliate Programs – Linkshare

Linkshare

This post is part of a series on Affiliate Programs for Blogs

LinkShare (aff link) is another affiliate megamart like Clickbank whereby you sign up as an affiliate and then have access to hundreds of affiliate programs all via the one system. If you want to get into the affiliate programs of names like iTunes, Dell, Disney, Footlocker then LinkShare is your best bet.

I’ve used LinkShare for just a few months now and have had moderate success (averaging $150 per month). I’ve used it pretty selectively on just promoting a couple of products and know it’s something I should work on a little more as its got such a wide range of products and is reasonably easy to use.

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Affiliate Programs – Commission Junction

Cj Logo
This post is part of a series on Affiliate Programs for Blogs

Commission Junction is another affiliate program mega store (like clickbank) that offers thousands of products from different industries for you to get commissions from.

In a sense CJ is a middleman between you the affiliate and companies who have products to sell.

I’ve used Commission Junction for a year or so now and have never really had much success with it – partly because I’ve not found many products in it that quite fit with the topics that I write on and partly because I have found other programs (like Amazon) to be easier to add to my blogs.

In fact I’ve used Commission Junction so little in the past few months that today when I logged onto it I found that my account has been deactivated (I’ve since reactivated it).

Once you’ve applied to join Commission Junction you then need to apply to join some of the many programs that run within it. Each advertisers in the system has their own program and if you wish to promote their products you apply to do so. Once your application is approved you are then able to use links provided to promote their products.

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Affiliate Programs – Clickbank

Clickbank-LogoThis post is part of a series on Affiliate Programs for Blogs

Clickbank is another affiliate program that I know quite a few bloggers use. I’ve used it myself to promote a small selection of products with moderate success.

The product I’ve seen the most success with is Joel Comm’s What Google Never Told You About Making Money with Adsense (affiliate link) which I reviewed here. I think I had some good results with this product because I’d personally read and used it and gave an honest appraisal with it for my readers. Personal recommendations are important with all affiliate sales – but especially with Clickbank as some of their products have a pretty average reputation.

Many of Clickbank’s products are e-books and software products – which are broken down into the categories of Business to Business, Computing & Internet, Fun & Entertainment, Health & Fitness, Money & Employment, Sports & Recreation, Home & Family, Marketing & Ads, Society & Culture.

As I note below – while the money can be good with Clickbank – you might pay for it with the ‘cheap and nasty’ feel that many of it’s products have. I would strongly recommend that you carefully consider which products you link to and suggest that you (or someone you trust) has personal experience of them before recommending them to readers.

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Affiliate Programs – Amazon Associates

Amazons
This post is part of a series on Affiliate Programs for Blogs

Amazon Associates Program

Amazon’s Associate Program is perhaps one of the most popular ones for bloggers because it is pretty simple to use and has such a wide range of products in their system ranging from books, to electronics, to jewelry, to CDs and DVDs etc. It’s also great because there are many tools that can be used to integrate it into your blog including WordPress Plug ins. Some bloggers even integrate Amazon stores into their blogs (something I need to get set up).

Another beauty of the Amazon program is the variety of ways that they give you to link to their products. Even using just their basic tools on the Associates page you have the option to link to products using text links, pictures, buttons and a variety of keyword triggered techniques.

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Affiliate Programs For Blogs

Ok – it’s time to kick the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog into overdrive and talk about a few ways that you can make money from your blog.

Let’s start with Affiliate programs (this will be a mini series).

What is an Affiliate Program?

To oversimplify it – an affiliate program is a system that pays you a commission when people buy a product having found that product via your blog. Let me use an example. If you click on this link for Jeremy Wright’s upcoming book – Blog Marketing (something I’m genuinely interested in reading myself) you’ll be taken to Amazon.com’s page for that book. IF you purchase it I will get a small commission for sending you there (the commission is somewhere between 4 and 9% of the price at Amazon – depending upon how much you sell, what the product is and a number of other factors).

Affiliate programs come in a massive array of shapes and sizes and on thousands of different niche topics. Over the next few days I’m going to speak about a few Affiliate programs that you might wish to try out and then will give some tips as to how to use them most effectively.

This series continues at – Amazon Associates Program, Clickbank Affiliate Program, Commission Junction Affiliate Program and Linkshare’s program. Also read the final post in the series – 10 Tips for Using Affiliate Programs on your Blog.

Making the most of ecto

At first sight, ecto seems to be a simple desktop client that allows you to author content for your blog. There are a couple of advantages desktop blog tools offer over control panels: You can write entries while offline, keep a local searchable cache of published entries and drafts, use spell-check, manipulate images and movies before uploading, to name just a few.

But ecto for MacOSX (and soon also the Windows version) does even more than that, it can help you to raise your blog’s visibility in the blogosphere and even make a bit of profit. This blog entry will show you how to make the most of ecto.

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Affiliate Program Tips for Bloggers

Shai gives some good tips on hope to Make The Most Out of Affiliate Programs:

1) Provide good reasons for readers and visitors to keep coming back to your site where you have your affiliate links. Or, if you primarily promote via email, make sure that you give readers and subscribers a lot of reasons to keep opening and reading your emails. It’s just so much easier to delete things nowadays! Just deliver great content, provide user interaction, come up with clever contests… the possibilities are endless.

2) Maximise your visibility. Working on your site’s promotions and SEO is important. If you can’t do it yourself, or if you have limited knowledge of search engine optimisation (SEO), then make sure that you get advice from people who know more than you do on this matter. Always remember that the more people who find your site, the more chances you have in showing your affiliate products….’

One tip I’d add to her great list is to keep your affiliate programs as relevant to your blog’s content as possible.

The success of Adsense contextual text links is that they ads usually match the content of the site so well. At times you’ll be reading about a particular product and then see an ad for it – the naturally thing to do is click.

Often bloggers don’t take this same principle and put it into practice with their affiliate programs. They just leave a generic button on their side bar and don’t make any effort into increasing its relevancy to their site.

The best performance I’ve ever had from an affiliate program is when I’ve managed to be blogging about something and then find an affiliate program that matches it well and have placed links to it inside or at the end of the content (with appropriate disclosure statements). Perhaps the easiest program to use with this strategy is Amazon which has so many products that can be linked via picture or text deep within your site and not just on your sidebar.

For instance on my digicam site I have links to the actual products that I write about on many of my posts on cameras. This does take some effort to set up but is well worth it.

Introducing AllPosters and LinkShare

Regular readers will notice I’ve added two small banner ads at the top of this blog – one for AllPosters and the other for LinkShare.

I do this for two reasons which I will share with you:

1. I have used both of these programs to help monetize a number of my blogs. They are affiliate programs that can be quite effective depending upon the topic of your blog.

2. The banner ads above are affiliate links themselves for these programs and will earn me a small commission if you follow them, sign up and start using the programs.

There is no pressure for you to use the programs but if you do I hope they are as successful for you as they have been for me (and more).

Each one is suitable for different topics of sites. They will not be suitable for every blog.

The AllPosters affiliate program is excellent for blogs on people and personalities, its quite good for blogs on sport, music, movies, tv shows etc. I’ve only started using the program this past month but already am seeing that its one of the better performing affiliate programs that I’ve experimented with.

The LinkShare program has a pretty wide range of affiliate programs involved in it which would suit many of the topics that I know readers of this site write about. They have literally hundreds (if not thousands) of partners that offer a range of different products and services for you to link to.

AmazonAds

Amazon-AdsIf you’re looking for a way to increase your Amazon affiliate sales you might like to check out AmazonAds – a textual ad system that puts Amazon Ads on your pages in a similar format to the way Google serves Adsense ads to your blog. I’m yet to use the program (I’ve signed up and will test it shortly) but it looks like a fairly professional package – and as far as I can see its free.

They let you customize the ads your serve to your site but you don’t have complete control over which ads will and won’t be served (all you can do is select if you want them to be ‘books’, ‘electronics’, ‘apparel’ etc). So its a basic system – but might suit some situations quite well – especially if you set them up as alternate ads for your Google ads.

They describe the system as follows:

‘AmazonAds is a fast and easy way for website publishers of all sizes to display Amazon unobtrusive product ads on their website’s content pages and earn money.

The ads can be categorized by Channels (Products Category) and so you can display only “Electronics” or “Books” ad and so are always related to what you want your users to looking for on your site. You’ll finally have a way to both monetize and enhance your content pages. AmazonAds is the program that can give you amazon product revenue from each page on your website—with a minimal investment in time and no additional resources.’

Read more at AmazonAds – Because Simplicity is the key

Update: Just had an email from AmazonAds who have just announced that you can now nominate a keyword to give the ads a topic to draw ads upon. Its not true contextual advertising (ie it doesn’t determine what to serve ads for based on what is on your blog) which is good for Adsense users as it means you can use it in conjunction with that program – you simply nominate a subject and home the system will find an appropriate ad for it.